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League of Legends Offseason Roster Shuffle Tracker

Mike Plant  | 
The roster shuffle continues with aphromoo bringing his experience to Dignitas (Photo via Colin Young-Wolff/Riot Games)

The roster shuffle continues with aphromoo bringing his experience to Dignitas (Photo via Colin Young-Wolff/Riot Games)

It’s the greatest time of the year: League of Legends Roster Shuffle 2019. We’ll be with you every step of the way, updating player signings, trades, and the implications for their new and former teams.

This page will be updated daily with the newest transactions.

DECEMBER 5 ROSTER MOVES

KT Rolster signs Ray, SoHwan, Malrang, bonO, and Kuro

What it means for KT: KT Rolster overhauled their roster by signing top laner Jeon “Ray” Ji-won, top laner Kim “SoHwan” Jun-yeong, jungler Malrang, jungler Kim “bonO” Gi-beom, and mid laner Lee “Kuro” Seo-haeng. Going by pedigree, Ray should get first crack at starting top lane. He’s played in the LCS and LPL as an import for the past three years, though he had to step down in 2019 Summer for EDward Gaming due to medical reasons. He has big carry potential and has the higher upside if he can stay healthy. SoHwan split time with Thal on Hanwha Life Esports in 2019, though he eventually won the starting spot. He actually had one of the best top lane KDAs in the LCK in 2019 Summer at 3.31, but his CS per minute numbers were among the worst in the league.

Malrang and bonO will compete for the jungle position. Picking up the junglers from the two teams that found themselves in relegation matches at the end of the season doesn’t exactly inspire confidence. Neither made a lasting impression in their first year in the LCK, so it wouldn’t be surprising to see the two split time until one separates himself. This looks like a true competition heading into the season.

Of the additions, Kuro stands out as the marquee player on the new team. Kuro took Bilibili Gaming to the semifinals of the 2019 Summer Playoffs after spending two years with Afreeca Freecs. He is in the Doinb mold of being a field general more than mechanical star, but his teams always play the map well and are in the right positions to make plays. He is a good choice to lead an entirely new roster and should get the most out of his teammates.

That said, this is not one of the more talented rosters on paper. Top lane depends on Ray’s health and regaining his form, jungle looks to be among the worst in the league, and the bot lane of Aiming and TusiN is average at best. KT Rolster should be happy to make the playoffs with this roster, but that seems a tough task in a league where only 5 of 10 make the playoffs. They’ll need Kuro to work his magic — much like he did with BLG — to turn this into a memorable Spring.

Aphromoo joins Dignitas

What it means for DIG: Support Zaqueri “aphromoo” Black will team up with rookie bot laner Johnson “Johnsun” Nguyen for Dignitas. Dignitas are definitely getting an experienced voice on the team who should help smooth Johnsun’s transition to the LCS. It’s harder to say what they are getting in terms of skill level. Aphromoo is one of the best supports in LCS history, but he had a bad year with 100 Thieves in 2019 after an LCS MVP in 2018. Maybe a change of scenery will revitalize him, or maybe he’s just on the downswing of his career. Either way, Dignitas will get a chunk of aphromoo’s huge fanbase in their return to the LCS in addition to his mentoring of Johnsun. It makes sense from an organizational standpoint, even if it’s hard to envision their bot lane remaining competitive against teams like TL or TSM.

What it means for 100T: 100 Thieves moved on from aphromoo by promoting long-time academy player William “Stunt” Chen to the starting roster. Stunt will team with Cody Sun in what will likely be a “weak side” bot lane pairing in 2020. New jungler William “Meteos” Hartman is much more likely to play around top laner Kim “Ssumday” Chan-ho than 100T’s bot lane. Former OCE mid laner Tommy “ry0ma” Le is the wild card for the team. If he can be an above-average mid laner, 100T can make some noise in 2020 Spring.

Mithy retires as a player, joins Fnatic as head coach

What it means for FNC: Much like a jungler, Alfonso “Mithy” Aguirre Rodríguez’s time as a support should help him quickly transition to a coaching role. He had to be constantly aware of the map state through the laning phase and was known as an important shot caller on every team he was on. As one of the best Western supports of all time, his ideas should command respect from the players. He will need to prove that he can manage players and their personalities, not just their in-game strategies.

What it means for OG: Mithy helped Origen have a memorable 2019 Spring Season before the team fell off and had a mediocre Summer and failed to make the World Championship. His skills had clearly declined, so the team opted to pluck Mitchell “Destiny” Shaw from OCE to pair with Elias “Upset” Lipp. OG loses a big voice on their team, though they hope to have gained one with the addition of jungler Andrei “Xerxe” Dragomir. Support is now the weakest position on paper for Origen, but that’s not saying much when the lineup is so loaded. They are firmly in the top three LEC teams heading into 2020.

Jizuke heads to NA, is final member of Evil Geniuses 

What it means for EG: Evil Geniuses brought over three ex-Cloud 9 members so they could use two import slots to be competitive. Mid laner Daniele “Jiizuke” di Mauro is coming off a disappointing 2019 year with Team Vitality, so it’s a bit of a disappointment EG weren’t able to lure a bigger name, especially when Jiizuke was let go from his former team. Nevertheless, Jiizuke has shown the potential to be an upper-echelon Western mid laner and he’ll enjoy playing with the 2019 Summer LCS MVP Svenskeren. EG have big carry players in each lane in Kumo, Jiizuke, and Bang, so they won’t lack for mechanical skill. The question heading into 2020 will be if their solo lanes can hold up against the best teams in the LCS. They’ll need Kumo to continue the momentum he had filling for Licorice in 2019 and for Jiizuke to rediscover his 2018 form. EG are solidly a playoff team heading into 2020, though they might not have the same ceiling as Team Liquid challengers like TSM and Cloud 9.

What it means for VIT: Team Vitality made the decision not to bring Jiizuke back for 2020. Jiizuke missed two games for medical reasons in 2019 but started the rest of the games for VIT. The team still has fill-in mid laner Lucas “Saken” Fayard under contract through 2020, though the team has not announced he will become the starter. The other four starters from the 2019 season are still under contract through 2020, but more changes could be coming after a disappointing year. Vitality finished each split by losing in the first round of the playoffs only a year after being the darlings of the 2018 World Championship.

Untara and Naehyun join Griffin

What it means for GRF: Top laner Park “Untara” Ui-jin and mid laner Yoo “Naehyun” Nae-hyun have joined Griffin to replace Doran and Chovy. These moves are underwhelming. Naehyun is a direct downgrade from Chovy, without even factoring in his synergy with Lee “Tarzan” Seung-yong. However, Naehyun may very well have been the best remaining mid lane free agent available, so there was no realistic shot at someone better outside of a trade or buyout.

The bigger problem is the signing of Untara. Untara got his shot to play with Faker and SKT in from 2017 Summer to 2018 Spring and did not make the most of it. He was one of, if not the weakest link on the team and performed so poorly in 2018 Spring that he did not appear in another professional match until 2019 Summer with TCL squad 1907 Fenerbahçe Esports. The duo of Choi “Sword” Sung-won and Untara sets Griffin up to have the worst top lane situation in the LCK. It’s hard not to speculate that the drama and mismanagement of Griffin in 2019 has led to players shying away from signing with the team.

What it means for DRX: DragonX will take a swap of Naehyun for Chovy ten times out of ten. It’s tough to pin the blame of DRX in 2019 on Naehyun, but he isn’t an elite laner like Chovy is and DRX have raised their ceiling by making this mid lane upgrade. Chovy gives Deft another star player to take some of his burden. DRX are playoff contenders but have a large range of outcomes for 2020 Spring given their promotion of two rookies to the starting lineup. How quickly Pyosik and Keria transition to the LCK will determine DRX’s potential in 2020.

UmTi rejoins JAG after year with KT 

What it means for JAG: The Jin Air Green Wings didn’t exactly get better in their year without jungler Eom “UmTi” Seong-hyeon. The team finished tenth in both splits, winning one match in the Spring but becoming the first team in LCK history to go winless in the Summer. The squad then dropped out of the LCK after losing 3-0 to Hanwha Life Esports in the promotion tournament. UmTi got more playing time than he probably thought he would when joining KT rolster, playing 14 games in the Spring and 9 in the Summer. UmTi should be an improvement over Kim “Malrang” Geun-seong and give JAG some more jungle carry potential. Jungler Kim “Seize” Chan-hee is also still under contract for KT, though he did not get as many starts as Malrang.

What it means for KT: The two teams essentially swapped junglers as Malrang has joined KT Rolster to compete for the starting position with bonO. This seems like a surprising downgrade for KT, especially because UmTi is leaving the LCK to play in the CK.

DECEMBER 4 ROSTER MOVES

Altec and Hakuho form new IMT bot lane

What it means for IMT: Bot laner Johnny “Altec” Ru and support Nickolas “Hakuho” Surgent have joined Immortals as their starting bot lane duo. This is one of the more underwhelming bot lane duos in the LCS. Hakuho spent 2019 toiling away on a bad Echo Fox team, though he was far from the problem. He has been known as an average enough player, though he never took a leap to become one of the best supports in the region. Altec has been involved in the NA scene since 2012, but did not play in a professional game in 2019 after being cut loose by Echo Fox mid-2018. These guys are experienced veterans, but they’ve had plenty of opportunities in the LCS and are on the downswing of their careers. They don’t represent a discernible upgrade over Arrow and Big, though they are at least both NA residents. Immortals look closer to competing for 10th place in 2020 Spring than a playoff spot. They still need to sign a top laner after Niship “Dhokla” Doshi’s departure to TSM Academy.

What it means for EG: Evil Geniuses, the team that took over Echo Fox’s slot in the LCS, pried Zeyzal away from Cloud 9 to fill their support role earlier this offseason. He pairs with Bang to form one of the more interesting duos in the LCS. Additional ex-C9 members Kumo and Svenskeren man the top half of the map while EG searches for a mid laner to round out their roster. EG are a definite playoff contender with the potential for more, depending who they secure for their final spot.      

Bot laner Patrick joins Excel

What it means for xL: Bot laner Patrik “Patrik” Jírů has joined Excel Esports for 2020. Excel still has incumbent bot laner Jesper “Jeskla” Klarin Strömberg under contract through next season, but it would be surprising if Patrik was not named the starter. He is the definition of a solid player, much like Apollo “Apollo” Price in North America. Patrik spent the 2019 year with Origen laning with Mithy. Though an upgrade, this isn’t the type of move that moves the needle enough to consider Excel a serious playoff contender in 2020 Spring. Their roster is littered with players who were previously replaced on contending teams.

What it means for Origen: Origen are happy to have gotten one of the top two bot laners in free agency in Upset. Patrik wasn’t a problem for OG, but he’s not the same dominant laning force that Upset is at this point in their careers. The real question mark for OG is how well former OCE player Mitchell “Destiny” Shaw adjusts to playing in a more competitive region. Laning with Upset will put a lot of eyes on him to begin 2020. OG should be considered a top-three team in Europe.

LPL caster Raz leaves role to coach GGS Academy

What it means for GGS: Barento “Raz” Mohammed is leaving his role as an LPL caster to become the head coach of Golden Guardians Academy. Raz was one of the most knowledgeable casters in the scene, so it makes sense that a team recognized his potential to head a team. GGS gives him a very talented lineup to work with, headlined by mid laner Nicholas “Ablazeolive” Antonio Abbott. If Raz gets GGSA off to a hot start and the main roster struggles, we could see Ablazeolive get a chance in the LCS sooner rather than later.

Amazing transitions to strategic coach for Misfits

What it means for MSF: Amazing was disappointed to not receive any suitable LCS or LEC offers after parting ways with 100 Thieves, but he’s moved on to take a prominent role on Misfits Gaming’s coaching staff. Amazing’s 6+ years of experience as a professional jungler make him a natural fit to run the strategic decisions for a team. Much like a catcher in baseball, a point guard in basketball, or a quarterback in football, the jungler sees the whole map and is most involved in deciding when and where plays happen for the first half of the game. Amazing’s experience in that regard, as well as playing champions who often lead the engages, should be beneficial to the team, especially the starting jungler. Right now Thomas “Kirei” Yuen is under contract through 2020, but it’s possible MSF add to the position before the start of the season. Amazing also makes for a nice fallback option if the jungler isn’t working out for the team, though that could make it tougher for MSF to recruit a new jungler.

What it means for 100T: Amazing announced his departure from 100T days ago. The writing was on the wall when the team brought Meteos back for a reunion. Amazing helped turn the ship around after a disastrous 2019 Spring, but a new regime wants to bring in their own players. Meteos also has a bigger brand in North America. The new starting lineup for 100T is Ssumday, Meteos, ry0ma, Cody Sun, and Stunt. If ry0ma can hold his own, 100T should be a playoff contender in 2020 Spring.

DRX signs Chovy and Doran, promotes Pyosik and Keria

What it means for DRX: DragonX looked like they could be in trouble when head coach Kim “cvMax” Dae-ho was hit with a suspension to begin the offseason. But with a postponement among new allegations, DRX capitalized by filling out their roster with a couple of cvMax’s old friends in top laner Choi “Doran” Hyeon-joon and mid laner Jeong “Chovy” Ji-hoon. Though Doran was replaced by Sword for the 2019 World Championship, that decision was made after cvMax was let go — in no small part because he believed in Doran over Sword. Even if DRX add another top laner this offseason, Doran should get every opportunity to start a full season. He has carry potential to replace Kim “Rascal” Kwang-hee.

Still, the biggest get here for DRX was Chovy. Chovy is at the very least a top-three mid laner in the LCK, if not the best. This is the position that DRX have struggled to fill around Deft during his time with the team. The combination of Yoo “Naehyun” Nae-hyun and Heo “PawN” Won-seok was the clear weak spot for DRX in 2019. Unfortunately, mid lane has been the most important role for the majority of the game’s lifespan. DRX now have two massive carries in two of the most important roles and Chovy should prevent opposing teams from collapsing down on Deft as frequently.

Jungler Hong “Pyosik” Chang-hyeon and support Ryu “Keria” Min-seok round out the rest of the starting lineup. Both have been trainees in the organization and their potential has garnered them a chance to play with what should be a legit playoff contender. Keria has been in the organization since late 2018, but has yet to appear in a game with DRX. Pyosik joined DRX only a month ago and has already beaten out their other trainee junglers. That DRX have promoted the pair instead of pursuing external options speaks to the exciting potential Pyosik and Keria possess. While other teams recycle old names, DRX are joining the new age of Korean roster-building by promoting young talent.

DRX are instant playoff contenders with the addition of Chovy and Doran. The inexperience and relative lack of information on Pyosik and Keria tempers the expectation of competing for a title right away, but they should be one of the most interesting teams to watch early in the season. If the rookies look like they belong in the LCK right away, DRX definitely have the talent to beat anyone in Korea.

What it means for GRF: Griffin knew they would be losing Doran and Chovy after they opted out of their contracts. That they chose to reunite with cvMax suggests that his former players still want to play with him, regardless of the allegations of abuse. Chovy specifically mentioned that he turned down larger offers in China and North America for the chance to make the World Championship with cvMax. Griffin can still build a playoff team if they retain Tarzan and Viper, but they are not an LCK title contender as constructed. They will be forced to downgrade at mid lane, though they still have reasonable options for top and support.

DECEMBER 3 ROSTER MOVES

No notable roster movement.

DECEMBER 2 ROSTER MOVES

Broken Blade remains with TSM for 2020

What it means for TSM: Top laner Sergen “Broken Blade” Çelik looked like one of the best pickups of the offseason in the Spring Season, destroying Team Liquid’s Impact in lane and helping TSM get a game from an LCS title. Things didn’t go as well in the Summer Season. As junglers were subbed in and out and the team environment deteriorated, so did Broken Blade’s play. TSM are opting to stick with him and his huge potential for another season. His large champion pool is an excellent complement to Bjergsen’s offering TSM great draft flexibility. TSM knows he can carry, but they’ll need to see him do a better job of holding up against enemy ganks in 2020. If TSM can bring it all together, they will be one of, if not the most talented team in the LCS. Sound familiar?

Contractz to join 100 Thieves Academy

What it means for 100T: 100 Thieves announced their academy team today, loading it up with players who have LCS experience. Top laner Aaron “FakeGod” Lee, jungler Juan “Contractz” Garcia, and mid laner Max “Soligo” Soong all played in the LCS in 2019. Contractz has been a starter in the LCS since the beginning of 2017 when he broke into the league with Cloud 9. He was known for his aggressive play style and considered one of the best junglers when he left to sign with Golden Guardians in 2018. Contractz never looked as good on that team, though his playstyle didn’t mesh as well with Froggen as his mid laner. He’ll have a chance to rebuild his standing with what should be one of the best academy rosters in NA.

What it means for GGS: Contractz never lived up to being the cornerstone of the new LCS franchise, struggling to play with lesser talented players than his debut year with Cloud 9. Golden Guardians moved on this offseason by signing import jungler Closer from the TCL. Closer will team with Goldenglue to form a new mid-jungle duo for a team searching for answers in 2020. They are on the outside of the playoff picture for Spring as they try to get former ADC and new support Keith up to speed on the role.

Former SK Gaming support Dreams joins S04

What it means for S04: Support Han “Dreams” Min-kook has been picked to lane alongside Konstantinos-Napoleon “FORG1VEN” Tzortziou to begin FC Schalke 04’s 2020 season. Dreams had an excellent year with SK after spending the first three years of his career bouncing between a LEC substitute role and academy. Even though Dreams has only played professionally in Europe, he is technically a Korean resident and thus counts as an import. S04 currently only need to sign a jungler after Memento’s announcement that he will not be playing in the LEC to begin the year. The roster of Odoamne, Abbedagge, FORG1VEN, and Dreams is a solid, if unspectacular, looking team on paper. Much of it will depend on the form FORG1VEN is in and if Abbedagge can take a step forward in his second year of LEC action.

What it means for SK: SK Gaming have now lost arguably their two best players in Selfmade and Dreams this offseason. That doesn’t bode well for a team that finished 6th and 7th in their return splits to the LEC. The team has also moved on from mid laner Choi “Pirean” Jun-sik. Top laner Toni “Sacre” Sabalić, mid laner Janik “Jenax” Bartels, and bot laner Juš “Crownshot” Marušič all remain under contract through 2020. SK Gaming will need some dynamite signings to give themselves a realistic shot at the playoffs in 2020.

Lehends the first to leave Griffin, joins HLE 

What it means for HLE: This is a huge pickup for Hanwha Life Esports. Support Son “Lehends” Si-woo is one of the best in his role in the LCK. Griffin’s drama is HLE’s gain, as HLE surely weren’t expecting Lehends to be available heading into the offseason. He is a definite upgrade over key and should help HLE attract a better bot laner. Lehends’ former teammate Viper has yet to opt-out of his Griffin contract, but if he does, we could see the two reunite to make a suddenly interesting HLE team. The top half of the map is still mediocre at best, but HLE have a chance to build their team around the bot lane. Bot hasn’t been as impactful over the past two years, but anything could happen as teams build rosters for a new season meta that isn’t even fully developed.

What it means for GRF: Though Lehends, Doran, and Chovy all announced they would leave earlier, this is the first domino to fall. Lehends has been Viper’s only duo since the two entered the LCK. Griffin will be happy if they can hold onto Tarzan and Viper, but the reality is that the team won’t enter 2020 as strong as they ended 2019. Mid laner Shin “Rather” Hyeong-seop and support Jeong “Kabbie” Sang-hyeon remain under contract through 2021, but the team will likely try to fill those spots with more veteran players. It would also be surprising to see top laner Choi “Sword” Sung-won continue on the team after his involvement in the drama.  

Popular Korean streamer creates team, adds Thal, Lira, and Sangyoon

What it means: Popular streamer Lee Sang-ho has created a team called Seorabeol Gaming in Korea to attempt to climb into Challengers Korea, and later, the LCK. Sang-ho tabbed three recognizable names as the first players to join the team: top laner Park “Thal” Kwon-hyuk, jungler Nam “Lira” Tae-yoo, and bot laner Gwon “Sangyoon” Sang-yun. Thal spent his 2019 season with Hanwha Life Esports, splitting time with Kim “SoHwan” Jun-yeong before eventually losing out in the competition. He previously played for SK Telecom T1. Lira has spent the past three years in North America, most recently making a World Championship run with Clutch Gaming. Sangyoon also spent 2019 with HLE, starting every game alongside support Kim “key” Han-gi. None of these players were exactly hot commodities on the open market, but each were good enough to play in a major region, and in Thal and Sangyoons case, proved they were better than challenger players. This wouldn’t be a story like Griffin, DAMWON Gaming, or SANDBOX Gaming rising up to be the next generation of Korean players, but they should pose a legitimate challenge in the CK when they qualify. The team is still searching for a mid and support player to fill out the roster.

What it means for HLE: Hanwha Life Esports moved on from Thal and Sangyoon after a disappointing 2019 season. CuVee is the new top laner, while Zenit is the only bot laner under contract so far. We expect HLE to add another player bot. They have made some big money signings and Zenit looks primed to be a substitute.

What it means for DIG: Lira came on strong to end 2019, but he still was not at the caliber you’d expect from an import player. Though he played six unique champions in his six Worlds 2019 Main Event games, he had a very limited champion pool and was not effective on non-tank picks. Lira used to be known as a fantastic Lee Sin and Nidalee player, but he’s evolved into more of a safe, map control player. Dignitas have not yet announced their replacement, but they only have one import slot available with the re-signing of top laner Huni. Dignitas’ only other player under contract is new ADC Johnsun.  

DECEMBER 1 ROSTER MOVES

Hanwha Life sign Zenit and Vsta, Tempt rejoins

What it means for HLE: Hanwha Life Esports signed bot laner Jeon “Zenit” Tae-gwon, support Oh “Vsta” Hyo-seong, and re-signed mid laner Kang “Tempt” Myung-gu. Zenit was the starter for KT Rolser in the 2019 Spring Season before the team signed Kim “PraY” Jong-in. Zenit is young, but the team had to fight off relegation during his only season, indicating he might not be ready to be a starter in the LCK yet. Likewise, Vsta has not appeared in a professional game since late 2018 and is more likely to be joining in a substitute role. Tempt split time with Kim “Lava” Tae-hoon in 2019 and the pair return for 2020. Tempt played in the final 27 games to close out the year for HLE, including all ten relegation matches. It stands to reason that HLE has promised him a significant role to get him to return with Lava still under contract until 2021. HLE signed top laner Lee “CuVee” Seong-jin and jungler Kang “Haru” Min-seung earlier in the offseason. These signings give HLE players in each role for the upcoming season, but we expect them to bring in more competition in bot lane. 

What it means for KT: Zenit played the majority of the games for KT Rolster in the Spring Season but was replaced by PraY in the Summer. KT looked to a more seasoned bot laner in Kim “Aiming” Ha-ram to address their needs this offseason. KT will probably bring in a substitute bot laner to compete with Aiming. They still need to address their top, jungle, and mid positions after the departures of top laner Hwang “Kingen” Seong-hoon, top laner Song “Smeb” Kyung-ho, jungler Go “Score” Dong-bin, jungler Eom “UmTi” Seong-hyeon, and mid laner Gwak “Bdd” Bo-seong.   

NOVEMBER 30 ROSTER MOVES

No notable roster movement.

NOVEMBER 29 ROSTER MOVES

Excel bring back mid laner Mickey

What it means for xL: Korean Son “Mickey” Young-min returns to Excel Esports after taking over the starting mid lane spot in week 2 of the 2019 Summer Season. The mercenary mid laner is on his fourth region as a pro. While Mickey was near the bottom of most statistical categories among LEC mid laners, he did have one of the highest kill and gold shares. Mickey has always been a good player mechanically, but his language barriers and attitude problems have gotten in the way of his previous stops. This will be his fourth year on an English speaking roster, so his communication has surely improved from his early days with Team Liquid. End of season starters Ki “Expect” Dae-han, Marc “Caedrel” Robert Lamont, and Jesper “Jeskla” Klarin Strömberg all remain under contract for 2020. Only support Patryk “Mystiques” Piórkowski is a free agent. Excel could turn back to Raymond “kaSing” Tsang instead. KaSing was Excel’s first big signing as a new LEC organization, only to underwhelm and be replaced by Mystiques in both Spring and Summer.      

C9 announce Blaber as jungle starter

What it means for C9: This comes as no surprise after Cloud 9 let Svenskeren walk to Evil Geniuses in free agency. Though Svenskeren was the LCS MVP in 2019 Summer, Cloud 9 used Robert “Blaber” Huang for three of their six World Championship games. Blaber is an elite jungle talent who has no problem reaching the top of the ladder in solo queue and performing on both carry and tank junglers. He’s come close to taking over the starting position on Cloud 9 before, earning starts in the 2018 Regional Finals and at 2018 Worlds, only to see Svenskeren eventually continue in his role. Now C9 commit to Blaber for 2020 and we finally get to see what he can do with a full season on the main roster. His aggressive playstyle should mesh well with Licorice and Nisqy as his solo laners. The challenge for Blaber will be to improve his decision making and prove he can play a more passive playstyle when the composition and situation calls for it. C9 will again be among the favorites to win the LCS heading into 2020.

Splyce rebrands to MAD Lions E.C., fills out roster

What it means for MAD: Splyce is no more as the team has been rebranded to MAD Lions for the upcoming LEC season. Coupled with the rebrand, MAD announced their starting lineup for the 2020 Spring Season: top laner Andrei “Orome” Popa, jungler Zhiqiang “Shadow” Zhao, mid laner Marek “Humanoid” Brázda, bot laner Matyáš “Carzzy” Orság, and support Norman “Gistick” Kaiser. Only Humanoid returns from the 2019 starting lineup, but Orome has been promoted to a starting spot after the retirement of Vizicsacsi. Shadow, Carzzy, and Gistick come up from the European Masters league as MAD attempt to rebuild from the bottom up. This also means that Tore’s (formerly Norskeren) time with the team is up. Tore had a year remaining on his contract with Splyce but was not announced in the new lineup. MAD would have to vastly exceed expectations to compete for a playoff spot in 2020 Spring after losing arguably their three best players in the offseason.

Former SKT legend Wolf retires

What it means: Former SK Telecom T1 legend Lee “Wolf” Jae-wan has announced his retirement from professional play. Wolf told Inven in an interview that he is retiring to focus on his mental health. Wolf suffers from depression, adjustment disorder, anxiety disorder, and panic disorder. Wolf won the 2015 and 2016 World Championships with SKT playing support. He also stepped in to jungle for SKT in the 2018 LCK Spring Season. Wolf then played with the TCL’s SuperMassive in 2019, falling just short of Worlds qualification. Wolf will be remembered for his versatility, shining in a tankier meta with Alistar in 2015 and a ranged support meta in 2016. He is a great LoL mind who could step into a streaming analyst role after doing his own commentary during the 2019 World Championship.

Kold leaves Origen, will not compete in Spring 

What it means for OG: Jungler Jonas “Kold” Andersen has mutually parted ways with Origen and will not participate in the LEC to begin 2020. Origen signed Xerxe to replace Kold earlier in the offseason. Kold left Origen late in 2019 for personal reasons. He announced on twitter that he has “almost fully recovered” from whatever problems led to his hiatus, but he won’t pursue a roster spot for 2020 Spring. Kold is a solid jungler who would definitely earn consideration for lower tier LEC teams, though the time off certainly doesn’t help him. He could attempt to replace an underperforming jungler for Summer or look to take on a coaching role. Origen will move on with one of the best jungler in the LEC in Xerxe. Their starting lineup of Alphari, Xerxe, Nukeduck, Upset, and Destiny should be top three in the LEC.

NOVEMBER 28 ROSTER MOVES

Freeze will not play in the LCS or LEC to begin 2020 

What it means: Bot laner Aleš “Freeze” Kněžínek was once one of the most hyped ADC prospects in the West. He hasn’t given up trying to reclaim his former glory, but he again wasn’t able to find a starting spot in either Western league to begin 2020. Freeze last played in the top leagues in 2016, starting with Renegades in the Spring before moving to the LEC and H2k-Gaming in the Summer. Freeze bounced around the minor leagues after playing for Tempo Storm, Royals Bandits, Splyce Vipers, and most recently MAD Lions. Freeze has had success during this time, winning TCL Rift Rivals, the 2018 TCL Summer Season, and the 2019 SLO Spring Season. But his team success has not been enough to get back into the LCS or LEC. Freeze’s career has never recovered from the extended break he had to take due to wrist issues in 2016. He will try again to work his way back up by exploring his options in academy and European national leagues.

Kanavi goes back to JDG after being released by Griffin

What it means for JDG: Kanavi was JD Gaming’s starting jungler to end the 2019 season. Even if he didn’t get the starts for the majority of the year, Kanavi played the most important series in the Regional Finals versus Invictus Gaming. That JDG want him back show that they intend on using him and using an import slot on jungle. With the retirement of Gu “imp” Seung-bin, JDG have another import slot open. They could use that to find their replacement ADC, or could give top laner Park “Morgan” Gi-tae a starting spot over Zhang “Zoom” Xing-Ran. Zoom is one of the best top laners in the LPL, but JDG think Morgan can potentially be even better. Don’t be surprised if they trade one of them away before the start of the season to free up even more money. They could use it to solidify their bot lane and add competition to Zeng “Yagao” Qi in mid lane.

NOVEMBER 27 ROSTER MOVES

Dignitas signs second player: former TSM Academy’s Johnsun

What it means for DIG: As expected, Dignitas has opted for at least one budget player on their roster after their lucrative extension with Huni. Bot laner Johnson “Johnsun” Nguyen is a former TSM Academy player who has a world of potential, even if he was behind Edward “Tactical” Ra on the academy team. Johnsun originally joined TSM as a trainee because of his standout solo queue rankings. He has at times had as many four accounts ranked in the top 20 of NA solo queue. Though he didn’t win any of his four games on TSM Academy in the Summer, his tantalizing potential was enough to get him a spot on Dignitas’ new roster.

What it means for TSM: As mentioned, Johnsun was actually behind both Kobbe and Tactical in TSM’s bot lane pecking order. Even though there has been a lot of turnover in their bot lane, TSM has to believe Kobbe and Biofrost are the answer after spending so much to get them this offseason. Tactical and Erik “Treatz” Wessén are signed through 2020 and also probably the best academy bot lane duo, so they have a viable backup option if something truly strange happens.

PowerOfEvil signs with FlyQuest to complete roster

What it means for FLY: Mid laner Tristan “PowerOfEvil” Schrage will be the final member of FlyQuest’s 2020 starting roster, joining support Lee “IgNar” Dong-geun as free agent additions. Top laner Omran “V1per” Shoura, jungler Lucas “Santorin” Tao Kilmer Larsen, and bot laner Jason “WildTurtle” Tran will reprise their roles in the starting lineup. FLY have had an import slot open for a while, but it is curious to see them use it on PoE. PowerOfEvil is an incredible mage player, but the melee mid laner meta did not suit him in 2019. It’s impossible to project out what the meta will look like by the time the Spring Season starts, much less the Summer, but his champion pool limitations will hurt FlyQuest’s draft flexibility. Pobelter had a poor 2019 Summer, but he was able to flex carry picks with V1per and even swapped top for a game in the LCS Regional Finals. If the meta turns back to ranged mages, this pickup will look much better than it does today.

What it means for CLG: Counter Logic Gaming already announced their signing of Lee “Crown” Min-ho to replace PoE in mid lane. Crown undoubtedly had a better Summer Season than PoE and was even an MVP candidate before OpTic’s late-season dive. He is a mage-first player like PoE, but did show a willingness to play Sylas, Irelia, and Akali in 2019. As long as the language barrier isn’t a problem, CLG will be happy with their mid lane swap.

Leo leaves SKT to join SB

What it means for SB: Bot laner Han “Leo” Gyeo-re has left SK Telecom T1 for SANDBOX Gaming. Leo is coming off a year without playing a game professionally. His last (and only) action was three games in the LCK 2018 Summer with SKT. Leo will probably take on the same backup role with SB as he had with SKT. However, he’s now behind Moon “Route” Geom-su instead of Park “Teddy” Jin-seong. No offense to Route, but Leo stands a better chance of beating him out than Teddy. Leo also gets to join another winning organization. This is a solid move for both him and SB.

What it means for SKT: SK Telecom T1 only used Leo in three games spanning two years, so they won’t be too sad to see him leave. Teddy is already one of the LCK’s best after his first season on a real contender. SKT signed Lee “Gumayushi” Min-hyeong to play Teddy’s backup role this season.  

Kanavi latest to leave Griffin 

What it means for GRF: This was never in doubt as jungler Seo “Kanavi” Jin-hyeok’s unfair contract was one of the issues that kicked off the Griffin drama. Kanavi spent 2019 with JD Gaming, sitting most of the year before getting a chance late in the Summer Season. JDG went 5-10 in his games, including their 2-3 defeat to Invictus Gaming in the LPL Regional Finals. That is Kanavi’s only professional experience, as he is still just 19 years old. He will definitely have a market in Korea and China, though it may be optimistic to see him slotted into a team as an unquestioned starter in 2020. Griffin won’t miss Kanavi if they can retain all-world jungler Lee “Tarzan” Seung-yong, but it never helps to lose a talented player for nothing. Had Griffin operated in good faith, they wouldn’t be in this position.   

CuVee joins Hanwa Life

What it means for HLE: Hanwha Life Esports continue their roster makeover by adding former Gen.G top laner Lee “CuVee” Seong-jin. CuVee will take over for the departed Kim “SoHwan” Jun-yeong. CuVee is an interesting pickup because he’s been known for average performances during the regular season before turning it up a notch in playoffs. While nice on a contending team, HLE does not project to be top tier with a nucleus of CuVee, Haru, and Lava. They still have a chance to upgrade their bot lane, but their current roster construction points more toward trying to avoid relegations than committing to a rebuild or trying to contend for a championship. HLE are stuck in no-man’s-land, not surprising for a team that has come just one placing short of making the LCK playoffs in two of the last three splits.

What it means for Gen.G: Gen.G signed top laner Kim “Rascal” Kwang-hee to replace CuVee and Roach. CuVee won a world championship with the organization in 2017 and will always be remembered for it, but his level of play during the regular season has dropped in recent years. Their revamped roster with Clid, Bdd, Ruler, and Life should be among the current LCK favorites with SK Telecom T1 and DAMWON Gaming.

RNG announces departure of Karsa

What it means for RNG: There was always a little part of jungler Hung “Karsa” Hao-Hsuan’s tenure with Royal Never Give Up that felt wasted. RNG tried to move away from protect-the-carry comps early in 2020, even going as far as to sign top laner Xie “Langx” Zhen-Ying for the Summer Season. Unfortunately, RNG always defaulted back to the same style, and Karsa was never really allowed to read the map himself. He played babysitter for Jian “Uzi” Zi-Hao and Shi “Ming” Sen-Ming while ignoring Langx and the top half of the map. Still, RNG will miss his veteran presence. They could look for a higher upside player mechanically, but they will be hard-pressed to find someone with his pathing ability. That might not matter if RNG keep tilting their focus to bot lane. RNG will probably also look for a new mid laner as Li “Xiaohu” Yuan-Hao’s contract expires.    

NOVEMBER 26 ROSTER MOVES

Cody Sun rejoins 100T, ry0ma rounds out roster 

What it means for 100T: Who would’ve thought? Not me! Sun “Cody” “Cody Sun” Li-Yu joins Meteos among the formerly exiled 100 Thieves members to rejoin the team this offseason. Their reconciliations suspiciously follow the departure of former head coach pr0lly. At any rate, Cody Sun was one of the best performing native ADCs in 2019 and helped Clutch Gaming turn their year around and qualify for the World Championship. He will lane with Stunt as 100 Thieves remake their bottom lane.

Mid laner Tommy “ry0ma” Le comes over from the OPL after a dominant year with the Bombers. New General Manager PapaSmithy took to Twitter to explain the move, perhaps in response to growing NA frustration that Pobelter and Damonte remain unsigned. PapaSmithy cited ry0ma’s good references and performance in tryouts in addition to his high skill level. It’s sadly notable that a team in North America offered tryouts to players in order to gather more data for decision making. Ry0ma can lean on veterans like Meteos and Cody Sun as he transitions to a larger region. He also has a support staff in PapaSmithy and Zikz who seem committed to building for the long haul. This is an ideal landing spot for him.

What it means for DIG: Dignitas took over for Clutch Gaming and have…gutted the entire roster that just made the World Championship, save for Huni. There are some who believe Cody Sun isn’t a special talent and has been carried by good supports throughout his career, but that just makes you wonder why they sold Vulcan to Cloud 9 to begin the offseason. As more and more players come off the market, it’s getting harder to see how Dignitas plan to be competitive in 2020. They intend to, if Huni’s contract is any indication, but they only have one import slot and a limited budget to make it all work from here. Don’t be surprised if we see an import mid laner and borderline academy players fill out the rest of the roster.

Kumo joins former C9 teammates with EG

What it means for EG: Evil Geniuses continue their bid to build an entire lineup of 2019 Cloud 9 members by announcing Colin “Kumo” Zhao will be their starting top laner for 2020. Kumo was one of the best academy top laners while with C9, though he ceded time to Flávio “Jukes” Fernandes in Summer. Kumo stepped in for Licorice for a portion of the Summer Season and acquitted himself well. C9 went 3-1 as a team while Kumo had a 4.1 KDA on Jayce and Aatrox. Kumo is a talented carry player who should have some built-in synergy with Svenskeren. This confirms that there will be at least one rookie player to begin the LCS season. EG now only needs to fill their mid lane position and have an import slot available to do so. Considering Pobelter and Damonte are not expected to begin 2020 in the LCS, it seems likely they will use it.

What it means for C9: The Cloud 9 academy machine keeps churning out LCS caliber talent. Kumo was stuck behind the best top laner in North America, so it’s no surprise to see him moved to Evil Geniuses with Svenskeren and Zeyzal. C9 do a good job of developing talent and dealing the players to desperate teams from a position of strength. Kumo and Zeyzal’s buyouts likely gave the team enough money to buyout Vulcan, their preferred choice to pair with Zven. Their academy team still has the talented Jukes, though he could not sub in for the main squad without replacing another import.

Exile will take a break from competitive play

What it means: Mid laner Fabian “Exile” Schubert announced he will be taking a break from competitive play after spending most of 2019 on Excel’s academy team. Exile had been a mainstay in the LEC, playing for Unicorns Of Love for three years before joining Excel Esports in 2019. Excel jumped from Exile to Joran “Special” Scheffer to Son “Mickey” Young-min during their 9th and 10th place campaigns. Exile likely would not have had any LEC offers and would have to prove himself in a lower league to earn reconsideration at the top level.

Memento will not be playing in LEC to begin 2020

What it means: Jungler Jonas “Memento” Elmarghichi confirmed he will not be playing in the LEC to begin 2020. Memento most recently played with FC Schalke 04, playing with the main roster in the Spring before being replaced by Trick in the Summer. Memento was still signed through 2020 but it looks like S04 will be looking to the outside to fill their jungle vacancy. Memento has been in and out of the LEC since he debuted in 2016 with Roccat. Memento confirmed on Twitter he will look for academy or national league offers.

Rogue extends Finn’s contract through 2022 

What it means for RGE: Rogue commit to top laner Finn “Finn” Wiestål for three more years, making his the longest contract in the LEC. Rogue already completed their 2019 starting lineup on the first day of free agency by bringing in Hans Sama and now have turned their attention to locking up their young star. The rest of the Rogue lineup is also signed through 2021, so the team will have a chance to grow together for the foreseeable future. It’s promising to see an organization commit to the young players that have grown with them.

SKT completes starting lineup with Roach and Coach Kim; adds four backups

What it means for SKT: As player-driven as esports has been, the biggest story here is the departure of long-time coach Kim “kkOma” Jeong-gyun. KkOma has been coaching SKT since their inception in 2012 and is the most respected coach in League of Legends history. He won three world championships with SKT. It will be very weird to see SKT on stage without him for the first time.

However, Kim “Kim” Jeong-soo is an excellent replacement. Kim won LCK 2017 Summer with Longzhu Gaming and the World Championship with Invictus Gaming in 2018. He spent the past year coaching DAMWON Gaming from a team full of rookies to the quarterfinals of the World Championship. Kim is known for getting the best out of his top laners, having coached CuVee, Ssumday, Khan, TheShy, Duke, Flame, and Nuguri.

He will get to work with Kim “Roach” Kang-hui this year on SKT. Roach spent the 2019 season with Gen.G after spending three years with Kongdoo Monster. Roach is still only 20 years old and is a carry player who split time with CuVee. That coach Kim picked Roach to succeed Khan speaks to his upside as a player. Faker and Teddy should be able to carry the load if Roach needs time to adjust to start the season.

SKT also finalized their roster by adding top laner Kim “Canna” Chang-dong, jungler Ellim, bot laner Lee “Gumayushi” Min-hyeong, and support Choi “Kuri” Won-yeong. While none of these players are expected to play a role early, we need only look back to 2019 to show that SKT are willing to promote a player to the starting lineup. Effort, now the current starter, replaced all-time great Mata in 2019, so this might not be the last time you hear of these players.

What it means for Gen.G: Gen.G signed Rascal earlier in the offseason to replace CuVee and Roach in top lane. Gen.G will happily swap Roach for Clid this offseason, no matter how good Roach may turn out to be. Gen.G’s new starting lineup of Rascal, Clid, Bdd, Rule, and Life is one of the best in Korea, if not the world. They will be at the top of the list as LCK favorites to begin 2020.     

Haru leaves SKT to join Hanwha Life

What it means for HLE: Former SK Telecom T1 jungler Kang “Haru” Min-seung is joining Hanwha Life Esports for the 2020 season. Haru only played four games in 2019, going 1-3 during the LCK Summer Season. He joins an HLE squad that had to fight off Jin Air Green Wings to remain in the LCK in 2020. HLE then let everyone but mid laner Kim “Lava” Tae-hoon go in free agency. Haru is the second signing for HLE and is expected to get another shot to start in the LCK. Haru has previously started in the LCK with CJ Entus and different iterations of the Gen.G organization. HLE still has a lot of work to do to fill out the rest of their roster.

What it means for SKT: SK Telecom T1 lost starting jungler Clid to Gen.G but looked to the outside for a replacement to their starting roster. With Cuzz taking over for Clid, Haru moved on to find a better opportunity to start games in 2020. SKT have confirmed Choi “Ellim” El-lim will be the second jungler on their 10-man roster behind Cuzz. Ellim played six games for Seoul in the 2018 KeSPA Cup, going 3-3 with games on Olaf and Lee Sin. Ellim is 19 years old.

NOVEMBER 25 ROSTER MOVES

Pobelter and Lira can’t find starting LCS spots 

What it means: It’s not overly surprising to hear jungler Nam “Lira” Tae-yoo can’t find a starting LCS spot to begin 2020. Lira had an absolutely dominant season with Team EnVyUs after joining from Afreeca Freecs, but his play fell off a cliff in the past couple of years with Clutch Gaming (now Dignitas). With the depth of jungle talent in North America and teams like GGS importing new jungle talent like Closer, Lira is a hard sell as an import at this point in his career.

The exclusion of Eugene “Pobelter” Park, however, is downright baffling. He is coming off the worst split of his career, but that he was trending upwards to end the season and is one of the most accomplished mid laners in LCS history. Pobelter has been a mainstay in the North American competitive scene since he debuted with Team Curse in 2011 and his status as an NA resident-only makes him more valuable. It will be very interesting to see who teams like FlyQuest, Evil Geniuses, 100 Thieves, and Dignitas have picked over him. Players like Tristan “PowerOfEvil” Schrage and Henrik “Froggen” Hansen remain unsigned, as does Tanner “Damonte” Damonte. But it’s hard to imagine no LCS team could benefit from slotting in a talented native mid laner to free up an import slot for another position. Pobelter will almost certainly find his way back to an LCS roster by Summer, if not sooner.

Shernfire joins Team Liquid Academy on two-year contract

What it means for TL: Jungler Shern “Shernfire” Cherng Tai is only joining Team Liquid’s academy team for now, but this is not a typical academy signing. Shernfire will be one of the most talented players playing in North America in 2020, assuming he plays. His attitude and toxicity have seen him receive multiple suspensions, including a 2-game suspension at Worlds 2018. But when he’s playing, he’s a great player. He dominated the OPL with Dire Wolves and has consistently hit the top of the ranked ladder in NA and Korea. Team Liquid signing Shernfire is a very savvy move given their roster composition. Broxah is an import like Shernfire, so Shernfire can move up to the main roster without any further shuffling. Shernfire’s two-year contract also puts him under team control a year after Broxah’s contract expires. It’s pretty unlikely TL will ever get out-bid for a player they want in NA, but it’s always nice to have a fallback option.

Promisq will not start season in the LEC

What it means: Former G2 Esports support Hampus Mikael “promisq” Abrahamsson confirmed he was unable to land a starting spot in the LEC to begin 2020. Promisq played in two games for G2 during the 2019 season while starting support Mihael “Mikyx” Mehle was dealing with health issues. Promisq has played for Elements, FC Schalke 04, Paris Saint-Germain, Ninjas in Pyjamas, and H2k-Gaming in addition to G2 in his five-year career. He was formerly known as “sprattel” before his 2018 run on H2k. In addition to his experience, he can also point to his year learning from and fitting into one of the best environments at G2. Promisq will not retire and will look to join a lower league with the intention of joining the LEC for the Summer Season.    

Stunt replaces aphromoo as 100T support

What it means for 100T: Support William “Stunt” Chen will get another chance in the LCS as the starting support for 100 Thieves. Stunt has had stints with Phoenix1 and FlyQuest in the league but was replaced after one split each time. Stunt has been playing on 100T’s academy team since the beginning of 2018, playing a few games in the LCS in place of aphromoo sporadically. Stunt is a solid player who has been passed over in his career in favor of teams looking to find the next big rookie. Stunt becomes the third confirmed member of 100T’s starting lineup, joining top laner Ssumday and jungler Meteos. 100T have one import slot left to use on either ADC or mid lane. Max “Soligo” Soong remains under contract in mid lane but has not been named a starter for the LCS team.    

Doran, Chovy, and Lehends opt for free agency in continued Griffin drama

What it means for GRF: Griffin’s parent company STILL8 announced that they would revise existing contracts to remove unfair clauses or allow players to become free agents. Top laner Choi “Doran” Hyeon-joon, mid laner Jeong “Chovy” Ji-hoon, and support Son “Lehends” Si-woo have all exercised their rights to free agency. While a good moral decision to allow the players to leave, it is nevertheless a massive blow to the team and their 2020 prospects. Griffin have been one of the winningest teams in the LCK since their promotion and Chovy and Lehends have been an important part of their core. Doran was also being groomed to take over for Choi “Sword” Sung-won. Chovy was the 2019 LCK Spring Season MVP and is still growing as a player, so his loss will be felt the most. ADC Park “Viper” Do-hyeon and star jungler Lee “Tarzan” Seung-yong remain for now but could follow their former teammates out the door. If they remain, Griffin will still be competitive with two of the best players in their role. If not, Griffin could end 2020 fighting off relegation after breaking up one of the most promising rosters in the LCK.

Mia joins APK Prince

What it means for APK: Support Choi “Mia” Sang-in is the eighth player to join new LCK team APK Prince for 2020. Mia has spent the last two years as a sub for Kongdoo Monster and KT Rolster. Mia played four games in the KeSPA Cup last year, going 2-2 on Leona, Thresh, Pyke, and Tahm Kench. He got no playing time in the LCK behind No “SnowFlower” Hoi-jong. Mia will compete with incumbent support Park “Secret” Ki-sun for playing time on APK.

NOVEMBER 24 ROSTER MOVES

HyBrid joins new LCK team APK Prince

What it means for APK: Though APK Prince agreed to terms bring back their ADC Trigger, he might not be the starter heading into 2020. Trigger was the fourth member to be re-signed by APK after their promotion to the LCK, but he was one of the worst-performing ADCs in the CK league. On the other hand, new signee Lee “HyBriD” Woo-jin was one of the best playing for Brion Blade, one of APK’s top competitors. HyBrid led ADCs in CS per minute, gold per minute, kill participation, kill share, and gold share. Obviously some of Trigger’s low numbers and HyBrid’s high numbers are due to the way their teams played (or did not) around them, but HyBrid’s numbers also show an ability to create advantages for himself. He is the second member of Brion Blade to leave for the LCK this season, following mid laner Yoo “FATE” Su-hyeok and his departure to SANDBOX Gaming.   

Mystic leaves LPL, heads to AF in LCK

What it means for AF: This is a huge win for Afreeca Freecs in their bid to build a contender around top lane star Kim “Kiin” Gi-in. After suffering through a year of mediocrity with Aiming and even Spirit laning bot, AF went out and plucked Jin “Mystic” Seong-jun from the LPL. Mystic is a Korean resident, but it’s impressive for AF to wrestle away a star player from an organization like Team WE. Mystic was unquestionably one of the best ADCs in the LPL, a region rich with ADC talent. He will likely pair with support Park “Senan” Hee-seok, AFs 2019 starter who remains under contract through 2020. AF will be interesting again in 2020, but they will need to add a more impactful mid laner than Fly to truly be a threat to win a title.

What it means for WE: This is a massive blow to Team WE, even if it makes sense for Mystic to return home to Korea.. Mystic was their star player and who the whole team was built around. WE were already a fringe playoff contender at best and now drop considerably. Mid laner Su “xiye” Seong-jun’s contract is also up, so WE may have to completely revamp their carries. Top laner Kim “Poss” Min-cheol, jungler Jiang “beishang” Zhi-Peng, and support Lou “Missing” Yun-Feng are all still signed through 2021. Coming off a ninth-place finish in the Summer Season, Team WE are trending in the wrong direction heading into 2020.

TSM completes roster by signing former Splyce ADC Kobbe

What it means for TSM: ADC Kasper “Kobbe” Kobberup was the best western ADC available in free agency and TSM snatched him up. He will pair with Biofrost to form what should instantly be one of the top bot lanes in North America. Kobbe was a legitimate LEC MVP candidate in 2019, though G2 Esports’ dominance captured them both awards. Kobbe is as consistent as they come at ADC and should add stability to a lineup that had several meltdowns and “throws” in 2019. He completes TSM’s revamped roster in 2020. They are once again one of the most talented rosters in the league on paper, though that obviously hasn’t worked out the past couple of years.

What it means for SPY: Splyce had already confirmed Kobbe’s departure earlier in the offseason. No team gets better when losing a player of his caliber. Splyce have to replace their three most experienced players in Kobbe, Xerxe, and Vizicsacsi. Humanoid and Tore (formerly Norskeren) are the returning starters.

Aphromoo and Amazing depart 100 Thieves

What it means for 100T: It isn’t surprising to see 100 Thieves move on from jungler Maurice “Amazing” Stückenschneider and support Zaqueri “aphromoo” Black. The team signed Meteos earlier in free agency to signal the end of Amazing’s tenure, while aphromoo had an expiring contract that wasn’t expected to be renewed as 100T retool their lineup. Ssumday and Meteos are the only confirmed starters for 2020, so 100T still have some work to do. Mid laner Max “Soligo” Soong is still under contract, though his role hasn’t been defined. He opened the year as the starting mid laner for 100T before dropping to academy in favor of Ryu’s shot calling.

TheShy confirms he will not leave iG

What it means for iG: Top laner Kang “TheShy” Seung-lok has been the subject of numerous trade rumors this offseason, but he stated for the record that he will stay on Invictus Gaming for 2020. TheShy is under contract through 2021, so it isn’t as if he could have just signed somewhere else. But if a player of his magnitude wants out, there would be teams lining up to buy him out at one of the highest numbers in League of Legends history. TheShy took over as the backbone of iG when Song “Rookie” Eui-jin went on hiatus in 2019 and is one of the top players in the world. iG are better off with him around. They will now focus on putting together a bot lane and jungle that can complement the best pair of solo laners in the world. 

Wadid will not play in LEC or LCS in Spring 2020

What it means: Support Kim “Wadid” Bae-in has been a solid, if unspectacular, support in his career. He made it to the semifinals of the 2018 World Championship with G2 Esports and improved FlyQuest after replacing incumbent support Juan “JayJ” Guibert. If he was a resident of North America, he would have no problem finding a team. Unfortunately, he is not. Even though he only ever played in Korea for six months in 2016, Wadid is a Korean resident and thus has been an import in the LEC and LCS. Wadid would have a better shot in the LEC than LCS, given their relatively shallow pool of support players and the number of import slots spoken for in North America. Regardless, it appears he’s heading for an academy team to begin 2020.

NOVEMBER 23 ROSTER MOVES

EU mid Eika will join IMT 

What it means for IMT: European mid laner Jérémy “Eika” Valdenaire has signed with Immortals coming off a season with Team-LDLC in the La Ligue Française. This is somewhat of a shocking signing, considering Eika isn’t a rookie and seemingly already had his chance in a top league. He played in the EU LCS in 2016 for Elements before joining LDLC. That isn’t to say Eika doesn’t deserve another shot, as he was one of the best mid laners in his league in 2019. But it is rare for a player to return to the top level after three years at a lower level, especially as in import. IMT head coach Thomas “Zaboutine” Si-Hassen is also French, so it’s possible he has the inside scoop on Eika, but it’s confusing to see IMT use an import slot on a largely unproven mid laner when domestic talents like Tanner “Damonte” Damonte and Eugene “Pobelter” Park are still on the market. It’s possible IMT sign another player to compete for the spot, but for now, it looks like IMT are banking on Eika’s improvement and untapped upside.

NOVEMBER 22 ROSTER MOVES

Summit re-signs with SB

What it means for SB: Top laner Park “Summit” Woo-tae will return to SANDBOX Gaming after a successful 2019 season. Summit is one of the better top laners in the LCK, often performing well on ranged champions like Jayce, Kennen, and Karma. His large champion pool and ability to flex champions with mid lane, allowing SB to be more creative with their drafts. SB seemingly have their starting lineup set for 2020, though they could always add more players for internal competition. SB looks to be a stronger playoff threat than a year ago with their new bot lane duo of Route and GorillA.

Trigger re-joins APK 

What it means for APK: The newly-promoted LCK team APK Prince now return four of their starters as ADC Kim “Trigger” Eui-joo re-signed with the team. Trigger had some of the lowest numbers among CK ADCs statistically in Summer 2019, including the worst CS per minute, kill participation, kill share, and gold share. He has only been playing pro for a year and has room to grow, but he is more of a supporting actor than star on the team. Only Lee “KaKAO” Byung-kwon remains un-signed for APK. 

Hauntzer and FBI re-sign with GGS, Keith role swaps to support

What it means for GGS: Golden Guardians have now set their starting lineup for 2020. Top laner Kevin “Hauntzer” Yarnell and ADC Victor “FBI” Huang have re-signed to join jungler Can “Closer” Çelik and mid laner Greyson “Goldenglue” Gilmer. The surprise is that GGS are promoting their academy ADC Yuri “Keith” Jew to the main roster and role swapping him to support. Keith is not the first ADC to swap to support later in his career, like CoreJJ of Team Liquid, but Keith couldn’t even crack and LCS lineup in 2019. GGS are banking on his ADC mechanics to turn him and FBI into one of the better laning duos in the league. GGS still have Juan “Conctractz” Garcia and Henrik “Froggen” Hansen under contract. The team will likely try to find buyers on the market, as neither is a fit for an academy team. GGS are building one of the least experienced rosters in the league. They are on the outside of the 2020 playoff picture.

Dardoch leaves IMT for TSM

What it means for TSM: Buckle up. Joshua “Dardoch” Hartnett is one of the most talented NA players, regardless of position. That he spent most of the 2019 season in academy serves as a reminder that talent isn’t the only factor in terms of success. Dardoch may have gotten screwed by the Echo Fox situation, but that still doesn’t explain why no team went and bought him out before this offseason. That said, it also shows just how unsettled TSM’s jungle situation has been. They have spent years trying to get a more proactive player to fit into their team, so this will be the ultimate test. Matthew “Akaadian” Higginbotham had flashes of success, particularly in Spring, so we know it’s possible to jungle aggressively on TSM. Dardoch thrived on Echo Fox when he wasn’t the only star on the team and could play around Huni. Having Bjergsen and Broken Blade will be the best test of his career. But if things go south, playing on TSM has a way of amplifying those issues. TSM is taking a big gamble on talent with Xmithie, Svenskeren, and Meteos off the market. 

What it means for IMT: It’s unclear whether OpTic Gaming were open to trading Dardoch in 2019 or whether new management in Immortals opened that possibility, but Dardoch was not going to be the starter here after the team signed Xmithie. IMT cash in on an undisclosed buyout that they can use to build out the rest of their roster. Getting Xmithie was a good first step, but they need to surround him with some playmakers if they want to be anything other than an also-ran in 2020.  

Kobbe confirmed to be leaving Splyce

What it means for SPY: Losing ADC Kasper “Kobbe” along with Xerxe is a massive blow to the Splyce organization. Kobbe is one of the best ADCs in the West and there are few top tier options remaining at the position. Only two players remain from their Worlds run: mid laner Humanoid and support Tore (formerly known as Norskeren). Splyce won’t be expected to repeat their success from 2019. It may be in their best interest to use 2020 as a rebuilding year to try to develop the next wave of European talent. 

FORG1VEN makes triumphant return to LEC, joins S04

What it means for S04: He’s back. ADC Konstantinos-Napoleon “FORG1VEN” Tzortziou makes his triumphant return to the LEC by replacing Upset on FC Schalke 04. FORG1VEN has not played in the LEC since 2016 with H2k-Gaming. He took time off from competitive play to complete military service for his home country, Greece. FORG1VEN announced his availability in the middle of 2019 but did not end up signing with a team. His stated desire of joining a winning organization as a full-time starter is now fulfilled, assuming S04 round out their roster with suitable players. Odoamne, Memento, and Abbedagge all return for 2020, though Memento was benched for Trick during the Summer Season. FORG1VEN was one of the most dominant laners of his era and will certainly want a like-minded support player. His natural talent has allowed him to take extended breaks while still reaching peak form on his return. He has had personality clashes in the past, so how he fits in with his new teammates will be a storyline in 2020. It’s hard to say FORG1VEN is an upgrade over Upset, but S04 may not be as hurt by his departure to Origen as originally thought. 

Bang leaves 100T to join Svenskeren and Zeyzal on EG

What it means for EG: Bae “Bang” Jun-sik is the perfect ADC for Evil Geniuses to pair with Zeyzal. Bang isn’t the type of ADC that needs to rely on lane bullies. He’s one of the best Ezreal players in the world, a champion that will allow Zeyzal to get out of lane and roam around. Svenskeren’s new ability to declare himself an NA resident allows EG even greater roster flexibility to fill out their final two spots. Damonte and Pobelter are the best available NA mid laners on the market. Otherwise, top lane features more talent domestically to allow EG to use their final import slot on mid lane. Bang and Zeyzal’s self-reliance bot lane will allow 2019 LCS Summer MVP Svenskeren to play around his new solo lanes, assuming they are talented enough to be worth it.

What it means for 100T: Bang was one of the better ADCs in NA, but was a luxury signing for 100T. ADC has not been a focal point in the meta for the past two seasons, so using an import slot on an ADC should only be done when the rest of the roster is elite. That wasn’t the case with 2019 100T. The team couldn’t function without Ryu subbing in for Max “Soligo” Soong mid lane, forcing 100T to bench top laner Ssumday. With the realization that they aren’t a world-class team right now, 100T make the wise choice to move Bang’s salary off their books. 100T have insisted they plan to build a sustainable team, so it would make sense for them to find an NA resident at ADC in 2020. With Ssumday and Meteos confirmed, 100T are still a playoff contender, even without Bang.   

NOVEMBER 21 ROSTER MOVES

TusiN completes bot lane with Aiming on KT Rolster

What it means for KT: KT Rolster secure their bot lane by adding support Park “TusiN” Jong-ik to ADC Aiming. TusiN teamed with Deft to form one of the best bot lanes in the LCK in 2019. It is telling, however, that DRX opted not to reunite TusiN with Deft. TusiN is a solid support who’s thrived on tanks and can be a solid engage option for his new team. KT will continue their roster overhaul by finding players for their top half of the map. They will need to sign some playmakers to be considered a playoff contender in 2020.

What it means for DRX: If Deft wanted to play with TusiN again, TusiN would still be on DragonX. They continue to sit out free agency after agreeing to terms with Deft the day before it opened. Even if it’s a longshot and his laning skills have declined, Mata is a free agent after being cut loose by SKT. At the end of the day, Deft will decide which support he wants to play with, and it will be up to DRX to find an agreement.   

JackeyLove to move on from iG 

What it means for iG: A year after running back the 2018 World Championship roster, Invictus Gaming will look different in 2020. The first to go is ADC Yu “JackeyLove” Wen-Bo. JackeyLove is a mechanical monster who was seemingly held back at times by subpar support play. He took turns with Kang “TheShy” Seung-lok carrying iG while Song “Rookie” Eui-jin was on hiatus and Gao “Ning” Zhen-Ning was struggling. It’s hard to see iG losing JackeyLove and still retaining Baolan, so the team will likely have an entire new bot lane. TheShy and Rookie take up iG’s import slots, so it limits them to Chinese bot laners. Still, no team in the world has solo laners as strong as iG. If iG can surround them with the right pieces, they’ll be right back among the World title contenders.

Peanut moves to the LPL, joins LGD Gaming

What it means for LGD: LGD Gaming used four different junglers in the 2019 Summer Season. Four. With all due respect to returning junglers Zhang “BadeMan” Yu-Nong and Ding “Kui” Zi-Hao, Han “Peanut” Wang-ho will get the jungle starts in 2020. Peanut comes off a lackluster 2019, but it’s hard to truly judge his form based on his teammates. CuVee isn’t the type of player you can play around as a jungler and Gen.G had a revolving door of mediocre to bad mid laners. Peanut will be able to return to his aggressive ways in the bloodthirsty LPL and should at least make LGD games more exciting.

What it means for Gen.G: Gen.G got the best available jungler on the market in Clid, so they won’t miss Peanut. Peanut would’ve fared better with new solo laners Rascal and Bdd backing him up, but he won’t get the chance. Gen.G’s lineup is set for 2020 and should be one of the favorites in the LCK.

Xmithie re-joins IMT after run with TL

What it means for IMT: Xmithie was the best NA jungler on the market, so this is obviously a win for IMT. They let Meteos go to 100T in free agency and Joshua “Dardoch” Hartnett still remains under contract through 2020. IMT can use Dardoch as insurance like they did in 2019 or look to sell him to a jungle-needy team, especially with Xmithie and Meteos off the market. IMT’s roster isn’t currently loaded with talent, so they will need to make more moves to be considered a legitimate playoff contender. Xmithie isn’t the type of player to hard carry a team, but he will make everyone on his team look better.

What it means for TL: Team Liquid decided to “upgrade” to Broxah and let Xmithie leave in free agency. TL are betting on Broxah’s better mechanical talent and hoping the team synergy doesn’t take a large hit, especially when they have a year to figure it out before the next World Championship. Barring a catastrophe, TL will be there.

Dignitas re-signs Huni

What it means for DIG: After confirming the departures of three-fifths of their starting lineup, Dignitas finally announced someone who would be part of their team in 2020. Top laner Heo “Huni” Seung-hoon returns to the team after an improved Summer Season. He still wasn’t the force he was earlier in his career, but he still has the ability to solo carry games. He and Cody Sun are all that remain from their run to the World Championship. Dignitas have two strong carries, so they can get away with signing more supportive style players at jungle, mid, and support. 

Selfmade replaces Broxah on Fnatic 

What it means for FNC: Just as Team Liquid had a reason they were comfortable letting Xmithie go, Fnatic were comfortable transferring Broxah to Team Liquid because they are adding jungler Oskar “Selfmade” Boderek. Selfmade was named Outstanding Rookie in Spring, his debut season with SK Gaming. He will reunite with former MAD Lions teammate Tim “Nemesis” Lipovšek. Selfmade and Nemesis should have instant synergy, helping offset the usual learning period. Broxah fell off from his 2018 form in 2019, but Fnatic are betting on Selfmade to continue to get better early in his career. He also brings a new personality to a team that openly struggled with personality clashes in 2019.

What it means for SK: SK Gaming won’t get better from losing Selfmade. The rest of their starting lineup from 2019 remains under contract, but that doesn’t mean the roster will stay intact through the offseason. SK do not have another jungler under contract, so they will look to free agency to fill the hole. SK Gaming Prime jungler Gerrit “Phrenic” Stukemeier’s contract is also up. Selfmade was SK’s star player, so they are trending downward so far in the offseason.

Odoamne re-signs with Schalke 04

What it means for S04: Schalke 04 keep a much-needed veteran presence by re-signing top laner Andrei “Odoamne” Pascu for the 2020 season. IgNar and Upset have already found their new teams and Trick is next. S04 have jungler Memento and mid laner Abbedagge signed through 2020 but will need to find a new bot lane. They could also choose to bring in competition for Memento, who was replaced by Trick in the Summer Season. Odoamne often played weak side of the map in deference to Upset and IgNar. If S04 brings in a rookie bot lane, Odoamne could be featured more as a carry in 2020.

SKT re-sign Effort, add Cuzz to replace Clid

What it means for SKT: It’s no surprise to see Lee “Effort” Sang-ho return after SK Telecom T1 announced the departure of Cho “Mata” Se-hyeong and did not reference Effort as one of their players exploring free agency. Effort came in for Mata in 2019 and upgraded SKT’s laning phase, pairing well with an up-and-coming star in ADC Park “Teddy” Jin-seong. Effort is an important keep for SKT in this tumultuous offseason. While SKT surely would have preferred to keep Clid, Moon “Cuzz” Woo-chan is about the best replacement SKT could have hoped for. Cuzz is a highly-skilled, aggressive jungler who’s coming off his best season. Sound familiar? SKT will have to rebuild their synergy, but Cuzz is plenty capable of unlocking Faker.

What it means for DRX: Just as Clid’s departure meant SKT would downgrade at jungle, Cuzz’s departure means DRX will downgrade with Clid off the market. Again, their plans are in flux with cvMax’s suspension. How that affects DRX and the players they can recruit to build around Deft remains the dominant storyline for the team. As good players fall off the market, their worries will only grow.

FATE and Gorilla set to join SANDBOX Gaming

What it means for SB: Mid laner Yoo “FATE” Su-hyeok joins SANDBOX Gaming from Brion Blade after an outstanding CK 2019 Summer Season. FATE was at or near the top of all statistical categories for mid laners in the league and joins Kim “Dove” Jae-yeon on the roster. Dove is still signed through 2020, so it remains to be seen who will get the bulk of the playing time. Meanwhile, support Kang “GorillA” Beom-hyun is expected to start over Cho “Joker” Jae-eup in the revamped bot lane with Moon “Route” Geom-su. SB have added competition to their roster hoping to raise their talent ceiling as a team in 2020. While featuring great team play, they have seen skill deficiencies hold them back from taking the next step in the LCK.

What it means for MSF: GorillA’s departure was a foregone conclusion when he headed home to Korea during the Summer Season. The star-studded lineup just didn’t work out. Keeping GorillA wouldn’t make financial sense as Misfits Gaming try to rebuild their roster with younger talent. They have both Mads “Doss” Schwartz and Aleksi “H1IVA” Kaikkonen under contract at support through 2020. Don’t expect Misfits to be among the LEC playoff contenders in Spring 2020.

ikssu, Cover, Secret re-sign with promoted LCK team APK

What it means for APK: The newly-promoted APK Prince will enter the LCK with three of the five players that got them there. Top laner Jeon “ikssu” Ik-soo, mid laner Kim “Cover” Joo-eon, and support Park “Secret” Ki-sun have all extended their contracts through 2020. Jungler Lee “KaKAO” Byung-kwon and ADC Kim “Trigger” Eui-joo have announced they will be moving on. It’s disappointing that we won’t get to see the full roster that defeated Hanwha Life Esports and Jin Air Green Wings to get here, but the new talent won’t be going anywhere. Griffin, SANDBOX Gaming, and DAMWON Gaming have all had incredible LCK debuts. APK hopes to be next in line.

NOVEMBER 20 ROSTER MOVES

Ssumday will remain with 100T, return to starting lineup

What it means for 100T: Top laner Kim “Ssumday” Chan-ho will remain with 100 Thieves for 2020 despite being benched late in the 2019 season. 100 Thieves had shot-calling issues and needed to insert Ryu “Ryu” Sang-wook into the starting lineup, meaning one of Ssumday or Bae “Bang” Jin-suk needed to be benched. Aaron “FakeGod” Lee took over for Ssumday as 100T fell just short of a playoff berth after a late charge. By retaining Ssumday and signing Meteos, 100T look more competitive than expected for the 2020 season. It will be interesting to see how they fill out the rest of the lineup, as they will search for a mid laner and possibly a support. Zaqueri “Aphromoo” Black’s contract is up and neither he nor the team has discussed his future.

Biofrost makes his return to TSM 

What it means for TSM: TSM didn’t know what they had in Vincent “Biofrost” Wang until he was gone. Now they bring him back to head a fresh bot lane for 2020. Biofrost flourished on CLG, adding shot-calling experience to his resume. He is one of the best native supports in North America and performed better in 2019 than Smoothie, though TSM’s team issues didn’t help. New part-owner Søren “Bjergsen” Bjerg clearly wanted Biofrost back on board, indicative of a strong relationship. TSM will need to find a new ADC to replace Zven and will look to upgrade their jungle position to round out their roster. Sergen “Broken Blade” Çelik, Bjergsen, and Biofrost is one of the strongest cores in the LCS.

What it means for CLG: Biofrost’s departure was obvious after CLG announced their addition of Smoothie. Biofrost is the more prized player at this point in his career, so TSM likely had to incentivize CLG to make the swap. Stixxay and Biofrost had great synergy bot and were referred to as the second best LCS bot lane by Doublelift. CLG hopes Smoothie will pick up where Biofrost left off as a vocal leader.

Crown leaves Immortals for CLG

What it means for CLG: Counter Logic Gaming trades one import mid laner for another, going from Tristan “PowerOfEvil” Schrage to Lee “Crown” Min-ho. Crown looked washed up after a dreadful performance at Worlds 2018, but he ended up being one of the best mid laners in NA to end 2019. In their current form, this is a pure upgrade in performance for CLG and will hopefully eliminate some of the champion pool problems that PoE brought with him. CLG also have fellow Korean Kim “Ruin” Hyeong-min remaining top lane to ease the language barrier burden. Coupled with their signing of Smoothie, this completes CLG’s roster. They are a solid playoff team with the possibility of pushing for top three if things break their way in 2020.

What it means for IMT: Immortals have now lost two of the best players in free agency in Meteos and Crown. Academy mid laner Marcel “Scarlet” Wiederhofer performed admirably when Crown was sidelined in 2019, but his contract is also up. Immortals have holes all over their lineup and have yet to make any noise in free agency. As a new organization, they may look to make a splash in the next few days. 

Turkish MVP Closer and former C9 mid laner Goldenglue join GGS

What it means for GGS: Both jungler Can “Closer” Çelik and mid laner Greyson “Goldenglue” Gilmer join a crowded Golden Guardians roster. Juan “Contractz” Garcia and Henrik “Froggen” Hansen remain under contract through 2020, but it sounds like Closer and Goldenglue are expected to be the starters for next season. This is a youth movement for GGS, looking for a fresh injection of talent to their lineup. At the same time, replacing the top half of their map is much less important than figuring out their bot lane. ADC Victor “FBI” Huang and supports Choi “Huhi” Jae-hyun and Kim “Olleh” Joo-sung remain under contract through 2020, but GGS are expected to address bot lane with new pickups. Closer takes an import slot, meaning GGS could not start both FBI and Olleh. Until they address their bot lane, GGS are not a contender in 2020.

What it means for C9: Goldenglue was supposed to split time with Yasin “Nisqy” Dinçer heading into 2019, but Nisqy took all the playing time on stage and left Goldenglue to dominate academy. With nothing left to prove in academy, C9 let Goldenglue move on but re-stock their academy team with promising mid laner Cristian “Palafox” Palafox. While Goldenglue is more LCS ready now, C9 can see if they can coach Palafox into an LCS player.

Zeyzal is transferred from C9 to EG

What it means for EG: Tristan “Zeyzal” Stidam gets to partner again with Svenskeren as the second member of Evil Geniuses. Zeyzal is known for his shot-calling and ability to communicate what the team should do at the moment and in the future. He’s not known as the most mechanically gifted of supports, so EG would do well to pair him with an ADC that is good at safely farming to scale. He has built-in support/jungle synergy with Svenskeren that should help EG be more cohesive than the typical new team.

What it means for C9: Zeyzal is too good for academy and had to go somewhere after Cloud 9 announced their pickup of Vulcan. Cloud 9 saw a higher ceiling for Vulcan as a player, opting to make a move for him while packaging Zeyzal with Svenskeren. C9 will need new voices to step up as leaders in 2020. Licorice should have a stronger voice on the team, while Zven has also been known to be one of the more vocal ADCs. C9 have gotten stronger mechanically, but they will need to prove that the pieces fit together.

IgNar to third region in three years, joins FlyQuest

What it means for FLY: FlyQuest decided to upgrade their import support for 2020, bringing in Lee “IgNar” Dong-geun to replace Kim “Wadid” Bae-in. IgNar teamed with Upset on FC Schalke 04 to form one of the best bot lanes in Europe, though they never reached the level of Luka “Perkz” Perković and Mihael “Mikyx” Mehle. IgNar is an aggressive style support who should pair better with Jason “WildTurtle” Tran than Wadid did. FLY still have an import slot to upgrade mid, as Eugene “Pobelter” Park announced he is looking for other opportunities. FlyQuest would be a playoff contender with an upgrade at mid and another year of seasoning for Omran “V1per” Shoura.

What it means for S04: IgNar was the third player to depart FC Schalke 04, following lane mate Upset and jungler Trick. It’s hard to see how S04 will field a stronger lineup than the one they had in 2019, but they’ve shown the propensity to spend in free agency. They will have to do so to attract top players, as their leftover core of Abbedagge and Memento is not enough to entice players to take a discount. They have a lot of ground to make up in the offseason to be anything more than a fringe playoff contender in 2020.   

Racal, Clid, Bdd to join Ruler and Life on Gen.G 

What it means for Gen.G: On paper, this is a team that will not only challenge for LCK titles, but also a World Championship. Clid is one of the best junglers in the world and Bdd is a massive upgrade over the revolving door that was Gen.G’s mid lane position in 2019. Kim “Rascal” Kwang-hee is a more consistent option than Lee “CuVee” Seong-jin, even if he doesn’t have the same ability to take over games. That won’t be needed with the star power at every other position on the team. Things change quickly in League of Legends and esports as a whole, but it’s also notable that these new players are also signed through at least 2021, meaning Gen.G should get at least two cracks at glory with this lineup. That’s important because, as we saw with SK Telecom T1, you can have a problem keeping star players that elevate each other to new heights. It’s an LCK title and deep run in the World Championship or bust for Gen.G in 2020.

What it means for SKT: This is a massive blow for SK Telecom T1. Clid was their best player in 2019 and meshed well with Faker. He was the first jungler in a long while that was able to take some pressure off Faker and be a focal point for the team. The impending loss of Khan will also hurt, but there are plenty of talented top laners available on the market. The same can’t be said for junglers. The dream scenario for SKT would be to pry Lee “Tarzan” Seung-yong away from Griffin, but that’s a long shot unless things continue to deteriorate with the organization. No matter who ends up joining the organization, it will take time to build a rapport with Faker and the rest of the roster. This downgrades SKT for 2020.

What it means for DRX: DragonX were ready to blow up the roster after a disappointing 2019, so Rascal moving on was no surprise. He played well as a supportive actor to Deft, but those types of players are more replaceable than carry players. DRX’s roster-building may be on hold as Kim “cvMax” Dae-ho has been indefinitely suspended following Riot Korea’s investigation into mental and physical abuse allegations. Deft may already regret re-committing to DRX before free agency opened.

What it means for KT: KT Rolster is another team blowing it up after a disappointing 2019. None of their members will return for 2020. KT were not rewarded for making a splash move to bring in Bdd in 2019, but that wasn’t really his fault. Smeb and Score sharply declined in quality and the addition of Kim “PraY” Jong-in for Summer Season was not enough to fix their problems. KT Rolster have signed Aiming but have four more roster spots to fill. It would be surprising if they could manage to field a lineup any better than fringe playoff contender for 2020.    

NOVEMBER 19 ROSTER MOVES

Meteos re-joins 100 Thieves

What it means for 100T: Not expected to be major players in the free agency market, it’s surprising to see 100 Thieves strike a deal with William “Meteos” Hartman to fill their jungle position. Maurice “Amazing” Stückenschneider acquitted himself well when he joined for the Summer Split and is still under contract with the organization through 2020. Meteos returns to the organization after a controversial split in the middle of 2018. Meteos had asked to explore his options as 100T tried to incorporate Đỗ “Levi” Duy Khánh onto the main roster, leading to 100T trading him to FlyQuest. It seems all has been forgiven as Tony “Zikz” Gray has taken over for Neil “pr0lly” Hammad. Meteos is one of the best junglers in NA and can mentor younger native talents if 100T opt to reign in their spending for 2020.

What it means for IMT: Meteos is one of the biggest brands in the LCS, so losing him hurts their team and their marketability as a new LCS organization. They do have jungler Joshua “Dardoch” Hartnett still under contract through 2020 and will have other options available in free agency. The team has inherited several expiring contracts, so only Dardoch, mid laner Lee “Crown” Min-ho, ADC Noh “Arrow” Dong-hyeon, and ADC Toàn “Asta” Trần under contract for 2020. Assuming they keep Crown and Arrow, Immortals will have to find NA talents to fill their top and support roles. 

Zven and Vulcan team up to form new C9 bot lane

What it means for C9: First and foremost, it marks the end an era for Cloud9. Zachary “Sneaky” Scuderi will no longer be the starting ADC for the organization. Regardless of whether or not Sneaky still has it as a player, he and support Tristan “Zeyzal” Stidam were the weak links of the roster in 2019. ADC Jesper “Zven” Svenningsen and support Philippe “Vulcan” Laflamme look to improve the team for 2020. Zven had another down year on TSM, notably getting caught out in crucial situations in big games, but brings elite talent and a strong work ethic. Vulcan is a rising in the league, leading Clutch Gaming to a Worlds berth and receiving enough interest from C9 to be bought out from Team Dignitas. The addition of Zven further cements Blaber as the starting jungle, as C9 has filled both import slots.

What it means for TSM: While C9 sees Zven as the answer at ADC, TSM were ready to move on after a second disappointing year. Expectations were sky high when TSM kicked Doublelift and Biofrost for Zven and Mithy, but the decision backfired as the TSM bot lane has only regressed. With Smoothie and Zven departed, TSM will look to build their bot lane from scratch for 2020. They will have an open import slot they can use to address any of jungle, ADC, or support.

What it means for DIG: Dignitas, taking over the LCS spot of Clutch Gaming for 2020, agreed to transfer Vulcan to C9, so they will get a nice chunk of change for their investment. It’s tough to lose one of the best native supports in the LCS, but Dignitas can use that money and savings to spread across the rest of the roster. The contracts of top laner Heo “Huni” Seung-hoon and jungler Nam “Lira” Tae-yoo are up, while mid laner Tanner “Damonte” Damonte has announced he will move on in free agency. Only ADC Cody “Cody Sun” Sun is under contract for 2020. Dignitas will have to search for a native support if they want to keep both Lira and Huni.

Broxah leaves Fnatic to replace Xmithie on TL

What it means for TL: This is why Team Liquid decided Xmithie was expendable. Mads “Broxah” Brock-Pedersen represents a mechanical upgrade over Xmithie on a TL roster that now has another import slot available with Nicolaj “Jensen” Jensen becoming an NA resident. Broxah was one of, if not the best jungler in season 8 in Fnatic’s run to the World Championship finals. Broxah will bring a fresh perspective in the jungle for a team that has stalled out on the biggest stage the past two years. He should provide a stronger early presence to team with Jensen. TL were already and will remain the LCS favorites in 2020 as their roster is loaded at every position.

What it means for FNC: Broxah was outstanding on Fnatic, but the team culture never seemed to be ideal. He and Fnatic struggled at times in 2019, leading to Fnatic opening jungle competition between Broxah and Daniel “Dan” Hockley. Dan never threatened Broxah as he regained his form as one of the best junglers in the world. Broxah leaves a big hole, but not one that Fnatic thinks they can’t fill. They controlled Broxah’s rights and traded him to Team Liquid, so they clearly have a replacement in mind. With the rest of the roster still under contract through at least 2020, Fnatic will remain one of the top contenders in Europe.

Svenskeren leaves Cloud9, becomes first member of Evil Geniuses

What it means for EG: Evil Geniuses first move as a new member of the LCS is to bring in the reigning MVP of the league. Not bad. Dennis “Svenskeren” Johnsen comes off his best season as a pro and is flexible enough to fit in any type of team EG builds around him. His ability to establish himself as an NA resident this year only adds to his value, allowing EG to go abroad to fill out their roster. It also never hurts to weaken what will be one of their main obstacles to domestic success in Cloud9.

What it means for C9: Cloud9 have a history of losing great players, so this offseason is no different. Fortunately, they also have the best track record of success with homegrown talent. Robert “Blaber” Huang has been the best academy jungler in NA for a while now — depending on how you feel about Joshua “Dardoch” Hartnett and his status as an academy player — and was actually subbed in for Sven in very important World Championship games. Blaber is a solo queue terror and insanely talented. He should finally get his shot to be the undisputed starter on the revamped Cloud9 roster. 

Xerxe, Upset, and Destiny join OG to complete roster

What it means for OG: Origen expect to be one of the big three in Europe with these roster moves. Jungler Andrei “Xerxe” Dragomir and ADC Elias “Upset” Lipp are clear upgrades over Jonas “Kold” Andersen and Patrik “Patrik” Jírů. Mitchell “Destiny” Shaw joins from MAMMOTH of the OPL and will replace Alfonso “Mithy” Aguirre Rodríguez at support. Origen clearly targeted mechanical upgrades in the offseason and got them. Super teams haven’t always worked out — see Misfits Gaming — but there’s no denying this is one of the strongest rosters in Europe on paper. How the team meshes in terms of personalities and communication will determine their success in 2020. Anything short of a Worlds berth would be considered a disappointment.

What it means for SPY: Splyce are looking at a total rebuild in 2020. Xerxe was the best available jungler in Europe, while current free agent Kasper “Kobbe” Kobberup is up there with Upset for best ADC. Those losses, coupled with the retirement of Tamás “Vizicsacsi” Kiss, leaves Splyce with only mid laner Marek “Humanoid” Brázda and support Tore “Norskeren” Hoel Eilertsen returning in 2020. Top laner Andrei “Orome” Popa is also under contract through 2020. Humanoid will go from rookie to team building block in only a year’s time. Splyce will look for a less heralded free agent to rebuild with, but their stock takes a big hit heading into 2020.

What it means for S04: While Upset was regarded as one of the biggest free agents like Xerxe, FC Schalke 04 do at least have a comparable player at ADC on the market in Kobbe. Outside of signing Kobbe, S04 will also be looking at a downgrade with this departure. Upset joins Kim “Trick” Gang-yun in leaving S04 this offseason. Top laner Andrei “Odoamne” Pascu and support Lee “IgNar” Dong-geun are also on expiring contracts, but have not yet announced their intention to leave. Jungler Jonas “Memento” Elmarghichi and mid laner Felix “Abbedagge” Braun are the only players under contract for 2020. Known for attracting top talent, S04 have the ability to import to fill out their roster.        

Imp retires

What it means for JDG: The former World Champion is calling it quits after a very successful career. Gu “imp” Seung-bin never quite lived up to his Samsung White glory days once he moved to the LPL, but had a resurgent 2019 season after splitting time to start his JD Gaming career. Imp still had top-notch mechanics and shined in the metas that favored champions like Vayne and Kai’Sa, allowing him to express that skill. JDG are loaded with talent in top lane with Zhang “Zoom” Xing-Ran and Park “Morgan” Gi-tae, but now have holes throughout the rest of their roster. Assuming they start Zoom over Morgan, JDG will have two import slots to fill their jungler and ADC roles for 2020.

Fly signs with AF after leaving Gen.G

What it means for AF: Though experienced at the LCK level, mid laner Song “Fly” Yong-jun is undoubtedly a downgrade from Son “Ucal” Woo-hyeon for Afreeca Freecs. Fly spent his 2018 season with Gen.G, getting the bulk of the starts in mid lane until late in the Summer Season. He has never been considered a star carry, filling the role of a more supportive, wave clear oriented mid laner. It’s possible that AF aren’t done adding in the mid lane, as Fly has often shared playing time during his career. This could be a situation where AF look to add a younger talent and start Fly until that player is stage-ready.

What it means for Gen.G: Gen.G looked to have already moved on from Fly at the end of the Summer Season, opting to give Kim “Roach” Kang-hui, Lee “Rich” Jae-won, and Lee “Kuzan” Seong-hyeok starts in his place. Gen.G are starting over after failing to qualify for Worlds in 2019, announcing the departures of Lee “CuVee” Seong-jin and Han “Peanut” Wang-ho in addition to Fly. Gen.G will look to build around star ADC Park “Ruler” Jae-hyuk, one of the best players in the world. Support Kim “Life” Jeong-min remains under contract for 2020.

November 18 Roster Moves

Route departs JAG, joins SB

What it means for SB: The next Jin Air Green Wings ADC to get a shot on a better team, Moon “Route” Geom-su replaces Jang “Ghost” Yong-jun on SANDBOX Gaming. Route had better numbers in most statistical categories, despite playing on the much worse team in 2019. Part of that was being funneled gold, much like Teddy was before him, but Route offers more carry potential than Ghost. With the rest of the roster signed through 2020, SANDBOX Gaming should be one of the top contenders in the LCK again, keeping their young foundation and adding at their biggest position of weakness.

What it means for JAG: Jin Air Green Wings continues to be a farm system for the better teams in the LCK, though they will fall into further irrelevance as they demote to the CK in 2020. The team will set their sights on qualifying back to the LCK after their 0-18 Summer Split, but JAG will be left to fight over players at an even lower caliber than the ones who piloted them to a demotion.    

Xmithie announces departure from TL

What it means for TL: Team Liquid doesn’t lose top talents for a lack of money, so it’s telling that Jake “Xmithie” Puchero is set to move on in free agency. Xmithie has never been the greatest mechanical jungler, but has nevertheless been seen as the best in NA for years. TL has bigger aspirations than remaining dominant domestically. After failing to advance out of Groups again in 2019, they’ve chosen to shake things up at arguably their weakest position. Whether that works out for them remains to be seen. The last time we saw an organization break up a dominant LCS team to push for greater international success — TSM in 2017 — it didn’t go so well. TL will still be the LCS favorites no matter who they sign to play jungle in 2020, but they hope to raise the ceiling internationally.

Smoothie leaves TSM, joins CLG

What it means for CLG: Counter Logic Gaming move on from Vincent “Biofrost” Wang to Andy “Smoothie” Ta at support. This is a lateral move at best, as Biofrost had the better 2019 season, especially as he transitioned to a more vocal role on CLG. But assuming they couldn’t keep Biofrost, Smoothie is a good pickup for a team that wants to remain competitive in 2020. He will team with Trevor “Stixxay” Hayes to form a decent bot lane, though each has shown top tier potential in the past. Smoothie comes with some shotcalling experience, so he should be able to help fill some of the void left by Biofrost.

What it means for TSM: All signs point toward a reunion with Biofrost, as it is seemingly no coincidence that Biofrost and Smoothie were each announced to be leaving their respective teams in quick succession. Smoothie performed adequately with Jesper “Zven” Svenningsen on TSM, but they were clearly hoping for more when they moved on from Biofrost and Peter “Doublelift” Peng in 2018. Assuming TSM keeps their imports in top and ADC, they will need to field an NA resident in 2020.

Mata leaves SKT; Khan, Clid, and kk0ma enter free agency

What it means for SKT: After finally putting another contender around Faker, SK Telecom T1 faces a crossroads in 2020. As great as he has been in his career, support Cho “Mata” Se-hyeong had been passed up by the more lane dominant Lee “Effort” Sang-ho. Mata’s departure is a clear signal that SKT intends to re-sign Effort, as is his non-inclusion in the announcement of the other free agents. Kim “Khan” Dong-ha will be one of the most sought after top laners in the LCK, while Kim “Clid” Tae-min already has experience playing abroad in the LPL. On a team with the best player of all-time, Clid was SKT’s best player in 2019. And just like it’s impossible to imagine SKT without Faker, it’s impossible to see SKT without head coach Kim “kk0ma” Jeong-gyun. SKT notes that they are still talking with these three, though it does not bode well that they were unable to lock them up before free agency. SKT will be weakened by any of their departures, though Faker and Teddy is an enviable core.

Aiming joins KT Rolster as Kingen, Smeb, Score, Bdd, Pray, and Zenit leave

What it means for KT: KT Rolster are moving on from their entire roster after an incredibly disappointing 2019. Song “Smeb” Kyung-ho, Go “Score” Dong-bin, and Gwak “Bdd” Bo-seong were supposed to form one of the most formidable combos in the world, but they all regressed from 2018. Smeb in particular went from one of the best top laners in the world to not even being one of the ten best in Korea. So it makes sense that KT would blow it up, looking to start 2020 fresh. Their first signing in Kim “Aiming” Ha-ram is a solid pickup, if not one to build a team around. Aiming was a middle-of-the-pack ADC in the LCK in 2019, playing a more supportive role around Kim “Kiin” Gi-in and Son “Ucal” Woo-hyeon. KT will need to add players with more carry potential around Aiming if they want to compete in 2020.

What it means for AF: As mentioned, Aiming was a solid ADC for Afreeca Freecs in 2019, but this was still the same player that AF kept on the bench for parts of the Spring Season in favor of playing Lee “Spirit” Da-yoon in bot lane. AF have been built around their solo lanes, and there’s no doubt that Kiin will remain a focal point, even as Ucal moves on. AF still have Seo “SSol” Jin-sol under contract and can explore outside options for 2020.       

Hans Sama joins, Vander to remain with Rogue

What it means for RGE: Rogue wasted no time in securing their roster for 2020, announcing minutes into free agency that they had signed ADC Steven “Hans Sama” Liv and re-signed support Oskar “Vander” Bogdan. ADC was a weak spot on Rogue in 2018, so they hope Hans Sama will be an upgrade and will work well with Vander. Hans Sama has shown incredible mechanical potential in his career, leading to big expectations for him and Kang “Gorilla” Beom-hyun on Misfits. But like the rest of the team, the duo struggled to live up to expectations and are looking for fresh starts. With the rest of their 2018 team intact, Rogue should be expecting to be in the playoff mix in 2020.

What it means for MSF: Misfits seemingly want to wipe their hands clean of their “superteam” 2019 roster that failed to live up to expectations. Matúš “Neon” Jakubčík, part of the academy team that took over for some weeks in the LCS, remains under contract for 2020, though Misfits have not committed him to the starting role. After their disastrous — and probably very expensive — 2019, it wouldn’t be surprising to see Misfits give Neon another shot or look to develop a similarly inexpensive option for 2020.

November 17 Roster Moves

Faker re-signs with SKT through 2021

What it means for SKT: Was there ever any doubt? Mid laner Lee “Faker” Sang-hyeok will remain with SK Telecom T1 for at least the next two years as the face of the franchise and of League of Legends itself. The greatest League of Legends player of all-time, Faker rebounded from a tough 2018 season with one of his best in 2019. SK Telecom T1 won both splits of the LCK season and made it to the semifinals of the 2019 World Championship with a rebuilt core surrounding Faker. How much of it will return in 2020 remains up in the air, as all but Park “Teddy” Jin-seong are on expiring contracts.

Meteor re-signs with BLG through 2022

What it means for BLG: Retaining jungler Zeng “Meteor” Guo-Hao is an important move for Bilibili Gaming this offseason, especially considering the possible loss of leader Lee “Kuro” Seo-haeng. His status as a native resident will allow BLG to explore an import mid laner to replace Kuro, as the rest of their roster remains under contract. Status aside, Meteor had an incredible Summer Split. He earned Second Team All-Pro and finished tied for fourth in the LPL MVP standings with Kim “Doinb” Tae-sang. BLG did well to keep him under wraps and will be a playoff contender if they can find a suitable mid laner for 2020.

Deft re-signs with DRX

What it means for DRX: It’s never a bad move to lock down one of the best ADC players in the world. Kim “Deft” Hyuk-kyu is still one of those, even if he and the rest of DragonX (formerly known as Kingzone DragonX) failed to qualify for the 2019 World Championship. The former World Champion looked as good as ever, but the team around him was not good enough to challenge the top LCK teams. Following the announcement that the rest of the roster will be moving on, Deft hitches himself to DRX despite the roster uncertainties. Given that playing with Heo “PawN” Won-seok was one of the main reasons Deft joined in 2018, it’s very likely that Deft will have a strong say on the new roster and has assurances that DRX will look to be competitive in 2020.

Mike Plant
Mike Plant
Michael Plant has been playing League of Legends since 2010 and analyzing it nearly as long. More recently, he's been interested in the developing PUBG and Fortnite scenes. When he's not playing or watching video games, he's more than likely following one of his Houston sports teams.