Free agency for League of Legends began on Monday at 7 p.m. This is the beginning of the next season, of rebuilding for teams that didn’t achieve what they had hoped for, but it’s also a moment where good teams will try to become better, try to become the best and try to reach the heights that their current roster isn’t good enough to get to.
1: Xmithie to Immortals as Team Liquid sign Broxah
Team Liquid once again have decided that success in their region is not enough, getting rid of jungler Jake “Xmithie” Puchero and signing Fnatic’s young star, Mads “Broxah” Brock-Peterson. This change isn’t terribly surprising, as this is the same Team Liquid that booted both their mid and their support last offseason after two championships in a row, but it’s still a risk. It seems as though Liquid is betting it all on hopes of international success, willing to lose one of their most consistent domestic players for yet another import.
On the other side is Xmithie, who is rumored to be joining the new Immortals lineup. Immortals recently bought out Optic Gaming, who previously held the spot, so it seems they are making a new team with Xmithie at the center. As many good players are released or available, Xmithie may end up on another championship contender.
2: FORG1VEN returns to the LEC
Schalke 04, who soccer fans might recognize as a team owned by German soccer team FC Schalke 04, is reportedly signing Greek bot laner Konstantinos-Napoleon “FORG1VEN” Tzortziou. FORG1VEN hasn’t played on a team since the middle of 2017. He was forced to miss the 2018 and 2019 seasons due to mandatory military service in his home country of Greece, so the signing now from Schalke comes as something of a surprise and is certainly a risky signing. However, FORG1VEN was known to be a good player two years ago, so if Schalke can return him to that form they could be favorites to finish well in the spring.
3: TSM’s New Bot Lane
Team SoloMid, by all accounts, did not have a bad year in 2019. They got second place in the spring, a surprise first-round knockout in the summer playoffs and were just one game off from making Worlds. But for a team with the most storied record in North American league, including six split victories, almost has never been good enough. That’s why TSM has shaken up their bot lane, sending bot laner Zven to Cloud9 and trading support Smoothie with CLG for Biofrost, who previously played for TSM for three splits.
TSM’s life since franchising has been a series of problems with multiple positions. By picking up an experienced bottom lane, as they also sign ex-splyce bot laner Kobbe, they hope to create a duo who can carry them to victory even as jungler Spica, who has played less than a full split, might continue to struggle.
4: The end of an era
Zachary “Sneaky” Scuderi has played for Cloud9 for seven years, since 2013. He’s won two splits and made seven World Championships in a row. But for the first time ever in 2020, we will be looking at a Cloud9 without Sneaky on its roster. The storied bot laner, who will be replaced by Zven, is leaving Cloud9 with future plans currently unknown, due to others on the team wanting a new bot lane. They’re also signed Philippe “Vulcan” Laflamme, a support from Dignitas, to replace their previous support Tristan “Zeyzal” Stidam. Cloud9 is also reportedly promoting academy jungler Robert “Blaber” Huang to the main roster.
Going into the 2019 season, many teams are going to look different. They’ll bring players young and old, from all over the world, to try and vie for the spot of best team in North America. But it’s more than that, more than just North America. They’ll battle for the right to fight internationally once more and, finally, show that North America can succeed on the international stage.
Ashton Stansel is a campus correspondent for The Daily Campus. He can be reached via email at firstname.lastname@example.org.