As we head into Week 4 of the 2020 LEC Spring Split, the race for the playoffs is already getting tight. Four teams in the hunt are currently tied, each with four wins and two losses, and there are a couple of teams not far behind. Fnatic vs MAD Lions is the most intriguing match of the week, as these two teams look rather different on paper, but go head-to-head in the battle for second place.
Last week, G2 Esports took a clear lead at the top of the standings by overcoming Fnatic, who will now feel they have something to prove. However, they’re coming up against MAD Lions, who have hit a run of form, winning their last three games as they build confidence with their rookie-focused line-up.
One of those new rookies is their botlaner, Matyáš “Carzzy” Orság, who has lofty ambitions for his first year in the LEC. And facing him in lane, is Fnatic’s Martin “Rekkles” Larsson, who’ll be trying to make sure those dreams don’t become reality.
“My goal is to beat Rekkles,” says Carzzy, “because then I will get Rookie of the Split."
He’s already picked up two MVP awards in MAD’s wins so far, going 7/2/5 on Kai’Sa against Rogue, and 6/1/4 on Miss Fortune against Vitality. However, his opponents this weekend will offer up an entirely different challenge.
Fnatic’s bot lane has been feared for a very long time, so Carzzy, and his support Norman “Kaiser” Kaiser, will have their work cut out to overcome them on Saturday. It’s a tale we’ve seen many times before, as the young upstart goes up against the storied veteran, and while this will be the first time Carzzy and Rekkles face off – it’s a battle that has been brewing in the rookie’s head for some time.
“So first, I heard about Rekkles when I was around 13, and I was like ‘Wow this guy is so cool,’” Carzzy remembers. “‘How can he be so good?’” The MAD ADC is one of the youngest players in the league, having only just turned 18, while the 23-year-old Rekkles has been playing at the highest level since 2014.
Rekkles has memories of that time too, from his early beginnings as a pro to quickly becoming one of the best botlaners in the world. He had the skill, of course, but he also puts his success down to his desire.
“When I came in in 2014, I felt I was so much hungrier than everyone else,” says Rekkles. “Now looking at someone like Carzzy, who was born in 2002, if I don’t have the same hunger as I did in 2014, which he does naturally, he will probably have my number. I obviously don’t want that to happen."
Now, Carzzy will be looking to follow in Rekkles’ footsteps, and there are easy comparisons to draw between the two, with Andrew “Vedius” Day saying, “we get to see Rekkles face off against a mirror image of himself.” Carzzy wants to get the win on Saturday, but knows he’s coming up against one of the greats.
“I think [Rekkles] is working very hard, and I also think he still has the drive to be the best,” he says. “I think we’ll see him for a long time.”
The Fnatic star certainly has no intention of slowing down, and shows no signs of letting his desire to be on top slip either. He has seen many players come and go during his career in League of Legends, and doesn’t want to be just another name that fades away.
“It’s a mistake if I don’t try my absolute best every day,” Rekkles says. “Because otherwise I’ll feel overtaken, like most of the old schoolers now are. I want to be the outlier of all the old schoolers, keep on performing every year.”
Elsewhere in this intriguing Fnatic vs MAD Lions match, rivalries will be renewed as Andrei "Orome" Popa takes on Gabriël “Bwipo” Rau in the top lane, and Tim “Nemesis” Lipovšek goes up against Marek “Humanoid” Brázda in the mid lane. We’ll also see an interesting battle in the jungle, as Oskar “Selfmade” Boderek and Zhiqiang “Shadow” Zhao are two players growing in confidence.
“Believe it or not, this is the match-up to help determine second place,” Vedius says. “The winner of this will cement themselves in Europe after Week 4.”
History is on Rekkles and Fnatic’s side, but is it time for a new generation in the bot lane?