Luka “Perkz” Perković’s departure from G2 Esports is the biggest move of the League of Legends esports offseason. Perkz is reportedly eyeing a formal return to the mid lane position with Cloud9 in the League of Legends Championship Series, and G2 will have to replace a starting player for the first time in two years.
Perkz and G2 Esports accomplished many things together, and finding a suitable replacement for the former franchise face is an unenviable task. However, there are a few options that stand out from other available players who are best suited to take Perkz’s place. Let’s take a look at a few of these potential options and evaluate the potential value and likelihood of G2 Esports signing one of these three players.
Juš "Crownshot" Marušič
|SK Crownshot — 2020 LEC Summer Split|
SK Gaming established itself as a contender in the LEC this season, and a major factor in the team’s improvement was the development and facilitation of Crownshot’s talents. Once a bright spot on a struggling SK Gaming, Crownshot was the ace of the new version of the team that started off strong in the LEC Summer Split and qualified for the post-season.
However, SK has not re-signed Crownshot since its elimination from the LEC Summer Playoffs, and the sharpshooter became a free agent on Nov. 16.
Crownshot has far less experience than Perkz, and while he would be considered a downgrade, it’s important to remember Perkz did not become a world class AD carry in a day. Perkz improved throughout 2019, and it’s easy to imagine Crownshot reaching a new peak of his own on the star-studded G2 Esports roster.
Crownshot would also be a relatively affordable option, but if Perkz’ buyout was anywhere close to the reported $5 million, G2 Esports won’t be looking at anything below the top shelf. Crownshot is a strong European AD carry and should find himself on a strong LEC team before the start of the season, but it is unlikely that team ends up being G2. Unless...
Martin "Rekkles" Larsson
|FNC Rekkles — 2020 LEC Summer Split|
Alarm bells went off in every Fnatic fan’s brain when Rekkles entered free agency, and for good reason. Outside of the 2015 EU LCS Spring Split, Rekkles has spent the entirety of his near-decade-long career in the orange and black. Rekkles has mentioned time and time again that it is his wish to retire in a Fnatic jersey, but that hasn’t stopped him from testing the waters of free agency at the very least.
Reactions to Rekkles’ free agency have ranged from speculation to outright blind faith that Rekkles is signing with G2 Esports. On paper, a G2 with Rekkles could rival the previous gold standard of western League of Legends that was G2 Esports’ 2019 team, but the team’s chemistry would certainly change upon adding a player with the conviction and passion of Rekkles.
Similar to TSM AD carry Yiliang “Doublelift” Peng, Rekkles has been a player with teams built around him for the majority of his career. A transition to G2 Esports might not be the perfect plug-and-play replacement, and if it was, it would still take the squad a while to gel after playing with Perkz for such a long time.
It’s also possible — and perhaps most likely — that Rekkles is entering free agency for leverage and attempting to secure a better offer from Fnatic than he may have initially received. If G2 Esports is in the hunt for Rekkles, it absolutely puts the pressure on Fnatic to retain its star captain, and by extension, its status as a legitimate challenge to G2 Esports. Rekkles is more likely to sign with G2 Esports than Crownshot, but odds are he will remain with Fnatic for the foreseeable future.
UPDATE 11/18: Fnatic has since confirmed that Rekkles will be leaving the team, making him joining G2 Esports way more likely.
Elias "Upset" Lipp
|OG Upset — 2020 LEC Summer Split|
Since arriving on the scene with FC Schalke 04 Esports in the 2017 EU LCS Spring Split, Upset has established himself as one of the best AD carries in the region. Upset was the beating heart of S04 for the first three years of his career, and was signed by Origen for the 2020 season.
Upset was signed to help turn Origen around after a mid-summer collapse following a strong spring outing, and sure enough, Origen enjoyed a top 4 finish in the 2020 LEC Spring Playoffs. However, history repeated itself, and Origen was the first team eliminated in Europe after finishing 10th in the Summer Split, at no fault of Upset individually.
This off-season, Astralis retired the Origen brand and signed an entirely new squad instead, throwing all of its other players, Upset included, into free agency. Upset is without a doubt one of the most talented free agents in the LEC market, and checks many boxes for G2 Esports in context of a potential Perkz replacement.
Upset has been playing at a high level for the entirety of his career — oftentimes, on teams far inferior to G2. In addition, when G2 did not have a formal substitute for the required six-man roster at the 2017 Mid-Season Invitational, Upset was loaned by Schalke to serve as the team’s substitute. Upset doesn't possess the personal ties to any organization that Rekkles does to Fnatic, and his eccentricity would hypothetically mesh with G2's culture better than Rekkles' trademark stoicism.
Upset might not be able to match Perkz in legacy or accomplishments, but since Perkz' transition to the AD carry role for G2 Esports, Upset has spent the majority of that time right alongside Perkz in conventional marksmen strengths.
The bot lane mages that gave Perkz his unique mid-lane-transplant edge in 2019 are far less prevalent in the current meta than before, and the convention of Upset's playstyle could even end up being a boon for G2 should he join the team.
In a world where G2 Esports can choose either Rekkles or Upset, one has to imagine Rekkles would be preferred. However, due to Rekkles’ legacy with Fnatic combined with Upset’s ability, availability, and previous experience with G2 Esports, the scenario where Upset replaces Perkz is the most likely outcome.
*All stats provided by Oracle's Elixir*
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