Sentinels could be sporting a completely different look going into the VCT 2023 season.
XSET star Zachary “zekken” Patrone has officially joined the team, while in-game leader Rory “dephh” Jackson is also expected to sign with the organization, according to Dot Esports’ George Geddes.
Longstanding Sentinels IGL Shahzeb “ShahZaM” Khan is also on his way out, where he will likely be replaced by dephh.
“I’m disappointed not to be included in the roster for next year but my grind continues,” he said in reply to a tweet from CEO Rob Moore. “I’m open to both Tier 1 and Tier 2 teams looking to win.”
Zekken’s addition sees him reunite with XSET coach Don “Syyko” Muir, who was part of Sentinels’ coaching staff overhaul.
Dephh may be Sentinels’ next signing
The North American organization kickstarted what looks to be an extensive rebuilding process with its coaching team. It released Shane “Rawkus” Flaherty from his coaching position, bringing on Syyko and Ghost Gaming’s Adam “kaplan” Kaplan.
Zekken and dephh bring with them a track record of success in 2022, winning VCT NA Stage 2 Challengers and finishing fifth to sixth at Valorant Champions 2022. XSET were widely considered the second-best team in North America, behind only OpTic Gaming.
Zekken, in particular, has drawn praise for his superstar performances over the past year. The 17-year-old was one of the best players on XSET over the past year — going toe-to-toe with far more experienced players.
On the other hand, Sentinels have had a rough year. They did not qualify for a single international event, looking like a pale shadow of the team that had dominated North American and global Valorant in early 2021.
It’s no surprise that a drastic overhaul of the roster is in the works. Coaches Syyko and kaplan have expressed the intention to put together a squad that will hit the ground running and be ready to win. “The beginning of a new era,” the organization tweeted when announcing zekken’s signing.
The future of marquee player Tyson “TenZ” Ngo is also still up in the air. His contract reportedly expires by the end of the year, and it’s not clear whether he will be offered a new one to continue with the team.
As XSET’s primary duelist on agents like Neon, Raze, and Jett, zekken also appears to be a natural replacement for TenZ. That said, the 21-year-old superstar pivoted to Chamber during the Last Chance Qualifier, so he could still potentially have a spot on the team as their Chamber main.
With teams expected to submit an initial roster to Riot by October 15, the rest of the roster could be revealed in the coming days.