This is the story of kennyS. (Casting) Born in France in 1995, it’s not an exaggeration to say that Kenny grew up in Counter-Strike. He would try the game for the first time at the age of six because his older brother Cyril was already playing. When Cyril was away at school Kenny would get some time on the computer and though Counter-Strike was his refuge from family issues, what he found in it was longer lived. Kenny would return from school and play the game late into the evening, drawing concern from his mother.
But those late nights allowed Kenny to make his way into France’s competitive Counter-Strike scene. And not only had Kenny found a foothold in the game, he had discovered his niche in it as well. The AWP or op has been an important part of competitive Counter-Strike from the very beginning. The high-powered sniper rifle offers a one-shot kill with a hit to the head or chest, but is offset by a slow rate of fire and a considerable monetary investment.
Despite the weapon’s loud signature report, it is a precision weapon harnessed by the sniper’s reflexes to bring instant ruin to the opposition. The young Kenny showed affinity for the weapon and while he has said that it’s hard to pinpoint the exact moment that he decided to take on the sniper role he says he feels that the weapon chose him. Working his way up through the French scene, Kenny met a player called BLESS and began playing on a community mumble server called The Wall, which is where his career would begin in earnest. With most of his early matches being played online casino Canada Kenny’s prowess drew attention from some on the server.
Most players don’t get the opportunity to start off with one of their region’s best teams but, Kenny did. In 2011 he was trialing with VeryGames, a French Counter-Strike: Source roster that fielded the likes of Ex6tenz, NBK, RpK and apEX. But Kenny’s debut at offline events was anything but smooth. While he was able to prove that he wasn’t cheating, the pressure of the later rounds got to him. A pattern that would repeat itself later in his career. “I think a lot of it has to do with his playstyle.
Certain teams don’t necessarily favor him to be aggressive as he is. He kind of had to prove himself in that regard but I mean you talk about success coming through source and whatnot he was a young player it’s hard to got a chance when you’re that young.” While VeryGames would continue without Kenny, he quickly found a spot on Team eXtensive!, and although he hadn’t made the cut with VG, he didn’t view the experience negatively considering the competition he had faced. But five months later Kenny would finally get his chance to join the VeryGames starting roster following mK’s removal. Kenny and the team attended both Insomnia 45 and 46 for CS Source, taking home the first-place prize at both events. But a challenge loomed on the horizon: the impending release of Counter Strike: Global Offensive.
Source had been the game that Kenny had built his young career in and the move to Global Offensive was anything but easy. “If you look at the game closely, first the game looks like Counter-Strike Source. The recoiled graphics everything reflects awesome, but when you look at the gameplay and the tactics and everything like that. You can really see if the game is more for 1.6.”
The game’s early reception was mixed and for competitive players from both source and CS 1.6 it felt different and there was a lot to learn and not a lot of time to learn it. Almost immediately after Global Offensive’s release, the team headed to DreamHack Valencia 2012. Once he got to LAN though Kenny found his groove making some great plays with the AWP’ newest incarnation. (Casting) Still, it wasn’t enough to take first place. VeryGames, considered by many to be the strongest source team in the world at that time, was upended by Ninjas in Pyjamas, who had been previously playing CS 1.6. (Casting) A new rivalry was born from the convergence of both scenes in CS:GO, and VG’s inability to beat NIP over the following months would become a source of frustration from the team.
(Casting) VeryGames did eventually start to catch up to NIP, but a victory against them remained elusive. (Casting) But for Kenny the rivalry was put on hold in the wake of the ESEA season 13 LAN finals. A disappointing third-place finish after a loss to Quantic Gaming meant that it wasn’t VG playing NIP in the finals. Days after being kicked, the young AWPer was recruited by LDLC. The team had been formed from the ashes of Team eXtensive’s previous roster, so Kenny was familiar with many of his new teammates.
While Kenny’s time with LDLC would end up being short it was here that he would finally conquer one of his biggest demons, NIP. (Casting) Kenny’s inexperience led to some more troubles. He and the team were upset by Epsilon at DreamHack Summer 2013.
(Casting) It marked another disappointing third place exit for Kenny. Cracks were beginning to form within the squad and soon after Kenny and apEX were released from LDLC. Following a brief stint with WE GOT GAME, Kenny would eventually join up with Recursive. Prior to DreamHack Winter, his former teammate apEX approached him, asking if there was an opening on the roster. Kenny didn’t want to change a player before the tournament, offering instead to rebuild LDLC after the event.
But Kenny would ultimately be left out of that roster and posted an angry statement that criticized both apEX and the other team members that had turned their backs on him. It was a moment where Kenny’s emotions got the better of him and one that he would later regret. “I still see a camera like his hands are shaking at times.
Like he has that that really like raw adrenaline sort of emotion that goes with him and you can certainly see him being frustrated at times and then I’d say I’d say more frequently I’m frustrated and stressed than you do happy. Kenny would spend the next month-and-a- half with Clan Mystik before being asked to join Titan as shox’s replacement. Given the prior incidents with Kenny, it was an important step to getting his career back on track. (Casting) Titan had qualified for ESL One: Cologne 2014, but despite being considered a strong team they failed to make it out of groups after running into Team Dignitas and Cloud9.
After Cologne, the team was swept up into the first French shuffle in late 2014. Once the dust had settled in September, Kenny would be joined by by Ex6tenz, KQLY, apEX and Maniac on Titan. Titan. Following a number of second-place finishes, Titan would eventually triumph at the DreamHack Invitational. (Casting) But as 2014 drew to a close, the team would receive bad news. KQLY was banned for cheating on November 20th which both hurt the team in the immediate sense and also prevented them from playing at DreamHack Winter 2014, which meant that Kenny would have to wait for another chance at proving himself on the big stage.
For a team that had been developing and felt ready to take the event, the setback to both their play and mental state was immense. KQLY’s replacement would eventually be RpK, who came out of retirement to join the squad in late December. As 2015 began, the team qualified for the next Major, ESL One Katowice.
But again they failed to get out of groups and they were eliminated by Penta. More bad news came weeks later as Valve released a patch to CS:GO that substantially changed how the AWP worked. “It’s not as fluid as it was. It’s not as quick. The velocity’s not there and this immediately for the pro scene is a massive nerf.”
The change drastically altered the way that AWPers had to deal with specific angles in the game. Angles that had existed in some form within CS 1.6 and Source. “It wasn’t that he didn’t have the skill suddenly, it was that it’s it’s muscle memory and it’s force of habit and you have to really dial back and relearn it and I think because he was the one that took advantage of that mechanic so much it took him a little bit longer to do so because it just felt like he got gutted. Right when he was coming into his prime when he could have been God and just taken over everything the game was changed and then I think that really impacted his confidence.” The drastic change coupled with Kenny’s affinity for the AWP even inspired a joke video about what it was like to play against Titan post nerf. Complete with a Viking funeral for the rifle, the actual effect on Kenny though was no laughing matter as Titan continued to slump into 2015.
“The immediate result was certainly Kenny. A little bit GuardiaN, but certainly Kenny was hurt the most. As I talked about he was someone who could play very close he could move very quickly with the AWP. He could hit no scopes, he was constantly quick peaking and quick scoping that movement mechanic was taken out quite significantly.” Titan managed Top 4 placements at ESL Pro League One, ESEA Season 18, Gfinity Spring Masters 2 and DreamHack Summer 2015, and despite his struggles Kenny still produced the incredible moments he was known for. (Casting) “I mean yes okay his teams were set up around him, but it didn’t matter if Kenny was in a 1v3 you’d almost take positive odds for him to come out and you know and just get that 1v3 and clutch it.
He was so scary to the point where the dominant the most dominant team in CS:GO history, Fnatic with olofmeister and everybody right, they were like ‘we don’t like playing against Kenny. Kenny makes me scared. All of a sudden I don’t know what to do when I’m playing against Kenny because if I peek even a pixel I could be dead.'” (Casting) But the results were not what fans expected from such a high profile roster. The slump brought consequences and when the second French shuffle completed in July 2015 Kenny was once again on the move, heading to Team EnVyUs with apEX.
Yet again he and Shox had switched teams. Both Titan and NV had been underperforming before the swap, but afterwards was a different story. NV went on to win IEM Gamescom against Danish upstarts Team SoloMid.
(Casting) Not only was it a win, but it was a decisive one. Although it wasn’t a Major, the event was a proving ground for the newly formed roster. Weeks later, the team was facing down their first Major appearance at ESL One Cologne 2015. EnVyUs would emerge from Group B as the top team but they weren’t satisfied with just that. In the quarterfinals NV cut through Na’Vi.
(Casting) Then, they cast aside TSM in the semifinals. (Casting) A surging Fnatic awaited them in the grand finals, and Kenny was won best of three series away from winning his first Major. But Fnatic’s KRIMZ had other plans. (Casting) That was the turning point. A round that should have been an easy win. Instead it collapsed in such spectacular fashion that the victory seemed impossible.
(Casting) Taking second should still have been an encouraging result, but it wasn’t for Kenny. (Casting) Despite their disappointment, Kenny and EnVyUs would return with a vengeance at DreamHack Open London a few weeks later, taking first place after beating Team SoloMid in the grand finals. With renewed confidence, the team set their sights on the next Valve Major, DreamHack Cluj-Napoca. The event would see NV top their group and cast aside Fnatic in the bracket stage. (Casting) But an absolute nail-biter against G2 esports in the semifinals nearly dashed their championship hopes. With NV down one map after dropping Dust2, G2 managed to force overtime on Inferno.
In the middle of the second overtime, NV were down three rounds and as Kenny remembers it the team was not communicating properly. But against the odds and in defiance of another failed major run they won the map in the third overtime and rode that momentum through the series. (Casting) In the grand finals they faced a familiar adversary, Na’Vi. There they won Train, Na’Vi’s map, in a close game.
But it was on cobble where they dominated. (Casting) Just under four years since his first LAN appearance, Kenny, a player that many had already described as the world’s best AWPer, had finally won his first Major. Unbeknownst to them at the time, Cluj-Napoca was also the highest competitive point that this incarnation of the roster would ever reach.
After more inconsistent results, the team dropped KioShiMa and brought in DEVIL. The move did little to improve the team’s fortunes and their first couple of LAN performances were poor. “You have to have like that complete and utter arrogance right. You have to know without a shadow of a doubt that you are the best person on that server and that whatever your will is it will happen right.” https://blog.counter-strike.net/