The League of Legends free agency period is officially one week away. Big teams have already started building a pathway for 2021 as rumors have swirled with G2, TSM, and TL due to undergo major changes. Every offseason brings major waves of change for each team, and 2021 will be no different as North American teams look to bolster their ranks.
G2 Perkz: The Decision
Undoubtedly, the biggest storyline of free agency this year will be determined by where Luka “Perkz” Perkovic ends up at the start of next season. Credible players and coaches within the scene have murmured that Perkz leaving G2 is not out of the realm of possibility. While the star-studded G2 Esports dynasty is still operating at a high level, Perkz needs to play mid in order for him to be at his best.
Playing Mid and carrying from that position as the vocal and in-game leader is imperative to Perkz’s identity as a player. At the moment, it seems like Team Vitality, Misfits, Cloud9, TSM, and Evil Geniuses have emerged as serious contenders to land Perkz in the Mid lane.
Fnatic makes sense for Perkz from a player perspective, but as the owner of G2, letting your franchise player leave to play for your direct rival is not good for business.
Because of this, Perkz moving to a top-three team in North America and assembling a dynasty across the Atlantic could be a big possibility for 2021. Moving Perkz from his European kingdom will come at no small fee, though. Reports have swirled that G2 has set a buyout of $5 million dollars for the highly sought after Croatian. This price tag will likely make Perkz the most expensive signing in League of Legends history if he eventually ends up switching teams this offseason.
North American Overhaul
The LCS is undergoing massive format changes next season as a response to waning interest in the Spring split. Over the last couple of years, fans and pros alike have played into a ‘Spring split doesn’t matter’ narrative that has widely made the first half of the LCS season seem like a wash. To combat those fears, LCS is conjoining the Spring and Summer splits and opting for a 50 game regular season where each team will play each other five times.
According to Travis Gafford, the LCS will be kicking off 2021 with a domestic tournament at the start of the year. The increase in games, the small local tournaments and increased broadcast time is a direct response from Riot Games in curving the gap between North America and the rest of the major regions. More practice on stage and an added emphasis on competition will hopefully bring more life into the league. North America faced embarrassment at Worlds 2020 once again as no teams came out of groups from the region.
Although Team Liquid and FlyQuest had moments of brilliance with wins over G2 and Top Esports, it wasn’t enough to overcome the odds. Team Liquid has taken a drastic change when it comes to appeasing their star players. With Jensen’s contract expiring this year, Liquid owner Steve Arhancet did what he needed to surround his talisman with promising players.
The signing of Barney “Alphari” Morris from Astralis is a major coup for the North American side. Aside from Wunder, Alphari was undoubtedly the best pound-for-pound top laner in Europe. His lane mechanics and matchup knowledge are unparalleled within the league. There is a high chance he will bring a similar level of poise and control in the top lane that may even surpass that of his predecessor, Impact.
Adding to that move, sources have mentioned that Santorin will be making the transition from FlyQuest to Team Liquid. This move would further assert domestic dominance for Liquid, as they will be taking away one of the most prominent pieces of their rivals’ roster. Santorin is one of those junglers that forces teams to play around his identity. With solid laners in top and mid, Team Liquid is the early favorite to dominate North America if this roster pans out.
The retirement of Bjergsen completely shattered the airwaves across social media. With the Dane walking away from mid, the massive void he leaves behind must be filled by appropriate shoes. To add to his departure, it is rumored that both Broken Blade and Biofrost have been shown the door. This allows those two players to negotiate options before the FA window opens up. At the moment, 60% of TSM’s LCS winning roster will be no more.
In a Reddit reveal via Jacob Wolf, it seems like FlyQuest’s PowerOfEvil is a leading candidate for the job due to his declaration for free agency. With Bjergsen stepping into the coaching role, TSM has a unique caveat to their new signings as they will be working directly under one of the most highly praised players in eSports.
TSM has also been rumored to pick up Licorice after his departure from Cloud9. Golden Guardians are in the running for Licorice as well as the team has reportedly decided to open up the checkbook to sign higher value players. The competition for talent is much higher this year as multiple teams try to bounce back from their dismal COVID-stricken seasons. Immortals, Evil Geniuses, and Dignitas committing to roster blowups will also add a lot more money into the free agency window as teams scramble to complete their rosters.