We aren’t at the end of the New Challengers Stage yet, but there are certain conclusions that appear to be solidifying in the ether of the IEM Katowice Major. One of those is that regardless of budget, right now it seems impossible to run a major esports event without a tech hitch, as Valve could attest to themselves after TI8, and the other is that French CSGO is undergoing a changing of the guard.
This isn’t the first time that has appeared to be the case of course, with many greats already having come and gone in Gallic gunplay, but the generation of greats still lauded by Launders and the like are losing their joie de vivre, or at least that’s how it seems. And sorry to Launders, he’s just one of many that love to watch shox and kennyS go off, and his name scanned nicely.
At the halfway stage of the New Challengers Stage, and the statistics are not looking good for the old guard. The rise of ZywOo is well documented to this point, and the new French sniper on the block is certainly talented, but the contrast with the ‘accepted’ king of the big green guns throws light on just how long some names have been living on their reputation, and failing to deliver to the level they previously would have done.
Over the last six months or so, kennyS has played 118 maps to ZywOo’s 120, with a degree of difference between their stats over that period. There may be slightly different levels of competition faced, but then again it’s not like G2 have been playing in the last four of massive events either, so we can at least get a rough estimation of the way they have performed for their teams.
As you can see from the stats, with kenny shown above, over the last six months or so kennyS has been severely outperformed by his younger compatriot, to the point you’d actually question anyone who told you the former is the legend and ZywOo is nothing more than an upstart with few titles beneath his belt. In terms of their time in Katowice, ZywOo is also outperforming old killer Ken, with a k/d of 1.44 to kennyS’s 1.12, and 87.5ADR vs kenny’s 69.8.
Now, we should point out that Kenny is only 23, meaning that he has plenty of years ahead of him and in theory could even reach a new peak, but he’s equally been around for a long, long time, and is being paid a massive amount of money to not win. The same goes for many of the old guard, like shox, ScreaM, Happy and others, who have had complicated if lucrative relationships with CSGO, and seem to have lost the burning desire to dominate that made them so great at the start.
We're not trying to write them off, and with the investment in French esports there is room for more than one top, top team, but it’s edifying at least to see pressure applied. For years kennyS and shox lived on their legends, and massive skill, safe in the knowledge you ‘had’ to have them if you wanted to win it with Frenchies, but that is no longer the case, and that can only be good for CSGO in France, Europe, and beyond.