As easy as 123, a superstar enters a new chapter of his ten-year-long career this week
At the age of 26, Adil "ScreaM" Benrlitom has a decade long esports career to look back on and his initial performances in VALORANT have shown that he’s far from done. Setting sail for yet another adventure, he will compete with the Brits from Fish123, a roster that has made waves in the emerging European VALORANT scene during the game’s beta. According to a report by 1pv.fr, ScreaM is looking to bring his skills to the North American esports organisation Team Liquid with his new team.
Always brought up in conversation regarding the best player on the planet during the development phase of this young esport, and now paired up with top tier teammates, the Belgium veteran is looking to find glory anew. Yet this time around and in a different game, he is shaping the meta with tools beyond his revered aim. With a breadth of experience and unchanged mechanical prowess, he has shown new dimensions to the agents that he’s touched.
However, the task he is embarking on is a challenging one and he will yet again have to redefine himself alongside his new team. The first matches together have been rocky, leading to a short break from competition. This week, the team will rejoin the battlefield at the WePlay! Invitational, trying to fend off G2 Esports from claiming the European crown.
A Legend but no ring
Storming onto the Counter-Strike:Source scene, ScreaM made a name for himself as an incredible aimer, a reputation he would bring over to his Global Offensive career. The Counter-Strike term “one-tap” (referring to the elimination of an opponent firing a single bullet to the head) is synonymous with his name to the point that it has become nigh impossible to a fan to read the word without his accent playing in your head.
During multiple periods in his Counter-Strike career, ScreaM was considered one of the best players in both Source and Global Offensive, though large stints of his time were spent as a highly entertaining but in aggregate average performer whose aim was always outstanding but often lacking to find consistent value. Notably, ScreaM never won a prestigious Major event, a tournament classification of the highest importance in Counter-Strike of which only 2-3 happen a year. It wasn’t due to a lack of trying, having narrowly missed out on winning the very first one in CS:GO in 2013.
Nevertheless, his peak performances at many key points in Counter-Strike history and his ungodly aim mesmerised the masses and gained him a large following, top team contracts and peripheral deals. Chances are that if you go to the gaming section of your local electronics superstore, you will find his face printed on one of those boxes.
“Everyone knew him. The first thing I watched from CS was his fragmovie in 2014,” said his 20-year-old teammate Adam "ec1s" Eccles in an interview with GGRecon. The players he is now playing with and against are of a generation who have been inspired by him. It stands to reason that some of them wouldn’t be here without the initial awe his play planted into their hearts.
With VALORANT, another chance to conquer the world has presented itself to ScreaM and the climb towards that goal may start as early as this week, playing against his former team G2 Esports.
Same aim, more brain
In the early stages of VALORANT, ScreaM took on a role that was unusual for his player profile on the surface. Committing a large amount of time to playing Sage, who at the time was considered a support agent, ScreaM showed the world a playstyle that elevated the defensive healer to a carry role. Regularly, he would top frag in the early Prodigy mixes over other European giants like Oscar "mixwell" Cañellas Colocho and Daniel "dafran" Francesca.
He was early to realize the immense power of her kit in second or third-in positions into a Bombsite, showing immense clutch potential on the back of the possibility of a self-heal and the option to dictate the pace with the initial versions of Slow Orb. Unwavering aim dominance with unheard-of headshot hit rates north of 40% did the rest of the heavy lifting.
ScreaM critics could argue that the seemingly cerebral qualities he has shown in his gameplay are merely well-honed Counter-Strike mechanics that he gained playing under some of the best in-game leaders the genre has ever seen, and that as new dimensions are explored in VALORANT, they will increasingly be rendered useless and his headstart will not carry him through his continued career.
Yet there is evidence to believe that ScreaM himself has learned to learn, bringing new concepts to the forefront of VALORANT that other tier 1 Counter-Strike players have not been able to actualize within the game yet.
Perhaps this isn’t ScreaM’s greatest challenge though, having set himself up with a squad of young talent looking up to him and eager to learn from his experience. ScreaM’s best chances of taking hold of his continued legacy are down to his ability as a teacher, mentor and possibly leader, a role that he has historically rarely had to fulfil.
Moreover, for Fish123 to succeed, ScreaM will either have to reinvent himself into the role of an entry fragger and occasional lurker, which he has impressively displayed during the first two weeks together with the team or will have to help sculpt the team around him with the help of coach Connor "Sliggy" Blomfield.
The departure of Operator specialist Ardis "ardiis" Svarenieks to Fish123’s projected rivals G2 Esports has ripped a hole into the team’s fabric that even hard carry performances by ScreaM have been unable to fill during the initial four matches. A new approach during the WePlay! Invitational will be required and has been hinted at by ec1s.
The overture for this new Fish123 feat. ScreaM roster starts tomorrow against another Prodigy mix, made up of dangerous Russian and French talent at 7 pm BST / 8 pm CEST. A defeat may set the tone for ScreaM’s continued career as an esports professional.
Images via Electronic Sports League