The king struggles in LEC return: Has Rekkles misplaced his spark?

When the title of “LEC G.O.A.T.” comes up normally dialog, solely a few names pop up constantly for League of Legends followers.

Some look to crown the best participant at what many take into account probably the most pivotal position within the recreation, the mid lane. With that line of thought, many land on six-time LEC champion G2 mid laner Rasmus “Caps” Borregaard Winther. Some followers could lean towards longevity at such a excessive degree of play like MAD Lions help Zdravets “Hylissang” Iliev Galabov, who’s been on a beginning tier-one European roster for over eight years. 

But there’s one participant who combines a profitable pedigree in Europe with longevity within the area: AD carry Martin “Rekkles” Larsson, typically often called the “Fnatic King.”

Rekkles hasn’t at all times been part of Fnatic all through his decade-plus enjoying tier one and two League. To begin 2021, Rekkles made one of the crucial surprising selections in skilled League by switching from Fnatic to G2. The transfer was removed from profitable, although, as G2 missed out on the World Championship for the primary time within the org’s historical past. Rekkles then exited the LEC altogether to affix Karmine Corp within the LFL. Even in a much less aggressive league, Rekkles couldn’t elevate Karmine Corp to an LFL championship in both the Spring or Summer Split. In reality, KC didn’t even end high 5 within the 2022 LFL Summer Split and Rekkles as soon as once more grew to become a free agent within the offseason.

Many followers started to fret that one of many titans, the controversial biggest of all time in Europe, may need been dealt the ultimate blow to his skilled profession. That was till Fnatic and Rekkles started to tease a reunion all through the latest offseason, later confirmed by Fnatic in mid-December. As shortly as LEC followers started to look again on Rekkles’ profession with rose-tinted glasses, the hype of his return went into most overdrive. But Rekkles had been out of the LEC for over a 12 months and wasn’t outclassing lower-tier expertise. How properly might he compete within the high European league in opposition to gamers like Comp, Hans sama, and Carzzy?

It felt like a whole lot of the “Rekkles is washed” speak had been drowned out by the general hype of his return to the LEC. In actuality, Rekkles shouldn’t have been placed on this pedestal by followers earlier than even setting foot again on stage. Rarely has a participant ever returned to professional play and instantly appeared like their previous self. If anybody might do it, although, it will be the AD carry king of Europe.

Photo by Michal Konkol through Riot Games

From the small pattern dimension of Rekkles’ first week again within the LEC, the primary two video games had been resounding losses for Fnatic wherein the veteran had a minimal impression. The first recreation in opposition to Vitality noticed Rekkles end with a 1/3/2 scoreline and a measly 23-percent kill participation within the loss, in response to stats website Leaguepedia. The second recreation was even uglier for Fnatic, a 23-minute drubbing by G2 that made the gold and black look fully outclassed. Rekkles was arguably the silver lining for Fnatic with a 3/3/1 Zeri efficiency, however no one will keep in mind that within the grand scheme of the loss.

Through the primary two matches, Rekkles was displaying indicators of a former god on Summoner’s Rift turned human. There is nothing that may cease Rekkles from balling out on stage when locking in Sivir, although. And to keep away from a 0-3 begin for Fnatic, the Swedish marksman did simply that. He produced an ideal 5/0/7 scoreline with 85-percent kill participation and an astounding 10.63 CS-per-minute charge within the win in opposition to KOI. No matter how a lot the playing cards are stacked in opposition to Rekkles, he can flip to Sivir and dominate the sport. 

This left a candy aftertaste to what was total a bitter tablet to swallow for Rekkles’ first week again within the LEC. The innate overreaction to week one of many LEC was that Rekkles is “washed.” There is a powerful quantity of historic proof to help that Rekkles could also be well beyond his prime as properly. Who is aware of how the meta will shift all year long for or in opposition to choosing Sivir, and if Rekkles turns into that reliant on one champion, what’s stopping groups from giving a ban towards it? 

Photo by Michal Konkol through Riot Games

But there are two fundamental points with labeling Rekkles “washed” or “past his prime” primarily based simply on the primary week of the season. Out of all LEC groups in week one, Fnatic had far and away the toughest schedule to kick off their season. Facing one of many LEC powerhouses in G2 of their second recreation of the Winter Split is tough, to not point out their day one opponent Vitality, who ended the week undefeated at 3-0. The one staff Fnatic did beat was KOI, who’re the Rogue roster from final 12 months beneath a brand new org with out Odoamne. 

Unfortunately for Fnatic and Rekkles, the staff solely secured one different win within the 2023 LEC Winter Split common season. Fnatic completed with a 2-7 report, one win away from an opportunity on the group stage.

What’s actually intriguing concerning the horrible cut up for Fnatic, although, is Rekkles had good performances in a few of the staff’s losses. In a loss to Team Heretics, Rekkles completed 8/2/4 within the contest and was simply merely outscaled by Jackspektra’s Zeri within the 40-minute battle. In Fnatic’s loss to MAD Lions, Rekkles was a deathless 3/0/1 whereas ending up over 30 CS on Carzzy.

But when trying again on the season as a complete, Rekkles definitely underperformed in comparison with the remainder of the LEC’s AD carries. The veteran had 26 kills, 17 deaths, and 28 assists all through the 2023 LEC Winter Split, in response to League stats website Oracle’s Elixir. This resulted in him posting a 3.2 KDA, tied with Astralis’ Kobbe for the third-lowest mark within the LEC. Interestingly sufficient, after his “Rekkles-esque” almost good efficiency on Sivir in week one, the Swedish marksmen didn’t log a single recreation on Sivir the remainder of the cut up.

The worst half about Fnatic’s cut up was they’d management of their future however didn’t beat Astralis within the last week of the common season. After a loss to SK Gaming, Astralis completed one spot above them to maneuver on to teams. In these last two matches, Rekkles was a quiet 2/6/1, failing to step up as he has traditionally to push Fnatic into the playoffs, or the group stage on this LEC format.

Now it has solely been one LEC cut up thus far, a shorter one in comparison with previous splits at that. But there’s one participant who has a ton of comparisons to Rekkles throughout the pond. Doublelift additionally struggled out the gate in his return to the LCS, however the one distinction is that DL has seemingly already discovered his previous kind. A 2-0 second week for 100 Thieves behind Doublelift’s stellar two video games on Zeri boasting a 17/3/12 stat line has shortly hushed any haters. That’s already as many wins as Fnatic earned all Winter Split in a single slate of LCS matches.

It’s clearly onerous to return to tier-one skilled League and instantly carry out properly. Any high-level aggressive recreation or sport is tough to come back again to after a hiatus. The downside is esports groups are a few of the most cutthroat companies on the market, and a historic org like Fnatic may have many calling for modifications already.

League followers might be rash and fast to guage, particularly on social media. After week one, the alarm bells went off too all of a sudden with such a small pattern dimension. But now, after one in all Fnatic’s worst single splits in org historical past, these blaring sirens are even louder. There’s no denying that the previous four-time LEC champ is just not on the identical degree followers have develop into so used to, and with all of the backlash, Rekkles’ leash is getting shorter and shorter by the minute. Who is aware of what number of extra pictures Rekkles will get in what might be his last probability within the LEC. 

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