Perkz has made a huge splash in the American league since joining the NA LCS in November 2020. How is he faring so far after a lengthy tenure in Europe’s LEC?
Earlier this year, Cloud9 fans reached out on Twitter to show their support for the team’s mid laner Perkz. Unfortunately (and understandably), instead they accidentally tagged Emily Perkins, a British teacher who happened to possess the @Perkz Twitter handle.
Perkins embraced the error, but there’s no mistaking the skills of Luka Perković, the Croatian who has made a huge splash in the American league since joining the NA LCS in November 2020. How is he faring so far after a lengthy tenure in Europe’s LEC?
Courting controversy on any continent
Despite his bright smile and contagious laugh, Perkz is known to have a bit of a chip on his (exceptionally talented) shoulder. Before signing on with Cloud9 for a mind-blowing $5 million, Perkz made it clear that he had plenty of fight in him. He bragged that he was “not coming here to retire. I’m coming here to dominate and absolutely demoralize my opponents.” The 22-year-old has lived up to his own hype, leading C9 to an MSI birth in his first split.
Since joining Cloud9, his 2021 POWR rating has seen a modest boost to 68 on average, from 63 in the final split of 2020 for G2. But when it comes to the highs, Perkz is clearly hitting his groove with C9. His highest POWR rating with C9 peaked on April 3 while on Sylas, at 97. For G2, the best he achieved in the highest split was at 82 as Caitlyn, in the ADC role.
Mid lane aspirations
When Perkz began his career in 2014 for GSI Gaming (alongside fellow European legend STEEELBACKKK), he was a mid laner. During his brief stint with the team Millenium, he managed to bring his team to second only behind Origen, which at the time featured Spanish badass xPeke and was on a hot streak.
From there he joined G2 Esports (then known as Gaming2), where he enjoyed a successful five-year stint from 2015 to 2020—the longest run in G2 history. This death squad boasted an intimidating lineup, with Jankos in jungle, Wunder in top, Caps in mid, and Mikyx as support. Perkz came in hot, and at 17 was named Rookie of the Split.
There was just one problem: Perkz wanted to tackle the mid lane, not the bottom. G2 seemed to prefer Caps in the role, however. When the question came up about whether or not Perkz would stay with G2 for a sixth year, rumors spread that he was looking for a team that would allow him to mid lane. He played coy but openly wondered aloud how much the NA would compensate a “nine-star general.”
Despite feeling underutilized, Perkz delivered. He became the third EU player to reach 1,000 kills, held the record for most EU titles at eight, and played on the European All-Star team four times. He held his own against archwizards like Faker of SKT T1, giving up minimal deaths with champions like Lissandra, Oriana, and Ryze. In May 2019, Perkz and Caps swapped roles and Perkz took to the mid lane that he now rules.
Silver linings with Cloud9
On November 12, 2020 journalist Jacob Wolf reported that Perkz was in talks with Cloud9, calling it the “biggest off-season deal so far.” Eight days later, it was official. After making the move stateside, Perkz has done quite well for himself. His win rate so far is 69% and increasing. After beating Team Liquid last in the Mid-Season Showdown the first weekend of April, Cloud9 is on top.
The move has been a reunion of sorts, as well. Jesper “Zven” Svenningsen was bot laner for G2 and now bot lanes for Perkz once more on Cloud9. In fact, his presence even makes his team play better: Zven’s highest POWR rating without Perkz was 80 on Aphelios. With his former teammate, he hit an 84 on Kalista. Perkz himself is certainly proving his value as well, playing Twisted Fate, Yone, and even getting 14 kills on Tristana.
The trade might have been beneficial for everyone. Now that he is out of the bottom lane, where he perhaps could never really flourish, both C9 and G2 have seen their win percentages soar. While Perkz played for G2, the team had a 57% win rate in the Summer Split. In that same time, C9 maintained a 62% win rate. Since coming to C9, however, the team’s win rate has bumped to just over 70%. G2’s, on the other hand, has now increased to 61% without the star Croatian.
Room to grow in the mid-lane
Back in Europe, Perkz was playing many of the usual suspects: Azir, Ahri, Leblanc. His win rate on these champions in 2015 is anywhere from a whopping 75% to 100%, but the game was pretty different back then. By 2016, and beginning with G2, he was scoring 65% to 85%, with a few champions racking up 100% (Ryze, of course).
During his brief United States stint so far, only a few champions have a 50% or less win rate, namely Sylas and Twisted Fate. Azir is still at 75%, and newcomers to the mid lane roster like Tristana and Irelia sit at 100%. Perkz is as strong as ever.
In a recent, extremely close series of matches, Perkz helped make his claim to all-star status unassailable. He even copped a Mejai’s Soul Stealer, which allows stack gains upon champion kills, on Sylas as he racked up more than 10 kills in the fifth and final game. Shortly after, Perkz was joined by Zven onstage, hoisting the trophy high and standing as the only two players to win titles in EU and NA after taking the Mid-Season Invitational.
“Dominate and absolutely demoralize opponents”? Check.