Top 20 players of 2016: ScreaM (9)
After two years of absence from the HLTV.org's top 20 players list, Adil "ScreaM" Benrlitom makes his return in 2016. ScreaM is ranked 9th overall due to his contributions in G2's best placings of the year, high round-to-round consistency and great fragging overall.
Adil "ScreaM" Benrlitom made his first steps in competitive Counter-Strike back in Source, playing at EPS France in 2010 as a 16-year-old. ScreaM's good play didn't go unnoticed, and as soon as 2011 ScreaM would end up in a team with Richard "shox" Papillon - 3DMAX. Unfortunately, that partnership was only short term - as the Frenchman would end up joining the best team in the country, VeryGames, in May of the same year.
"I would say that [I decided to be a professional player] as soon as I knew that there was a competitive part of CS. I was like 15, I really started playing and having the goal of being the best. My parents are the first that helped me by supporting me so much, today I'm thankful. Other than that, I'm here because of my work and not because of people helping me." - ScreaM about becoming a professional player and what helped him along the way
ScreaM would cross paths with shox again in 2012 when the duo played in Tt Dragons at the end of CS:Source, but the Belgian would find his biggest success yet after switching to CS:GO and joining VeryGames in 2013 - replacing the retired Cédric "RpK" Guipouy.
Playing under the reins of Kévin "Ex6TenZ" Droolans and alongside Nathan "NBK-" Schmitt, Edouard "SmithZz" Dubourdeaux and Kenny "kennyS" Schrub, ScreaM impressed from the get-go, picking up a team-first 1.16 rating in his debut tournament Mad Catz Vienna. The Belgian maintained a high level of play over the course of the year, with the kennyS - shox change in the middle of 2013 not having a notable impact on ScreaM's individual level.
Team-wise, however, ScreaM's best results with VeryGames came after reuniting with shox and the team a playing a less strict style of Counter-Strike than what was the norm from Ex6TenZ's teams. In the latter part of 2013 VeryGames were not only winning titles, but they were also doing it consistently, and over the kings of the early era of CS:GO - NiP.
Along with four titles, a second place finish and a number of top fours, ScreaM was also ranked 7th in the HLTV.org top 20 players of 2013, with his high impact plays outweighing his inconsistencies and the lack of star performances in his team's tournament wins.
In 2014, VeryGames moved to Titan, but after the most notable French team didn't make it past the group of the second major in a row, ESL One Cologne 2014, it was time for a big French shuffle. While Ex6TenZ built a new Titan lineup around kennyS and Dan "apEX" Madesclaire, shox and NBK- created a new LDLC team - with ScreaM left on the sidelines.
A highlight from Kinguin's 16-0 victory over Virtus.pro at FACEIT Stage 2 Finals
There was little of note in ScreaM's second half of 2014 and his stint with Epsilon, as the team was just not strong enough to take on the world's best. Another hit to ScreaM's career came in the start of 2015, as it was discovered that his teammates were involved in match fixing, leading to their bans from Valve-sponsored events - and Epsilon releasing the roster.
Now without a team, ScreaM found himself in a tough situation and turned to streaming for a period of time. His saving grace came in May of 2015 when Kinguin decided to sponsor an international super-team. Even though the roster that featured ScreaM, Mikail "Maikelele" Bill and Ricardo "fox" Pacheco seemed to be built more around the fan following of the players than their in-game potential, the team surpassed expectations, especially after picking up Dennis "dennis" Edman and finishing top8 at ESL One Cologne 2015.
Except the Major run, ScreaM's time with Kinguin (later G2) didn't lead to much in terms of achievements, but his international quest was rewarded in a different way - by another call-up to Titan. After Mathieu "Maniac" Quiquerez left the team at the end of 2015, ScreaM returned to the French scene - teaming up with shox once again.
Neither ScreaM nor his team were particularly impressive at the start of the year. Playing as "ex-Titan", they finished 7-8th at SLi StarSeries XIV in what was one of Scream's worst tournaments of 2016, but the Belgian had a better showing at the next tournament - the Game Show Global eSports Challenge. In Vilnius, where the team had it's debut under the G2 banner, ScreaM was the player of the match in three out of 11 maps they played and also put up 85.0 ADR and 72.4% KAST for a high 1.15 rating.
At the ESL Barcelona invitational G2 finished at a solid third place and ScreaM had a slightly above average rating, but only one out of their three wins came against a notable team - a 16-13 against Astralis - all in all, nothing to write home about. G2 then qualified for the first Major of the year with two narrow wins over FlipSid3 and Tempo Storm and were looking like one of the teams with an outside chance to go far coming into MLG Columbus.
However, group D featuring Natus Vincere, Virtus.pro and Cloud9 proved to be too tough for them, as they were unable to get a win over the Polish team in neither the opener nor the deciding match. Despite the 9-13th finish, ScreaM's rating was just slightly below average and he was the player of the match on Inferno versus Virtus.pro - the only map they won against the Poles.
Day 1 of MLG Columbus - ScreaM warming up alone
With "" being the only component present in all of Titan-G2's failures at the Majors, shox and co. decided to remove the most storied French in-game leader from the team, replacing him with a promising youngster - Alexandre "bodyy" Pianaro.
G2's debut with bodyy and under shox's leadership was anything but impressive. The team was swiftly eliminated from DreamHack Malmö by a 16-2 thrashing from CLG and a 16-8 loss from GODSENT, but ScreaM wasn't concerned:
"Well, first of all, we didn’t have any practice before Malmö with bodyy, so we didn’t care about that result back then. Then we started our practice and everything felt smooth, everyone felt good, I personally felt amazing. Felt good to play free - do whatever you want, call whatever you want and know your mates will trust the call. And of course I have been working my ass this year, I wanted and still want to be the best."
The long term plan seemed to work out great for ScreaM, as the change of leadership and game style resulted in a high level of play from that point onwards. The Belgian's great showings started at ESL Pro League Season 3 Finals in London, where he was an EVP in his team's second-place finish thanks to consistent contributions through the tournament. However, he was only the second-best player on his team at the tournament, trailing slightly behind shox, but still being a lot more impactful than the other three players on the team.
The group stage of ELEAGUE Season 1 followed, but after picking up two wins over NiP in the round-robin stage of the competition and dealing with OpTic and Selfless easily, G2 weren't able to defeat the Swedes again in the match that decided the winner of the group - dropping to the Last Chance Qualifier bracket.
With another above average rated showing behind him, ScreaM and co. went back to London for the ECS Season 1 finals. At the premier tournament which featured quite a few strong teams, the G2 and ScreaM were able to hit peak form. After dealing with NiP easily and getting revenge on Liquid in the deciding BO3, G2 advanced to the playoffs where they defeated both fnatic and Luminosity - without dropping a map - to secure their first and only title of the year.
This time around, it was ScreaM who was by far G2's best player - his contribution was seen through an extremely high 1.34 rating (15% above his team's average), a 1.45 impact rating and 75.8% KAST - all three statistics were the highest of his year.
The Belgian put in an MVP worthy performance at ECS Season 1 finals
"I always liked Ex6TenZ as a player and person, but it didn’t work, we were struggling to make results. When we added bodyy everything changed, suddenly we started winning, our whole game style changed so much, it is more adapted to the players we have. So yes I was obviously happy about that change. I love my team today, we have amazing people. We just need to work harder to be unstoppable."
After the victory at ECS Season 1, G2 departed for ESL One Cologne, where they were dealt a hard hand in the form of a group consisting of SK, fnatic and FaZe. Both their recent form and ScreaM's best efforts against fnatic were to no avail, as the French-Belgian squad went 0-2, failing to get out of the groups of a Major once again.
"[The most important event for me] was Cologne, we just won ECS and I felt like we could finally do something at a Major... But we got the worst group, so nothing happened."
"The group of death was tough, two close games and we’re out. So sad, but I'm happy Swiss format is in for the next Majors. Our time with the Majors will come!"
After the summer break, G2 attended SLi StarSeries Season 2 Finals and were seemingly back to their pre-Major winning ways. After dispatching of MVP Project easily and ScreaM putting up a masterclass against FaZe, G2 moved on to the playoffs where they eliminated EnVyUs and dignitas to reach the finals against NiP.
ScreaM was the best player in his team in the grand final of StarSeries S2, especially on the second map where he picked up 35 kills, but that wasn't enough for his team to take down the Swedes - G2 had to settle with another second place finish in 2016. Even though ScreaM was the PotM in the two aforementioned games and was above average rated in all 8 maps they played at StarSeries, he was still only the second best-rated player of his team at the event - behind shox.
Scream got his second EVP of the year at StarSeries Season 2
The troubles of G2 started at ESL One New York, where the team finished last in the Swiss group stage, with three straight losses - to Astralis, Liquid and OpTic. The three maps weren't that bad for ScreaM though, who ended the tournament with an about average 0.99 rating, but the fact that he was the best-rated player of G2 and 23% above his team average shows the drop-off his teammates had in New York.
At EPICENTER: Moscow, G2 squeezed through the group stage with a 3-3 score, but couldn't make it past SK in the round-of-six despite ScreaM's above average performance in the series and the tournament overall - he was once again the second best player of his team with a 1.06 rating and two PotM awards.
After attending the stacked EPICENTER, the French-Belgian team traveled to Montreal for the second Northern Arena event of the year. With no other elite team in attendance, G2 were favorites to take the title - especially after overcoming their rivals Envy in the semi-finals. ScreaM had a decent, consistent showing over the course of the tournament, but his drop off in the grand final combined with an in-form Oscar "mixwell" Cañellas on the opposing team led to G2 losing the series against OpTic 2-0.
G2's struggles started at ESL One New York and continued in Moscow and Oakland
The last big tournament G2 played in 2016 was IEM Oakland. ScreaM was underwhelming in the first two games - against Astralis and Immortals, but stepped it up in the following group stage matches, with the win over Liquid on Nuke standing out. In an overtime game, ScreaM picked up 34 kills while his partner in crime shox contributed with 36 to clinch the playoffs for their team.
"I think people [called me and shox the deadly duo] because we were both playing really good this year, I feel like we both have the same vision of how to play the game, and we feel pretty good being free. I don’t remember any specific round, but I know I could always count on him in important matches."
Moving on to the playoffs, G2 encountered SK in the round-of-six once again. With the series tied 1-1 and moving on to Dust2 as the decider, it seemed like shox's troops have a good chance of taking down the Brazilians. Despite Dust2 being somewhat of a home map of G2, they were absolutely destroyed by SK in the decider, picking up only three rounds.
"Well, we kinda lost ourselves about how we play [Dust2], I think it's a lack of work. A lack of thinking about the problem, if we had thought about it, we would have found the solution for sure. It's a map we all love, so we will be the best at it again."
ScreaM was the best player of his team at IEM Oakland, with a slightly above average rating, high KAST% and two PotM awards, finishing the year with a string of solid tournament showings since the addition of bodyy. To wrap up the year from his perspective, we asked ScreaM what his favorite moment of the year was:
"Obviously travelling is amazing but my favorite moment stays ECS, I was so proud of my team and myself. Overall I'm proud of my team and what we have done this year."
Looking forward at 2017, where is the bar set for the 22-year old?
"My goal is to be a top5 player in the world next year. Winning a Major would be amazing, though."
ScreaM and shox forged a formidable partnership over the course of 2016
Why is he the 9th best player of 2016?
ScreaM is ranked 9th in our top20 players of 2016 list because of his great performances in G2's best tournaments of the year - MVP at ECS S1, which they won, and EVP at both ESL Pro League Season 3 and SLi StarSeries Season 2, where they ended second.
He had great fragging overall with 0.77 KPR (ranking 8th out of all players), 82.8 ADR (10th) and a multi-kill in a high percentage of his rounds - 19.8% (8th). Adding to that, he was quite consistent in 2016, especially after the addition of bodyy, on both a tournament-to-tournament and a round-to-round basis - which can be seen in his 71.9% KAST statistic.
These two things show his improvement from 2013 - when inconsistency and the lack of contributions in his team's tournament wins were the two things that stopped ScreaM from being placed higher in the VeryGames days.
As expected, ScreaM was the best aimer of 2016 with 0.50 headshots per round and 65% of his kills being headshots, leading by far in both categories - even though with lower numbers than in previous years.
"Well I'm still going for [headshots], but less than before. I think the game has changed a lot, so I have to adapt my game."
"I also wouldn't play as good this year as I had if I didn't have good gamesense. People still think about me like 2 years ago."
What ScreaM lacked in 2016 was more standout tournaments, he was fairly average in all the tournaments this year except the three he received a personal award for. Also, his kills had a below average impact compared to the rest of the top 20 - G2 won just 63.4% of rounds where he got a kill, meaning a large portion of his kills were inconsequential.
Another drawback to ScreaM's year were his showings at the Majors (0.99 rating), but he balanced that out with a good rating in both big events (1.11) and big matches (1.13), resulting in a fairly high 9th spot in our top 20 players of 2016 list.
We asked ScreaM to pick out a young player, someone who hasn't done anything notable yet, but that he thinks could somehow become a star and find himself on the top 20 list of 2017. Adil was bold with his prediction and went for the Belgian AWPer Selman "BEASTy" Ersahin, who played with Sector One at ESWC 2016.