It appears that once again, the French scene is about to explode, or maybe, implode, depending on who you ask. The main focus of the ever tumultuous French posturing of swaps will be the rumoured Ex6tenz, SmithZz, bodyy, KennyS and shox line-up. EnVyUs will, unsurprisingly, be the afterthought destination of rejects of the shuffle. They have been a side for, over a year now almost entirely characterised by this narrative framing. It feels lazy.

EnVyUs is seemingly given a free pass, or too simply thrown aside due to their more widely known place in last year’s French shuffle. If they exit from groups, or players leave - as we’re seeing with Rpk and Happy right now, little thought is put into the direct consequences of this in-game. They aren’t a team which demands analytical attention or intensive demo review. And the discourse around them reflects that.

So, as we stand on the threshold of another bit of roster mayhem in France, lets take a look into the actual characterisations of this exceedingly mediocre Envy line-up.

Entrying like you mean it

One of the biggest shifts to this Envy roster was, surprisingly, the removal of xms. He was the hard-entry for Envy throughout his time on the team, and a damn good one at that. While ScreaM, Rpk and Happy might’ve defined the name-power and top of the scoreboard fragging, xms was the work mule making it happen.

He boasted incredibly high headshot percentages, an excellent willingness to run out onto sites regardless of the conditions and would often find success against the odds. For key maps in Envy’s pool like Cobblestone and Cache, Xms was an indispensable T-side threat. His presence gave players like Rpk the complete comfort to approach his favoured areas (like drop, on cobble) the way he wanted. It also opened up space for ScreaM or Happy to fall in behind and make the site-clearing multi-kills possible.

He was, and still is, one of the most underrated players to ever compete at an international level. As a result, his removal from EnVyUs left a huge T-side hole that needed to be filled. In all fairness, hAdji on-paper wasn’t a bad swap.

xms Alexandre Forté Team EnVyUs Envy

Just like xms, hAdji is a younger player who would look to bring aim and a devout mindset to his first big international opportunity in Envy. He is the hard-entry for Envy however, he lacks the same sting or bite to his T-side play as xms. Xms was explosive, a fast-aimer who would rival ScreaM in HS% and push the pace of an exec. HAdji, however, feels more like he’s being made to do a job. His place in the team is more transitionary than defining and is a clear step back in terms of role-for-role. Unfortunately for hAdji as well, this is not a team environment where time for adaption is abundant. Evolve or die.

HAdji’s slow move into the role has seen ScreaM take more of a forward step in opening up rounds and as a result, his performance has taken a noticeable step-back since his form of Winter last year.

If EnVyUs are thirsty for the power of an elite entry-fragger like apEX or a hyper in-form xms though, then they’re dying of dehydration for an equivalent AWPer.

kennyS Kenny Schrub EnVyUs G2 Esports

Dying of a long-range thirst

Envy, since KennyS left in February of 2017 have never had a ‘great’ AWPer. We saw SIXER turn from rifler to AWPer upon his departure and struggle with the role until he was moved to the Academy team and Happy took primary AWPing duties. SIXER was a very inconsistent, more aggressive, pick-based AWPer who could never match the fundamentals of his international peers. He suffered greatly in AWP v AWP duels and would often find himself lost on T-side. A far-cry from KennyS.

Happy seems reluctant to take up the AWP full-time despite being the primary AWPer. Often times we’ll see Happy favour a rifle in faster set-ups as opposed to risking a sniper buy - this is more-so exemplified when Envy get on the back-foot; a common occurrence in their current form. The lack of AWPing impact is especially pronounced given their direct competition as well.

The main opposition they’re looking to overcome include: Hellraisers, North, NRG, or even a side like Optic. In these teams you have the who’s who of star-studded AWPers - w0xic, mertz, ceRq, and JUGi. Even below Envy there’re names like New Zealand sniper Gratisfaction, Korean rising star AWPer HSK or the serially looked-over dragonfly from Fragsters. AWPers of even this calibre can potentially bully Envy around on an off-day, let alone the likes of w0xic.

In many ways, the misfit, best-of-the-rest nature of EnVyUs is the root cause of the sides main problem in an imbalance of firepower and lack of cohesive roles.

ScreaM Adil Benrlitom EnVyUs G2 Esports

Making (or what made) EnVyUs great again

The strengths of Envy largely rest on the shoulders of Rpk and ScreaM. Both players are aggressive, mentality-reliant riflers who are given whatever they want on T-side and are expected to be the star power as a result. ScreaM has a more flashy firing style, and is more supportive with flashes and trading whereas Rpk is more demanding in terms of positions and mid-rounding but is more consistent. Both though, are geared towards finding success in the same direction in-game.

When these two were paired with Xms’s entrying and Happy’s late-round play, the win conditions of EnVyUs made sense. The side was cobbled together, but functional. Their nature as a team as being the left-overs was more of an excuse than a direct chink in the armour of their play. In the current line-up though, all hope is lost. Their win conditions have been tainted with Happy moving more away from the late-round forcibly AWPing and ScreaM having to entry more to make-up for the slack of hAdji. Rpk’s brilliant streak of form has been lost and Kioshima’s addition seems like a last-minute hail mary than carefully thought-out plan.

RpK Cédric Guipouy Team EnVyUs

Now the side, through the removal of SIXER and Xms has become what people have always sought to define it by; a roster dismissible due to its thrown together components. But don’t let that current narrative through-line distract from the sides ups-and-downs before this point. With Xms and SIXER, EnVyUs where far more than just a band of hopeless rejects. They were a deadly team with off-kilter but deadly ways to win games, and they simply lacked the consistency to find regular high-level placings.

With Happy and Rpk both reportedly leaving, it appears ScreaM, Kioshima and hAdji will be forced to play again with xms and SIXER. With this line-up, lacking an IGL, having two entries and little in the way of mid-round play, EnVyUs will seemingly once again fall by the way-side. If they can somehow pick-up someone like NBK, or even better, the French speaking Turkish AWPer/IGL Maj3r then we could have a different story. But that seems unlikely.

They might be one roster move away always, but they aren’t simply a team that can be defined by the on-paper happenings in shuffles. As we can see, breaking down former roles, their strengths and weaknesses, Envy’s history as a side is far more than a dismissible blip in the French scene’s timeline. Don’t mistake a lack of in-game authority or attention grabbing for a team that’s not worthy of analysis. Many of their players might end up on top teams in the future, and their stories won’t be so easily framed.

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