Failure is harsh - and in the pro scene, defeat is equivalent to failure. Although every professional player gives it their best to win, esports is, in the end, a competition; where there is a winner, there’s always a loser. A victory that follows hard work is ever so sweet, but a defeat following hard work can leave an indelible scar.
Fnatic’s star bottom laner Rekkles was no exception to this harsh principle. This LoL superstar couldn’t help but break into tears after experiencing failure in the 2014 World Championship. His tears might have been a result of his frustration towards the team’s defeat, or he might have been overly stressed to see his hard work amount to no more than a might-have-been.
2014 Worlds - Hard-fought but undeniable defeat
The year 2014 was full of ups and downs for the 17-year old Rekkles. Although he wasn’t able to participate in the LCS due to age limitations in 2013, he got a chance to perform in front of the world the following year. After Fnatic finished 2nd in the 2014 Spring Regular Split and 1st in the Playoffs, they successfully maintained their performance in the Summer as well. After finishing 2nd in both the Summer Regular Split and the Playoffs, Rekkles and his team finally made it to the Worlds stage. Though Rekkles was still a newcomer, many fans actually placed higher expectations on him than ‘Tabbz’, who was the ADC of the EU first place seed team, Alliance.
In the 2014 Worlds, Fnatic clashed with the LCK’s Samsung Blue and the LPL’s OMG in Groups. The odds weren’t favorable for Fnatic; most of the other regions had a hard time going against LCK and LPL teams. It was a time when the phrase, ‘the gap is closing’ was never spoken in earnest. Although it seemed Fnatic would not get through Groups, they still made a huge upset by defeating one of the best teams in 2014, Samsung Blue.
▲ Source: LeagueofLegends.pl YouTube Channel
Despite their high hopes, Fnatic failed to get out of Groups with a record of 2W/4L. Although they did win against Samsung Blue, their 2014 Worlds came to an early end. The loss against OMG on September 27, 2014, seemed to hit Rekkles especially hard. In that game, both teams slew a total of 7 Drakes and 5 Barons; it was a highly competitive game that lasted until the 71-minute mark. After OMG stopped a series of backdoor attempts by Fnatic, they finally turned the tables after a huge teamfight victory.
The Fnatic players were in a deep vein of sadness after the loss. Rekkles, in particular, seemed to be having a hard time pulling himself together; the young player couldn’t help but shed a few tears. It clearly showed how much the word ‘defeat’ meant to the pro players. This young and talented 17-year old player’s first Worlds experience ended in a hard-fought but undeniable defeat.
4 years later - Now aiming for the Worlds trophy
Once the 2014 Worlds was over, Rekkles left Fnatic. However, after a short absence, he came back to his old team. Upon his return, Fnatic offered full-hearted support by providing a 3-year contract to their former player. After re-joining Fnatic, Rekkles started to visit Korea after every split. He sometimes came with his team and at other times he visited alone. Whether alone or accompanied, his goal in Korea was always the same; practice in a better environment to boost his performance.
Finally, after 4 long years of hard work, his frustration from 2014 may finally see some catharsis in 2018. Rekkles was named MVP with an exceptional 31.5 KDA in the 2018 EU LCS Spring Playoffs and remained tenacious in the Summer Split as well. Although their mid laner Caps became the key player for the team, Rekkles was always a reliable player throughout the split. As a result, Fnatic made it into Worlds 2018 as an EU 1st-seed team.
In this Worlds, Fnatic was in the same group with the LPL’s iG and NA LCS’ 100 Thieves. Going into the tournament, they were expected to advance to the Quarterfinals in 2nd place. However, they finished their Groups in 1st place with a record of 5W/1L. Their 2 wins against iG were indeed one of the highlights for Fnatic in this year’s Worlds.
After gaining momentum from the Group Stage, they also defeated EDG in the Quarterfinals with a set score of 3:1. In the Semis, they shut down C9 3:0.
Fnatic becoming a ‘Finals’ contender mainly came from their mid-jungle dominance. With Caps-Broxah proving their hyper-carry abilities, they earned a reputation as some of the best players in the 2018 Worlds.
Rekkles also was consistent throughout the tournament. He died only once in the Quarterfinals series against EDG, and twice during the Semis against C9. His DPM is currently at 551, a level higher than the tournament average. (2018 Worlds DPM average: 526.3)
The most astonishing part is his KDA. Rekkles currently boasts a KDA of 12.58; his average deaths per game is lower than 1. On his signature champion Sivir, his KDA is an astounding 69.98 (K 4.0 / D 0.2 / A 7.7). His win rate on her is 100%. He is not only strong with Sivir, but has also delivered some outstanding performance with Xayah and Ezreal in this year’s Worlds.
Rekkles is no longer just a young prospect; he is a veteran ADC that is the main shot-caller and a mid-late game carry of a Finals team. With the most crucial element of ‘experience’ now on his side, he is currently a Finals contender aiming for the Worlds trophy.