After starting his Fnatic career on the wrong foot, rookie Mid laner, Rasmus “Caps” Winther’s first competitive split in the EU LCS was set to be a long path towards redemption. Caps established a reputation as an arrogant and toxic player during the off-season, reliant upon his performances on the rift to salvage his professional image. But after being described as Europe’s own ‘Baby Faker’, Caps has failed to deliver consistently.
The start of the season showed a great deal of promise for both Caps and Fnatic. The former Dark Passage youngster had a point to prove as he stepped onto the stage for the highly anticipated clash between Fnatic and G2 eSports, the opening game of the Spring Split. Squaring up against the inconsistent prodigy of 2016, Caps proceeded to steamroll G2’s Luka “PerkZ” Perković, solo killing him twice in dramatic fashion during the second game of the series:
— lolesports (@lolesports) 19 January 2017
With the casting duo understandably hyped after two impressive outplays, Fnatic’s rookie Mid laner basked in the plaudits as EU’s ‘Baby Faker’, expected to achieve greatness as one of the Spring Split’s talents to watch. His play in the opening series of the split certainly showed room for improvement, but every nearly every analyst echoed the excitable game casters:
“Let’s just hope he can grow, let’s hope that this somebody that can bring some additional competition here in Europe.”
Trevor “Quickshot” Henry
Yet as the EU LCS Spring Split has developed, Caps’ performances have mirrored the struggles of the Fnatic organisation, trending downwards as opposed to growing in strength. The team’s internal issues have been widely publicised: ineffective roster swaps, disappointing veteran performances, clueless composition drafts… the list of problems is certainly extensive.
Caps – alongside team captain and consistent performer, Martin “Rekkles” Larsson – was expected to lead from the front for Fnatic, a reliable talent upon which the roster could expect a solid display on a weekly basis. When originally compared to the talent of SK Telecom T1’s Lee “Faker” Sang-hyeok, it is certainly disappointing to see that Caps has not significantly developed his game.
“When I came in first and I played against PerkZ, no-one expected me to do do anything, everyone was trash talking me saying: ‘Caps is so bad, he’s gonna choke on stage’.
“Then there was some fancy moves and everyone was super surprised in a good way – that was really nice.
“But then when I started playing some of the lower tier teams – it’s not that their Mid laners are bad or anything – but they are considered worse in the community’s eyes, which means theres a lot more pressure for me because I feel like I have to get a lead in lane.”
Rasmus “Caps” Winther
The conclusive game in Fnatic’s series defeat to Team ROCCAT served as a microcosm of Caps performances throughout the split: capable of intensive mechanical outplays one moment, inexplicably caught out of position the next. As alluded to in his previous interviews, Caps’ desperation to impress is having adverse effects on his performances; overextending and overcommitting in an attempt to push himself ahead.
On account of Caps’ inconsistency, the expectation has landed squarely on the shoulders of Rekkles, weighing down the Fnatic captain. Whilst the Swede has continued to provide solid contributions from the bot lane, without a strong ally in the Mid lane, Rekkles’ efforts have been in vain.
Whilst Fnatic’s behind the scenes issues will undoubtedly have stunted the growth of the mid lane prodigy, the hype surrounding Caps is fading fast. The title of ‘Baby Faker’ is quickly being erased as Fnatic continue to tally the losses, Caps and co. are looking more likely to fight for survival than for glory.