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Rekkles: The Swedish Force of Nature | A League of Legends Portrait

Wed, 25 Nov 2020 13:50:00 GMT

A crowd favorite who played for Fnatic before the EU LCS was founded. Captain, title collector, star player: Rekkles is the constant in the European League of Legends scene. And it all began with a shattered dream.

As a young teenager, Martin Larsson aspired to a career as a professional - but not in the field of eSports, but rather as a classic footballer. Born in 1996, the Swede had what it takes to make it all the way to the top, until a knee injury thwarted his plans.

During his long break from injury, the then 14-year-old discovered League of Legends and it quickly became apparent that, in addition to his footballing talent, there was also a large portion of the skills he needed to compete with the best of the best in eSports.

After Rekkles was able to convince at smaller tournaments with different teams, Fnatic became aware of the 16-year-old in 2012. The Swede was suddenly in the starting line-up and was able to compete with the world's best. The fact that the EU LCS was founded in 2013 meant a setback for the youngest player in the LoL pro circus. Because according to the regulations, Rekkles was simply too young to be allowed to compete.

So the former bot laner switched to the Copenhagen Wolves on loan to gain experience and match practice alongside other talents. The young team dominated the challenge scene, which is why Rekkles immediately returned to his old regular position at Fnatic at the beginning of 2014 after the loan expired.

The success story initially took off: the Swede and his team won the title in the EU LCS debut season and was named Playoffs MVP. After that, however, things went downhill. Fnatic lost to Alliance in the final of the Summer Split 2014 and did not look too good in the following Worlds either. And when the team suddenly began to disintegrate, Rekkles also took the emergency exit and switched to league rival Alliance (later renamed Elements).

While the bill with his new team didn't work out at all - Elements disappointed across the board and had to struggle with the departures of important players - Fnatic presented itself with new staff in old strength. Of course, the former employer did not miss the fact that one of the best players on the continent was unhappy with his situation: When Fnatic offered the Swede in the early summer of 2015 to bring him back on board, Rekkles accepted immediately.

The AD Carry convinced from then on with strong performances and a spectacular style of play. Fnatic finished the following summer split with a record of 18-0 and reached the semi-finals as part of the Worlds 2015. As in the previous year, the team then had to cope with personnel changes: three important players moved to North America, and in particular the departure of YellOwStaR finally moved Rekkles into the role of leader.

The new squad was not nearly as strong as hoped. At the same time, a new power rose in Europe with G2 Esports, which Fnatic was initially unable to counter. In 2016, they neither reached a final in the EU LCS, nor could they qualify for the Worlds – a real low point in the long relationship between Rekkles and Fnatic had been reached. At the end of the year, when all the permanent staff except for the Swedes ran away, it looked to many fans as if the Fnatic era was over.

Fortunately, one of the talented signings was named Caps and it hit like a bomb. The newly put together team achieved more than just respectable successes: In the 2017 Spring and Summer Split they reached the semi-finals of the EU LCS. It was much more important that the qualification for the Worlds still succeeded.

Fnatic had to accept four defeats in a row at the beginning of the group phase and seemed to have already been eliminated, but they managed to miraculously enter the quarter-finals. It later became clear that this would mark a major turning point in the history of Fnatic and Rekkles.

Although they were eliminated from China's then model team Royal Never Give Up around superstar Uzi, the belief in being able to defeat anything and everyone was born. In addition, Rekkles finally took the step to become the leader, the captain, whom the team can pull themselves up on in almost any situation.

2018 was a fairytale. Fnatic won both European titles, moved into the Worlds playoffs as group winners and rolled over Cloud9 like a force of nature in the semifinals. Only in the final did Invictus Gaming show the Europeans the limit, but even the entry into the final round, which had always been dominated by Koreans in previous years, was a huge success. A success of which Rekkles, together with Caps, was able to book the largest share.

With the departure of the Dane, the balance of power shifted again in the direction of G2. In 2019 and 2020, most of the European fans turned their focus to the new Caps team, while Rekkles and his teammates only played second fiddle. When Mid laner Perkz left G2 Esports to join Cloud9 in November 2020, Europe's biggest team needed a new strong player with international experience. Rekkles agreed to leave Fnatic to chase his big dream: Winning Worlds.

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