Top 20 players of 2015: kennyS (6)
Number 6 on our top 20 ranking powered by EGB.com belongs to Kenny "kennyS" Schrub for the second year running. His impactful role in Titan and EnVyUs, combined with his incredible form at DreamHack Open Cluj-Napoca, made him one of the most important players over the last 12 months.
Kenny "kennyS" Schrub had some trouble to find a way to the professional CS:Source scene due to his insane talent at a very young age. Vincent "Happy" Schopenhauer played a crucial role in his development as he took a then unproven 16-year-old kennyS under his wing and brought him to a Mumble channel where professional players regularly played scrims, at a time when the young AWPer had a reputation as a cheater.
Following a brief stint with eXtensive! in early 2012 in which he proved his doubters wrong, kennyS joined the highly-successful VeryGames team, whom he helped to win several tournaments during the dying months of CS:S, including two insomnia Festival events, ESL Major Series Season X and the French Master Series Finals.
After CS:GO was released, kennyS quickly established himself as one of the finest AWPers in the game, but his raw talent alone did not prevent him from being removed from VeryGames in May 2013 as the team looked to close the gap on Ninjas in Pyjamas. For the next six months, he drifted between teams - LDLC.com, WARMAKER, WE GOT GAME and Recursive -, but still managed to reach the playoffs of the first major, DreamHack Winter, and ended in 12th place in our Top 20 ranking of 2013.
VeryGames was kennyS' first team in CS:GO
In January 2014, Recursive released the team due to financial problems, and kennyS found himself in Clan-Mystik, who had won ESWC a few months before. He would not be there for long, however, as Titan came knocking in April, seeking a replacement for Richard "shox" Papillon - the exact same player who had replaced him while still in VeryGames. Titan's results were not particularly impressive in the remainder of 2014, with only one title to the team's name - DreamHack Stockholm Invitational II - but kennyS continued to play at a consistent level and topped the year's charts in many categories, including most kills per round, most AWP kills per round and highest success in entry duels, which earned him the sixth spot in our top 20 ranking of the year.
Titan began the year with a trip to Helsinki for the $25,000 ASUS ROG Winter. It was kennyS's first event of the year and it ended up being his best as he posted an impressive 1.45 rating (+65 K/D differential), finishing as the event's top performer by quite some distance, even though Titan were runners-up to Ninjas in Pyjamas. kennyS managed the feat of scoring positive ratings in each of the seven maps he played, even in his team's 5-16 thrashing by NiP on de_dust2 in the grand final.
kennyS was on fire in Helsinki
When February came rolling over, Titan returned to Scandinavia, this time flying to Stockholm for the Inferno Online Pantamera Challenge. The French team gave a great account of themselves and topped the round-robin stage with four victories from five games - with kennyS posting positive ratings in each of those wins. A 0.40 rating in a 2-16 defeat against Virtus.pro in the last group match fired up the 20-year-old, who delivered an MVP performance in the final against fnatic, putting in 76 frags (1.49 rating) throughout the series, including 50 frags on de_inferno. Once again, Titan had to settle for silver despite a phenomenal campaign by kennyS, who was the highest rated player in the entire tournament at 1.32.
Next up on the calendar was ESL One Katowice, where Titan bowed out in the group stage without glory following defeats against domestic rivals EnVyUs and German side PENTA Sports. kennyS took little comfort in the fact that he led the charts for his team as he still finished the event on a 0.92 rating - his worst event performance of the year.
Later in March, Titan travelled to Kiev to compete at the SLTV StarSeries XII Finals. Defeats against NiP and TSM saw Titan finish just outside the top three, and for kennyS it was a strange experience as he did not lead in rating for the first time since the start of the year, despite finishing in the green on a 1.05 rating (+18), the team's second-highest.
At the ESL Pro League Winter Finals, where Titan finished second, kennyS was also the second best on his team, with a 1.04 rating and a +26 K/D difference. The young AWPer boasted positive ratings in eight out of 14 maps and was particularly impressive against 3DMAX, picking up an average 21.8 frags per map against the Finnish team.
kennyS' spell in Titan was painful at times
At the ESEA Invite Season 18 finals, Titan raised eyebrows during the early stages of the tournament, moving past Luminosity and fnatic without dropping a single map, but they were ultimately eliminated by the Swedish giants in the Consolidation Final. kennyS seemed to be back to his true self as he led the charge for his team with a 1.16 rating (+38).
Titan gave a poor showing at their next event, DreamHack Open Tours, where they were sent packing in the group stage by HellRaisers, a team they had thrashed 16-3 during the first round of the group stage. For kennyS, the match against the CIS team was particularly disappointing as he bottomfragged for Titan (10-22 score), which brought his tournament rating down to 0.94 - still the third-highest on the team.
The next two events - Gfinity Spring Masters 2 and DreamHack Open Summer - brought back-to-back 3rd-4th place finishes for Titan, and it was business as usual for kennyS, who led the team in both tournaments, with a 1.21 rating (+68) in London and a 1.10 rating (+15) in Jönköping. More misery would soon would fall onto Titan, who cut frustrating figures at Gfinity Summer Masters 1 and ESWC. kennyS was the top performer for the Frenchmen in both cases (1.10 rating and +14 in London, 1.02 rating and +1 in Montreal), but as the team continued to underperform as a whole, the threat of roster changes loomed large over the players.
ESWC 2015 was his last event under Titan
Later in July came the swap involving the two French giants, seeing kennyS and Dan "apEX" Madesclaire join EnVyUs, who sent Edouard "SmithZz" Dubourdeaux and shox in the opposite direction. The move brought instant success to the 20-year-old AWPer, who won his first title of the year at IEM Gamescom, but a 1.08 rating - only the team's third-highest - showed that he was still adapting to his new surroundings.
EnVyUs did not rely as heavily on kennyS putting in big numbers to win matches as Titan had, and this became even clearer at ESL One Cologne, where he posted negative ratings on every map in the semifinals and in the grand final. He finished the major with a 0.94 rating (+1), the lowest record on the entire team, who were outplayed by fnatic in the title decider.
The French giants travelled to Dubai riding a wave after their runners-up finish at the major, but the team did not have such a good showing at the ESL ESEA Pro League Invitational, finishing third of their group followings defeats against Virtus.pro and NiP. For kennyS, there were positives to take from the tournament as he was the only player from the team to score a positive rating (1.01, +6).
After a slow start in EnVyUs, he began to put in big numbers
But DreamHack Open London was the first event under EnVyUs where kennyS really showed his true colours. The young AWPer picked up over 20 frags in four of the six matches played and inspired his team to win the top prize of $20,000 with a 1.31 event rating - the highest in the competition.
EnVyUs followed it up by winning the Gfinity Champion of Champions, a tournament which pitted the top four teams from previous Gfinity events against each other. kennyS placed fourth in the team in terms of ranking (1.04) but still delivered an all-important performance in the five-map thriller against fnatic in the final (1.13 rating, +21).
The third major of the year, DreamHack Open Cluj-Napoca, was the next stop for EnVyUs and kennyS. After unconvincing campaigns in Katowice and Cologne, kennyS finally stepped up a gear and proved his worth at a major in 2015. He played a key role in the EnVyUs' title run and was the top performer in both the semifinal match against G2 (1.21 rating, +21) and in the grand final against Na`Vi (1.48 rating, +17), finishing the event with a team-leading rating of 1.23, being surpassed only by Ladislav "GuardiaN" Kovács and Janusz "Snax" Pogorzelski in the charts. He also finished in the top five in other categories, including Total Kills (206), Most Clutches (6), Total AWP kills (101) and Total Opening Kills (31).
After the incredible run in Romania, EnVyUs went through a slump in form that saw them finish rock-bottom at the FACEIT League Stage 3 Finals following defeats against NiP and Luminosity. The team's performance was nothing short of unimpressive, but kennyS still gave a good account of himself and scored a 1.16 rating (+12) in what was a frustrating event for the Frenchmen.
EnVyUs flew to Burbank for the season finals of the ESL ESEA Pro League seeking redemption, and things were looking up for them at first as they beat Liquid and fnatic. Na`Vi then proved to be too hot to handle, so the French team had to settle for a 3rd-4th place finish, with kennyS finishing third best in the team with a 1.03 rating (+14).
Why is he the 6th best player of 2015?
The biggest factor in kennyS's placing is the deep impact he had in his teams throughout 2015. With a tournament rating lower than his teams' average at just four of 19 events - DreamHack Open Tours, IEM Gamescom, ESL One Cologne and Gfinity Champion of Champions -, he was clearly one of the best performers in both Titan and EnVyUs at almost every competition.
The 20-year-old played a leading role at two of the four events he won with EnVyUs - DreamHack Open London and DreamHack Open Cluj-Napoca -, and also single-handedly carried Titan's team at the Inferno Online Pantamera Challenge, where he managed to score 50 frags in one single game during the final.
Of all the players in our Top 20, kennyS boasts the second-highest rating in terms of big matches (Semi-Finals, Upper Finals, Consolidation Finals and Grand Finals), which means that he remains one of the game's most impactful players when it matters most. And despite his poor showing in the ESL One Cologne final, he was the best player in title deciders overall (1.18 rating, eight matches, 21 maps).
He remained the best Terrorist player in the game and had the second-highest number of AWP Kills (1336), the fourth-highest AWP Kills/Round ratio (0.38) and the sixth-highest success rate in entry duels (59%). It is worth noting, however, that he led two of these last three categories in 2014, which shows a small decline over the last 12 months.
kennyS's MVP-like displays in Cluj-Napoca and his impressive contribution in big matches throughout the year play a big role in his position in our top 20 ranking. But his lack of success in Titan, in which he spent most of the year, and his poor form at the first two majors of 2015 hindered him from being higher up on our list.
What do you make of kennyS's performances in 2015? Would you have rated him higher or lower? Let us know your opinion in the comment section below.
Stay tuned to our Top 20 players of 2015 ranking powered by EGB.com and keep track of the list over at the Introduction article.