Top 20 players of 2017: kennyS (7)
Kenny "kennyS" Schrub earns a place on our top 20 ranking powered by EGB.com for the fifth year in the row, with the AWPer's fragging ability combined with his efficiency and consistency making him the seventh-best player of 2017.
|Top 20 players of 2017: Introduction|
Kenny "kennyS" Schrub took to CS at a very young age and his talent didn't go unnoticed, leading to him being trialed by the best French team VeryGames when he was just 16. That trial took place in CS: Source in 2011, but it didn't last long as the team decided for a more experienced player in the end. kennyS would have to ply his trade a bit more before joining the squad again, in full capacity this time, in April 2012. His addition happened shortly before VeryGames made the jump from CS:S, where they dominated the scene, to CS:GO.
Even though kennyS was putting up good numbers in the first tournaments he played in Global Offensive, VeryGames were unable to take down NIP and get a tournament win, which left them frustrated. After a quarter of 2013 had passed, Kévin "Ex6TenZ" Droolans and co. decided that kennyS wasn't giving the team what they needed and cut him from the squad, replacing him with another French star—Richard "shox" Papillon.
After the change, VeryGames managed to step up and actually took the #1 spot in the world for a short period of time, while kennyS was left wandering the wilderness of the French sub-top. During 2013, the AWPer represented LDLC, Recursive, WE GOT GAME and Clan-Mystik. Despite going through a turbulent period, he performed impressively, earning another chance with Ex6TenZ in April of 2014, when shox left Titan.
"I played with almost every player in the French scene, I think I felt [both the positive and the negative impact of changing a lot of teams]. I obviously learned a lot from all of them and I would say that even when I was at the lowest point of my career, all of that was positive, especially for me as a player. Between LDLC and Titan I struggled a lot and basically played for tier 2 teams, but it helped me fix a lot of my flaws, mostly the ones that got me kicked from VeryGames. It made me grow as a player, that's mainly why I had the opportunity to bounce back with Titan."
"The only time I really suffered and where I had to adapt to a different game style was with EnVyUS under Happy's lead, where I had to learn to play more passively and left my "star role", but once again, I don't take that as a negative experience."
"Overall despite the lack of results on some teams, I don't take all of those experiences as negatives but only as experiences that made me move forward."
Rejoining the best French squad allowed kennyS to elevate his performance, and he finished the year without a negatively-rated event. That earned him the 6th spot in our Top 20 rankings for 2014, with the Major the team missed due to Hovik "KQLY" Tovmassian's VAC ban the only low point of the year.
With KQLY no longer being part of the team, Titan's 2015 roster lacked firepower, something that kennyS almost made up for by himself, raising his already high level another notch. The Frenchman was putting up ridiculous numbers early in the year (1.45 rating at ASUS ROG Winter 2015 and 1.32 at the Inferno Online Pantamera Challenge), but his performances took a hit when Valve released a patch that nerfed the AWP's movement speed, hindering the playstyle made famous by aggressive snipers such as himself and Jesper "JW" Wecksell.
"I think I adapted [to the AWP nerf] a little bit faster than people would have thought, even if it was quite depressing at the beginning. I never gave up and always tried to adapt my game style to make it as versatile as possible and honestly, I didn't have a choice—how I was playing didn't really fit the meta after the nerf. I think a nerf was definitely needed but I still think it was a bit too much and they could make the movement a little less slow."
kennyS slowly recovered from that and was the MVP at the first Major win of his career, at DreamHack Cluj-Napoca, lifting the trophy alongside Vincent "Happy" Schopenhauer and Nathan "NBK-" Schmitt after the switch to Envy. That whole team, kennyS included, started trending downwards following the Major, at the end 2015, but he still managed to retain the sixth stop in the Top 20 from the previous year.
The Frenchman finished 2016 in the Top 20 as well, placing 13th, but didn't have a lot more to be happy about that year, as Envy only won two small tournaments and exited both of the Majors in the group stage. However, the squad did at least end the year successfully, qualifying for the ELEAGUE Atlanta Major, which was to be held in January of 2017.
Coming into 2017, the two top French teams were already set on shuffling their rosters, making the WESG 2016 World Finals and the ELEAGUE Major farewell tournaments for kennyS. Envy were one of the favorites for the first event, which took place in China, as the competition wasn't too tough due to the nationality rule and the Major that was happening just a few days later.
The Frenchmen eased through the group stage but didn't have an easy time in the playoffs. Their quarter-final match against TYLOO was decided by a 16-14 victory on the third map, and the 2-1 over Space Soldiers came from the Frenchmen's 22-19 and 16-14 map victories, both of which could have easily gone the way of the Turks. kennyS shined in those close playoffs games, which earned the AWPer his first MVP of the year despite being only the third best player of the team at the event overall.
The Major was the event that followed, and Envy began it by winning an overtime thriller against Liquid, but, after some back-and-forth results, their tournament life depended on beating FaZe. kennyS put up a great display on Nuke (28-15 K-D, 1.43 rating), but he was still outshined by the opposing AWPer, Aleksi "allu" Jalli (30-15 K-D, 1.63 rating). Envy ended up finishing the tournament in 9-11th place, but kennyS still had positives to take, a 1.22 rating with only one below-average rated map.
The third French shuffle resulted in the current G2 roster, which united shox and kennyS under the same banner for the first time. The team took quite a while to debut on LAN as they failed to qualify for IEM Katowice, but it finally happened in April, at the SL i-League StarSeries Season 3 Finals.
"The French scene has always been known for being unstable, and changing all the time never did anything good in the long run. The most frustrating part was to perform well at the very beginning (4-6 months) and then after that - nothing. That inconsistency killed every French team so far and that's one of our main goals with that current roster, to stay together as long as possible and to face the issues so we can get over them."
"I think we all pushed for stability, I mostly pushed to have experienced staff behind us, these people have an external point of view and some of them,such as NiaK are really good at communicating and fixing humans problems. I've always been really close to him and always listened to him in the past so it was important for me to have him in the team. On the other hand, we also have SmithZz who is deeply respected as a player and enkay who is delivering great analysis"
At the tournament in Kiev, the Frenchmen blasted through the group stage, dropping just 16 rounds over three maps, only to be outclassed by FaZe in the first game of the playoffs. Even though he finished with an admirable 1.14 rating, kennyS didn't stand out too much at this event, as he was only the third best player of his side, and his playoff performances were much worse than his group stage showings.
StarSeries Season 3 was also the tournament where G2 would show their affinity for the double-AWP setup, which the French side explored more than any other team in the first half of the year.
"We were struggling a little bit with finding the right game style at the beginning of the team. We noticed pretty quickly that the double-AWP setup was really powerful and was working out really well. I think we used it a little bit too much or too long and we ended up getting pretty easy to predict for our opponents."
In April, G2 started picking up their form online as well, and headed to DreamHack Open Austin at the end of the month. With no other elite team present, the tournament was theirs to lose, but they would end up losing it to a Mihail "Dosia" Stolyarov-powered Gambit who were just hitting their stride. kennyS' heroics were noted, though, with his 1.23 tournament rating, 18% above the average of his team, yielding him an EVP award.
"I think that StarSeries was really encouraging, especially during the group stages where we went undefeated. The quarter-final was a little bit disappointing but overall it was a good tournament to start the team, we weren't really expecting to win."
"Austin was a little bit more frustrating, we threw the game away against Gambit and felt like we beat ourselves. Overall it was a shaky tournament and at the end of it we were definitely not satisfied."
G2 had an abysmal start to the campaign on home soil, losing to Nicolai "HUNDEN" Petersen's Tricked at DreamHack Open Tours, with the Danish in-game leader outfragging everyone in the server. G2 recovered, though, grabbing a spot in the playoffs, with kennyS hitting peak form in the most important matches of the tournament. The AWPer was the best player against MOUZ in the semi-final, as well as in the grand final against HellRaisers, earning his second MVP award of the year.
"We don't get a chance to play on our home soil often so we were really excited about DreamHack Tours and it was also a really important tournament to win, even though it wasn't the biggest tournament of the year. It was definitely one of our best souvenirs of the season, we enjoyed sharing that moments with our French fans… So yeah I let myself go and crowd surfed because I wanted to enjoy this moment as much as possible! Very good memory!"
After starting the online portion of ESL Pro League Season 5 very poorly, G2 managed to turn it around and actually finish second in the table, earning a spot at the LAN finals in June. kennyS struggled in the group stage matches his side lost, against Immortals (0.84 rating) and Cloud9 (0.64 rating), but once again stepped it up in the deciding match (1.71 rating against fnatic), and in the playoffs, especially in the grand final, which his side won against North. That earned him the title of the MVP of the event, but, unlike DreamHack Tours and WESG 2016, this tournament was one that fit in the 'Big event' category.
"I think the beginning of the season was such a struggle mostly because we needed time to find how we wanted to play, we couldn't find a proper game style before a while and once we found stability in our gamestyle and the automatism we needed, we managed to make that online comeback."
"I think during the tournament we were overall in a good mindset, lifting that trophy was a mix of luck and of the mindset being on point. The way we made the comeback online gave us a lot of confidence and motivation to perform at the Finals."
At this point, everything was looking good for kennyS, he was playing very well individually, his team had finally started performing online and they had started placing well at offline events, too. A tough period for G2 would follow, though, as the French team packed their bags for a busy schedule that lasted from the end of June until the player break in August.
It all started with the ECS Season 3 Finals, where G2 went out in the groups following convincing losses to FaZe and SK, with a two-map stomp over OpTic in between the only bright spot from the London event. Going through the Major Qualifier with three straight wins brought some confidence back to the team, who looked in form in the group stage at ESL One Cologne, as did kennyS himself. The good streak wouldn't last long, though, as the Frenchmen would exit the tournament following a two-map defeat to Natus Vincere on Overpass and Nuke. A loss on the latter map was especially disappointing, as kennyS once again showed his prowess on it, but his 1.45 rating wasn't enough for the team to take the series to a third map.
"My biggest regret of the year is the PSG game against Barcelona (1-6)... just kidding! I think losing to Na`Vi in Cologne is a big regret because I felt we mostly lost to ourselves and could have reached the semi-final. We had the game and threw it away, it was a really painful loss."
PGL Krakow Major came at the tail end of that period, with G2 kicking things off with a revenge win over Natus Vincere. However, with their main star clearly out of shape, they couldn't make it past the group stage. kennyS recorded his worst individual showing of the year at this event, with no outstanding performances and a personal best kill-death differential in a game no higher than just +2.
"I had a lot on my mind during that period and I'm also pretty sure that I followed the atmosphere of the team, it was tough and we were going through a slump. We also travelled 3-4 weeks in a row during this period and we lacked hours in CS. On the other hand, I think that we didn't make the efforts needed and we were not focusing on the right things. We learned a lot from that time."
G2 got some well-deserved rest during the break and came back at DreamHack Masters Malmö, where they performed admirably. Their run at the event wasn't a dominant one, though, but it was one in which G2 rose in form as the tournament went on. kennyS spearheaded the way as his side took down Envy and Immortals in the group stage, edged out SK in the quarters, defeated NIP in the semis and finally blew away North in the grand final.
Many were in awe of Dan "apEX" Madesclaire's performances in the tournament, but kennyS stole the show as he topped the charts in terms of Rating (1.22), KPR (0.81), DPR (0.60) and Impact (1.30), earning his fourth MVP award of the year, his second one from big events. An interesting detail to note is that kennyS' highest AWP kill per round ratio in a tournament (0.54) came precisely in Malmö, where G2 famously went for a more conservative economic approach and still claimed the title, despite winning just a couple of pistol rounds.
"It was definitely the biggest accomplishment of the year. We were pretty much playing at our full potential as a team and everything was much easier for me but also for the team. I don't really remember every moment of the tournament but as I said above, I performed well mostly because the team performed well."
Neither the style of play nor the results repeated at the next event G2 attended. At ELEAGUE Premier, the team once again made the playoffs, and kennyS was crucial in that, outshining Aleksandr "s1mple" Kostyliev in the group stage decider against Natus Vincere. The playoff run soon came to an end, though, as Cloud9 took a surprising 2-0 victory over the Frenchmen in the quarter-finals.
"We've been searching for our own game style during the entire year. After the PGL Krakow Major, we changed a lot of things and it went pretty well after the summer break. But we failed to qualify for the online leagues and failed in Oakland and at BLAST. Overall, we've been quite inconsistent the whole season and it's probably our biggest flaw. We have been thinking a lot about this to bring out a clear direction for 2018, I hope this work will pay off."
At the end of the year, G2's tendency to force-buy too much came back to haunt them in some matches, with the team's AWPer being the one that would suffer the most in low-money situations.
"I'm honestly trying to adapt, I'm buying just what I need if we want to execute a tactic, otherwise I just don't buy anything, even though the call is to force buy. I'm actually free to buy whatever I want, so I'll save enough to get an AWP for the next rounds. I can have a P250 while they've CZ-75, kevlar and nades,for example."
The end of the year was a bit subdued for G2 as a whole. At the end of October, they had a chance to make a big result at EPICENTER, but an unexpected semi-final loss to Virtus.pro, in which kennyS went missing, meant that G2 didn't get a chance to challenge SK in the grand final, a team they historically had a good record against.
At IEM Oakland, kennyS' team was put in a group with FaZe as well as with some hungry teams such as Renegades and OpTic, with the three mentioned squads ending up being their demise. kennyS did show up massively in his team's victories with a 1.45 and 1.59 rating against Gambit and Liquid, respectively, as well as against FaZe, but the team finished the tournament early, leaving kennyS without a chance to impress in a big event playoff once again.
BLAST Pro Series brought an end to G2's year, with the tournament's heavily stacked group stage and unusual format obviously not vibing with the French side or the AWPer personally. kennyS finished their three losses with an average rating of 0.72, which meant that his 1.48 rated game against NIP in the end wasn't really important.
In the end, kennyS placed 7th on our ranking for 2017, making him a member of an elite and ever-shrinking circle of players that made the Top 20 list in each year CS:GO has been played:
"I'm going to sound like everyone, but as a competitor I'm not going to be satisfied untill I reach the first place. I don't know if I am a part of CS:GO's elite but I've been here for a long time and almost always played for the best teams of my country, so I feel lucky."
After he finished 13th in 2016, kennyS said that his main goal for 2017 was to be more hardworking and rigorous:
"To be honest, I can't say I stuck to the goals I set as much as I wanted. During last year I had a lot of ups and downs in terms of motivation and struggled balancing CS with my personal life. I can't be disappointed about my 7th place this year because I didn't give my best. I think a good resolution for 2018 would be to take action instead of breaking promises."
Why is kennyS the 7th best player of 2017?
kennyS, who made our Top 20 list in 2013, 2014, 2015 and 2016, finished this year as one of the best fraggers, putting up a 0.79 KPR (4th highest), and is a candidate for the best AWPer of 2017, with his 0.43 AWP KPR ranking him second in the category. His low number of deaths, 0.62 per round (3rd lowest), very high KAST of 73.3% (5th highest) and 61.5% opening duel success (the highest) make him an extremely efficient player who makes the most out of every round he plays.
In 2017, kennyS had five standout tournaments, winning four MVP awards—at WESG 2016, DreamHack Open Tours, ESL Pro League S5 Finals and DreamHack Masters Malmö—and one EVP from DreamHack Open Austin. It must be noted, though, that out of the five mentioned events, three were medium-sized ones, where he did deliver slightly higher ratings than at the other two. However, he still played very well at big events in general, averaging a 1.16 rating, so the fall-off wasn't a massive one.
What stopped kennyS from being ranked any higher this year were his performances in big event playoffs, where the Frenchmen had a significant drop-off; more importantly, he dropped off more than the players higher than him on the list, who also had more stand-out performances than the G2 player.
"I would say Twistzz. He has been impressive this year and led Liquid to some good placements in big tournaments. I’m pretty sure that he has the talent required to be in the Top 20 for 2018."