Martin “Rekkles” Larsson’s went from hero to zero during Rift Rivals. The Fnatic captain and AD carry headed into the inaugural tournament pitched as the west’s greatest in his position, but limped away from the event with his reputation significantly damaged.
Rekkles’ ‘unique’ playstyle has been unmatched so far in the EU LCS Summer Split. Blowing away his regional rivals with his notorious Kennen and Tristana play, Fnatic were expected to treat their North American guests to the same treatment on home soil.
The NA LCS representatives had done their homework however, turning Rekkles’ playstyle against him as the Swedish ADC’s differentiating factor soon became a limiting factor for Fnatic.
Rekkles was unable to recreate the level of impact he had shown throughout the first half of the EU LCS Summer Split during Rift Rivals.
Fnatic’s two wins of the tournament, which came against the rank outsiders Phoenix1, provided Rekkles and support Jesse “Jesiz” Le’s only two highlights of the tournament.
In matches where the duo were faced with a bot lane partnership that had been together for more than three weeks, Fnatic’s pair appeared hopelessly outmatched.
Team SoloMid even went to the trouble of providing Rekkles with his pocket pick Kennen twice, only to humiliate the Fnatic captain on both occasions, spoiling his KDA for good measure.
Rekkles’ KDA, and the emphasis the Fnatic captain placed on preserving his in-game statistics, became a point of contention as the tournament developed.
Team SoloMid AD carry, Yiliang “Doublelift” Peng, was quick to criticise Rekkles’ playstyle ahead of the tournament, labelling the Swede’s farm-heavy, split-push approach as ‘boring’:
“It’s just boring dude, farming for like 50 minutes. I think the best teams in the world, they know how to play fast, and they’ll just punish that.
“It’s all about him split pushing, he’ll have a three level lead on the enemy AD carry, always farming and then going carry build with like Frozen Mallet third item because he has such a big gold lead… I mean I invented that playstyle so it’s going to be free.”
Yiliang “Doublelift” Peng
Doublelift’s claims were initially put down as part of the Rift Rivals trash talk, but there proved to be an incisive element of truth behind the Americans statements.
The holes in Rekkles split push style were indeed exploited at Rift Rivals. Fnatic failed to secure a single lead at the 20 minute mark in the entire tournament, presumably praying that Rekkles’ late game carries would come online later in the game.
Critics of Rekkles would go on to draw comparisons between the Fnatic AD carry and the playstyle of Yiliang “Doublelift” Peng during his Counter Logic Gaming playing days.
Doublelift was historically scrutinised for allowing his teammates to fall around him as he continued to selfishly farm in the side lanes. The parallels to Rekkles certainly seemed reasonable, as the FNC man cowered away from defending his base in a deciding loss to Cloud9:
Fnatic – and by extension, Rekkles’ – performances at Rift Rivals were perhaps the most disappointing aspect of Europe’s Rift Rivals.
Praised and built-up to be a revolutionary play style, the visit of the North American region highlighted Rekkles over-dependance on his off-meta preferences.
Rekkles’ personal figures continue to impress, but it’s important for the Fnatic captain to remember that the most important record will always be whether his team win or lose.