“Revenge is like the sweetest joy.” – Tupac
The first thing that comes up when I think about the French Counter-Strike scene is revenge.
Maybe the entire French CS:GO scene read “The Count of Monte Cristo” and consider Edmond Dantes a personal hero of theirs. I don’t know. Whatever the case, every French shuffle ends with someone pissed off and looking to strike back at their foes. But if there is one CS:GO player who could star in a revenge movie, it’s probably Adil “ScreaM” Benrlitom. Throughout both famous French shuffles, he’s always been the one left out.
Early in his CS:GO career, ScreaM was considered a headshot machine, an incredibly skilled player who specialized in the tapping headshots style. Although he was incredibly flashy, it was less consistent and simultaneously he was considered less flexible than other players. So when the 2014 roster shuffle finally came about, he was excluded. Former teammates Nathan “NBK” Schmitt and Edouard “SmithZz” Dubourdeaux formed Mercenary with Vincent “Happy” Cervoni Schopenhauer, Fabien “kioShiMa” Fiey, and Richard “shox” Papillon; they would be picked up two days later by LDLC. Hovik “KQLY” Tovmassian, Dan “apEX” Madesclaire, and Mathieu “Maniac” Quiquerez left LDLC to join Titan. And ScreaM found himself the odd man out, the standout on a ragtag group that would become Epsilon. The replacement made sense at the time as no one knew KQLY was a cheater, but when that was revealed, ScreaM found out on stream. There he famously yelled, “He took my fucking place!”
The misery continued in his new team. There his teammate, Gordon “Sf” Giry, was also VAC banned, which meant Epsilon was disqualified from playing at DreamHack Winter 2014. Despite all of that, ScreaM continued to find some success. He became a big streaming name and eventually got onto Kinguin/G2, an experimental lineup of leftover superstar players like Maikel “Maikelele” Bill and Håvard “rain” Nygaard. ScreaM was eventually bought out by Titan at the end of 2015.
This is where ScreaM’s redemption finally began. That Titan roster that eventually became G2 consisted of Kevin “Ex6TenZ” Droolans, Cédric “RpK” Guipouy, shox, SmithZz and ScreaM. The team had serious promise and did fairly well online. Eventually, G2 became a consistent top 10 team and seemed to be trending upward. But a loss to Virtus.Pro in the decider match of the MLG Columbus Major group stage last April was the catalyst for change. Ex6Tenz was removed and Alexandre “bodyy” Pianaro came in to replace him, while Shox took up the in-game leader role.
All the changes came about as ScreaM reached the best form of his career. Shox and ScreaM proved an incredibly dangerous duo and when both were on form, they had enough firepower between them to beat the best teams in the world. In fact, they did just that as they challenged SK in both the ESL Pro League Season 3 Finals and ECS Season 1 Finals. ScreaM became a true star player and reached the potential that many saw in him all those years ago.
That G2 roster had gone beyond expectations in terms of results, but there were no more opportunities to evolve. At a certain point, G2 lived or died off shox and ScreaM going off at the same time. So by the end of 2016, the second French shuffle went down.
G2 was the primary beneficiary, acquiring a legendary roster in shox, Kenny “kennyS” Schrub, NBK, apEX, and body. Once again, ScreaM was ignored as a potential candidate. Even having the best year of his career didn’t erase the primary criticism of his gameplay: he was inflexible. NBK wanted a balanced set of roles with players who could switch between them based on circumstance. On paper, he admirably pulled off this ambitious scheme as G2 strikes a great balance between firepower, team play, and role specialization.
On an intellectual level, ScreaM may understand the snub. But on an emotional level, it was a kick in the gut. So many of his chances has been ruined by not conforming to the desires of others or being told he wasn’t sufficient. It was fair enough to point out his inconsistency on the previous roster, but now he was at the peak of his powers. Surely that was reason enough to put some faith in him.
From ScreaM’s point of view, the universe has dealt him quite the busted hand. He was kicked from Titan for a player who was eventually unveiled as a cheater. Out of desperation, KQLY’s spot was filled by a guy who hadn’t touched CS since Source. When he was about to attend the Major, one of ScreaM’s teammates ruined the whole thing by cheating and getting the team disqualified. He waited out his chances and eventually got back onto a good French team. There he finally proved himself as a star player, but shortly afterward was ignored as a valuable piece for a top-tier French team. ScreaM’s whole career is like a bad rendition of Groundhog Day: the same results keep repeating no matter what he does to change them.
And so we arrive at DreamHack Tours. ScreaM has joined EnVyUs and will try to exact revenge on G2 no matter what it takes. With the setting on French soil and with both G2 and EnVyUs attending, this clash will be the focus of many fans. Restitution is unlikely as EnVyUs showed abysmal form at the CS Summit, but that might not matter. ScreaM as a player has enough firepower that assuming top form, he can carry a single game or series against G2 if the superteam briefly fails to show up. ScreaM has had enough bad days to last the rest of his career. This time he is looking to ruin someone else’s day. In his case, hopefully G2’s.