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2020 League of Legends Offseason Roster Shuffle Tracker

Mike Plant  | 
Bang went back home joining the Afreeca Freecs in the offseason roster shuffle (Photo via Colin Young-Wolff | Riot Games)

Bang went back home joining the Afreeca Freecs in the offseason roster shuffle (Photo via Colin Young-Wolff | Riot Games)

It’s the greatest time of the year: League of Legends Roster Shuffle 2020. 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 18 ROSTER MOVES

SUNING MOVE ON TO MAIN ROSTER

What it means for SN: Suning have promoted Luo “ON” Wen-Jun to the main roster. ON, previously named “owo”, will replace the departed SwordArt. The 17 year old has big shoes to fill and will create a very young and inexperienced bot lane with huanfeng – assuming the star rookie is still around.

TOP ESPORTS PROMOTE PHOTIC BACK TO MAIN ROSTER

What it means for TES: Top Esports have promoted ADC Ying “Photic” Qi-Shen to the main roster for the second time. Photic was supposed to be the starting ADC for TES in 2020, but lackluster play led to the team signing JackeyLove at the end of the Spring Split. JackeyLove is signed through 2022, so Photic remains depth unless JackeyLove is moved.

MACHI ANNOUNCE STARTING ROSTER

What it means for MCX: After a disappointing showing at Worlds, Machi Esports have revamped their roster. Jungler Huang “Gemini” Chu-Xuan and support Lin “Koala” Chih-Chiang return, but they are joined by new additions Liao “Likai” Li-Kai, Tseng “JimieN” Hao-Chun, and Sung “Atlen” Ya-Lun.

LGD SIGN UNIBOY, BRING BACK KRAMER

What it means for LGD: One member of LGD Gaming will be staying, after all. ADC Ha “Kramer” Jong-hun has reached an agreement to return to LGD after the organization previously announced his departure. LGD also went abroad in finding their replacement for xiye, signing ahq eSports Club mid laner Chen “Uniboy” Chang-Chu. Uniboy played against LGD at the Play-In Stage of Worlds as a sub for PSG Talon.

VICTORY FIVE ADD ALIEZ, EXTEND Y4

What it means for V5: Victory Five have extended ADC Wang “y4” Nong-Mo and added Huang “Aliez” Hao for the second time in free agency. Y4 split time with Lee “Samd” Jae-hoon in 2020, and barring a new signing, will be the starting ADC in 2021. Aliez did not get playing time for Oh My God behind Curse in 2020.

What it means for OMG: Though Oh My God lost Curse in free agency to Team WE, they opted for outside help to fill their top lane void by adding New. It seems clear they did not view Aliez as the long term answer.

DECEMBER 17 ROSTER MOVES

KT ROLSTER SIGN ZZUS, PROMOTE THREE

What it means for KT: KT Rolster look to be going very young in 2021. They have signed Jang “Zzus” Joon-soo from CK team Awesome Spear, joining Rebel as the second support on the team. KT have also promoted three former academy players to round out their main roster: top laner Cho “Castle” Hyeon-seong, mid laner Lee “Vicla” Dae-gwang, and ADC Oh “Noah” Hyeon-taek.

ROGUE WARRIORS ADD FIVE NEW PLAYERS

What it means for RW: Rogue Warriors have overhauled their roster, adding five new players for 2021: top laner Chen “Ziv” Yi, mid laner Deng “Forge” Jie, ADCs Lu “Betty” Yu-Hun and Huang “kelin” Bo-Lin, and support Zhang “QiuQiu” Ming. RW now have two PCS residents in Ziv and Betty, accounting for both of their import slots. They are hoping to get more out of Forge and QiuQiu after both were beat out for their starting spots in 2020.

What it means for RNG: Royal Never Give Up signed Betty as insurance to Uzi, which came in handy when Uzi retired. Unfortunately, Betty did not play particularly well for RNG, leading to him getting benched for GALA. GALA remains the starter for RNG in 2021.

What it means for TES: Top Esports split playing time between QiuQiu and yuyanjia in Spring before eventually settling on the latter. However, TES will likely move on from both, as TES have added Team WE Academy support Zhuo. Zhuo was arguably the best support in the LDL in 2020 and will have the chance to start next to JackeyLove.

MAXLORE AND KASING TEAM UP WITH MOVISTAR RIDERS

What it means: Former LEC veterans jungler Nubar “Maxlore” Sarafian and support Raymond “kaSing” Tsang have signed with Movistar Riders. Once regarded as top players in the LEC, the duo are attempting to rebuild their value in the European regional leagues. kaSing spent 2020 with Excel’s academy team, while Maxlore sat out the Spring before spending the Summer with Munster Rugby.

RNG SWAP XIAOHU TOP, ANNOUNCE ROSTER

What it means for RNG: Royal Never Give Up have announced their full roster for 2021, with one big surprise. Long-time RNG mid laner Li “Xiaohu” Yuan-Hao has made the move to top lane, trying to fill a weakness that has plagued RNG for years. Former eStar mid laner Yuan “Cryin” Cheng-Wei will get the starting mid lane job, but his leash will be short with Xiaohu still on the team. RNG have also added jungler Yan “Wei” Yang-Wei, though Li “XLB” Xiao-Long had a strong rookie year. Chen “GALA” Wei will continue at ADC after replacing Betty during the split.

VICI GAMING SWAP BLG’S FOFO

What it means for VG: Bilibili Gaming and Vici Gaming have essentially swapped mid laners for 2021, as Chu “FoFo” Chun-Lan joins VG. FoFo disappointed in his first year in the LPL, but his carry upside has done enough to keep him in the league. VG will hope to get more out of him in a new environment.

What it means for BLG: Bilibili Gaming signed Zeka, completing the swap between the two organizations. There are rumors that FoFo didn’t fit in well with the team, so it made sense to try a new fit for 2021.

INVICTUS GAMING SIGN WINK, PROMOTE THREE

What it means for iG: Invictus Gaming have taken a step to revamping their bot lane by signing ADC Zhang “Wink” Rui. Wink was a standout as a rookie for eStar, helping them to make a splash in Spring. He should replace Ding “Puff” Wang, who was steady but unspectacular in replacing JackeyLove. iG also promoted jungler Peng “XUN” Li-Xun, ADC Wu “Snow” Hao-Shun, and support Li “Lucas” Tan-Pan-Ao to their main roster. It remains to be seen if iG will also add a new starting support.

What it means for ES: eStar lost their first star when Cryin returned to Royal Never Give Up in the Summer. They now lose their second as wink joins a more successful organization. eStar have promoted Peng “rat” Qiao-Yu to their main roster to replace Wink.

ESTAR SIGN ZS, H4CKER, INSULATOR

What it means for ES: eStar have signed top laner Zhang “zs” Shuai, jungler Yang “H4cker” Zhi-Hao, and mid laner Ye “Insulator” Zhi-Wei to their main roster. zs is a prospect from the Invictus Gaming organization, while Insulator comes from FunPlus Phoenix’s academy team. H4cker looks to be the veteran of the team, as he’s played in the LPL since his debut with Suning in 2017. eStar are rebuilding their roster after struggling in the Summer.

What it means for OMG: Oh My God are also revamping their roster, but they are doing so with a young jungler in AKi. The former TES Challenger member is the only jungler signed to OMG’s main roster.

FUNPLUS PHOENIX TAKE NUGURI FROM DAMWON

What it means for FPX: FunPlus Phoenix once again went shopping for a top laner from the LCK, this time coming away with Jang “Nuguri” Ha-gwon. The reigning World Champion joins the 2019 champions after the departure of Khan. It will be interesting to see the fit, as FPX struggled to incorporate a carry top laner like Khan. Nuguri is very much that, but he is also the more skilled player at this point in their careers. Nuguri gives FPX the type of carry who can go toe-to-toe with elite top laners like Kang “TheShy” Seung-lok.

What it means for DWG: This is a huge blow to DAMWON Gaming, even if Khan is one of the better top laners they could have found to replace Nuguri. Khan is coming off a lost year with FPX, while Nuguri established himself as one of (if not THE) best top laners in the world. DWG should still be strong, but this could be the first crack in the armor.

UNTARA RETIRES

What it means: Former SK Telecom T1 and Griffin top laner Park “Untara” Ui-jin has announced his retirement from professional play. Untara played in China and Turkey in addition to his native Korea. After Griffin were relegated following the 2020 Spring Split, Untara was released from his contract and did not play in the Summer Split.

OMG SIGN WUMING, NEW, AKI

What it means for OMG: Oh My God have begun roster reconstruction after finishing 12th and 14th in the LPL in 2020. Their first three signings are top laner Tian “New” Zhi-Peng, jungler Mao “AKi” An, and mid laner Wang “Wuming” Xin. New started every game for RNG in the Summer, while Wuming closed the season out for Rogue Warriors. AKi is a heralded prospect coming from the Top Esports organization.

What it means for RNG: New was thrust into the starting lineup when RNG parted ways with Langx between Spring and Summer. Though he wasn’t the reason RNG struggled, they have turned to their former mid laner Xiaohu to role swap top lane in 2021. Xiaohu is a steady laner who could have success as a weak side top laner.

What it means for RW: Wuming won the starting job for Rogue Warriors over Lee “Ruby” Sol-min, but RW will go a different direction in 2021. Former Vici Gaming mid laner Forge will is the only mid laner currently under contract for RW.

XIYE AND MYSTIC JOIN JD GAMING

What it means for JDG: One of the great partnerships is back together in the LPL. After mid laner Su “xiye” Han-Wei and ADC Jin “Mystic” Seong-jun left Team WE for new teams in 2020, the pair are back together with JD Gaming in 2021. Zeng “Yagao” Qi remains under contract through 2022, but it’s hard to see him keeping his starting role. Lee “LokeN” Dong-wook had a good year, but Mystic’s talent was too good for JDG to ignore. These upgrades should solidify JDG as major contenders in the LPL.

What it means for LGD: xiye continues the exodus of LGD Gaming players following their Worlds appearance. LGD have brought over Uniboy from the PCS to take xiye’s spot, continuing a trend of LPL teams importing PCS mid laners.

What it means for AF: Mystic was a talented player for AF, but the team never clicked together. AF have brought in former T1 and LCS ADC Bang, pairing him with Lehends. Bang doesn’t have the same reputation for laning as Mystic, but has always been renowned for his positioning and late game team fighting.

LNG SIGN TARZAN, ICON, PLEX; EXTEND LIGHT

What it means for LNG: The wait for Tarzan to return is over. LNG Esports have signed jungler Lee “Tarzan” Seung-yong, ending his one split hiatus. The former Griffin player will take over for Xiong “Xx” Yu-Long. LNG have also signed top laner Chang “M1kuya” Xiao, mid laners Xie “icon” Tian-Yu and Bae “Plex” Ho-young, and extended ADC Wang “Light” Guang-Yu. LNG still need to sign a support. LNG look to be building a relatively young roster as Tarzan acts as the veteran voice.

What it means for OMG: icon has a been a fixture for Oh My God since 2016, starting almost every game for the team in 2020. OMG have signed Wuming and have promoted Bright to the main roster to fill his shoes. OMG are hoping a reset of their roster will bring better results.

What it means for WE: Plex was expected to be Team WE’s starting mid laner when he was brought over to begin 2020, but he didn’t last. After splitting time with Teacherma in the Spring, Plex did not play at all in the Summer. Team WE have extended Teacherma’s contract and have added Yimeng and Shanks to their main roster.

DECEMBER 16 ROSTER MOVES

LGD SIGN PEACE, PROMOTE THREE FROM ACADEMY

What it means for LGD: LGD Gaming have signed support Lin “Peace” Shang-Ren and promoted top laner Chen “Cult” Guo-Ji, jungler Xu “Flora” Hui, and jungler Ding “Kui” Zi-Hao to their main roster. Peace was a substitute for JD Gaming and lacks experience in the LPL. LGD have a lot of work to do to field a competitive roster after all five of their 2020 starters have move on.

VICTORY FIVE SIGN LANGX, REACQUIRE WEIWEI

What it means for V5: After their surprise playoff run, Victory Five’s offseason started with a number of departures. One of those is coming back, however, as jungler Wei “Weiwei” Bo-Han will be returning to V5 from Suning. V5 are fortunate that Suning already have their own great jungler in SofM. V5 also showed they have some money to spend in free agency, as they have signed top laner Xie “Langx” Zhen-Ying. Langx should upgrade their top lane, which had been the weakest point of the team. V5 now just need an ADC to complete a good lineup.

What it means for LGD: Langx’s departure was already known, as all five starters have or will be moving on in free agency. LGD have promoted some of their academy players to the main roster, but they are still expected to make some moves for more veteran players.

SMEB RETIRES

What it means: One of the best top laners in LoL history, Song “Smeb” Kyung-ho has officially retired from professional play. Smeb went unsigned in the 2020 Spring Split, but returned to KT Rolster in the Summer. He split time with Kim “SoHwan” Jun-yeong. Smeb was arguably the best top laner and player in the world for a period of time with the Tigers. Smeb’s play sharply fell in 2019 and did not recover in 2020.

SUNING EXTEND SOFM, ADD JINJIAO

What it means for SN: Suning have extended the contract of star jungler Lê “SofM” Quang Duy and have signed ADC Xie “Jinjiao” Jin-Shan. With Weiwei returning to Victory Five, re-signing SofM was crucial to Suning’s sustained success. The addition of Jinjiao raises concerns about the return of Tang “huanfeng” Huan-Feng. The star rookie made jokes of match fixing on stream and may be subject to disciplinary action. It would be another huge blow to Suning after losing SwordArt to TSM earlier this offseason.

What it means for BLG: Bilibili Gaming used Wings over Jinjiao in the Summer, so his departure is no surprise. In addition to Wings, BLG have added Aiming to pair with Mark in a revamped bot lane.

DAMWON GAMING PROMOTE CHASY TO MAIN ROSTER

What it means for DWG: In a meteoric rise, top laner Kim “Chasy” Dong-hyeon has risen from academy to the main roster in only 18 days with the organization. Chasy joins new acquisition Khan as the two top laners on the main team. Chasy looks to be the future of DWG’s top lane, as he is signed through 2023. Khan is signed only through 2021.

BILIBILI GAMING BRING IN ZEKA, AIMING

What it means for BLG: Bilibili Gaming have added mid laner Kim “Zeka” Geon-woo and ADC Kim “Aiming” Ha-ram to their main roster. Zeka will replace Chu “FoFo” Chun-Lan, who disappointed after being imported from the LMS. Aiming will surely replace Wang “Wings” Shu-Kai in the starting lineup, changing up the import selection for BLG. After having two import top laners in 2020, BLG brought in Chinese resident Biubiu. BLG are now loaded with young potential, while sporting a veteran bot lane in Aiming and Mark.

What it means for VG: BLG and Vici Gaming have essentially traded mid laners, as FoFo will replace Zeka on VG. While he disappointed in his first year in the LPL, FoFo has the type of potential that teams chase in free agency.

What it means for KT: KT Rolster traded out the steadiness of Aiming for the potential carry ability from HyBriD. Aside from Ucal, KT went heavy on the young players in what looks to be a developmental year for the organization. The introduction of franchising makes it a much more palatable option in 2021 than it would have been in years past.

EDWARD GAMING SIGN VIPER, FLANDRE; EXTEND SCOUT, MEIKO

What it means for EDG: After announcing the unretirement of Clearlove, EDward Gaming have now confirmed the rest of their roster. Mid laner Lee “Scout” Ye-chan and support Tian “Meiko” Ye have had their contracts extended, while EDG have added top laner Li “Flandre” Xuan-Jun and ADC Park “Viper” Do-hyeon in free agency. EDG now have five star names in their starting lineup, but there are a lot of new pieces to fit in. This looks similar to what LGD Gaming did in between Spring and Summer.

What it means for HLE: Viper is a great ADC, but Hanwha Life Esports made an early decision in free agency to add Deft (along with Chovy). Deft has much more experience than Viper and should help Vsta’s development after forming a great duo with Keria.

What it means for LNG: Flandre was the face of Snake Esports (later renamed to LNG Esports), so it will be odd to see him playing on a new team. LNG split Flandre’s time with Zhou “chenlun17” Peng-Yuan in 2020 after shopping Flandre around to other teams in the offseason. M1kuya is the only top laner currently under contract for LNG.

TEAM WE ADD CURSE, PROMOTE YIMENG

What it means for WE: After losing Morgan to Hanwha Life Esports earlier in free agency, Team WE has added top laner Chen “Breathe” Chen (formerly known as Curse). Breathe was the most talented player on a bad Oh My God team and should fill Morgan’s void well. Team WE also announced that they have extended the contract of mid laner Jiang “Teacherma” Chen and promoted mid laner Chen “Yimeng” Ming-Yong. Teacherma’s roaming and team coordination have been crucial to WE’s success, but his lack of laning prowess limits his ceiling.

What it means for OMG: Oh My God have added former Royal Never Give Up top laner Tian “New” Zhi-Peng to replace Curse. New is the only top laner under contract for OMG.

DECEMBER 15 ROSTER MOVES

T1 ADDS DAMWON SUPPORT TO ACADEMY TEAM

What it means for T1: T1 have added former DAMWON Gaming support Ryu “Hoit” Ho-seong to their Academy roster. Hoit spent three and a half years with DWG, but was replaced in the starting lineup by Cho “BeryL” Geon-hee in the second half of 2020. Along with Kim “Roach” Kang-hee and Lee “Mowgli” Jae-ha, Hoit should give some veteran experience to the team.

What it means for DWG: Hoit started 13 games for DWG in the Spring, but BeryL took over for the rest of the year en route to the World Championship win. DWG re-signed BeryL to a one year extension in November to keep him in the fold. DWG’s only change will be Khan replacing Nuguri in top lane.

BILIBILI GAMING ADD MARK, BIUBIU

What it means for BLG: Bilibili Gaming have added top laner Yu “Biubiu” Lei-Xin and support Ling “Mark” Xu to their main roster. Biubiu played for Victory Five in 2020 Summer on loan, helping the team make a dramatic turn around from their Spring performance. Mark comes from LGD Gaming, where he helped usher in a similar turnaround between Spring and Summer. The pair are proven LPL quality players that BLG can build around as they shape their roster. With top laner Hwang “Kingen” Seong-hoon and mid laner Chu “FoFo” Chun-Lan gone, BLG still have two import slots available.

What it means for V5: Victory Five had to return Biubiu, ADC Lee “Samd” Jae-hoon, and jungler Wei “Weiwei” Bo-han to Suning after the end of 2020 Summer. Mid laner Li “Mole” Hao-Yan and ppgod remain great pieces to build around, but there will be plenty of change heading into 2021.

What it means for LGD: The gang will not be sticking together after bringing LGD Gaming to their first Worlds appearance since 2015. Mark’s departure confirms that all five starters will be moving on to new teams in 2021. Rarely lacking for money, LGD will have to again build a team from scratch.

TOP ESPORTS SIGN NEW SUPPORT ZHUO

What it means for TES: Top Esports have signed support Wang “Zhuo” Xu-Zhuo to their main roster. Though 2020 starter Liang “yuyanjia” Jia-Yuan remains signed through 2020, TES needed to at least add competition to what was the team’s weakest role. Zhuo will do that after dominating the LDL with Team WE Academy. Could Zhuo have a similar impact to Guo “ppgod” Peng in his first year in the LPL? If so, TES only got stronger.

DECEMBER 14 ROSTER MOVES

CLEARLOVE UNRETIRES, REJOINS EDWARD GAMING

What it means for EDG: One of the best jungler in LPL history is back. Ming “Clearlove” Kai has left his role of head coach at EDward Gaming to return as the team’s presumed starting jungler. EDG used both Zhao “Jiejie” Li-jie and Yu “JunJia” Chun-Chia throughout 2020, but struggled to find consistency from the role. Both remain under contract through 2021, but it seems unlikely that Clearlove is coming back just to sit on the bench. Though his skills may have declined from his peak, he can be a very important decision maker on the rift for EDG.

DECEMBER 13 ROSTER MOVES

FLAME RETIRES FROM PROFESSIONAL PLAY

What it means: Top laner Lee “Flame” Ho-jong has announced he is retiring from professional play. Flame spent 2020 with DAMWON Gaming, but did not play in a game. He was used as a mentor as the young team grew from the CK to become the 2020 World Champions. Flame has played in Korea, China, and North America. He is most known for creating the term “Flame Horizon”, which occurs when a player goes 100+ CS up on his opponent.

DECEMBER 11 ROSTER MOVES

BRTT TO CONTINUE WITH PAIN GAMING

What it means for PNG: Star Brazilian ADC Felipe “brTT” Gonçalves has extended his contract with paiN Gaming to continue through 2021. brTT is one of the most famous players in his region’s history. He rejoined PNG to begin 2020, helping them improve from a sixth place finish in the CBLOL Split 1 to second in Split 2. brTT will look to bring PNG back to Worlds, where he has made it twice in his career. PNG now have players signed to every role but support.

DECEMBER 10 ROSTER MOVES

MISFITS GAMING ANNOUNCE FULL ROSTER

What it means for MSF: Misfits Gaming have announced their LEC roster all at once. Jungler Iván “Razork” Martín Díaz, ADC Kasper “Kobbe” Kobberup, and support Petr “denyk” Haramach will all remain with the team. Joining them will be top laner Shin “HiRit” Tae-min, top laner Tobiasz “Agresivoo” Cibao, mid laner Vincent “Vetheo” Berrié, and support Oskar “Vander” Bogdan. Misfits are going young with their solo laners, while adding veterans around them. The team is the creation of new Misfits Director Martin “Deficio” Lynge.

What it means for RGE: Rogue decided to get younger in the support position this offseason, bringing up Trymbi from their academy team. It will be a risky move, especially considering the experience and rapport Vander built with Hans sama, but Rogue learned that their 2020 roster was not enough to find international success. They hope to have improved on that front by adding Trymbi and Odoamne.

PSG TALON SIGN MAPLE, EXTEND KAIWING

What it means for PSG: PSG TALON have brought mid laner Huang “Maple” Yi-Tang back to the PCS (then known as the LMS). Maple jumped from the Flash Wolves to the LPL in 2019, but did not have much success with Suning or LNG Esports. He will replace Park “Tank” Dan-won, who had a solid showing at Worlds when his visa issues were resolved. PSG have also extended the contract of support Ling “Kaiwing” Kai Wing, keeping their bot lane intact.

What it means for LNG: LNG Esports were looking to buy Maple low when they signed him from Suning in 2020, but the marriage didn’t work out. Maple started every game, but LNG finished 5-11 in both Spring and Summer Split. LNG have a lot of work to do with their roster, as only substitute support Liao “Iwandy” Ding-Yang is currently under contract for 2021.

DECEMBER 9 ROSTER MOVES

TSM SIGN HAUNTZER, CODY SUN TO ACADEMY ROSTER

What it means for TSM: TSM are adding quality depth to their organization by signing top laner Kevin “Hauntzer” Yarnell and ADC Cody “Cody Sun” Sun to their academy roster. Both Hauntzer and Cody Sun were at least average LCS players in 2020, if not better, so the signings give TSM some fallback options in case Huni or Lost struggle on the main roster. TSM could also be in a position to sell the contracts of either player to needy teams mid-season.

What it means for GG: The Golden Guardians have gutted their roster for a rebuild after they were unable to afford to keep their 2020 lineup together. Former Maryville University top laner Aiden “Niles” Tidwell makes the jump straight into the LCS to replace Hauntzer. Niles was selected with the fourth pick of the 2020 NA Scouting Grounds draft. He is a carry player who will team up with his collegiate jungler Ethan “Iconic” Wilkinson to form the new top side.

What it means for 100T: 100 Thieves brought over most of the old Golden Guardians roster in the offseason, including FBI. While Cody Sun was the type of “safe” player who could be relied upon to play weak side and not die, FBI offers more carry potential to 100T. Cody Sun’s market was also hurt by the OCE players gaining NA residency, pushing his value down.

VITALITY ADD SZYGENDA

What it means for VIT: Team Vitality have added top laner Mathias “Szygenda” Jensen to their main roster, replacing Lucas “Cabochard” Simon-Meslet. Szygenda has never played in the LEC and comes to Vitality from AGO ROGUE. His addition completes the Vitality roster, as jungler Duncan “Skeanz” Marquet, mid laner Aljoša “Milica” Kovandžić, ADC Markos “Comp” Stamkopoulos, and support Labros “Labrov” Papoutsakis all return.

DECEMBER 8 ROSTER MOVES

KURO ANNOUNCES RETIREMENT

What it means: Mid laner Lee “Kuro” Seo-haeng has officially retired from professional play. Kuro was a hot commodity after revitalizing Bilibili Gaming in 2019, but his time with KT Rolster in 2020 was up-and-down. Kuro split time with Son “Ucal” Woo-hyeon, never getting consistent playing time for a player who thrives on working together with his teammates. Kuro is the second of the old ROX Tigers to retire today, joining GorillA.

DIGNITAS CONFIRM APHROMOO WILL REMAIN WITH TEAM

What it means for DIG: Dignitas have announced that Zaqueri “aphromoo” Black will remain on the team to begin 2021. Besides being the face of the franchise, Dignitas used aphromoo as a mentor to break Johnsun into the league. He should fulfill a similar role with Neo, though Neo already has limited LCS experience. With young players in top, mid, and ADC, aphromoo and Dardoch are the veteran presences to help their development along.

GORILLA RETIRES

What it means: Support Kang “GorillA” Beom-hyun has announced his retirement from professional play. After having so much success early in his career as part of the ROX Tigers, GorillA went through a tough two year span with Misfits Gaming in 2019 and SANDBOX Gaming in 2020. He will be replaced on SB by former T1 support Lee “Effort” Sang-ho.

PSG TALON EXTEND UNIFIED, RIVER

What it means for PSG: PSG have extended the contracts of ADC Wong “Unified” Chun Kit and jungler Kim “River” Dong-woo. Both Unified and River missed part of the 2020 World Championship due to visa issues, but eventually played in the Main Event. PSG showed the ability to beat both Rogue and JD Gaming, so they aren’t looking to change up too much on their roster for next year.

DECEMBER 7 ROSTER MOVES

NEO PROMOTED TO DIGNITAS MAIN ROSTER

What it means for DIG: Dignitas had a great ADC of the future in Johnsun, but they opted to sell his contract to FlyQuest earlier in the offseason. With the vacancy, they have now promoted Toàn “Neo” Trần to the main roster. Neo played four LCS game for OpTic Gaming in 2019 Spring, but has not played in a major league since. Dignitas looks to be cutting costs and will be fielding young players in their three carry roles. This is a stark contrast to 2020, when Dignitas went veteran heavy.

PSG TALON EXTEND HANABI’S CONTRACT

What it means for PSG: PSG Talon have extended the contract of top laner Su “Hanabi” Chia-Hsiang. The former Flash Wolves player joined PSG Talon at the beginning of 2020 and helped them to a Spring title and Worlds berth. With much of the roster now free agents, PSG have made sure at least one member will join jungler Kim “River” Dong-woo in returning for 2021.

December 6 ROSTER MOVES

TSM PROMOTE LOST TO STARTING LINEUP

What it means for TSM: TSM had an opening at ADC after the retirement of Doublelift, so they have promoted Lawrence “Lost” Sze Yuy Hui to fill that role. Fortunately for TSM, the timing of OCE’s new residence rules allows the move. TSM needed an NA resident ADC after acquiring Huni and PowerOfEvil, and Lost is now considered one. TSM may have been hamstrung in their options by Doublelift’s late retirement decision, but Lost should be an adequate replacement.

DECEMBER 5 ROSTER MOVES

EXCEL ESPORTS CONFIRM ROSTER

What it means for XL: Excel Esports have confirmed that top laner Felix “Kryze” Hellström, ADC Patrik “Patrik” Jírů, and support Tore “Tore” Hoel Eilertsen will remain with the team in 2021. Patrik and Tore started every game for XL in 2020, while Kryze replaced Expect to begin the Summer. Excel are banking on their two new rookies to elevate XL to a playoff spot.

DECEMBER 4 ROSTER MOVES

FUNPLUS PHOENIX HIRE STEAK AS HEAD COACH

What it means for FPX: FunPlus Phoenix lost their World Championship winning coach WarHorse to Top Esports, but they have quickly found his replacement. Former Flash Wolves top laner Chou “Steak” Lu-Hsi has agreed to terms to become FPX’s next head coach. Steak has led Rogue Warriors, RNG, and most recently LNG Esports.

HYFRESH BLADE SIGN THREE 

What it means for HFB: The LCK’s newest organization, hyFresh Blade (formerly known as Brion Blade), has signed three new players ahead of their debut season: jungler Eom “UmTi” Seong-hyeon, mid laner Kim “Lava” Tae-hoon, and support Yoo “Crescent” Hwan-joong. UmTi has LCK experience with Jin Air Green Wings and KT Rolster, though he spent last year in the CK. Lava started 33 games for Hanwha Life Esports in 2020 before giving way to Mireu. Crescent is a prospect who has played for Gen.G Academy and T1 Academy.

What it means for HLE: Even with Lava losing his job to Mireu at the end of the season, his services would not have been needed after the addition of Chovy. Chovy was the best free agent available in the LCK and, along with Deft and Morgan, elevate HLE to contenders in the LCK.

BIOFROST WILL NOT BEGIN YEAR IN LCS

What it means: TSM were excited to get Vincent “Biofrost” Wang back to begin 2020, but the reunion was bumpy. After failing to establish any synergy with Kobbe, Biofrost was benched for a period in the Summer for Treatz. Doublelift asked for Biofrost to be brought back in the playoffs, but the bot lane still struggled despite TSM’s LCS title. Biofrost will have to work his way back up if he wants to return to the LCS.

CLOUD9 ADD TRIO OF COACHES

What it means for C9: Cloud9 have added three new coaches to their staff: Alfonso “Mithy” Aguirre Rodríguez, Maxwell “Max” Waldo, and Marius “Veigar v2” Aune. Mithy is coming off a year as Fnatic’s head coach and will be a familiar face for both Perkz and Zven. On the other hand, Veigar v2 was let go from Fnatic in April when some of his previous unsavory comments became public.

EXCEL ADD ROOKIE MID LANER CZEKOLAD

What it means for XL: Excel Esports have added a rookie in the mid lane, signing Paweł “Czekolad” Szczepanik. Czekolad has worked his way through the ranks, starting as an amatuer before playing three years at the regional level. He makes Excel Esports an even younger team, as XL hopes they can groom the next great EU mid.

FNATIC SIGN FEBIVEN TO ACADEMY ROSTER

What it means for FNC: Despite an impressive 2020, mid laner Fabian “FEBIVEN” Diepstraten found himself on the outside of the roster carousel this offseason. Instead of continuing on in a major league, FEBIVEN will start the year with Fnatic’s academy team, Fnatic Rising. Fnatic have brought in Nisqy for their main roster, but FEBIVEN is quality depth in case that fit does not work out as hoped.

What it means for MSF: Misfits Gaming seemed poised to start Ronaldo “Ronaldo” Betea at the start of 2020, but FEBIVEN took control of the role and had a good year. Still, Misfits obviously feel they can find an upgrade at the position. MSF have still not announced the replacements for FEBIVEN and top laner Danny “Dan Dan” Le Comte.

KT ROLSTER PROMOTE REBEL TO MAIN ROSTER

What it means for KT: KT Rolster have promoted support Park “Rebel” Geun-woo to the main roster. Rebel spent the first half of 2020 with T1 Academy, but did not get any playing time. He left to join KT Rolster Academy ahead of the September Series. Rebel will compete against recent addition Harp for playing time.

DECEMBER 3 ROSTER MOVES

HAKUHO ANNOUNCES HE WILL NOT BEGIN YEAR ON LCS ROSTER

What it means: Support Nickolas “Hakuho” Surgent has announced that he will not begin 2021 on an LCS roster. The former Immortals support has been a fixture in the LCS since his debut with Renegades in 2016. Aside from a 16-day demotion to academy in 2020 Summer, Hakuho has been playing weekly on the LCS stage. He should eventually find work on an academy team.

FLYQUEST IMPORT DREAMS TO ACADEMY ROSTER

What it means for FLY: FlyQuest have gone overseas to add to their academy roster, signing Han “Dreams” Min-kook. Dreams is the second former FC Schalke 04 support FlyQuest have added in the past year, following in the footsteps of IgNar. Dreams has Korean residency but has only ever played in Europe. His signing with an LCS academy team is a step down in his career.

What it means for S04: FC Schalke 04 previously made the decision to replace Dreams with LIMIT. Interestingly, like FlyQuest, S04 have their own organization they take supports from. After grabbing Dreams from SK Gaming the year prior, LIMIT also comes to S04 from SK. With the additions of Broken Blade and LIMIT, S04 have a full starting lineup.

EXCEL ESPORTS SIGN DAN TO MAIN ROSTER

What it means for XL: Excel Esports have signed jungler Daniel “Dan” Hockley to their main roster. Dan comes from Fnatic Rising and has been playing professionally since 2014, but this will be his first chance in the LEC. He replaces Marc Robert “Caedrel” Lamont, who has retired from pro play. Excel now have four players under contract, needing only a mid laner to complete their roster.

KT ROLSTER ADD JUNGLER GIDEON

What it means for KT: KT Rolster have signed Kim “GIDEON” Min-seong, another hyped jungler coming from Griffin. Hoping to follow in the footsteps of Kanavi and Tarzan, GIDEON joins Bonnie as the second jungler under contract with KT. This team will have a decidedly younger feel to it, as a number of old veterans have moved on.

WARHORSE LEAVES FUNPLUS PHOENIX FOR TOP ESPORTS

What it means for TES: Top Esports fell short of expectations at Worlds. Not only did they fail to make the Finals and win, they lost to a fellow LPL team in Suning. With their roster all signed through at least 2021, TES decided to make their change via their coaching staff. Former FunPlus Phoenix head coach Chen “WarHorse” Ju-Chih will take over in the same role for TES.

What it means for FPX: There will already be some change on the team as Khan has moved on to DAMWON Gaming in free agency, but FPX will also lose their head coach. WarHorse led them to a World Championship in 2019, but the team never could adapt their playstyle to incorporate a carry top laner. A mutual parting may have been the best for both.

DECEMBER 2 ROSTER MOVES

WADID MOVES TO LLA TEAM ALL KNIGHTS

What it means for AK: After an interesting 2020 year in which he only played for a month, Kim “WADID” Bae-in has returned to professional play in the LLA. Following his brief stint with Griffin, WADID will join All Knights. All Knights are one of the best teams in the LLA, finishing first in the regular season in three of the past four splits, including a title in 2020. WADID will replace Leandro “Newbie” Marcos, who earlier left to join the Golden Guardians.

IMPACT SIGNS WITH EVIL GENIUSES

What it means for EG: Evil Geniuses started out 2020 with Kumo in top lane, but his poor play eventually forced EG to bring in Huni. EG went a step further this offseason in addressing their top lane play in adding Jeong “Impact” Eon-young. Though Huni would have counted as an NA resident like Impact this split, EG were still comfortable sending him to TSM. Impact will bring EG the consistency they crave from a top laner, if not quite the superstar carry. Assuming Jiizuke is back, the EG starting lineup is now complete.

What it means for TL: With the move from Broxah to Santorin in jungle, Team Liquid were freed up to import a new top laner. They went with Alphari, formerly of Origen. Alphari is like Impact in a lot of ways: versatile and reliable. It remains to be seen if he’s a true star player on an elite team, but it was pretty clear that Impact is not.

OROME JOINS EXCEL’S ACADEMY TEAM

What it means for XL: Excel Esports have added former MAD Lions top laner Andrei “Orome” Popa to their academy roster. Despite the success MAD had last year, Orome has found himself having to work his way back up to the LEC. Excel still have Felix “Kryze” Hellström on their main roster and under contract through 2021. Kryze took over for Ki “Expect” Dae-han between the Spring and Summer splits and finished out the year with Excel. Orome offers a strong Plan B in academy.

What it means for MAD: While they had a great year for a group of rookies, MAD’s weaknesses were exposed when they made it to the postseason. Orome was a solid enough player in the LEC, but he wasn’t able to handle matchups against the more elite players. MAD Lions thus went out and signed Armut from SuperMassive Esports to replace Orome. Armut should offer more carry potential for the team.

DECEMBER 1 ROSTER MOVES

T1 EXTENDS ELLIM’S CONTRACT, PROMOTE ONER TO MAIN ROSTER

What it means for T1: T1 have announced a contract extension with jungler Choi “Ellim” El-lim and have promoted academy jungler Moon “Oner” Hyeon-joon to the main roster. With Ellim, Oner, and Moon “Cuzz” Woo-chan under contract, T1 now have three junglers on their main roster. T1’s tweet said that these moves “finish [their] roster”, so T1’s roster looks to be set going into 2021. While there will be battles for starting spots across multiple roles, the only new big addition this offseason was the addition of Keria.

GOLDENGLUE RETIRES, BECOMES 100T ACADEMY HEAD COACH

What it means for 100T: Mid laner Greyson “Goldenglue” Gregory Gilmer announced his retirement as a player, moving on to become Head Coach of 100 Thieves’ Academy team. Goldenglue takes over a very strong roster, filled with former LCS players and some of the highest potential talents in the region. Goldenglue’s experience bouncing between academy and the LCS should help him relate to the players and his message should resonate with players trying to accomplish the same goal. 100T also added former TSM support and coach Ham “Lustboy” Jang-sik as a position coach to the organization.

EVIL GENIUSES PROMOTE DEFTLY TO MAIN ROSTER

What it means for EG: With Bang moving on to play for Afreeca Freecs, Evil Geniuses had an opening at ADC. They have chosen to fill it by promoting academy ADC Matthew “Deftly” Chen to the main roster. Deftly last played in the LCS in 2019, splitting time with Zachary “Sneaky” Scuderi on Cloud9. Deftly has spent more time in academy than the LCS in his career, so this is somewhat of a surprising move for an EG team who is known for aggressively spending money. He will be joined by IgNar in the revamped bot lane.

KT ROLSTER CALL UP BONNIE AND HARP

What it means for KT: KT Rolster have called up jungler Lee “Bonnie” Gwang-su and support Lee “Harp” Ji-yoong to join their main roster ahead of 2021. It’s unclear if KT Rolster intends to start these rookies, as they do not have any other players yet signed to those roles. KT are looking to replace the combination of Kim “bonO” Gi-beom and Kim “Malrang” Geun-seong in jungle, as well as Park “TusiN” Jong-ik at support.

SANDBOX GAMING ADD EFFORT

What it means for SB: SANDBOX Gaming have added former T1 support Lee “Effort” Sang-ho. Effort has spent the past year-and-a-half as T1’s starting support, taking the job from Cho “Mata” Se-hyeong. Effort will take over for Kang “GorillA” Beom-hyun, who played 93 of 102 games for SB in 2020. SB also added former Griffin support Jeong “Kabbie” Sang-hyeon, but Effort looks poised to get the starting role. He will play alongside either Moon “Route” Geom-su or Han “Leo” Gyeo-re, who was once Effort’s teammate on T1.

What it means for T1: The only organization Effort has ever played for, T1 decided to seek an upgrade for Effort this offseason. After outperforming and replacing Mata in 2019, Effort’s play dipped last year. That upgrade came in the form of DRX rookie Keria, who already looks to be one of the best supports in the world. Unfortunately, T1 parts on awkward terms with Effort, as a stream mishap caused T1’s coaching plans to be leaked to the public.

WORLD CHAMPION CROWN RETIRES

What it means: Mid laner Lee “Crown” Min-ho announced his retirement from professional play. Crown is best known for winning the 2017 World Championship with Samsung Galaxy, playing alongside CoreJJ. Crown then went into a slump, ending with him joining OpTic Gaming in the LCS. Crown had a good year in 2019 with OPT, but slumped again with CLG to begin 2020. After being let go for Eugene “Pobelter” Park, Crown spent the rest of the year playing in the CK with OZ Gaming.

HANWHA LIFE ADD FOUR TO MAIN ROSTER

What it means for HLE: Hanwha Life Esports added four new members to their main roster: yop laner Kang “Riss” Hyeon, mid laner Lee “Mask” Sang-hun, ADC Cho “Cheoni” Seung-mo, and support Han “Baut” Jin-sol. Riss, Cheoni, and Baut all join from HLE’s academy roster, while Mask comes from RunAway. None of the four figures to crack the HLE starting lineup. HLE now have 12 players signed to their main roster.

NOVEMBER 30 ROSTER MOVES

TSM REPLACE BROKEN BLADE WITH HUNI

What it means for TSM: With PowerOfEvil and SwordArt now taking TSM’s two import slots, TSM needed an NA resident to man their top lane. The timing worked out perfectly that Heo “Huni” Seung-hoon just became eligible to switch to NA residency this offseason. Huni hasn’t been the same hard carry player that he was at the beginning of his career, but TSM don’t necessarily need that with PoE, Spica, and SwordArt. Huni should play a similar role to Broken Blade, only without costing TSM an import slot.

What it means for EG: When Evil Geniuses acquired Huni between Spring and Summer last year, it seemed to be with the intention of waiting for his NA residency to kick in this year. But when EG opted to bench Daniele “Jiizuke” di Mauro to bring up Huni, it showed how much they valued Huni right away. As an organization also not afraid to spend, EG’s willingness to send Huni to TSM hints at a potential upgrade for themselves in top lane. Considering Licorice is already gone to FlyQuest, Jeong “Impact” Eon-young remains the best unsigned “NA” top.

KT ROLSTER BRING IN TWO NEW ADC’S

What it means for KT: KT Rolster have signed ADCs Lee “HyBriD” Woo-jin and Park “5kid” Jeong-hyeon to their main roster. HyBriD started the majority of the games for SeolHaeOne Prince in 2020, but he was phased out by Kim “Trigger” Eui-joo at the end of the season. 5kid has spent the past two years playing in the CK, now earning his first callup to an LCK team. HyBriD should get first crack at the starting job, assuming KT don’t add a third ADC. They join Doran and Ucal as the third and fourth members.

TEAM DYNAMICS ADD PEANUT, JUHAN, AND BAY

What it means for TD: Team Dynamics added three players to their growing roster. The big-name is jungler Han “Peanut” Wang-ho, who joins from LGD Gaming. Peanut is the type of carry player that TD lacked in 2020, offering a second star to build around with Rich. TD also announced the signings of mid laner Park “Bay” Jun-byeong and jungler Lee “Juhan” Ju-han. Neither player has experience at the LCK level, so they will most likely be organizational depth as TD expands to a roster of more than five players.

What it means for LGD: After cobbling together a competitive roster between Spring and Summer, LGD Gaming will go through another rebuild this offseason. In addition to Peanut, Ha “Kramer” Jong-hun and Xie “Langx” Zhen-Ying are also expected to leave. This opens up the ability for LGD to add imports, but it’s a tough blow for an organization that finally found a team able to qualify for Worlds.

NOVEMBER 29 ROSTER MOVES

AFREECA FREECS REVAMP BOT LANE WITH BANG, LEHENDS

What it means for AF: Afreeca Freecs have signed ADC Bae “Bang” Jun-sik and support Son “Lehends” Si-woo to revamp their bot lane. AF have spent the past two years trying to build a team around top laner Kim “Kiin” Gi-in with limited success. They hoped Jin “Mystic” Seong-jun would be the answer in 2020, but the team never came together after a successful KeSPA Cup. Lehends is definitely an upgrade over the retired Nam “Ben” Dong-hyun on paper, but Bang hasn’t been better than Mystic in a few years. AF will hope the two find synergy quickly.

What it means for EG: Bang was pretty open about his homesickness in North America, especially as the COVID19 pandemic dragged on. While he was brought over as a hyped signing, Bang never really made a star impact in NA. While some of that definitely has to be attributed to the quality of his supports, Bang just didn’t have the game-breaking ability you want from an import. EG will have to find a replacement to play alongside new support IgNar.

What it means for HLE: It was huge for the organization when they convinced Chovy and Deft to sign, but it does hurt that they lost Lehends. Oh “Vsta” Hyo-seong has been a versatile player for HLE, but they must have a lot of confidence in him to allow Lehends to leave after signing Deft. Regardless, HLE are still better on paper now than they ended 2020.

GEN.G ADD DEPTH IN FLAWLESS, KARIS

What it means for GEN: Gen.G added jungler Sung “Flawless” Yeon-jun and mid laner Kim “Karis” Hong-jo to their main roster. Flawless will be behind Kim “Clid” Tae-min, while Karis will be behind Gwak “Bdd” Bo-seong. Gen.G returns all five starters from 2020, so these moves are more aimed at depth. Flawless has plenty of experience from his stints in both the LPL and LCK, so his role looks like a pure backup. Karis, on the other hand, has only been playing professional for a year. His callup from the academy team could signal Gen.G thinks he’s their mid laner of the future.

TEAM DYNAMICS ADD SUPPORT KELLIN

What it means for TD: After qualifying for the LCK ahead of the 2020 Summer Split, Team Dynamics are now confirmed to be one of the ten LCK franchises for 2021. However, with only top laner Lee “Rich” Jae-won and ADC Seo “deokdam” Dae-gil signed through 2021, TD have three starting spots to fill for next year. One of those will go to support Kim “Kellin” Hyeong-gyu, who will replace Kim “GuGer” Do-yeop. After sticking with the five players who got them to LCK for one split, TD seem willing to change up the team dynamic after a 5-13 result.

What it means for GEN: Kellin mixed in for 26 of Gen.G’s 124 games in 2020, but Kim “Life” Jeong-min cemented his role on the team down the stretch. Life played the last 28 games of the regular season and started every postseason game for the team. With Life signed through 2022 next to Park “Ruler” Jae-hyuk, Gen.G are set with their bot lane.

NOVEMBER 28 ROSTER MOVES

DRX ANNOUNCE FULL ROSTER

What it means for DRX: Despite their success in 2020, DRX could not keep their roster together for 2021. Jungler Hong “Pyosik” Chang-hyeon remains signed through 2022, but he will have four new players next to him. Yoon “Destroy” Jeong-min and Hwang “Kingen” Seong-hoon both join the main roster in top lane, while Song “SOLCA” Su-hyeong (previously known as Quad) moves from substitute to starter. Likewise, ADC Jeong “BAO” Hyeon-woo and support Son “Rebeca” Min-woo (previously known as Pleata) have been promoted from DRX’s academy roster. DRX have promoted from within the organization, but they will field a very inexperienced team.

What it means for BLG: Kingen joined Bilibili Gaming in 2019 and opened the year as the starting top laner, but was in and out of the lineup throughout the year. Kang “ADD” Geon-mo had his own opportunities to start, and Han “Alielie” Dong-Xu played BLG’s five NEST games. With the departures of Kingen and ADD, BLG now have an import slot open next to mid laner Chu “FoFo” Chun-Lan.

NOVEMBER 27 ROSTER MOVES

MAD LIONS SIGN ARMUT

What it means for MAD: The MAD Lions had a great debut year as a bunch of rookies, but their season ultimately ended in disappointment at Worlds. Part of that problem was a lack of carry potential in top lane from Andrei “Orome” Popa. MAD hope they have solved that problem by signing İrfan “Armut” Berk Tükek. Armut and his team SuperMassive Esports knocked out MAD at Worlds, so MAD got an up close look at Armut’s carry potential. He will add even more threat to an already strong team.

T1 EXTENDS CLOZER THROUGH 2023

What it means for T1: When T1 promoted mid laner Lee “Clozer” Ju-hyeon in 2020, it was assumed that he would be the heir apparent to Lee “Faker” Sang-hyeok. What nobody expected was that it could be happening so soon. Clozer got the majority of the starts for T1 in the second half of the Summer Split, including their first playoff game. Faker took over after that loss and still looks like the starter going into 2021, but Clozer’s time is coming. T1 have ensured they’ll get the maximum amount of time with him under contract.

NOVEMBER 26 ROSTER MOVES

DAMWON GAMING SIGN KHAN

What it means for DWG: DAMWON Gaming have signed top laner Kim “Khan” Dong-ha, seemingly ending their bid to re-sign Nuguri. Though Khan was previously one of the best top laners in the LCK, he struggled mightily to fit in with FunPlus Phoenix in 2020. DWG would not choose Khan over Nuguri if all things were equal, so Khan must have been willing to sign for less than Nuguri. This downgrades DWG, but Khan should be able to play a similar style for the squad. DWG also signed top laner Kim “Chasy” Dong-hyeon, a player from the CK.

What it means for FPX: Khan was supposed to be the piece that upgraded the 2018 World Champions, but he never fit in with the squad. FPX never figured out how to divide their resources with Khan, losing whenever they allowed Khan the chance to carry. They played better with the low-resource style of top lane that Kim “GimGoon” Han-saem, forcing FPX to play him in their most important matches.

T1 EXTEND CANNA, PROMOTE ZEUS TO MAIN ROSTER

What it means for T1: There were rumors that T1 were going after top laner Jang “Nuguri” Ha-gwon, but Kim “Canna” Chang-dong has re-signed. As a rookie, Canna was T1’s best and most consistent player in 2020. He beat out Kim “Roach” Kang-hee for the starting spot, and T1 have now moved Roach down to their academy roster. In his place, T1 have promoted Choi “Zeus” Woo-je. Zeus, formerly known as Wooje, turns 17 in January of 2021. He spent all of last year with T1’s Academy team, his first as a pro.

FNATIC ACQUIRES UPSET TO REPLACE REKKLES

What it means for FNC: Fnatic lost the face of the franchise when Rekkles moved on to G2 Esports in free agency, but Fnatic did about as well as they could have in finding his replacement. Fnatic have acquired Elias “Upset” Lipp from Astralis and have now completed their roster. It will be interesting to see Upset paired with a top support in Hylissang, as Upset did not have much luck with Destiny or Jactroll. The mechanics are there, but the synergy must come together.

What it means for AST: Astralis already announced their 2021 roster without Upset on it, so it was only a matter of time until he joined a new roster. Former Excel Esports ADC Jeskla will take over the position in an obvious reduction in salary. Astralis are hoping to put together a competitive lineup with a number of players who have danced on the fringe of being LEC caliber.

SWORDART LEAVES SUNING TO JOIN TSM

What it means for TSM: TSM are making one of the biggest possible upgrades in the LCS, going from Vincent “Biofrost” Wang to Hu “SwordArt” Shuo-Chieh. SwordArt is coming off a runner-up finish at the World Championship. He mentored and brought along star rookie ADC Tang “huanfeng” Huan-Feng, a trait that could be useful to TSM this season. After losing Doublelift to retirement, TSM is likely to turn to a younger player at ADC, especially now that they have used both import slots. SwordArt brings championship pedigree to a lineup lacking it.

What it means for SN: This is a massive blow for Suning. SwordArt came over from the LMS at the end of 2018, and though the first iteration of the team did not succeed, SwordArt became an integral part of the 2020 run. Suning has three players returning from loan from Victory Five, but unfortunately, none of them are a support. Luo “owo” Wen-Jun looks to be next in line in the organization if Suning do not seek an outside addition.

NOVEMBER 25 ROSTER MOVES

DOUBLELIFT RETIRES FROM PROFESSIONAL PLAY

What it means for TSM: One of the greatest players in LCS history, Yiliang “Doublelift” Peng announced his retirement from professional play. Though it seemed like Doublelift would carry on despite Bjergsen’s retirement, the star ADC decided to hang it up. Though we don’t know when the decision was ultimately made, the move could leave TSM in a tough spot trying to fill the role. They do have the option of promoting their Academy ADC Lawrence “Lost” Sze Yuy Hui. As an Oceania resident, Lost would no longer take up an import slot.

DIGNITAS SIGNS SOLIGO AND FAKEGOD TO MAN SOLO LANES

What it means for DIG: Dignitas are going young with their solo laners, signing Aaron “FakeGod” Lee and Max “Soligo” Soong to their main roster. Though both players have LCS experience, neither lasted an entire season. The pair played together in 2020 on 100 Thieves’ Academy roster, so they should have some decent synergy built up. This new direction for Dignitas is a welcome one after they spent 2020 fielding veterans on the downslope of their career on both their LCS and Academy rosters.

What it means for 100T: FakeGod and Soligo were both good enough to get LCS jobs, but that wouldn’t be with 100 Thieves after they signed the Golden Guardians’ 2020 squad. Soligo could arguably have competed with Damonte for the starting mid lane spot, but Damonte’s synergy with his teammates probably gave him the edge. 100T have been great at developing talent and will look to continue to do so, possibly promoting some of their 100T Next players.

YAMATOCANNON RETURNS TO LEC WITH FNATIC

What it means for FNC: Jakob “YamatoCannon” Mebdi will take over head coaching duties at Fnatic for the 2021 season. YamatoCannon made waves when he became the first Western Head Coach in the LCK with SANDBOX Gaming. Known for building a strong culture and getting his players to buy-in, YamatoCannon will look to “fix” whatever caused Fnatic to have issues getting on the same page in 2020.

What it means for SB: YamatoCannon’s arrival in Korea had an immediate positive effect for the team, helping them go on a little win streak. While they were certainly better than the Spring team that almost got relegated, the Summer team also failed to make the playoffs. YamatoCannon got them to play better, but without roster changes, the team could not handle the elite teams in the LCK.

NEMESIS WILL NOT PLAY IN THE SPRING SPLIT

What it means: Mid laner Tim “Nemesis” Lipovšek has announced that he will not compete in the LEC or LCS to start 2021. Nemesis was recently replaced on Fnatic by Nisqy, forcing him to search for a new team. Nemesis had a great debut in 2019 as a consistent player, but his play fell off in 2020. Whether he had issues playing more champions or his team didn’t have confidence in him on other picks, his champion pool seemed to be a problem for Fnatic. Still, the potential is there, and Nemesis should eventually get another shot in a major region.

BROKEN BLADE MOVES TO FC SCHALKE 04 FROM TSM

What it means for S04: Sergen “Broken Blade” Çelik will replace Andrei “Odoamne” Pascu as FC Schalke 04’s next top laner. Broken Blade will bring more of a carry style than Odoamne, but S04 will lose that veteran presence and ability to thrive playing the weak side of the map. Broken Blade joins Felix “Abbedagge” Braun as a secondary carry on the team, similar to his arrangement on TSM with Bjergsen. S04 have retooled their lineup to hopefully get off to a better start in 2021.

What it means for TSM: TSM booted Kevin “Hauntzer” Yarnell for Broken Blade two years ago, banking on his carry potential to elevate TSM. Broken Blade showed plenty of that, but he never quite challenged for the best top in the region despite carrying an import slot. Already dealing with the retirements of Bjergsen and Doublelift, TSM will have to fill the top lane as well. Jungler Spica could be the only holdover from the 2020 LCS Summer champions.

NOVEMBER 24 ROSTER MOVES

KT ROLSTER SIGN DORAN 

What it means for KT: KT Rolster made their first signing of the offseason, bringing in top laner Choi “Doran” Hyeon-joon from DRX. Doran had an up-and-down year with DRX in his first opportunity as a full-time starter. KT struggled to get consistency out of either Kim “SoHwan” Jun-yeong or Song “Smeb” Kyung-ho, so Doran should give them an unquestioned starter to begin the year. He and mid laner Son “UCal” Woo-hyeon are the only two players currently under contract for KT.

FLYQUEST COMPLETES ROSTER WITH JOHNSUN 

What it means for FLY: For an organization that had to blow up their roster due to budget constraints, FlyQuest did well to put together an interesting roster for 2021. The final piece was a buyout of ADC Johnson “Johnsun” Nguyen from Dignitas. Johnsun will play alongside Diamond, forming one of the younger bot lane duos in the league. They will be joined by solo laners Licorice and Palafox, as well as import jungler Josedeodo. Though they won’t be one of the top teams in the league immediately, they have the potential to improve throughout the year.

What it means for DIG: Dignitas found a gem when they signed Johnsun from TSM before the 2020 season. Paired with Zaqueri “aphromoo” Black, Johnsun immediately proved to be one of the up-and-coming stars of the league. It’s interesting, then, to see Dignitas willing to say goodbye to Johnsun. Only aphromoo and jungler Joshua “Dardoch” Hartnett are currently under contract on the main roster. 

MAD LIONS SIGN JUNGLER ELYOYA

What it means for MAD: Though jungler Zhiqiang “Shad0w” Zhao is still signed through 2021, there have been rumors that he could move on in the offseason. That notion seems to be supported by the MAD Lions signing Javier “Elyoya” Prades. Elyoya spent 2020 with the Movistar Riders in the Spanish LVP SLO and 2021 will be his first in a major region. Shad0w disappointed at Worlds, but he was one of the best players on the team the entire year. It will be interesting to see where he ends up. The MAD Lions now just have an opening in their top lane.

NISQY JUMPS FROM CLOUD9 TO FNATIC

What it means for FNC: Fnatic were linked to a number of mid laners throughout the offseason, putting the writing on the wall that they wanted to move on from Tim “Nemesis” Lipovšek. While Nemesis is still under contract, Fnatic announced they have acquired Yasin “Nisqy” Dinçer to start next season. Nisqy was put up for buyout when Cloud9 reached an agreement to buy Perkz earlier in the offseason. While Nisqy played well with C9 in 2020, it isn’t quite the flashy acquisition that Fnatic fans may have wanted, especially considering he was let go from a non-Worlds qualifying North American organization.

What it means for C9: Cloud9 will be happy to get compensation for Nisqy after buying Perkz, helping to ease the financial burden of the acquisition. C9 are hoping to see more lane dominant play from their new mid laner.

T1 EXTENDS GUMAYUSI’S CONTRACT

What it means for T1: T1 now have two high potential ADCs under contract through next year in Park “Teddy” Jin-seong and Lee “Gumayusi” Min-hyeong. Teddy was presumed to be a T1 cornerstone entering 2020, but T1 benched him in favor of Gumayusi in the Regional Finals. Now with both back in the fold for 2021, there is some question as to the preferred starter entering the new season.

HANWHA LIFE ESPORTS GO BIG, ADD CHOVY AND DEFT

What it means for HLE: Hanwha Life Esports secured two of the most sought after free agents this offseason, signing mid laner Jeong “Chovy” Ji-hoon and Kim “Deft” Hyuk-kyu. Chovy was probably one of the five best players in the world in 2020, while Deft continued to be one of the elite ADCs in Korea. Hanwha Life are definitely going for it in 2021, though there are still question marks in the other roles. Cho “CaD” Seong-yong and Park “Arthur” Mi-reu join Kim “Winter” Yo-han to form a very inexperienced jungle position, while support Oh “Vsta” Hyo-seong spent most of 2020 playing ADC.

What it means for DRX: The exodus of DRX players continues. First, it was Keria leaving for T1, now comes Chovy and Deft. Hong “Pyosik” Chang-hyeon is the only remaining 2020 starter who hasn’t been announced to be leaving, so DRX will have a big rebuild ahead of them. Mid laner Song “Quad” Su-hyeong is their only player currently under contract.

TEAM FLASH EXTENDS PALETTE’S CONTRACT

What it means for FL: There were rumors that support Nguyễn “Palette” Hải Trung was a target for TSM, but that’s no longer the case. Palette agreed to re-sign with Team Flash in the VCS, keeping Palette on the team that won the Summer Split. Palette was most known to Western fans for his performance at international events with Phong Vũ Buffalo.

NOVEMBER 23 ROSTER MOVES

COUNTER LOGIC GAMING KEEP POBELTER, SMOOTHIE

What it means for CLG: Counter Logic Gaming made sure there were sweeping changes after 2020, firing their coaching staff and moving on from Ruin, Sitxxay, and Wiggily. Finn, Broxah, and WildTurtle were brought in to shake up the roster, but mid laner Eugene “Pobelter” Park and support Andy “Smoothie” Ta will retain their starting spots in 2021. While neither were stars, neither were the main problems for CLG in 2020. That might be good enough for an organization looking to avoid last place. 

FLYQUEST ACQUIRE LICORICE, PALAFOX, DIAMOND FROM CLOUD9

What it means for FLY: After a mass player exodus, FlyQuest have filled the majority of their new lineup through an agreement with Cloud9. Top laner Eric “Licorice” Ritchie, mid laner Cristian “Palafox” Palafox, and support David “Diamond” Bérubé join Josedeodo in FLY’s new lineup. Licorice is a known quantity as one of the best top laners in the league, but Palafox and Diamond are both getting their first real shot at starting in the LCS. FLY have built an interesting roster despite their budget constraints, though they still need to announce an ADC.

What it means for C9: Cloud9 decided to promote Fudge to the main roster when the OCE rules changed, making Licorice available for buyout. Like C9 did in the past with Dennis “Svenskeren” Johnsen, C9 paired their star with two of their other players to increase the buyout number. The sale of the three players, while depleting their organizational depth, certainly helped C9 fund the buyout of Perkz.

CODY SUN NOT OFFERED LCS SPOT 

What it means: Cody “Cody Sun” Sun was once seen as an up-and-coming talent, but his star fell in 2020 when he played with lesser support talent next to him. While he’s still solidly one of the ten best ADCs in the region, teams are opting to bring in new talent instead of signing non-star names so far. Cody Sun will be a capable replacement for an underperformer in 2021, should the opportunity arise. His consistency is valuable. 

GOLDEN GUARDIANS GO YOUNG WITH NEW ROSTER 

What it means for GG: After seeing four of their five players move on to 100 Thieves, Golden Guardians will be fielding an entirely new lineup for 2021. Top laner Aiden “Niles” Tidwell and jungler Ethan “Iconic” Wilkinson starred at Maryville University and are getting their first opportunities in the LCS. Mid laner Nicholas Antonio “Ablazeolive” Abbott spent 2020 on GG Academy, while Leandro “Newbie” Marcos comes over from Latin America’s All Knights. ADC     Trevor “Stixxay” Hayes is the most familiar face, having competed on Counter Logic Gaming since 2015. 

What it means for CLG: After such a long tenure with Stixxay as the starting ADC, Counter Logic Gaming went a different direction this offseason and with WildTurtle. The decision could be as simple as shaking up the bot lane, as the duo of Stixxay and Smoothie weren’t one of the better ones in the LCS.  

EVIL GENIUSES CONVERT SUPPORT MATT TO ACADEMY COACH 

What it means for EG: Matthew “Matt” Elento has bounced between academy and the LCS since his debut in 2015. He spent 2020 playing on Evil Geniuses’ Academy team, helping them to a pair of high finishes. Now two years removed from his last LCS action, Matt is converting from player to coach. EG were impressed enough with his knowledge to immediately name him Head Coach of their academy team, taking over for Tim “Timkiro” Cho. 

IMMORTALS OVERHAUL BOT LANE WITH RAES AND DESTINY 

What it means for IMT: Immortals are taking full advantage of the new OCE residence rules, bringing in ADC Quin “Raes” Korebrits and support Mitchell “Destiny” Shaw to remake their bot lane. Raes spent 2020 with Legacy Esports, helping the team dominate the OPL and make their Worlds debut. Meanwhile, Destiny spent 2020 with Origen, becoming the first OCE import in the LEC. Destiny was replaced by Jakub “Jactroll” Skurzyński to end the Summer Split. The duo join Revenge, Xerxe, and Insanity to form a largely inexperienced roster.

What it means for AST: Destiny fell out of favor in Origen as the year went along, losing playing time to Jactroll. The newly named Astralis opted to sign promisq as their new starting support, pairing him with Jeskla. Only Nukeduck remains from the disappointing 2020 lineup.

ROGUE ANNOUNCE COMPLETED LINEUP 

What it means for RGE: Rogue announced their additions of top laner Odoamne and support Trymbi earlier in the offseason and have now confirmed they will keep jungler Kacper “Inspired” Sloma, mid laner Emil “Larssen” Larsson, and ADC Steven “Hans sama” Liv. While Rogue’s top lane looks improved with Odoamne, it remains to be seen how well Trymbi will do in his first LEC action. His predecessor Oskar “Vander” Bogdan is a respected veteran who played well in 2020.

MORGAN AND WINTER JOIN HANWHA LIFE ESPORTS

What it means for HLE: Hanwha Life Esports made their first two signings of the offseason, bringing in top laner Park “Morgan” Gi-tae and jungler Kim “Winter” Yo-han. Morgan, despite being a Korean player, has spent his entire career in the LPL. He most recently played for Team WE. Winter has yet to debut in the LCK, spending the past year-and-a-half working his way up to the CK. Lee “CuVee” Seong-jin and Kang “Haru” Min-seung have moved on, but Lee “DuDu” Dong-ju and Cho “CaD” Seong-yong could still be in the fold for HLE.

What it means for WE: Morgan started every game for Team WE in top lane in 2020, meaning we will see a new debut for the team in 2021. Team WE has players under contract in every other role, but Jiang “Teacherma” Chen’s contract is up in the mid lane. If he moves on, Team WE will have to break in two new solo laners.

NOVEMBER 21 ROSTER MOVES

IGNAR LEAVES FLYQUEST FOR EVIL GENIUSES 

What it means for EG: Evil Geniuses brought over Tristan “Zeyzal” Stidam as part of their package from Cloud9 in 2020, but he wasn’t a fit next to Bae “Bang” Jun-sik. EG went after a new solution this offseason, snagging Lee “IgNar” Dong-geun from FlyQuest. With Bang’s departure already confirmed, EG will now look to lock down their ADC to pair with IgNar. IgNar’s preferred roaming style would suggest EG want to find an ADC who is comfortable giving up part of his lane to help the team.

What it means for FLY: Considering that the rest of the roster were all confirmed to leave, it comes as no surprise that IgNar was the next in line. Considering that he was still under contract through 2021, FlyQuest likely got some sort of compensation from Evil Geniuses in the process. They can use that savings to fund their new import Josedeodo and the rest of the roster they end up building around him. 

TSM TAB POWEROFEVIL AS NEXT MID LANER

What it means for TSM: With Søren “Bjergsen” Bjerg’s decision to retire as a player to become the head coach, TSM had a rare opening in mid lane. Tristan “PowerOfEvil” Schrage becomes just the third mid laner in TSM history. Coming off a fantastic year with FlyQuest, PowerOfEvil is one of the premier mage mid laners in the West. Outside of winning the Perkz bid, POE was easily the best available mid to TSM. However, he still does cost TSM an import slot, and POE has struggled in metas that require the ability to play melee mid laners. TSM will build around POE and jungler Mingyi “Spica” Lu for their new roster.

What it means for FLY: PowerOfEvil declined his player option with FlyQuest, making him a free agent. Like the rest of the squad, FLY would have loved to keep him, but his money and destination were not in their favor. FlyQuest will attempt to rebuild around their new import jungler, Josedeodo.

NOVEMBER 20 ROSTER MOVES

WILDTURTLE LEAVES FLYQUEST FOR COUNTER LOGIC GAMING

What it means for CLG: Counter Logic Gaming decided to move on from ADC Trevor “Stixxay” Hayes after six years with the team, opening the door for Jason “WildTurtle” Tran to join. WildTurtle is coming off a successful year with FlyQuest, despite being benched for a short period in the Summer. He will team up with Andy “Smoothie” Ta in bot lane to complete CLG’s starting lineup. While they don’t look like a top team in the LCS, CLG certainly boasts a wealth of experience across their roster.

What it means for FLY: WildTurtle had been the face of FlyQuest since they became a franchised part of the LCS, but his benching in 2020 Summer for Brandon “Mash” Pham showed that FLY did not think he was irreplaceable. Only new addition Josedeodo has been confirmed for the 2021 roster, so FlyQuest still has a lot of work left to do in free agency. 

FLYQUEST REPLACE SANTORIN WITH JOSEDEODO

What it means for FLY: Losing Santorin as an NA resident is obviously a tough blow to FlyQuest, but Brandon Joel “Josedeodo” Villegas will bring his own excitement to FlyQuest. The former Rainbow7 jungler was a star at Worlds 2020, showing off his carry ability to help R7 win a pair of games. The rebuilt FlyQuest lineup should afford Josedeodo more opportunities to act as a carry for the team than Santorin had, so we should get to see how LCS ready Josedeodo is quickly.  

100 THIEVES ADD FREEZE TO COACHING STAFF

What it means for 100T: 100 Thieves announced a new addition to their coaching staff, bringing on Aleš “Freeze” Kněžínek as an assistant coach. Freeze was once one of the better Western ADCs before wrist issues slowed down his playing career. Coaches that once competed at the highest level often get the respect of their players, so Freeze’s experience should help him gain respect with the team.

TEAM LIQUID BRING IN ALPHARI, SANTORIN TO COMPLETE LINEUP

 

What it means for TL: The rich get richer in the LCS. Already having one of the strongest three-man cores in Jensen, Tactical, and CoreJJ, Team Liquid now have upgraded their top lane and jungle with Barney “Alphari” Morris and Lucas “Santorin” Tao Kilmer Larsen. Both are incredibly solid, versatile players that can thrive in both tank and carry metas. Santorin in particular should be better suited than Broxah to play the slower, more controlled early jungle style that has fit TL better.

What it means for FLY: FlyQuest had an incredible run in 2020, but it clearly came at the cost of inflating the value of their players. Santorin was one of the most deserving, finishing Third and Second Team All-Pro in the LCS. FlyQuest will attempt to rebuild around import Josedeodo, the talented former jungler of Rainbow7.

What it means for AST: Alphari was another of Origen’s 2020 roster to make the move to the LCS. Matti “WhiteKnight” Sormunen will take his place, marking his second appearance in the LEC. Long known for his solo queue prowess and ability to play multiple roles, WhiteKnight will have another chance to make an impression.

IMMORTALS ADD XERXE

What it means for IMT: Immortals thought they had their jungle answer when they signed Jake “Xmithie” Puchero last offseason, but the results were underwhelming. Xmithie was briefly benched for Nicholas “Potluck” Pollock and Immortals missed the playoffs both splits. In comes Andrei “Xerxe” Dragomir, whose Origen team also disappointed in 2020. The hottest jungle name in free agency last offseason, Xerxe had his stock fall this past year. Immortals have a good buy-low opportunity.

What it means for AST: Astralis have let all of their high priced players move on in free agency, instead opting to field a team full of less-heralded players around Erlend “Nukeduck” Våtevik Holm. “New” jungler Nikolay “Zanzarah” Akatov was the player who replaced Jonas “Kold” Andersen late in 2019 Summer.   

PERKZ MAKES THE MOVE TO THE LCS, JOINS CLOUD9

What it means for C9: Cloud9’s addition of mid laner Luka “Perkz” Perković is the biggest move in the LCS so far this offseason. Though he’s played primarily ADC for the past two years, Perkz’ 2020 Spring performance reminded everyone that he still knows how to mid. Perkz will replace Yasin “Nisqy” Dinçer, bringing more of a dominant laner in place of a more roam oriented player. Perkz rounds out Cloud9’s 2021 roster, making them one of the LCS favorites with Team Liquid.

What it means for G2: G2 Esports probably would have preferred to keep their longest-tenured and most beloved player, but Perkz was determined to move back to mid lane and Caps functioned better in that role for G2. Stealing Rekkles from their main rivals is a nice consolation prize, though.

REKKLES MOVES FROM FNATIC TO RIVAL G2 ESPORTS

What it means for G2: It is surely heartbreaking for G2 Esports to lose their captain Perkz, but stealing ADC Martin “Rekkles” Larsson from their main rivals has to be a sweet consolation prize. Rekkles is obviously a more polished ADC option for G2 than Perkz was, perhaps making the LEC’s top team even stronger. It will be interesting to see how Rekkles meshes with G2 after coming from a Fnatic environment where players weren’t always on the same page. Regardless, G2 widened their gap over Fnatic with this signing.

What it means for FNC: Fnatic’s mad every attempt to re-sign their star player, but the reality was that they could not offer the same roster potential as G2 Esports. Fnatic will obviously be an attractive destination for free agents, so they could still get someone like Elias “Upset” Lipp. Still, losing Rekkles is as heartbreaking as G2 losing Perkz, only without the consolation of weakening their main rival. The recently re-signed Hylissang will have to develop new synergy with whoever joins. 

FC SCHALKE 04 SIGN LIMIT

What it means for S04: FC Schalke 04 previously announced the departure of incumbent support Han “Dreams” Min-kook, paving way for the addition of Dino “LIMIT” Tot. There was some thought that S04 would try to run back the same roster after finishing the year on a miracle run, but S04 will have new faces top and support. LIMIT formed a good bot lane duo with Crownshot, affording him the opportunity to move on to S04.

What it means for SK: SK Gaming previously announced their full 2021 lineup, bringing over Treatz from TSM to fill their support role. He will lane with rookie Jean “Jezu” Massol as part of one of the youngest rosters in the LEC.

SANDBOX GAMING ADDS CROCO

What it means for SB: SANDBOX Gaming have added jungler Kim “Croco” Dong-beom ahead of 2021. Croco has only been playing professionally since the beginning of 2019, competing only in Challengers Korea. Croco most recently played with hyFresh Blade, formerly known as Brion Blade. Croco joins Kim “OnFleek” Jang-gyeom as the second jungler under contract for SB in 2021.

NOVEMBER 19 ROSTER MOVES

DAMWON GAMING RE-SIGN BERYL

What it means for DWG: Coming off their World Championship win, DAMWON Gaming made it known that their priority was to re-sign both top laner Jang “Nuguri” Ha-gwon and support Cho “BeryL” Geon-hee. DWG is halfway there, as BeryL has agreed to return to the team. His roaming playstyle was really unlocked when the team inserted Jang “Ghost” Yong-jun into the starting lineup, allowing BeryL to link up with jungler Kim “Canyon” Geon-bu. DWG will once again be LCK favorites heading into 2021.

DAMONTE, HUHI COMPLETE 100 THIEVES LINEUP 

What it means for 100T: Joining their former teammates Closer and FBI, mid laner Tanner “Damonte” Damonte and support Choi “huhi” Jae-hyun complete 100 Thieves’ starting lineup. Kim “Ssumday” Chan-ho has been confirmed as the team’s starting top laner. This lineup is basically the 2020 Golden Guardians roster, just subtracting Kevin “Hauntzer” Yarnell for Ssumday. Not only is that an upgrade, but the roster should benefit from more time together. They should be seen as dark horse contenders in the LCS.

What it means for GG: Oh, what could have been. Golden Guardians look to have been done in by budget constraints at the worst possible time. With FBI becoming an NA resident, they could have kept the core of Closer, FBI, and huhi together while adding an import solo laner over either Hauntzer or Damonte. Unfortunately, they have to hit the reset button as their ownership struggled financially due to covid.

CROWNSHOT WILL NOT BEGIN YEAR IN LEC, LCS

What it means for SK: After SK Gaming announced their new lineup, former ADC Juš “Crownshot” Marušič made his own announcement that he would not begin 2021 on an LEC or LCS roster. This is a huge surprise, as Crownshot was SK’s best player in 2020 and is certainly good enough to play in a major region. He should be one of the first calls for teams looking to replace a struggling ADC next season.

SK GAMING ANNOUNCE FULL ROSTER 

What it means for SK: Top laner Janik “Jenax” Bartels will be the only remaining holdover from SK Gaming’s 2019 roster. Joining him in 2021 will be jungler Kristian “TynX” Østergaard Hansen, mid laner Ersin “Blue” Gören, ADC Jean “Jezu” Massol, and support Erik “Treatz” Wessén. SK are having a youth movement after finishing in the middle of the pack in the LEC to end the season.

What it means for TSM: The writing seemed to be on the wall for Treatz’ TSM tenure when they benched him for Vincent “Biofrost” Wang to end Summer. Bjergsen’s retirement also made it more difficult for TSM to fit Treatz as an import, considering they will likely need to look outside of North America for a mid replacement. 

HYLISSANG RE-SIGNS WITH FNATIC

What it means for FNC: Support Zdravets “Hylissang” Iliev Galabov won’t be going anywhere after agreeing to return to Fnatic. Hylissang has been with Fnatic since late 2017, and though he struggled throughout 2020, he played exceptionally well at Worlds. Fnatic will need his veteran presence more than ever now that they have announced Martin “Rekkles” Larsson is moving on in free agency. Fnatic will need to find Hylissang a new duo partner and decide whether or not to keep Gabriël “Bwipo” Rau and Tim “Nemesis” Lipovšek.

NOVEMBER 18 ROSTER MOVES

COUNTER LOGIC GAMING NAMES GALEN HEAD COACH

What it means for CLG: Counter Logic Gaming have promoted their former academy head coach Galen “Galen” Holgate to their LCS head coach. Galen, who most will remember as “Moon”, played professionally from 2015 to 2019, ending his career with CLG. Galen took over CLG Academy in May and helped them improve from a 4-14 Spring record to a 9-9 record in Summer.

BEN ANNOUNCES RETIREMENT

What it means for AF: Support Nam “Ben” Dong-hyun announced his retirement from professional play, ending his tenure with Afreeca Freecs. Ben had a redemptive 2020 season in the LCK after struggling with Top Esports in 2019. With Jin “Mystic” Seong-jun entering free agency, AF will have to entirely replace their bot lane entering 2021. Top laner Kim “Kiin” Gi-in, jungler Lee “Dread” Jin-hyeok, and mid laner Song “Fly” Yong-jun all remain under contract.  

NOVEMBER 16 ROSTER MOVES

T1 SIGNS FORMER DRX SUPPORT KERIA

What it means for T1: This is a massive signing for T1, as Ryu “Keria” Min-seok was the best support on the free agent market. Keria dominated his rookie season in DRX, going from up-and-comer to top of his role in less than a year. T1 still have Lee “Effort” Sang-ho signed through 2021, but there is no doubt that Keria will be the starter. The only question is whether Keria will be laning with Park “Teddy” Jin-seong or Lee “Gumayusi” Min-hyeong.

What it means for DRX: Keria is the first of the mass exodus currently taking place at DRX. Choi “Doran” Hyeon-joon, Jeong “Chovy” Ji-hoon, and Kim “Deft” Hyuk-kyu are all expected to move on as well. With DRX unable to keep their competitive team together, they will need to hit the lottery on a rookie support again to hope to match Keria’s loss. Only Hong “Pyosik” Chang-hyeon remains from the 2020 Worlds quarterfinalists. 

BROXAH, FINN JOIN COUNTER LOGIC GAMING 

What it means for CLG: CLG quickly used up both of their import slots by adding top laner Finn “Finn” Wiestål and jungler Mads “Broxah” Brock-Pedersen to their starting lineup. Though neither is coming off a particularly great year, this is a good “buy low” opportunity for CLG as both had shown more promise in 2019. CLG also had nowhere to go but up on their top side, as Kim “Ruin” Hyeong-min and Raymond “Wiggily” Griffin struggled mightily in 2020.

What it means for TL: The Broxah experiment for Team Liquid comes to an end after only one year. Brought in to replace Jake “Xmithie” Puchero as a more aggressive early game jungler, Broxah never seemed to mesh well with the team. Team Liquid will certainly have the money to go after the big names in free agency, namely Lucas “Santorin” Tao Kilmer Larsen.

What it means for RGE: Rogue opened their offseason by agreeing to terms with Odoamne, leaving Finn the odd man out. Odoamne should bring a more consistent presence to Rogue’s top side.

IMMORTALS GET REVENGE 

What it means for IMT: Immortals have acquired top laner Mohamed “Revenge” Kaddoura to join Insanity as their other starting solo laner. Revenge joined FlyQuest’s Academy team in 2019 Summer and was unable to crack the main roster behind Collin “Solo” Earnest and Omran “V1per” Shoura. The carry top laner will now get his first LCS shot on what looks to be a very young Immortals roster in 2021.

What it means for FLY: With Solo outperforming Revenge and still under contract through 2021, FlyQuest had no need for Revenge on their main roster. FlyQuest have also been rumored to be looking outside of the organization for a new top laner. 

ASTRALIS ANNOUNCE FULL ROSTER AFTER ORIGEN REBRAND 

What it means for AST: Origen renamed to Astralis this offseason, and with it came a number of roster moves. Mid laner Erlend “Nukeduck” Våtevik Holm will be the only returning starter. Joining him in 2021 will be top laner Matti “WhiteKnight” Sormunen, jungler Nikolay “Zanzarah” Akatov, ADC Jesper “Jeskla” Klarin Strömberg, and support Hampus “promisq” Mikael Abrahamsson. While there are familiar names in that group, it’s hard to see this roster as anything but a downgrade from the 2020 version that underachieved.

NOVEMBER 16 ROSTER MOVES

CLOSER, FBI JOIN 100 THIEVES

What it means for 100T: 100 Thieves are taking advantage of the new OCE import rules to add both Victor “FBI” Huang and Can “Closer” Çelik to a roster with Kim “Ssumday” Chan-ho. 100T had already said goodbye to Cody “Cody Sun” Sun, and now presumably will move on from Juan “Contractz” Arturo Garcia. 100T will have to decide whether to pair FBI with current support Philippe “Poome” Lavoie-Giguere or an available domestic free agent.

What it means for GG: The rumored effect of budget cuts from NBA owned teams seems to be validated by this move, as GG are giving up on two of their best players from 2020. FBI only got even more valuable as an NA resident this year. With none of their 2020 roster under contract anymore, it wouldn’t be surprising to see Golden Guardians go with a rookie heavy roster to begin 2021.

AFREECA FREECS RE-SIGN DREAD AS SPIRIT MOVES TO ACADEMY COACH

What it means for AF: Lee “Spirit” Da-yoon has made the move from player to coach, stepping down from the Afreeca Freecs roster to help coach the academy team. His retirement opens the door for Lee “Dread” Jin-hyeok to start at jungle. The two split time in the role in 2020, with Spirit playing in 91 games to Dread’s 22. Though this settles the jungle position, AF still must sign a bot lane after the departures of Jin “Mystic” Segon-jun and Nam “Ben” Dong-hyun. 

ROGUE ADD ODOAMNE, TRYMBI

What it means for RGE: With Rogue having already announced the departures of Finn “Finn” Wiestål and Oskar “Vander” Bogdan, they filled those spots immediately when free agency opened with Andrei “Odoamne” Pascu and Adrian “Trymbi” Trybus. The veteran Odoamne should provide more stability in top lane for Rogue, as Finn struggled in the latter half of 2020. Trymbi will get his first shot in the LEC playing alongside one of the better ADCs in the LEC in Steven “Hans Sama” Liv. These moves complete Rogue’s roster for 2021.

What it means for S04: FC Schalke 04 had a number of expiring contracts going into the offseason, but had already re-signed Felix “Abbedagge” Braun and Erberk “Gilius” Demir. Odoamne will leave a hole in the top lane, but the culture S04 built in their miracle run to end 2020 should help them find a suitable replacement.

SANDBOX GAMING EXTEND ROUTE

What it means for SB: After splitting time with Han “Leo” Gyro-re in the Spring Split, Moon “Route” Geom-su started every game for SANDBOX in the Summer. SB have announced that they have extended his contract, presumably to continue as the starting ADC. Route had been the only SANDBOX player with a contract that expired in 2020. The other five members have contracts that run through 2021.

NOVEMBER 13 ROSTER MOVES

TL HIRE KOLD AS STRATEGIC COACH

What it means for TL: Team Liquid like hiring former professional players for coaching roles (like Pobelter last year), This time they have hired former LCS and LEC player Jonas “Kold” Andersen. Kold last played for Origen in 2019, leaving the team before their gauntlet run with an undisclosed illness. This is Kold’s first return to the scene since he stepped away from Origen.

IMMORTALS BRING BACK INSANITY

What it means for IMT: After starting the 2020 Summer Split 0-4, Immortals promoted mid laner David “Insanity” Challe in place of Jérémy “Eika” Valdenaire. Immortals apparently liked enough of what they saw from Insanity, re-signing him with the intention of starting him in 2021. Insanity joins Apollo “Apollo” Price as the only two Immortals members under contract for next season.

NOVEMBER 12 ROSTER MOVES

DAMWON REPLACE ZEFA, DAENY WITH KKOMA

What it means for DWG: It is never ideal to lose the coaching staff that brought an organization a World Championship, but hiring Kim “kkOma” Jeong-gyun is certainly a good consolation prize. kkOma is considered one of, if not the best coach of all-time in League of Legends. He elevated the play of Vici Gaming in 2020 after his long, successful stint with T1.

T1 HIRE ZEFA, DAENY FROM DAMWON

What it means for T1: Lee “Zefa” Jae-min and Yang “Daeny” Dae-in are departing from DAMWON Gaming after turning them into World Champions in their one year together. They will replace Kim “Kim” Jeong-soo, who was not retained after the season. Zefa is returning to T1 after spending 2019 as a coach there, but this time he joins as the head decision maker.

NOVEMBER 6 ROSTER MOVES

MACHI ESPORTS RELEASE Three PLAYERS, Two COACHES

What it means for MCX: After a disappointing showing at Worlds 2020, it looks like Machi Esports are completely revamping their team. All three players started every game for Machi Esports in their Summer regular season and at Worlds. Machi are gambling that they can upgrade their roster without falling down the pecking order of the PCS after finishing the Summer in first.

NOVEMBER 5 ROSTER MOVES

JENSEN RE-SIGNS FOR THREE YEARS

What it means for TL: Team Liquid started their offseason roster shuffle by retaining the biggest free agent in North America, Nicolaj “Jensen” Jensen. With the retirement of Søren “Bjergsen” Bjerg, Jensen instantly became the most valuable player in the region as a top tier mid laner with NA residency. Jensen finished the 2020 Summer Split as a Second Team All-Pro in the LCS and helped Team Liquid to NA’s best Worlds run. Both Jung “Impact” Eon-yeong and Mads “Broxah” Brock-Pedersen have expiring contracts, so Team Liquid could look to revamp their top half of the map. Thanks to Jensen’s NA residency, Team Liquid would still have one import slot available.

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.