LEC 2021: G2 Rekkles, Betrayal, and the Will to Win

League of Legends. Photo Courtesy of Riot Games.
League of Legends. Photo Courtesy of Riot Games. /

Rekkles has joined G2 in search of Worlds title.

Martin “Rekkles” Larsson is without question a top contender for the best western AD Carry of all time. His resume is second to none among his rivals in the LEC, and on par with some of the best AD carries in the world. Over his 13-split career with the Fnatic organization, Rekkles has been a champion four times (with many more finals appearances), three EU LCS MVP awards, and appeared in the World Championship Grand Finals in 2018.

No player has played for longer or accomplished more with Fnatic than Rekkles. This is why the news he would be leaving Fnatic to join their main rival G2 sent shockwaves through the LEC.

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His departure has completely shifted the balance of power in the league. While G2 has been the presumptive favorites since Spring 2019, Fnatic was always a competitive team challenging their supremacy. Multiple best-of-five series went to five games and Fnatic even defeated G2 in the LEC playoffs winner’s semifinal in Summer 2020.

Rekkles’ consequential decision has seen him be labeled a traitor, a snake, bandwagoner, and everything in between. Are these criticisms and others like them fair? Is what Rekkles did so clearly wrong? To answer these questions honestly, we must examine the situation in both the literal (what makes the most sense) and the abstract (what feels right).

Having been removed from the initial announcement for over a month a few key details have come to light. The first of which undoubtedly gives credence to Rekkles’ critics, which is that Rekkles himself told Fnatic management he would re-sign with the organization. Obviously, this did not happen which leads many to compare it to when NBA superstar Kevin Durant told his teammate Russell Westbrook the day before he left the Oklahoma City Thunder he planned to re-sign.

The next point of anger was Fnatic’s willingness to let Rekkles leave. While Fnatic management has played the victims this offseason in regard to both Perkz and Rekkles, in both cases they were unwilling to pay either player anywhere near the money they received from other teams; despite Fnatic making Rekkles the largest offer in franchise history. It then seems clear that both Rekkles and Fnatic management did not live up to their end of the bargain during the offseason.

Another issue fans have is, like Kevin Durant and OKC, Rekkles and FNC appeared to be able to defeat G2. While G2 is clearly a more talented team, Fnatic routinely posed the biggest challenge and remained competitive with them despite less talent in most of the major positions.

Not only this, but Fnatic nearly defeated the LPL champion Top Esports in the quarterfinals of the World Championship. On both a domestic and international level Fnatic was competitive. This makes Rekkles’s move to G2 even more unsavory when you look at things in the abstract.

While his chances to win an LEC title and a World title are worse on Fnatic than on G2, the accomplishments he does make will mean that much more. Taking TES to five games impressed more people than G2 making the semifinals. Fnatic taking G2 to Game 5 in 2019 impressed a lot of people. Making it out of the Group of Death at the 2019 World Championship was a huge accomplishment. While the last two years of the G2 era have not netted Rekkles any MVP’s or trophies, he has accomplished a lot and has seen many who doubted him in the past praise him.

Kevin Durant winning his first NBA Title in 2017 as a member of the Golden State Warriors meant so much less than if he had accomplished it with the Thunder. But Rekkles had won domestic titles before, he had been to a Worlds Grand Final before, the is only one prize left for his trophy case.

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Without question, G2 is the best place for Rekkles to win Worlds. As previously mentioned, the deal he reached with G2 also pays him far more than what he was making on Fnatic. It seems like from Rekkles’ position he got the best of both worlds out of this deal. And yet therein lies the dual nature of this deal.

If Rekkles wins anything from here on it will mean very little; after all, he joined the four-time LEC champions. The only accomplishment that joining G2 will “redeem” Rekkles is if he manages to be the first western AD to win Worlds. Anything less is a mere drop in the bucket. Even making the grand finals might not be enough of an accomplishment considering how unbelievably stacked G2 has become.

Rekkles made the best decision, but did he make the right one?