Number 13 in our top 20 players of 2016 is another returnee to the list - Kenny "kennyS" Schrub. The French AWPer was clearly EnVyUs' best player this year, standing out with his AWPing, high impact and overall rating.
Kenny "kennyS" Schrub features in HLTV's top 20 players of the year for the fourth time in a row, showing his consistency since the launch of CS:GO. The Frenchman put up impressive numbers for VeryGames in the start of Global Offensive, but was replaced by Richard "shox" Papillon in May of 2013 as the team looked for something new that could help them take over from Ninjas in Pyjamas.
Following the removal from the VeryGames, the then 18-year old kennyS entered a period of uncertainty as he moved from team to team searching for a stable home. For a while it was Recursive with whom he managed a top 8 finish at DreamHack Winter 2013, and then it was Clan-Mystik in early 2014. Over the whole period, kennyS stood out as the best player in his teams, carrying them on a regular basis.
That didn't go by unnoticed, and the call to join the French elite once again came in April of 2014 when Titan looked were looking a replacement for shox. kennyS finished 2014 as the #6 player in our rankings, playing at a higher level than in his previous stint with Kévin "Ex6TenZ" Droolans's team.
2015 was a year of ups and downs for the young AWPer. Early in the year, his individual level was incredibly high, but Titan - consisting of Ex6TenZ, Cédric "RpK" Guipouy, Mathieu "Maniac" Quiquerez and Dan "apEX" Madesclaire - lacked the skill to break into the elite tier and win tournaments. After a couple of second place finishes and successful upsets, kennyS made the switch to EnVyUs together with apEX, creating the core that is still active today.
Initially, kennyS' form dipped as he underwhelmed at IEM Gamescom and ESL One Cologne, but the sniper was able to pick it up towards the latter part of the year, helping his new team lift the Major trophy in Cluj-Napoca with an MVP-worthy performance.
EnVyUs won two titles in the build-up to the Major as well: DreamHack Open London and Gfinity Champion of Champions, but the downfall of the French team was imminent. After the Major and before the start of 2016 EnVyUs attended two more tournaments: FACEIT League Stage 3 finals where they ended tied last and ESL ESEA Pro League Season 2 finals where they lost to Natus Vincere in the semi-final.
"At the end of 2015 we were indeed Major champions and we also had a pretty good result at the ESL ESEA Pro League Season 2 finals with a top4 and a loss against NaVi. I think that, despite the fact that the result was decent, we slowly started destroying each other there. Also it was the first time we were losing to NaVi, so yeah I think it was the start of our slump."
Coming into 2016 poorly, EnVyUs attended SLi StarSeries XIV, where they started off with a dominant showing in the group stage - beating both fnatic and team questionmark 2-0. Having come first in group B, the French team moved on to the semi-final, where they met - and lost to - Natus Vincere. The tournament wasn't an impressive showing for kennyS, but he did make a decent contribution overall and had an outstanding map against "" on Train, where he finished 23-8.
In February, Vincent "Happy" Schopenhauer and co. attended Global eSports Cup finals in Vilnius, Lithuania, a tournament that boasted a $200,000 prizepool, but lacked the level of competition you would expect given the size of the prizepool.
kennyS stepped up massively at this event - in terms of consistency, impact and peaks, the 21-year-old was by far ' best player in their run to the title. Out of sixteen maps, he was below average in only the two maps they lost to dignitas in the group stage, but made up for it in the grand final rematch against the Danes where he finished the best-of-five series with a +30 K-D and 92.9 ADR.
"It is always good to win a tournament, no matter the opponents, for this tournament in particular - except Astralis there were no teams that were in the top5. So yes, it was a “small” tournament but winning is always good and it made us gain confidence as a team, and the MVP title also gave confidence to me. The memory I have is happiness, we didn’t win a single tournament since November at this time and we are always happy to win."
With the an MVP award to his name, kennyS was on his way to Barcelona for the ESL CS:GO Invitational. Broken tag didn't impress at the exhibitional, three life-format tournament, as they finished fifth with a 2-3 score. However, their AWPer put up decent numbers throughout the tournament, with only one below average performance, in their last map loss to fnatic.
Due to the format of the tournament, not much stock was put into the results at Barcelona, but a real shock came in March at IEM Katowice 2016. The tournament featured two fairly stacked six-team groups, with EnVyUs in group B with Virtus.pro, Astralis, Tempo Storm, FaZe Clan and E-frag.net. As one of the heavy favorites to make it to the playoffs, EnVyUs' 1-4 record with only a win against FaZe was a massive disappointment for the French team - and led to the removal of kioShiMa and the addition of up and coming French player Timothée "DEVIL" Démolon.
"Kio felt uncomfortable in the team at the end, so basically he stopped making efforts and it seems like he was expecting to be kicked and he was waiting for it. Obviously the atmosphere in the team wasn’t the same as a couple of months before that, we were losing all the time and mostly in group stages. But as we know the history we also know that [the lineup change] didn’t fix a lot."
IEM Katowice was also one of kennyS' worst tournaments - with a 0.92 rating, 68.1 ADR and 0.90 Impact he was only EnVyUs' fourth best contributor. He stepped up his game at Counter Pit, but the tournament at which DEVIL had his debut for the team didn't go very well - they were eliminated in the quarterfinals by NRG who were using a stand-in.
The first Major of the year, MLG Columbus, came shortly after their debacle in Croatia - and it was obviously too soon for the Frenchmen. Even though they were placed in one of the easier groups on paper, EnVyUs were eliminated from the tournament in last place due to losses to Gambit and CLG - a low point for the team and kennyS personally. Schrub ended the tournament with the lowest rating of the year - 0.69, and was by far the worst performer on his own team.
"At the MLG Major I probably played my worst tournament of the season, I was really disappointed and felt really guilty. We had hopes and at the end of the game against Gambit, I remember feeling really useless and deeply sad. I saw my team’ faces, they were so sad, Dan (apEX) was crying. I think it was the toughest moment of my season, but it could have been worse, I know they were a lil bit angry with me but Dan hugged me and it helped me a lot. We just tried to keep our team spirit."
With two last place tournament finishes since they picked up DEVIL it seemed that the roster change didn't have the desired effect.
"DEVIL was definitely not a good pick, not in a way that he was a bad player but just in the way that he wasn’t playing his own role, the one he used to play in his former teams. So yeah, the integration was harder than expected."
"I think Maniac was just not ready to be a coach, so he didn’t do the job at 100% and we were a bit disappointed. I think coaching is a good thing, I was pretty sad about the rule even though it didn’t affect my team, it gave a lot of opportunities to teams like NaVi, NiP, Virtus.pro...Those three examples show how a coach can be a benefit for a team."
"I think for us, we need someone that we respect first of all, someone with a lot of experience and someone involved at 100%."
Things finally improved at DreamHack Masters Malmö, where kennyS was back to being his team's top contributor. He started with a solid showing in the group stage before blowing dignitas out of the park in the quarterfinals - +31 kills and 113.7 ADR in the series that ended in two maps.
"I felt really on fire against dignitas at Malmö, it was special for me because I really love going to Sweden, I really feel loved there and giving them an impressive show makes me happy."
KennyS was back in form at DreamHack Masters Malmö
EnVyUs' Malmö tournament run ended in the semi-final, as they once again met Natus Vincere and were not even close to getting a win over the CIS side - with their own map pick, Inferno, being a complete blowout (16-2).
The team was successful at the Major qualifier in June, and brought that good form into the ELEAGUE group stage matches where they beat Virtus.pro for a spot in the playoffs - right before the ESL One Cologne 2016 Major. kennyS had a great showing at the tournament, with the deciding match against standing out - the sniper managed 21 AWP kills just on Train alone and ended the series with a +22 K-D difference.
"In my opinion, my best event was ELEAGUE, once again I probably did one of my best best-of-threes of the season against Virtus.pro, and it was really special because it was the first time that I was playing on TV. It was a really positive pressure."
kennyS' performance at the second Major was in stark contrast to his performance in Columbus - but that didn't help EnVyUs achieve a better result. The French team was eliminated after only two maps once again, even though this time their losses came against stronger opposition in the form of Liquid and mousesports. With a 1.06 rating at the event, kennyS was the only above average rated EnVyUs player at the event - standing out with high Impact and KPR as well.
After the summer break, the Frenchman picked up where he left, putting up another impressive show at SLi StarSeries Season 2. The French team had a shaky start to the tournament, as they recorded a loss to Cloud9 in the opener, but they bounced back thanks to wins over Virtus.pro and VG.CyberZen, making it to the playoffs. In the quarterfinals EnVyUs met their rivals G2 and played a series that came down to a showdown between the best players of each team - kennyS and shox. Despite an exceptional showing, kennyS's team was on the losing side of the tight affair - exiting the tournament with a 5-8th place finish.
"Playing our biggest French rival is a great motivation. I felt really on fire and confident during the game, seemed like everything I was doing would work, kinda like 2014 and 2015. I remember that shox destroyed us on the drop zone, which was really frustrating. Even though we had a stand-in (SIXER instead of NBK) I felt like we had everything to win this game, we were leading on Dust2 and lost it because of really stupid mistakes. And Cobblestone, once we started coming back and felt like we can win we just had a really huge weakness on drop zone and shox used it perfectly."
Despite the overall underwhelming final placing at the event, SLi StarSeries S2 was kennyS's fourth event in a row in which he was EnVyUs's best player, with above average numbers in all relevant categories - ADR, KPR, DPR, Impact and KAST%.
Just a week later EnVyUs were back in action with their full lineup, playing at DreamHack Open Bucharest. The tournament started with a marathon map against Heroic - the Danes managed to edge out the win after 65 rounds to make it 34-31. The first map was not the best for kennyS, but he rose to the occasion in the series against Gambit and the rematch against Heroic to get out of groups.
In the semi-final EnVyUs met Cloud9 who were slowly building steam with Timothy "autimatic" Ta. The series went all three maps, with the French only winning the map kennyS shined on, Mirage, and losing the other two - showing EnVyUs' reliance on their AWPer.
Overall, Schrub had another good event, finishing with the second highest rating within his team and moved on to the ESL Pro League Season 4 Finals with a string of good events behind him.
The event in Brazil ended bitterly for kennyS - after he was crucial in his team's massive wins over Immortals (16-5), Liquid (16-4) and OpTic (16-5), a loss to mousesports cost them the first place finish, meaning they would need to play against NiP in the round-of-six. Despite his best efforts - he was the best player of his team in that series and the tournament overall - EnVyUs was unable to overcome the Swedes.
"If I have to [name one regret] it would be ESL Pro League Season 4 Finals in São Paulo. We started really well and we failed the most important game in the group stage, which could have gave us a semi-final. Losing to mousesports made us play NiP in quarterfinals which was probably one of the worst team we could have played against. So I would say it was a mix of choke and a little bit of bad luck."
kennyS had another good event at Northern Arena Montreal, making it eight tournaments in a row in which he recorded an above average rating. The group stage was straightforward for the French team - wins over OpTic and CLG put them in the semi-final, where they were forced to play G2. After narrowly losing Overpass, shox's side managed a dominant win on EnVyUs' pick Nuke - getting the upper hand in the French rivalry once again.
"As I said, we should have won at Kiev for the StarSeries Season 2, but then we played them at Montreal for Northern Arena and they destroyed us. I think they started having a psychological advantage on us and had more confidence playing us than we had playing them. That is what happened at the Major qualifier as well."
kennyS wasn't able to recreate his form from ELEAGUE Season 1 in the second season of the televised league, and his team's results suffered accordingly. dignitas and OpTic, two teams who EnVyUs dominated earlier in the year, were able to turn the tables on the 'boys in blue' and put an end to their ELEAGUE run early. This event was one of three bad events kennyS had this year, with MLG Columbus and IEM Katowice being on the list as well - all three events ended disastrously for EnVyUs, showing the team's dependence on their star AWPer.
To finish off the year, EnVyUs attended ECS Season 2 Finals in Anaheim, California. kennyS was a key player in his team's comeback against Immortals on Cache, while the whole team contributed in their winner's match thrashing of dignitas. With the semi-final in the bag, EnVyUs moved on to play OpTic once again, and once again failed to make it through. The French were outplayed as a unit on Overpass where they lost 16-3. On their map, Nuke, kennyS was once again topping the scoreboard, but his team was edged out 16-12 in the end, finishing the year with another 3-4th finish.
With a lot of underwhelming finishes, we asked kennyS if he had any regrets or things he wished he would've done differently this year:
"Of course [I have regrets], but I learned a lot during this year, so I’m not sad about it."
"But yes to be honest 2016 was terrible, we didn’t win anything significant, we lost many times in group stages, we’re all disappointed about it! What I can say about myself is it’s just about being more rigorous."
So, as a player who promised to become one of the world's very best, what does kennyS think he needs to improve on, either in the game or outside of it?
"It’s really easy, my biggest flaw is definitely my lack of rigor, I think I’m getting better and even more complete after each year. But I’m still lacking of rigor, I used to be really comfortable and no matter who I was playing I had the same confidence. At this time I worked on this confidence, I played without doing anything else for a couple of months, I played so much that I started being really comfortable and I gained an incredible confidence. That is what I need now to be better and consistent. I know my flaws, and I know how to fix them, now everything is just about rigor."
Throughout the year, kennyS faced a lot of top AWPers - we asked him if there is a particular matchup he remembers, anyone that was difficult to deal with:
"To be honest I have absolutely nothing to say about it, there is no particular match up that I can talk about. Even though I can be in a slump I’m not scared of anyone, I have a huge problem with confidence sometimes but I know that I’m better than anyone (It sounds really arrogant but I mostly mean that I know I’m faster). I know my opponents, GuardiaN, FalleN, JW etc… All of them are so good that they’re here for a while now and I had the chances to play them many times, so we basically know each other really well."
"On my side it’s harder to play against AWPers I don’t really know or AWPers I didn’t play much against, such as draken, oskar etc.."
KennyS closed out the year with a highlight play at the ELEAGUE Major Qualifier
Even though the tournament itself didn't end so well for his team, kennyS pointed out his trip to Split, Croatia as one of his favorite moments of the year:
"I really loved going to Croatia, I’ve never been there before and it is absolutely gorgeous! In terms of events, ESL Pro League Sao Paolo was really fun (we didn’t have the chance to play a lot on stage during this season, so it was great all the time!). And of course it was really cool to win the Game Show GEC and the Gfinity CS:GO Invitational, they are not big events but winning is winning, even if it was not the same feeling as winning the Major."
Why is he the 13th best player of 2016?
kennyS has clearly been EnVyUs' best player over the course of the year - he won the MVP award in their only notable tournament win and was the best-rated player at numerous other events including DreamHack Masters Malmö, ESL Pro League Season 4 Finals and StarSeries Season 2.
His 1.10 LAN rating places him at the 9th position overall, which combined with his individual impact allowed for him to be ranked so high in the top 20 despite the lack of personal awards - he had no EVPs or MVPs at big events.
The Frenchman's impact came mainly from AWPing with 0.39 AWP kills per round (6th overall) and 4.9 AWP kill to death ratio (4th), but is also seen through opening up rounds with 61.1% opening duels won (2nd), and his ability to get multiple frags - he had a multi-kill in 19.4% of the rounds he played (10th). His stats wouldn't be as high if he wasn't able to have the AWP as often as he did - that's why his 38% of rounds survived statistic is (7th) is important as well.
kennyS played only 15 maps in big matches, but he recorded a great rating in them - 1.15 - and had a few memorable games such as the quarter-final against dignitas at StarSeries XIV at the beginning of the year and the match against G2 at SLi StarSeries Season 2 in September.
What stopped him from being ranked higher is the lack of personal awards - his single one came from one of the smaller tournaments of the year - and the fact that 40% of his maps were played at medium sized events that inflated his overall rating a bit. Another negative factor is his play at the Majors - as a result of his horrible MLG Columbus showing kennyS is the worst rated Major player out of the Top 20 of 2016.
"I’m not gonna be really original but I would say bodyy. He really impressed me after joining G2, despite being a young player I felt like he was really solid and didn’t make lots of mistakes - the kind of player who would make you think he’s actually a veteran. Despite the fact he doesn’t have a “star role” I feel like he can be in the top 20 next year, he is really similar to NBK (which is a really good compliment)."