Esports News

Luci Kelemen
Written By: Luci Kelemen

Telling tales of esports, one word at a time, six years and counting

February 11th, 2021

A loud minority of G2 fans seem to have grown sour on Kenny ‘kennyS’ Schrub’s performances with the big green, and a glancing look at the numbers seems to justify their criticism, especially after his howler on Nuke against Evil Geniuses. Would it be right for G2 to do the unthinkable and bring in someone else to AWP?

Je suis hard carry

Before we begin, let’s look at kennyS’s finest hour:

This was back in 2015, the year of the fateful AWP nerf, with the young Frenchman still close to the height of his powers in the GO era, en route to winning his only Major title to date, surrounded by a functional unit for once and no longer having to pull off the sort of futile heroics he regularly managed on Titan. (For those who weren’t around at time, think s1mple on the later-day Edward-burdened Na’Vi levels of solo carry performances and multiply it by ten. That should get you there, just about.)

The Frenchman’s career stretches back to the Source days, starting out at the age of sixteen on a team as notable as VeryGames. His eventual replacement as part of an ur-French shuffle in May 2013? A guy called shox. He returned in May in his place into the project that would become Titan, and it was a fateful decision on his part to stick with them instead of the LDLC squad. Once KQLY got his VAC ban, the project’s prospects quickly faded away, prompting the period of insane carry attempts with the occasional top tier trophy to show for it.

It’s a testament to his skills that he remained there or thereabouts in the top tier of CS as esports for so many years, and his team is clearly still working on integrating a mercurial high-maintenance rifler talent in the form of NiKo. However, that doesn’t excuse progressively degrading performances, and there’s a good argument to be made about how Kenny’s flicky, risk-taking style is the same sort of hopeless retro holdout as GeT_RiGhT’s maniacal spray attempts were past 2015.

Indeed, the underlying numbers don’t suggest an HLTV #1 challenge for G2 (or the player himself), nor any sort of progressive improvement. Even with the myriad caveats of today, there are concerns which much be acknowledged about his play.

Can the “modern” kennyS cut it at the top?

First things first, just to take care of recency bias and all, let’s look at that stinker against EG at BLAST. It was the Frenchman’s career-worst performance on a map, going 3-20 as they failed to put up a meaningful defense on the CT side of Nuke in the decider.

It came at the same event as ZywOo’s shocking performance against Complexity on Overpass, and it’s worth noting that each of the teams playing from home failed to qualify at the expense of those who were playing together from a facility.

There’s also the obvious caveat about online play: many have said that kennyS is exactly the sort of player who gets a big boost on LAN when the stakes and pressures are at their highest, and it would be shocking if G2 were to cut him before a return to offline competitions. Put all this together, plus the fact that we’re still in the early days of the new season, and you can explain away a lot about the Frenchman’s current performances.

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However, the long-term trends (or indeed, the numbers from the end of the pre-COVID days) are worrying if you’re a kennyS fan. He had as many events with negative or 0 total K/D in the past two years as the previous five, with his HLTV rating dipping below one for the latter part of 2020 – a drop even more precipitous than the one in the autumn of 2018. This might be more acceptable for a support rifler or a lesser veteran, but it is an unacceptable return for the constant investments in the big green.

A quick look at the other elite contenders (and surely no other designation is acceptable for a team with NiKo on the roster) shows that they all can count on their AWPer as the main threat. You know the list: s1mple, ZywOo, device – or FalleN, JW and kennyS himself from top teams long gone. No team made it to the summit off the back of a godlike rifler like NiKo – indeed, even FaZe Clan at its best had an imperious GuardiaN to rely on. There’s no such thing as a support AWP when you’re going for the number one spot, and unless he can’t reinvent himself once LAN events return to the fore, it might be time for Cartman to scream his usual line once this episode of CS concludes in earnest.

Photo credit: HLTV