kennyS : "I keep playing to find again this joy of winning a major."
Here is the second part of the interview with Kenny "kennyS" Schrub, if you missed it, you can read it here. After talking about the beginning of CS:GO, the NiP domination, his star status in eSports and finally failures and difficulties he encountered during his adventure, he talks with us about joining EnVyUs, the feeling of losing a major in final and to win one, his future in eSports and out of eSport and finally some randoms questions. Enjoy!
A few days after ESWC Montreal 2015, EnVyUs decided to kick shox and SmithZz and to pick apEX and you. You made a good start, and this time, as nV, you seemed to assert yourselves as the team to beat in the upcoming events. When team makes changes, there’s usually a small hype following which helps the team to play good. Just before ESL One Cologne 2015, what was your state of mind with the Major coming along? Did you have any goals there?
As you already mentioned, we were a new team and that means new motivation, we were totally into it! We were more or less all on the same page, that is what made it work almost immediately, and to be honest we were really confident for the major despite our short time as a team. We certainly did not talk about it but the common goal for everyone was to reach at least the finals. Done.
So here comes the second major of 2015. Apart from a scare against Luminosity in the group stage, you reached the final against fnatic without too many problems. On the first map, dust2, you were dominating and the victory seemed close, but fnatic did a great comeback (07-14 > 10-15 > 15-15) to win this map in overtime. After this, you were just shadow of yourselves on your map, cbble. At the end of the match, which was your first major final, we could see you crying on stage. During this second map, did you realize you missed your chance? How did you try to contain this emotions and tried to stay focused on the match? Was the team too young? Playing today, how you would approach the second map. What lessons have you learned from this?
To be honest, it always breaks my heart, it happens that I re-watch the video of Eyeshield about us in Cologne and I always cut before the final. Indeed, I think the team was too young and it was the first time we faced fnatic, “the unplayable”, with our new lineup. It really was a baptism of fire happening in a relatively important moment, I think they won this final thanks to their team experience.
The second map was terrible, a nightmare. Mentally we have taken a heavy blow and it was really hard to get back up in the final of a major. We “threw" the first map, it was really hard, we knew we fucked up. We tried to re-engage for the second map, but yeah… I tried to convince myself but it didn’t work. I think today it would be quite similar, except that this time we would really restart ourselves mentally from zero for the second map, really.
Indeed, I struggled to contain my emotions, but you haven’t seen me in the backstage, I literally burst into tears, unable to hold back, I was so frustrated and disappointed with the way the game went.
Everything seemed to look better for you afterwards. You won in several competitions and you finally beat Fnatic for the first time. It’s with full confidence and the status of favorites that you arrived at the next major, the DH Cluj. You eventually took the win after taking your revenge against fnatic in quarter-finals and despite a crazy semi-final where you were close to losing against Gamers2 (1 map lost and 3 overtimes, including a 0-3 deficit in the second map). Did your experience of the previous major help you during those two games? You finally won a major, describe the feeling and what it means to you.
Indeed, we were supposed to have the most difficult bracket (fnatic, G2 beating VP and TSM who didn’t hold their status of favorites and didn’t reach the finals), we were relatively confident in the first match against fnatic. We came out of the Gfinity where we beat them, certainly we would have preferred another opponent but it does not matter in any case, it’s one of the big teams to beat in this type of competition. We started the first map in a catastrophic manner and they rekt us 9-16 on mirage, then came our two best maps, cobble and cache, where we completely stomped them, it was a special moment because the victory had a taste of revenge because of the last major.
In semis we faced G2 and it’s probably remains one of the most epic and tense matches of my career. So, once again we lost the first map (you see, we learned from the Cologne major, we always bounced back after taking the first map). Then came inferno, we were in control, we were confident on the map and we made a decent enough T side even though it could have been better. The CT side was not only poor, but we also won some rounds and lost the following ones, so in the end our money cycle was fucked. They managed to come back thanks to that.
So we went to 15-15 and in came the overtimes, we took 0-3 and during the majors, there’s like 2 minutes between switching the sides, it was two very long minutes, a psychological torture, we were dismayed and personally I imagined myself going back home... Except that once the game was live, no one really said anything, we just naturally took the bull by the horns and showed an incredible mindset. We came back and after that I think that they took a mental blow, at that time the confidence had changed sides and we were able to finish. Cache was just a formality.
With only passing through the quarter and the semi, we proved that we learned from our misadventure from the Cologne final. Once we were in the final, we faced Na’Vi that we beat during the groupstage. It was a pretty tough game, especially because of the vetoes that went completely in the favor of Na’Vi: Train 1st map, Cbble 2nd and Dust2 as 3rd. Train and D2 were two of their best maps and probably our 4th and 5th best. So, it was absolutely necessary to win the first map. Again, this shows our minds of steel as we were back against the wall on Train, they were leading 7-12 and we were T with a bad money cycle and they had like 12k each. We finally won 16-14 and we could already feel the win coming, because we were very confident on cbble. This final was much like ours against fnatic in Cologne, except that this time the roles were reversed. We entered the 2nd map very confident, while they were probably mentally a bit down.
Cbble was a formality and here we were, we won the major, my first, an immeasurable joy came over me, I continue to play to find that. It was special for me, this event where my VALVE video came out, my brother and my girlfriend were there, to see them cry and being happy for me was a big bonus. I was also pleased that we have been able to do this for Mike and EnVy (Note: Mike ”Hastr0” Rufail, EnVy CEO).
What followed was less glorious with a descent into hell, where you went from best team in the world to two failures in groupstages of a Major. Kio got kicked, you recruited DEVIL without success, eventhough things got a bit better in the end. First, how do you explain this drop of the team level? And about DEVIL, is he a recruitment mistake?
Wow, difficult question, if we knew all the problems in the team, we could fix them pretty easily, but it is not so easy and on the contrary, the end of the year was not that bad actually. It is difficult to explain this fall in our level, but there are certain reasons that I can give you. After our victory in Major, we certainly relaxed, but mostly I think we had trouble channeling all our egos and some have largely taken over the team.
I always had a metaphor, which explains our descent into hell that didn’t stop. Imagine two people: The first person stabs the second one, the second person does not heal properly and it leaves an open wound. The first person knifes the second person again and it still doesn’t heal the right way. So in the end, the second person has so many open wounds that it gets very difficult to stop the bleeding. What I mean by this is, that our team was chained with problems without really solving them, and a point was reached where it got very serious. Now I can look back on it and I can say that we came really far, even though we have not done everything the best way.
Regarding DEVIL, it was a recruitment error yes, to the extent that unfortunately, he was put in a role that he never really played before, but I have already explained it, there’s not much to say.
You parted ways with DEVIL recently. Why didn’t you try to bring back kio? Why not pick a G2 player? Why didn’t you give a chance to another young player like matHEND or xms? Why didn’t you give a chance to a player like Ex6TenZ or Maniac? Why didn’t you add a coach "in the game" like Starix or Kuben? Why SIXER and not somebody else?
To bring back kio could have been an option, but we were not convinced that he had changed and that he was able to give everything, it's as simple as that. He also had his team, and god knows it is complicated to take player from his contract nowadays. We didn’t pick G2 player because we knew there would be complications with the contracts, so in the end we didn’t even really seriously think about it.
Regarding Ex6 it's mostly a matter of role, it conflicts with Vincent’s. He wasn’t the player that we needed in terms of roles. About Mani, even if we had experience with him as a coach, we were not at all satisfied with his work, much more was expected of him, so it was quite difficult to imagine him as a 5th, he was just too nonchalant.
Then, we had a choice of recruiting many talented players from our subtop. SIXER had a big advantage, due to that he convinced us during the SL-I league S2. Plus we needed a player with some experience and his journey in 1.6 was largely enough, although he had little in CS GO. And finally, his mentality and his teamplay are superior compared to that of DEVIL, and those were important factors.
Regarding the coach, we have Enkay J, who is more of an analyst, but sometimes he takes the role of coach, and does it excellently. We all were pleasantly surprised by his speed and productivity at work. The new VALVE rule penalized in any case, the idea of a coach invested in the game, such as Starix and Kuben.
Let us turn to the future, do you think you have reached the peak level at some point in your career? Or do think you can still able to increase your level with time and experience?
I don’t know, but in any case, I was very close to that peak in 2014 and 2015 (the two full years). But honestly if I could have this level through all of my career, I would directly sign for it.
What do you think about the evolution of the game in an eSport point of view over the years? Today, do you see the game go even higher or do you see a possible "stagnation"?
The game has evolved, I was ringside, the resources invested are now higher and the results are amazing, the scenes and productions have become incredibly successful. For now, it keeps evolving and it’s good. I will not be a black cat and say the game will stagnate, this is the last of my wishes, but there still is a lot of stigma and "old school" mentality, we are always characterized as outcasts of society, particularly in France. People simply have a negative view of our profession.
As for your professional future, the question is not easy but do you have any ideas of where it might go? Do you want to play as long as possible or reconvert yourself in eSports in one way or another? Would you try to have a career in another game one day if you have the opportunity?
I often think about it, I have "sacrificed" my schooling to exercise what was at the start my passion and now my work, without any regrets. But obviously, I do not have the best baggage possible to consider a real future after my career outside eSports, and on the other hand I always was very uncertain as to what I wanted to do in my life, so eSports proved be a huge opportunity.
So yes, ofcourse I would love to stay in eSports, and yes why not in another game. But I love CS too much to think about it at the moment.
Picture by ey3shi3ld
Outside of the game, do you have personal ambitions or projects for your future life? Outside eSports, is there anything that would interest you? (But let’s say you can’t be a PSG player)
As I said previously, I never had a lot of ideas about my future during my student life. My life outside eSports, I am just careful that I spend my money in the smartest way possible. But when I was little, I wanted to be a football player, I wanted to make assists for Pauleta (note: Pauleta was a PSG forward that scored more than 100 goals in 5 years during the noughties.)
Okay, now you can relax a bit, the hardest part is done. We will go to random questions, about everything and nothing.
You're a big fan of Paris Saint-Germain, can you give us a word about the PSG eSport project? Do you already imagine wearing the shirt of your dreams? Do you have a message for them?
I'm delighted, it's just a shame that the CS image in France improves only very slowly, sadly I can not see PSG being involved in CS in a short/medium term. As I said, I feel wonderful at Envy, this is the first time in my career that I really feel at home somewhere and I would like to stay here as long as possible, because everything is great!
But yeah, officially wearing the PSG jersey would be a great pleasure. For the anecdote I'm a fan of PSG for 16 years and when I was little kid, my only goal in life was to live in Paris, so I could subscribe to the “Parc des Princes”. PSG was always one of the most important things in my life, I know it’s only football but gives me so much.
It has been more than 5 years now, that you are around the French scene, and there still haven’t been a team with two of the “strongest” French players according to most observers and community. When will finally see a team with Kennys and shox, goddammit?
That seems inevitable, we will one day. When? I don’t know. We both have teams and we feel good with them. We're friends, we want to play together one day or another, but both of our priorities are now to lead our respective teams to the top.
What do you think about the new look of inferno? Did you test it already? According to you, what maps should receive a makeover?
Yes I was able to test only once. Inferno always was my favourite map, thanks to the multiple possibilities to pick aggressively with the AWP. I really love the makeover, we have to see how it goes when we play competitively, but for now it all seems positive.
For other maps, I think dust2 and Train need a makeover, I find Train quite lame to be honest... And yes, I am one of the few, who absolutely love the new nuke!
Should the map pool change more regularly? Would you like to see old maps like Season, Contra, Cpl_mill, Tuscan or any new ones like Overpass is?
We need a long time to adapt to the new maps, but yes indeed, I think that changing the map-pool every 10-12 months would be beneficial for the quality of the games, and yes we all miss tuscan :(
What do you think about the comeback of the graffitis? Why not “teams graffitis” for the next major?
I don’t really have an opinion. It's pretty trivial, but yes it would be cool to have graffitis with the team’s logos or even with the picture of the players.
We talked about the evolution of the game in an esport way, what about the technical evolution, after adjusting almost all of the weapons, some of the maps, fixing different bugs, etc. what remains to be adjusted in the game? Can you give us a word about the AWP and its evolution?
Well... Difficult question, I am relatively satisfied with the evolution of the game, I think hitboxes are not 100% accurate but otherwise, the game seems relatively good, I do not have specific criticisms to make.
Regarding the AWP, it is the hardest to master it’s every component (Quick scoping, movement...). I reached this level because I mastered it completely, but nowdays, the snipers have lost the impact. Some will be happy about the awpers losing their impact, others (like me) won’t. The nerf that happened in February-March 2015 was necessary, but I think that the movement with it was too slowed down.
shox - kennyS, the beginning of a beautiful story?
Why did you choose kennyS and not a horrible nickname like shadow05 or eagle23 ? Have you ever had any other nickname?
It is quite simple, Kenny is my first name and S is the first letter of my last name. I liked the oldschool feeling of CS:S nicknames, such as HenryG. But to be honest, it wasn't my first nickname, the very first one was R@Z!3L. I was really young, so please don't judge me! I also started playing CS:S with the so very original nickname HuHu-.
Someone on Reddit wanted us to ask you this question: “How do you feel about Happy's role as a lurker? Some observers think he's using his mates as baits, what's your insight on that matter?”
Well, that seems to be the label people like to put on him. From an internal point of view, we all have individual flaws we need to correct. We're on the right track though, and we all blindly trust Vincent as a leader and as a teammate.
Give us your french “dream team” (Expecting a biased answer:D)?
Being impartial : Happy – NBK – kennyS – apEX – SIXER <3
And what about “international dream team”?
My international dream team would be : Snax – kennyS – neo – flusha – dupreeh. No french, no jealousy :D
A big thank you for the interview, any final words?
Thank you for the interview, you can follow me at:
It was a pleasure to give answers for this interview, it only took me dozen hours. :D
Pictures by HLTV.org & ey3shi3d. Thanks to Urskiz, Sickness and Haru for translation.