Sentinels recently revealed the signing four players to its brand new VALORANT division. The impressive lineup features now-former Counter-Strike, Overwatch, and Apex Legends professionals consisting of Shahzeeb “ShahZaM” Khan, Jay “Sinatra” Won, Jared “zombs” Geylin, and Hunter “SicK” Mims.
VPEsports had the chance to speak with ShahZaM following the announcement that the Counter-Strike professional would be making the swap to VALORANT as a professional player for Sentinels.
Having played for several top-level teams across the last decade and more than one version of the Counter-Strike series, ShahZaM’s most recent home was Complexity, from which he was benched in October of 2019. Since then the 26-year-old has been grinding FPL to keep his game sharpened in the hopes of getting another opportunity to compete. It had been a quiet year thus far, however, and with the amount of time he was putting into VALORANT, many were starting to question where he’d end up.
“I didn’t want to make any statement or big deal of me “officially retiring” because the truth is I still wanted to compete in some way,” he said.
Unfortunately, the change in the landscape of the CS:GO scene didn’t make that any easier to stick around hoping for the chance to jump back into the saddle.
“With the two leagues being created it put the NA scene in a weird spot. EPL only has 2 NA teams now, and flashpoint has a big buy-in. You used to be able to put a team together and train hard to qualify tournaments and go up in the rankings, but that’s not how it works anymore,” ShahZaM explained.
“Not that I’m against all of it, I understand the orgs are trying to make CSGO sustainable. Opportunities are even more limited right now, and I’m sure there’ll be some sort of correction in the future to build up T2 NA again.”
And while some may be willing to wait for that correction, ShahZaM felt now was the right time to make a course change of his own. “Valorant didn’t just come at the right time, it’s actually a game I enjoy and see a ton of potential in,” he said.
He knows a lot of people won’t understand this move, but he wants fans to understand this isn’t an easy decision to make after giving a such a large part of his life to the game.
“I spent half of my life playing CS, it’ll always be a huge part of me. I started out in the days of mIRC and played in CAL before it died, I don’t think people realize how long I’ve played,” explained ShahZaM. “CS fans tend to be more hardcore and I’m seeing a lot of hate on the switch but it’s ok, I understand. I feel like the entire last year of my CS career was a waste and it left me unsatisfied.”
In terms of his future in VALORANT, ShahZaM plans on attacking it with the same effort he put in across his tenure as a Counter-Strike professional. “People only remember you for your last tournament in this scene, and even though I never won a Major I always put max effort into my teams. I’m going to do the same in Valorant.”