100 Thieves debuted a brand new double initiator and sentinel lineup against The Guard on Ascent, featuring Sova, Skye, Cypher, Astra, and Chamber during the VCT NA Stage 1 Challengers Main Event.

This zero duelist composition surprised the casters and analysts, who expected to see Peter “Asuna” Mazuryk on Jett.

But despite what looked like a strong composition for gathering information and locking down sites, The Guard went on to take the map 13-0 and the series 2-1, powered by stellar performances from Trent “trent” Cairns and Ha “Sayaplayer” Jung-woo.

Sentinels star player Tyson “TenZ” Ngo later weighed in on the unorthodox agent composition on Twitter, explaining why it can be problematic to play with no duelists at all.

The problem with a zero duelist composition in Valorant

TenZ on zero duelist composition
Screenshot by Koh Wanzi/ONE Esports

100 Thieves isn’t the first team to experiment with a zero duelist composition. Fans may remember Team Liquid running this same strategy last year. Most recently, they opted to go without duelists again this past weekend in their match against Natus Vincere on Bind.

Valorant’s duelist agents have kits that allow them to burst onto sites or force opponents onto the backfoot by using their own utility. If a team has no duelists at all, the designated entry fragger will have to rely completely on his teammates’ utility instead to find a pick.

This problem surfaced when 100 Thieves was on attack on Ascent, where they had to count on Asuna’s Chamber to prod for holes in The Guard’s defense. While Chamber’s Rendezvous teleporters did allow him to make a quick escape, his kit is otherwise lacking, and it was difficult for him to secure the first kill reliably.

TenZ on zero duelist composition
Screenshot by Koh Wanzi/ONE Esports

“I feel like Chamber as a solo fragging character feels like a budget Reyna,” said TenZ. In fact, he pointed out that Reyna already needs a lot of “babysitting” from support characters, but she at least has her Leer to blind opponents.

Without any duelists, 100 Thieves struggled to take space on Ascent, since Chamber lacks the speed and utility to set the pace of the game on attack.

When it was The Guard’s turn to plant the spike, they showed quickly why Jett remains an integral part of most agent compositions. Sayaplayer threw Cloudburst and dashed decisively onto A site, immediately creating space for his team and forcing the defenders to adapt to their explosive pace.

The rest of the round went The Guard’s way, giving them the map and series.

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