As the spring split approaches, PC Blank has found 4 players that he believes could be strong contenders for MVP of the split. All 4 players have been widely undervalued in the offense or just have a story that needs to be told. Enjoy.
1st DreamHack Winter 2012
2nd IPL Season 5 (2012)
2nd IEM Season VIII Cologone (2013)
1st DreamHack Summer 2013
2nd IEM Season VIII World Championship (2014)
Martin Larsson has been a staple to the European League of Legends community yet has never been widely praised as one of the best, except by Fnatic fans and girls who tweet about wanting to sit on his face. And for the first time since Season 4, Rekkles will be showcased as the face for Fnatic. With Season 7 looming ahead, lets look at Larsson and make the case for why this could be the year of the Swede.
Strengths and Weakness
Martin Larsson has proven himself to be one of the greats yet the community isn't watching. Since his arrival to competitive League of Legends in 2012, he has been a mechanical force that has struggled because of roster implications.
When scouting for someone like Rekkles, you recognize his versatility in the marksman role, most notably the 18 different champions played in his career, with him playing 8 different champions in the summer. His ability to switch off of utility and high damage marksmen has allowed him to be a main stay in the region and given him a step up on carries who are unable to play or refuse to practice a champion. And he has the mechanics to back-up his widespread champion pool, having a 50% win rate on all but 3 champions, two of which have been out of meta. His strong solo queue ladder play has defended his ability to perform in all adaptations of the play.
Where Martin has struggled hasn't been all of his fault.
The biggest blemish on his career was time with Alliance/Elements, in which he was brought on for Tabzz after a disappointing Worlds performance. Rekkles went to the team as a hard-worker wanting to play with Froggen and it didn't seem to work as the Elements squad crumbled in regular season play.
What Froggen and company failed to account for was the vocal leadership of Tabzz on the line-up, the decline in play from Wickd, and Nyph's style of play not matching that of Rekkles. Rekkles, who had worked with vocal leaders and mechanically tuned supports in nRated and YellowStar, faced the problem of having to be a leader in-lane and seemingly collapsed.
And this has translated throughout his career, as he struggled to lane with the likes of Klaj and NoXiAK. While NoXiAK seemed to be benched too soon, both of the players were fairly new to the competitive scene and with Rekkles being given the title of shot-caller, it is understandable why Rekkles had one of his weakest performances of his career--most notably averaging deficits in lane and failing to make a meaningful impact for an overall team performance.
When the Summer of 2016 came along, and YellowStar returned, Rekkles performed up to his previous standards, even with the declining mechanical ability of Bora Kim. And this leads to the assumption that Rekkles needs to be a machine more than a brain for the roster. While other problems occurred, most notably major coaching failures from NicoThePico in preparing the team and the previous mentioned declining performance from YellowStar mechanically and as a shot-caller.
To summarize, Martin Larsson's abilities have been underrated by the community for a fairly long time. His ability to adapt to metas and patches quickly has allowed for him to continue to be performing in the top three for most of his career, despite the outliers of bad seasons. The Blonde Boy Wonder needs to focus on his personal performance rather than being the brain of Fnatic and coaches need to allow him the chance to mechanically out perform.
While NicoThePico somehow remains the coach of Fnatic*, the organization made critical steps in improving their performance, after missing out on Worlds for the first time ever. And they had a lot of problems to fix, but they were fixable, and instead chose to wipe the roster and allow Rekkles to build the team. And he did a very good job.
* I publicly think NicoThePico is a horrible coach and I honestly have no clue how he still has his job with Fnatic. Seriously, he was winless as a coach for Fnatic (0-6), was a "coach" for Origen when they were declining, coached Dignitas (which is just depressing enough). He isn't good.
The roster on paper doesn't look at impressive, as in it isn't a superstar filled line-up that Fnatic has looked to put out when making roster moves (i.e. Spirit). But the roster on paper makes sense.
The choice of Jesiz is extremely underrated as Martin is bringing on exactly what he needs. We remember Jesiz from his time on SK Gaming, when he worked under the wing of a guy named Incarnati0n. And while his mid-lane play wasn't strong, he performed up to standards.
He then went on to do analysis work for Dignitas and Immortals and is returning to the rift for the first time since his substitute game for Dignitas. His analysis work shows he has a mind for the game and with the belief that he will be taking a shot-calling role, as said during Fnatic's Announcement Stream, it will take the vocal pressure off of Rekkles.
The choice of two veterans in the top and jungle role is safe yet functional. sOAZ has made it through time as one of the best in his role but the bigger choice was Amazing. Amazing is a major change from Spirit as his early game pressure as it is more much apparent.
Securing the rookie named Caps, or 'Baby Faker,' is a bold choice as he still has a lot to prove however his skill potential gives hope to the Fnatic line-up.
Overall, I spoke a lot of potential, and Fnatic does have a high win capability. While they do not seem to be an immediate presence against the likes of G2 and Spylce, who made zero roster moves, the re-shaping of all other teams allows them the time they need to make the roster function smoothly. And if the roster works, the credit has to be given to Rekkles for creating the roster.
Even with the discussion of the "weakening" of the marksman role, Rekkles has the adaptability to make the role work for himself and make him one of the League's best.
I've praised Martin Larsson a lot but it is primarily because the distinct dislike of him from the community.
A lot of people see FORG1VEN or Niels as the two greatest marksman in Europe--which is fine because they are extremely talented. However I have to discredit the likes of Niels and FORG1VEN because they simply aren't as valuable.
Nies/Zven has been in the competitive scene for a while yet never broke into the LCS until the Origen came around. And the perfect storm of him being able to play with a support as talented as Mithy makes me question how talented he is as an individual. Or how he would play with another support. He is extremely gifted, however its difficult to comprehend how disappointing he has been for most of his international career and how limited or short his career has been.
Konstantinos Tzortziou is a different beast. He has performed well with most roster situations (except for Gambit, Origen), has forced teams to work around his play however he has shown major limitations in his play style and champion pool. He kind of reminds me of Ronda Rousey, where he can dominate people who aren't very good but struggles when he is forced up against marksman or teams that can contest his style. While he is one of the best, I still don't think it matches what Rekkles has been able to do.
This year will be either the year that proves me right or discredits everything I have said. Rekkles has built a roster that could allow him to be one of the best and now it is time to prove it. No bullshit regarding team environment, no bullshit about the bot-lane. And this may be the perfect split to do so with the major roster moves and shift in marksman strength.
It's time for Superman to get out of the telephone booth.