- 1 Immortals lose four members
- 2 Cloud9 benches longtime starter
- 3 Team SoloMid replaces star ADC
- 4 Team Liquid retools
- 5 Team EnVyUs replaced two players
- 6 Echo Fox rebounds after Riot handicap
During the offseason, we saw an unheralded amount of player movement, with one top North American (NA) team essentially losing all of its roster. No team went unscathed, with at least one player retiring, leaving, or being replaced from each team.
We’re here to catch you up on all of the roster moves from the North American LCS and get acquainted with some of the newer players in the next split.
Immortals lose four members
Immortals was considered a North American superstar team when they first got together just a year ago, but two disappointing finishes in both the Spring and Summer Split Playoffs meant changes would be coming.
Pobelter only returning player
— Eugene Park (@Pobelter) December 7, 2016
Immortals has signed Eugene “Pobelter” Park to a new two-year contract, making him the only original player that will be returning this upcoming split.
Pobelter has distinguished himself as the best NA resident midlaner. He’s bilingual (fluent in Korean and English), which will help with any imports Immortals signs in the future.
While he was often overshadowed by Huni and Reignover, Pobelter has a 33-3 regular season record as the starting midlaner for Immortals.
Dardoch signs extensive contract
After the departure of Reignover, Joshua “Dardoch” Hartnett has inked a three-year contract with Immortals.
Dardoch was the former starting jungler for Team Liquid, rising through the ranks from the team’s Challenger Series squad, Team Liquid Academy.
He had a rocky relationship with management last season, and the team attempted to first sell his contract to Echo Fox. However, that deal was nullified by Riot, stating the trade had come during a period of the 2016 Summer Split that was locked for player transactions.
Flame is new top laner
Legendary Korean top laner Ho-jong “Flame” Lee was officially announced as the replacement for Huni.
Flame most recently played for Longzhu Gaming, but he has previous stints with CJ Entus and LGD Gaming in China. Once considered one of the premier top laners in the world, the veteran has fallen on rough times. He will now look to revive his career in North America.
Rookie ADC signs contract with Immortals
Cody Sun has signed a one-year contract with Immortals for the 2017 season.
Sun, who formerly went by the name Massacre while playing in the 2016 North American Challenger Series for Dream Team, tried out extensively with the team in Korea. This will be his rookie split.
Olleh joins as support
Joining Sun in the bottom lane will be Kim “Olleh” Joo-sung.
The 22-year-old Olleh formerly played for Hong Kong Esports and went through an extensive tryout to win the position.
Cloud9 benches longtime starter
Cloud9 has been one of the most consistent North American teams, finding solid players and making sure they stick around for more than one split. They’ll be making a minor change as we near the start of the 2017 season.
Meteos replaced by Contractz
Happy to be playing for @Cloud9 this coming LCS split. Ready to work hard and improve !!
— contractz (@Contractz) December 19, 2016
Cloud9 has replaced long-time jungler Meteos with former Cloud9 Challenger jungler Arturo “Contractz” Garcia.
Contractz will be the youngest player in the LCS next split, having just turned 17 and securing eligibility to participate in the LCS. Meteos will remain the backup.
Team SoloMid replaces star ADC
Soon after Team SoloMid was bounced out of the 2016 World Championship, Yiliang “Doublelift” Peng announced he would be taking a split off to focus on himself and his family.
— Team SoloMid (@TeamSoloMid) December 7, 2016
Enter Jason “WildTurtle” Tran, the man Doublelift initially replaced when TSM released him at the beginning of last season. After spending two splits with Immortals, the always-smiling WildTurtle will now return to his roots.
Team Liquid retools
After a few seasons of finding talent in the Challenger Series and promoting them to their LCS squad, Team Liquid has gone in a completely different direction to start the 2017 Spring Split.
Veterans and established players are inbound, and this team looks extremely potent on paper.
Reignover replaces Dardoch
— Team Liquid LoL (@TeamLiquidLoL) December 13, 2016
Former Fnatic star and one of the premier junglers in North America, Kim “Reignover” Yeu-jin has found a new home on Team Liquid.
While he initially boot-camped in Korea with the possibility of joining an LCK squad, the offer from TL was just too good to pass up. He will easily fill the shoes of the departing Dardoch.
FeniX is replaced
It’s not Team Liquid without at least one player being promoted from their Challenger Series team.
Greyson “Goldenglue” Gilmer joined Team Liquid Academy at the start of the 2016 Challenger Series and will now be the midlane starter for their LCS squad this upcoming split.
NA has had a resurgence of midlaners in the past two seasons, and Goldenglue will have to quickly adapt to heightened competition.
Piglet returns to TL’s starting lineup
After a tumultuous 2016 Summer Split that saw Gwang-jin “Piglet” Chae demoted to Team Liquid Academy, the legendary ADC will now be returning to his starting LCS position.
Piglet was the starting ADC for the Season Three world champions SK Telecom T1 before joining TL in 2014. Initially rumors were he would return to Korea, but TL isn’t ready to give up on their star ADC that easily.
Team EnVyUs replaced two players
We're up to the challenge. We're going to work hard. Cheer for us.
— Team Envy (@TeamEnVyUs) December 25, 2016
Team Envy saw great success at the beginning of the 2016 Summer Split, but floundered down the stretch. They will have three returning players to build off from last season, but they will need to replace their jungler.
After Kim “Procxin” Seyoung’s abrupt retirement, the team found a new answer in the jungle.
Nam “lira” Tae-yoo has plenty of professional experience abroad. He played professionally for four years in South Korea, most recently with Afreeca Freecs. LirA is renowned for his Rek’Sai and Graves play.
Apollo introduced as new ADC
After a trade that sent former Envy AD Carry Benjamin “LOD” DeMunck to Team Dignitas, in steps Apollo “Apollo” Price.
Apollo is an NA journeyman who formerly started for Team Impulse, Team Dignitas, and Apex Gaming.
Echo Fox rebounds after Riot handicap
Some of the first rumblings of the offseason (actually, before the offseason even started as we found out) had Dardoch going to Echo Fox to be paired with Froggen and KEITH.
Riot established that the trade was invalid, leaving Echo Fox up a creek without a paddle.
Huge upgrade in the top lane
— Rick Fox (@RickFox) December 2, 2016
Former world champion top laner Hyeong-seok “Looper” Jang will be playing in North America this split.
The 23-year-old Looper won Worlds in 2014 while with Samsung White and spent the last two years in China, first with Masters 3 and then with Royal Never Give Up, winning the 2016 LPL Spring Playoffs.
Echo Fox finds their jungler
Former Dream Team jungler Matthew “Akaadian” Higginbotham will be stepping into the role of starting jungler for Echo Fox this split.
Akaadian has boot-camped extensively with the team in Korea and will replace Anthony “Hard” Barkhovtsev, whose future is currently uncertain.
Free agent Gate signs contract
Former Phoenix1 support Austin “Gate” Yu has officially signed a contract to be Echo Fox’s starting support player this upcoming split.
Gate hasn’t had his fair chance to prove he can be a legitimate support player, having dealt with the Team Impulse fiasco before joining Echo Fox last season. He will now get to play with KEITH, an up-and-coming ADC in North America.