Written By AashirAhmed - 2022-04-03
With less than a week remaining in the VCT 2022 - Stage 1 - Masters Reykjavík, the first ever international event of VCT 2022 season, THESPIKE.GG has decided to initiate a new series that will shine a spotlight on some of the best players from respective Challenger events. We’ve decided to select Trent "trent" Cairns as our first subject, and as you’ll learn shortly, the story of this young prodigy’s rise in esports isn’t any short of fascinating.
After contributing to The Guard's success at VCT 2022 - North America - Stage 1 - Main Event, Trent "trent" Cairns has established himself as a top Sova player and one of NA VALORANT's future stars, despite not having significant tournament experience until the start of 2022. He spent the last year competing in local and regional tournaments with org-less teams including the likes of NorCal Esports, Most Prolific and also ex-Flickbaiters.
The Guard, a Los Angeles-based esports organization with representing teams in Overwatch League & Call of Duty League. In November, the Guard joined the VALORANT scene, recruiting several young up-and-coming players from various teams and within a span of only three months, they had a full-fledged roster of six professional players, a head coach, and a team manager.
Prior to signing with the Guard, the only noteworthy tournament placement he was a part of was Pittsburgh Knights Monthly Gauntlet 2021 - December: Frozen Gauntlet, where the team finished 2nd losing only to Akrew in the Grand Finals. It is worth mentioning that Trent also finished 3rd on the player’s stat leaderboard with 1.39 Rating and 287 ACS and 1.44 KD.
After some of his performances started making headlines, some professionals players and coaches revealed earlier DMs with Trent asking for try-outs.
This recently assembled roster had a lot to prove if they wanted to establish themselves as a force to be reckoned with, and they wasted no time in doing so with the first tournament, NSG 2022 Winter Championship -Online Open 14, that Trent competed for the Guard ending in a 1st place finish for the team. The subsequent event they participated was their inaugural VCT tournament, and despite a loss against XSET in the Upper Bracket finals, they managed to qualify through the Lower Brackets. Unfortunately, they faced a minor setback in NSG 2022 Winter Championship - Finals after a defeat against Akrew forced them to settle for 5th-8th place.
However, they didn’t let the loss affect their morale going into VCT 2022 - North America - Stage 1 - Main Event and managed to bounce back with unparalleled ferocity. During the initial four weekend of the event, they managed to remain undefeated even against the likes of XSET and 100 Thieves. With a 4-0 record, they faced Cloud9 in their last match of Group Stages, which was proceeding in their favour until Cloud9 launched a mind-blowing comeback taking consecutive maps while limiting The Guard to less than 5 rounds.
Given their inexperience in the Valorant scene, earning a Playoff spot had managed to turn some heads in itself but it wasn’t until they had defeated Sentinels with a perfect sweep that the entire community was able to wholly acknowledge their presence and recognize them as a potential contender for the spot at VCT 2022 - Stage 1 - Masters Reykjavík. Describing the win against Sentinels as a one-sided affair would be relatively accurate considering that the final scores read 13-6 and 13-1 on Bind and Icebox respectively. A similar pattern emerged in the matchup against Luminosity Gaming, which fell 2-0 despite a better showing than Sentinels.
These wins propelled them to the Upper Bracket finals, an unforeseen result from such a young team. Even though, OpTic Gaming demonstrated superiority and forced their relegation into the Lower Brackets with a 2-0 win, The Guard seemed to have taken it as a learning opportunity to fuel them at the Lower Bracket finals, which ended up being a rematch from the Group Stages. Cloud9 were the obvious favourites for the matchup, with a win against them in the Group Stages, and a well-rounded Lower Bracket run.
Unfortunately, The Guard seemed to thrive against such odds taking the participants at VCT 2021 - VALORANT Champions 2021 with a 3-0 final score despite having to face Overtime thrice. With this win, they had secured one of the two spots available for NA teams at VCT 2022 - Stage 1 - Masters Reykjavík, but the following Grand Finals matchup could potentially enable them to have a higher seed and an advantage at the first International LAN event.
Therefore, they were keen on proving themselves in the rematch against OpTic Gaming, and they respectfully did so over a series of five maps with the decider being arguably the most entertaining, featuring a spectacular comeback despite being down 8-4 in the first half. With this win, they were awarded the first seed in NA and a ticket to bypass the first round of Playoffs at the Masters Stage.
Over the last three months, Trent "trent" Cairns boasts an average of 1.19 Rating, 234 ACS and 1.34 KD. While these numbers may not look extremely commendable at the first glance, it’s important to realize that maintaining consistency with these numbers is extremely difficult especially in highly competitive events with the best teams in the region. Furthermore, he was amongst only a handful of players to play 4 different Agents in the event, and still manage such a high ranking on the stat leaderboard of VCT 2022 - North America - Stage 1 - Main Event.
There can be no argument made against his contributions to The Guard roster and their recent success. Trent’s journey into Valorant and esports in general symbolizes hope for potential pros in the making. If you have talent and hard work to show for it, eventually you will get the recognition you deserve.
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