in2LOL Interviews Rekkles
posted by Catterick, 326 days agoAt the age of 14, Martin 'Rekkles' Larsson was an aspiring football (soccer) player growing up in the small city of Älvängen, just outside Gothenburg, Sweden. He always had a good sense of teamwork, and if things turned out differently, he could well be on the way to being a world class defender.
Then came that fateful day: a heavy collision with the opposition goalkeeper which caused his left leg to get stuck and twisted. What followed was 6 months of rehabilitation, 2 months on crutches and then another whole year before he was anywhere near 100% again. It was during this time that a friend introduced him to games like DotA, HoN and most importantly, League of Legends.
By the age of 15, Rekkles was on a plane to New York to compete as a substitute for Team BLACK at the MLG Summer Arena. What a difference a year makes....
After the retirement of Manuel 'Lamia' Mildenberger as AD carry of Fnatic, Rekkles was brought in as a replacement and was undoubtedly a big factor in Fnatic's resurgence towards the end of 2012. However, with the Season 3 ruling that all players must be over the age of 17, Rekkles was once again faced with another setback, and removed from the team and placed him into the "Fnatic Academy". He took the time to speak to in2LOL about the newest addition to Fnatic, his rise in the competitive scene, what exactly is the "Fnatic Academy".
What are your thoughts on YellOwStar replacing you on Fnatic?
Martin 'Rekkles' Larsson: I think YellOwStar is one of the better choices. Even though he may not be the most dedicated nor best mechanically, he fits really well and the team feels comfortable with him. Also, the 2 negatives I just mentioned can be improved upon, which makes him a great choice for the future.
Being paid is a huge motivator, do you think that could motivate YellOwStar?
I think the possibility to have gaming as a job through qualifying for Season 3 is very attractive for players of all teams, especially for people that may have stopped their education to give gaming a chance as a full-time job, such as members in Fnatic including YellOwStar. That's why I think he will be really excited for the future. But I really hope everyone in the team, not just YellOwStar, keeps the dedication up if they qualify and don't let it fall down to the ground because they feel safe with the salary and such.
You gained a lot of recognition from your performance with Fnatic at IPL 5 but you had previously subbed for Team BLACK at MLG Summer Arena. How was your experience at these 2 big offline events?
At IPL 5, I think the team was at a point where everyone wanted to prove themselves to the community. I wanted to show that I could compete with the best, and the others wanted to show that Fnatic was back at the top. We succeeded in this mission by finishing second against World Elite, which I'm personally really proud of because honestly I think they deserved the win. At this point I was really feeling the flow, which I didn't at my first big event: MLG Summer Arena in August with Team BLACK, where the team was pretty much put together 3 days before traveling. Although we ended up getting crushed in all the games, I don't think anyone in the team regretted going, because it was really good experience. It was the first big event for me, and a good opportunity to show yourself to the community as an individual player.
How did you make it to a LAN event as a 15 year old?
Yeah, that was the point where my parents understood the seriousness in gaming. At first they had major doubts about sending me over the Atlantic "alone", but luckily Team BLACK consisted of 2 other Swedish players, FatMamma and Alvik. My parents talked to them and finally after some work, they were convinced to let me go. After watching the tournament from home they also realised the seriousness that could be brought to gaming, which was kind of the starting point for me.
With FatMamma being a Swedish support player, do you guys ever duo queue together?
For a while we actually did, even after they brought back the main roster after MLG Summer Arena. After a while we kind of let go of each other, mostly because we didn't really have anything to play for except for fun and individual skill improvement and he had his main roster AD to play with as well.
Was it easier to convince your parents to let you go to LAN events after MLG Summer Arena?
Yeah, mostly because I went to MLG Summer Arena my parents were already aware of my interests and supported me in my gaming career, so it was not that hard to convince them. Although Fnatic demanded more: bootcamp etc. which made me suffer a bit in school. But I took the responsibility from my principal and parents that I would manage to balance it, and it worked out great in the end.
You joined Fnatic near the end of November, which was after the Season 2 Regionals. The team knew they were already in the S3 Qualifiers, so when did they find out about the age restriction?
Basically, a lot of huge teams had their eye on me when I turned 16 in September because that was the age set for tournaments like Gamescom and ECC Poland. Then all of a sudden they announced that you had to be 17 for Season 3 which made all of these teams, including Fnatic, let me go, since they knew I wouldn't be eligible. But Fnatic still had some tournaments lined up, and no AD Carry, so we talked and I contacted Enrique 'xPeke' about playing at Dreamhack Winter for them. We agreed and ended up winning it, which kind of snowballed to the point where I got a contract. They knew already that I probably wasn't going to be able to play in Season 3, since Riot had clear rules. It made a harsh situation for both Fnatic and myself: They'd only have a short time to practice with the new AD carry, and my dreams got shut down. For only a while hopefully...
Do you know if Fnatic tried to talk to Riot about these US labour laws, or was it just a flat no?
We all tried: me, my parents, Fnatic's management, but Riot was very clear that no exceptions could be made.
This isn't the end with your relationship with Fnatic. You're now in the 'Fnatic Academy' for Season 3. How did this get formed, and whose idea was it?
My relationship will probably not end here, because we all had the idea of a B-team, so to speak, which would contain players at a high level who could substitute for any of the players in the main team, at any time. This idea came from all the players along with the management, mostly because in Season 3 most teams are picking up substitutes. It makes a B-team a great idea, and also keeps me involved.
The academy team, which i think is a very un-appropriate name because people think that it's like a guide team where I'll teach people how to become better, is not necessarily the idea. The idea is not about having people below the age limit either, it's instead more about getting players that can keep up with the main team and substitute, assuming they qualify for Season 3 of course.
Will this team compete on the challenger circuit?
This team will most likely, or most certainly depending if it works out, compete in the amateur league circuit and hopefully dominate it as well with me as a leader. Then the players in the B-team always have the chance of getting into the A-team if someone is lacking a bit. You've always got someone to cover, which is why the idea is so great.
Have you been scouting potential players for "Fnatic B"?
Yeah, I've got some players in mind that probably would fit really well. Although, some of the players are in the Season 3 Qualifiers, which makes me unable to complete the team at the moment.
I guess it's hard to make a direct comparison as you'll be playing a different set of teams, but do you think there'll ever be a situation where the "B-Team" is out-performing the main team as a whole?
If I get the players that I have in mind, and we practice for 1-2 months together, have time to get to know each other better, both outside and inside the game, we will definitely be able to outperform or equal the main team. It will also allow us to train versus each other and put pressure on your equal position in the main team. At the same time we'll also be able to help each other improve as players, for example: me discussing item builds with YellOwStar, and giving tips on how to improve various things.
Do you have any predictions for the S3 Qualifiers?
So for the Season 3 Qualifier, it will be really tough for all the teams that are going to play, where the pressure will be really huge on the individuals with careers on the line. But I think there are some teams that stands out, both with their lineup and their play. If I were to guess, the teams that qualify would be: FnaticRC, Millenium, MeetYourMakers and Curse Gaming EU. The last spot will be really, really hard to guess, but it’s either going to be Copenhagen Wolves, Team Acer or Team Alternate. I also think Anexis eSports may surprise a few people and grab the last spot.
Thanks very much for your time Rekkles, and best of luck with Fnatic in Season 3. Have you got any final shout-outs?
Thanks to in2LOL for the interview. I'd also like to thank Fnatic and their main sponsors: Eizo, RaidCall, Steelseries and mSi. Also to the fans that make this whole thing possible along with the players/staff who work really hard to keep the scene sky high.
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