With a ticket to Masters: Berlin all but assured, 100 Thieves found themselves squaring up against Sentinels in an anticipated upper bracket finals series in the 2021 VCT NA Stage 3 Challengers Playoffs. Despite losing five consecutive series to the reigning Masters: Reykjavik champions, expectations leaned on this series being a close affair with both sides fighting to the third and decisive map in light of 100T’s improvement in form.
Unfortunately, such a prediction failed to materialize into reality as thanks to a dominating showing by Sentinels in the series’ opening map, 100T dropped to the lower bracket in two games where they will await Team Envy for a spot in the grand finals and a chance to improve their seeding for Masters: Berlin.
Shortly after the defeat, Nicholas “nitr0” Cannella spoke with Gamezo for an exclusive interview about what went wrong against Sentinels, the team’s progress since faltering in Stage 1 and 2, and their qualification to Berlin.
Bold font signifies Gamezo’s questions, whereas standard font shows nitr0’s answers.
Nitr0, I know it was a tough series to play, but I’d like to know how are you feeling at this moment?
nitr0: We’re still feeling really good. We just have to touch upon a few things here and there and talk about the maps for tomorrow against either XSET or Envy. We have to fix our mistakes from today and it’s a best-of-five so we’re going to have to play every single map basically. We have to keep talking about the game as a team, hopefully win our match tomorrow, and figure what seed we are for Berlin because that’s ultimately our goal moving forward.
Even so, I’d like to go back to that series vs SEN. Many people were expecting such a very tight matchup but it didn’t pan out the way it did. Although that first map of Split was selected by SEN, what exactly went wrong for you guys in which the game went the way it did?
Nitr0: I think we were playing very scared and not as confident for whatever reason. Obviously, you could tell the next map (Haven) was a lot cleaner from us because it’s one of our most practiced maps and we had all the protocols down.
I think it was more of a mentality thing going into the Split game against SEN. That was not our game and I think everyone knows that. We just need to figure out what it would take to get our mentality on the right track for the next time we play against them or whatever team that we think is good. Next tournament in Berlin is going to be hard with all these other teams, so maybe we’ll do a European boot camp to make sure we have all of our stuff down and get a feel for how other teams play this game and approach it.
As you already mentioned, you played a cleaner game in the next map. Regardless of the result, what are some aspects that you identified so that you can then put to use for Berlin?
Nitr0: I think the biggest improvement that we saw is the performance from Map 1 to Map 2. We know that next time we can’t mess [our play] up and must have a better gameplan, but there wasn’t really too much to take away from in my opinion. I think it was more like a mentality block going against them. I’ve been there before with Astralis too (during my time with Team Liquid in CS:GO). Hopefully, I can figure something out. *laughs*
We’ll see about that in the future. Of course, I would be remiss if I don’t talk 100T’s qualification for Berlin. It’s already well-documented . The social media team posted a video of the squad’s reaction upon finishing that semifinal series against XSET. How does it feel for you to secure a ticket to Berlin?
nitr0: I’m very excited. Since COVID hit, the last tournament I attended was in Katowice in March of 2020 (IEM Season XIV World Championship) so it has been a year and five months since I’ve been to a LAN with people. Not necessarily the crowd but in general, so I’m very excited to go back to be able to play on LAN and meet some of the players. It’s going to be a great time.
Save for Ethan, who joined the team during this year, you’ve been a part of basically 100T’s entire stint within Valorant as a whole. You’ve been a part of that First Strike team and then not doing well in Stage 1 and 2 before now. How have you seen the team’s progress over your entire stint with 100T in that regard?
nitr0: I think we have developed a lot as a team. I think we finally figured out how we want to approach the game as a team within the last week literally. We started talking more about protocols and stuff like that. We’re feeling very good as a team right now and it took us a lot to figure out our comps, so we just need to keep practicing and keep improving upon our mistakes.
Those sort of problems must have been such a difficult thing to resolve. What were some of the aspects that made it so difficult so that you would then overcome it and play much better together than before?
nitr0: I think it was just the overall philosophy of how each person viewed the game. We really ironed out what we wanted as a team and how we wanted to approach the game. I think that was the biggest thing.
As a result of the loss, you guys now move down to the lower bracket of the playoffs where you will await the winner of the XSET-Envy series. What do you see of either team as you await the winner in your upcoming series?
nitr0: XSET obviously wants revenge for the first series and then every time we play Envy, it ends up being a close series. Regardless of what team we play, it’s going to be a very good series for the fans to watch. At the end of the day, we just have to show up in the server and do what we do in practice and I think we’ll win.
Of course, Envy experienced a major upgrade with the addition of Jacob “yay” Whiteaker. How does yay’s inclusion to that team alter Envy’s style of play?
nitr0: I think they finally got a “superstar” player that they wanted. I think mummAy was a great support player and he would play Jett occasionally here and there because he likes to use the Op (Operator). I don’t know if he wanted to play Jett or whatever, but half of the time he was on Jett, and half of the time he was on Astra. I think they finally got the last piece of the puzzle that they were looking for in a Jett player, so I think from here on out, they just have to keep practicing and get better.