Gaming Paradise, Counter-Strike’s famous tournament failure of 2015, was anything but a loss for a young Adil “ScreaM” Benrlitom and a hot Team Kinguin.
Rather, it was the perfect moment to showcase what they were truly capable of, as they took down powerhouse teams in the upper bracket like Natus Vincere and Titan Esports to make it to the grand final. After just 27 rounds of Counter-Strike and 19 kills from ScreaM, Team Kinguin were crowned the champions.
It was the first marquee moment of a career that has now turned to VALORANT, Riot Games’ first-person tactical shooter, and Champions, the first world championship for the esport.
ScreaM started his professional career during Counter-Strike: Source, with his first LAN at EPS France VIII in 2010. His team, redLine, placed second overall at the event and, later that year, ScreaM would place second again during EPS France Season IX under LORD.
“I learned about ScreaM when I started out playing Counter-Strike myself in Counter-Strike: Source,” Counter-Strike analyst and former professional player Jacob “Pimp” Winneche said. “He had this unique style, always head-shotting people, always trying to one-tap people. He had this clean, clinical aim that we know ScreaM for today. He has actually been on my radar for quite some time. He was like me. We were roughly the same age, and he was a guy that you would look up to and try to imitate some of the stuff that he was doing.”
At the end of 2012, Counter-Strike: Global Offensive was announced, giving ScreaM another opportunity to showcase his skills. At just 18 years old, ScreaM climbed his way through different open qualifiers and landed spots on several teams to find success. His first big hit in CS:GO came with VeryGames at the ESL Major Series One Summer, where he and his squad took down Virtus.pro in the final. VeryGames also won the fall edition of that event, and ScreaM seemed ready for the next step of his career.
After that early success, though, ScreaM struggled to find a permanent home.
When ScreaM joined G2 Esports in early 2016, his legacy began to solidify. It was on that team that he saw glimpses of greatness including their victory at the Esports Championship Series Season 1 in 2016, their runner-up finishes at ESL Pro League Season 3 and StarLadder i-League StarSeries Season 2, and, finally, their top 16 finish at ESL One: Cologne 2016.
After leaving G2 Esports in 2017, ScreaM started the next chapter in his career by playing with Team Envy. Despite coming off a successful 2016 with G2 Esports, ScreaM’s time with Envy was much less notable than when he was with G2 Esports. The team placed top-five at ELEAGUE CS:GO Premier at the end of 2017, but that was the highest prize pool that ScreaM took home on Team Envy.
When ScreaM eventually left Envy in 2018, he was thrown into the Tier 2 level of professional Counter-Strike. He saw varied success in smaller tournaments but wouldn’t compete in another premier event for the remainder of his career in Counter-Strike.
Transferring to VALORANT
In 2020, Riot Games’ hit FPS title VALORANT was released, and with it came the launch of small online tournaments. ScreaM bounced between several teams in the early days of VALORANT esports by competing in European tournaments. It wasn’t until he joined fish123 that his talents were brought to the forefront of VALORANT esports. Fish123 were seen as an underdog team in the minor league tournaments they competed in. But, when they came in second to G2 Esports at the WePlay! Invitational, that all changed.
Just four months after making the switch from Counter-Strike to VALORANT, ScreaM joined Team Liquid alongside his teammates from fish123. Team Liquid saw varied success in Europe, but beating Fnatic during VALORANT Champions Tour 2021: EMEA Stage 2 Challengers Finals showed that Liquid could be contenders on a world stage.
“I miss the CS community,” ScreaM said on an episode of Showstopper. “I miss the game as well because it has been there my whole life. I enjoy it a lot; it’s my favorite game. I didn’t expect VALORANT to take over CS in my heart.”
ScreaM was a force to be reckoned with on Team Liquid at Masters Reykjavík, but those talents were challenged by North America. At the time, ScreaM was playing a mixture of Phoenix and Sage, which was meta during the event. Despite losing to North American team Version1 on the opening day of Masters Reykjavík, ScreaM had a 1.29 K/D (kills/deaths) with over 60 kills in his first series. After being sent to the lower bracket, Team Liquid were eventually eliminated by Fnatic to finish fourth overall at the first international LAN. However, even with Team Liquid losing early on in Iceland, ScreaM showcased what he was capable of on agents that were considered more passive like Sage.
Winning alongside his brother
Team Liquid recently acquired ScreaM’s younger brother Nabil “Nivera” Benrlitom before competing in the EMEA Last-Chance Qualifier. With Nivera taking over a Sentinel role for the team, older brother ScreaM got more freedom to play aggressively on duelist agents including Reyna and Jett, and Liquid qualified for Champions.
“I considered joining a team, not Liquid, like FPX or another random team, and when I told [Scream] he said, ‘No, no, no. Just play with me,'” Nivera told Upcomer on Showstopper. “He panicked, like we are brothers. I guess it was good for me to wait.”
The LCQ was the first time that ScreaM and Nivera landed on a professional team together after both retiring from Counter-Strike. Now, the duo is looking to take the VALORANT world by storm at Champions. This will be ScreaM’s second international LAN tournament and will give him the opportunity to take revenge on the teams that helped eliminate Team Liquid from Masters Reykjavík.
VALORANT Champions begins on Dec. 1 with the group stage of the event in Berlin, Germany. Team Liquid is in Group B alongside the no. 1 seed from NA with Sentinels and LATAM teams FURIA Esports and KRÜ Esports.
Danny Appleford is an esports journalist for Upcomer that started writing for Daily Esports in 2020. He now specializes in articles surrounding League of Legends, Call of Duty, VALORANT and Halo.