The news that Henrik "Froggen" Hansen is moving away from competitive League of Legends surfaced on his Youtube channel. In an update that looked suspiciously close to an interrogation video, Froggen clarified that he has "no intention to retire" and that he "wants to compete under the right circumstances and with the right team."
But while this is a great sentiment… is this really the time?
A shadow on the wall
It’s hard to deny that Froggen is a competitive legend. His talent is indisputable, but even more noteworthy is his incredible work ethic.
In fact, it’s exactly this combination that allowed him to rise to enjoy great success on teams like CLG.EU, Evil Geniuses, and Alliance. And considering he’s also a Western player in one of the most impactful positions in the game, he should be sought by every team in the scene.
And yet, that isn’t the case. A part of it is because of Elements and Echo Fox.
With two teams that were built—and failed—around Froggen, it became apparent that he’s not the unstoppable carry everyone thought he was. He had good numbers, sure. But in the end, if you’re losing more games than you’re winning, fans will inevitably start thinking that you might be past your prime.
Public perception is a powerful thing, and even a star of Froggen’s caliber isn’t safe from it. When looking at his peers—players like Alex Ich and xPeke—it’s easy to see that even the greatest legends can be toppled by a few shaky splits. For Froggen, these splits have already happened.
Highs and lows
Then there’s the fact that League of Legends is reaching its own prime.
With franchising coming to the NA LCS, player salaries and opportunities will only grow bigger. And considering Froggen has a visa and a proven record working with a North American organization, he’s still a valuable prospect. But this can change if he voluntarily removes himself from the market.
There’s also the issue of staying in form.
Even if Froggen grinds Solo Queue like a madman, professional League of Legends is a different beast. Here, the shortest of breaks can cause your skillset to become obsolete. Of course, this rule has exceptions. For example, Doublelift took the 2017 NA LCS Spring Split off to come back stronger in summer. But even in his case, Doublelift admitted that he had to readjust to playing on stage. And it definitely helped that the competition wasn’t as stiff for AD carries as it is for mid laners.
In the end, most people would still agree that Froggen is a good player. But beyond his KDA, DPM, and CS per minute, there are few things that can prove this statement. And taking a break at the time when League of Legends is reaching its peak is certainly not going to shift this narrative.
In moving away from the competition, Froggen could lose some of the legacy he's commanded for so long.
What do you think about Froggen’s decision to take a break in the 2018 NA LCS season? Share your opinion in the comments below!