The legendary South Korean League of Legends esports team and reigning World Champions have recently announced that they have signed Rekkles to their Academy roster. This is huge news, especially to the Korean esports community has prided themselves in being a successful region without relying on players from other countries to carry them. Even though he is in the Academy team, how will the presence of T1 Rekkles shape up the future of the region?
Rekkles’ Declining Career in EU
In the early days of League of Legends esports, the west did not have a giant gap between them and the Asian regions. There were more Western superstars than Eastern names and the era of esports was so lively that these niche celebrities were always a hot topic. Among them, Rekkles was a young and fresh name that was destined to carry the hopes and dreams of the West to lift the World Championship trophy again since Season 1.
Rekkles was an absolute superstar and an unrivaled AD Carry among all western League of Legends players. Only Korean and Chinese ADCs were better than him during the peak of his career. However, the arrival of G2 esports would give him a rivalry that would last for almost a decade. Regardless, he retained the title of the King of EU with Fnatic fans claiming that he is the best player the western world has ever seen.
Rekkles almost won the Worlds 2018 tournament when they made it all the way to the Grand Finals. Unfortunately, they fell short and fell to Invictus Gaming in a quick 3-0 victory. That would be the last time Fnatic would come that close to the trophy and for Rekkles, it was the beginning of his grand decline as the superstar AD Carry he was known for and would eventually lead to him becoming T1 Rekkles in the future.
After the 2018 season, his time with Fnatic became unstable. He eventually joined G2 Esports to try and push his career into new heights but his presence in the team only disrupted the working formula that they already had. He would leave shortly after and play for the European minor leagues instead. He didn’t find a championship their so he would come back to the LEC to roleswap as support. He didn’t find any success either which led him to go into an extended hiatus.
Abrupt Transition into T1 Rekkles
Rekkles would spent months training as a support player on stream. He would learn the role where he claimed was a long time coming and had been under consideration for several years. The support role is a natural transition for AD Carry mains because they already understand the fundamentals of playing in the bot lane and fully understand the needs of their ADC. Most successful supports played as AD Carries in the past as well.
After the Worlds 2023 season concluded with T1 winning the trophy, they would announce that Rekkles would be joining as the starting support for their academy team. This would raise a lot of eyebrows not only from the Korean community but the international scene as well. Even though hardcore fans of Rekkles were happy for him, they definitely wondered what led to this decision from one of the most established esports organizations in history.
Will Rekkles Ever Join the Main Roster?
For now, the answer is a definite “no”. This is because Keria, who is currently regarded as the best support player in the world, announced that he will be staying with the team. Gumayusi will also be staying with T1 so Rekkles has no place as either support or ADC. Of course, T1 Rekkles would still need to prove that he is even worthy of consideration by delivering results in the Academy team. This means placing in the top 3 of the league while maintaining his spot as starting support.
Even if he manages to deliver results in the minor leagues, his chances of making the starting lineup are extremely doubtful. For one, the fans would never allow a non-Korean player to appear in the LCK league after more than a decade of proving that they don’t need foreign talent to win major tournaments. Secondly, T1 has way too many options from local talent that T1 Rekkles would never see an opportunity to even be in the top 5 candidate list since his prime as a player has long past.
How Did Rekkles Get into the Korean League?
The biggest question in the minds of the fans is how Rekkles made it as a player in a South Korean League of Legends team, even if it’s just in their academy roster. The LCK is known for purely having South Korea players even if some of them started out in other regions. Rekkles isn’t the first European player to join a South Korean squad since a Sebastian “Malice” Edholm joined bbq Olivers in 2019. This ended disastrously though when he would be involved in a trashtalk scandal that would end his career.
Rekkles will be the most recent foreign player to join in the league and has the best shot at making it into the LCK. However, the LCK fans are still skeptic of foreign players joining the league and have very little trust for these players who have an entirely different point of view as the citizens of the country they are playing for.
The Future of T1 Rekkles
T1 Rekkles will most likely only be a token player in the Academy league who will be seen more as a novelty because of his past as one of the greatest players in the world. However, T1 might not have any plans of promoting him into the main roster unless Keria becomes unable to play for any reason at all. If that happens, T1 will need to do a lot of things to get the approval of both the league and the community.
Rekkles claims that he is just happy to play in the prominent Asian leagues since he always dreamt of playing in either the LCK or LPL in the past. With this roster change, a very big item on his bucket list has been checked off. The possibility of him making it into the main league might not be in his plans but he’ll definitely work towards achieving it if able.