From Inspirational Quotes To Death Threats: The Two-Faces Of Likkrit

Kirill “Likkrit” Malofeev was the defining story of the 2016 League of Legends World Championship. Ahead of the tournament in North America, Albus NoX Luna’s support was a complete unknown to the eSports community. Everything changed within a month, as the CIS wild card grabbed the headlines by escaping the group stages, with a victory over the Korean favourites ROX Tigers to their name. Seven months later and Likkrit is once again making the headlines, but for all the wrong reasons on this occasion.

Amidst the annual hysteria of the World Championship, one figure stood out as the tournament’s featured protagonist: Albus NoX Luna’s support, Likkrit. Passionate and humble in his post-match speeches, Likkrit quickly established himself as a fan favourite, encouraging the crowd to be vocal in their support of the underperforming G2 eSports and dogged in their determination to reach the top against all adversity.

Source: Riot Games Flickr

Likkrit was framed as a poster boy for the realm of opportunities presented by the professional League of Legends scene, a role that the eloquent support was not comfortable to embrace:

“I don’t care about fame. Yes, some people will like me and some people will hate me. It doesn’t make sense to me, because the most important thing is the game.

“I hate losing – I can’t begin to explain how much I hate losing.”

Kirill “Likkrit” Malofeev

With the memories of the 2016 World Championship beginning to fade, Likkrit has found a means by which to explain just how much he hates losing: death threats. The reoccurring bane of the professional scene, the ‘toxicity debate’ continues to divide opinion. With the rebranded ANX (now M19) having fallen short of a place at the Mid-Season Invitational Play-In, Likkrit has spent the off-season grinding through the ranks of solo-queue.

The Russian’s frustrations with solo queue on Europe’s western server is well known. By his own admittance:

“I’m considered one of the most toxic players in EU West server.

“…it’s not a good thing to be looked at as toxic and angry. I’m not really like this. I’m a very passionate player in solo queue and can rage.”

Likkrit turning investment heads
Source: Riot Games Flickr

Fortunately for Likkrit, the extent of his in-game toxicity had been largely undocumented, despite his short-tempered reputation. Amidst growing frustration amongst the community however, a number of high-elo players have captured some of the Russian’s worst moments as evidence to his intolerable levels of abusive language and toxicity.

WARNING: Screenshots contain language some readers may find offensive.

It is a sad new light under which the support is being portrayed, a fall from grace following the hero status he earned during Worlds a little over seven months ago. Likkrit’s speeches genuinely served as a source of inspiration for many fans across globe, to see him wishing harm upon fellow players is certainly disappointing – there is no excusing his behaviour.

If ever there was a testament for pros acting differently on stage than they do in their day to day practice, Likkrit’s case provides ample evidence. Though Likkrit openly admitted to possessing negative in-game traits, every professional player needs to be held to a standard: as ambassadors for the game, their in game actions should not be wildly out of line with Riot Games’ behavioural policy.

Acknowledging that he’s toxic, hasn’t stopped Likkrit from being toxic. The behaviour captured within the screenshots is inexcusable, Likkrit should expect to receive retribution.