Many distraught figures were cut as the League of Legends 2017 World Championship drew to a close. As team after team was culled, the dreams and hard work of countless players lay shattered around them.
Yet no image seemed as distressing, as uncomfortable to watch and as deserving of all sympathy, as that of Martin “Rekkles” Larsson; left broken and inconsolable as Fnatic were sent home in the quarterfinals.
Questioned by fellow professionals for his emotional display, as his teammates went to take their bows and accept the applause of the Chinese crowd, Rekkles was left in grief as he was in-game, abandoned.
Few scenes are as poignant as that of the Fnatic team smiling and waving, as Rekkles weeps for another lost season, another failure.
It is easy to keep your emotions in balance when you have nothing to lose but when the pressure of an entire franchise is resting upon your shoulders, it’s understandable that the pressure could begin to take its toll.
It is potentially this element that resulted in such an emotional display from the Fnatic captain. Tasked with carrying his team forwards, ultimately the challenge proved too great for the Swede.
There are star players on every team, but no one person should ever have to be solely responsible for the form of their team, for the outcome of every game, to be the only one answerable to the record, because they were the only one capable of bringing victory.
At best it is poor player management by the Fnatic franchise, at worst a cynical disregard for player welfare, in a gamble for future success.
Perhaps it is now time for Rekkles to sever his ties with an organization which appears to cause considerable damage to his state of mind.
The European AD carry may well benefit from a move to a team where in which he can both flourish with players of equal skill around him, but also relax in the knowledge that he will no longer be left to fight the season-long battles alone.
Almost any global organization would jump at the opportunity to sign a man who could be thought of as Europe’s greatest ever AD carry, a consistently top performer and a player with many years left in him before retirement, but most of all, a player not satisfied by domestic titles, but hungry for global success.
What Rekkles must avoid at all costs, however, is the lure of promises to have a whole team build around him, for in practice that is what he has now at Fnatic.
Rekkles has had the pressures of solo-carrying placed upon him for too long, and as seen from this World Championships, has taken that strategy as far as he can.
Rekkles has the ability to dominate the international stage, but he must leave Fnatic to do it.