After a grueling few days of competition, North America finally has its' Berlin representatives. There were no real upsets this time either, as the favorites all made it through. While there were good matches put on by newcomers like Rise Nation, or the resurgence of Team SoloMid, there were four teams really thought to fight for these three spots. Of those four teams only three could gain entry to Berlin, and that is exactly what happened.
Sentinels remain the top dog in North America, and possibly in the world as they once again qualify without much issue. The new Rise Nation Roster gave them some trouble taking an Ascent game, but the world champions quickly recovered and won the series 2-1. Moving on to their qualification match, they routed Envy 2-0, looking even more dominant than they did against Rise. The squad led by Tyson "TenZ" Ngo, the current best player in the world, continued their unbeatable look against 100 Thieves the next day, as in a match solely for seeding they ran past them 2-0 as well. Sentinels look to be just as imposing of a force as always, thanks to the skill of the team in addition to the shotcalling of Shazeeb "ShahZam" Khan.
100 Thieves seem to have really come into form as well, as until they ran into the Buzzsaw that is Sentinels, they had a very easy time qualifying as well. Going up against the always scary FaZe Clan in the first round, the strategy of in-game leader (IGL) Josh (Steel) Nissan allowed for 100 Thieves to counter the aggressiveness of the FaZe team, moving on to qualification in a 2-0 fashion. In that qualifying match, they had to deal with the up-and-coming XSET gaming, who were looking to cement themselves as a top North American team. However, that will have to wait for the players on XSET as Peter "Asuna" Mazuryk ran through them en route to another 2-0 series. Unfortunately, their perfect run came to an end versus an always hot Sentinels team, who shut down the aggressive play from Asuna. After losing 0-2 to Sentinels, they now play the third qualifying team, Envy to decide seeding.
Envy had a much more difficult road to qualify than the two that did it through the upper bracket. After losing to Sentinels in the 2nd winners round they were on the brink of elimination, and continuing a curse. Envy had been a team that was always favored to go far but never lived up to that potential. The core of the roster had never finished higher than 4th in a tournament. To combat this "curse" as it became known in the community, they made some changes to one of the longest standing teams in Jacob "yay" Whitaker and Jimmy "Marved" Nguyen. The addition of these two made an immediate difference, especially in the case of yay. However in the qualifying match that Envy played against XSET, it was the old guard of Envy that came to play. Austin "crashies" Roberts pulled out one of the best individual series of a player not named TenZ all year. With a 1.42 rating and a 262 ACS(Average Combat Score) crashies willed his Envy team to a 2-0 victory, as well as a qualification for the Berlin Masters tournament.
All three of these North American teams will play in Berlin at Masters along with 13 other teams from different regions around the world. How all three will fare remains to be seen but they are all favored to do some real damage. Whether anyone can step up to the kings on Sentinels remains to be seen, but for now, North America should be comfortable knowing they are being put in capable hands on the international stage.