International Roster Moves - SKT make coaching changes as G2 Esports rebuild
This year’s LoL free agency madness has proven to be just as frantic as the year past. As the NA LCS franchise teams were confirmed, roster moves were being made across the world as Europe and Korea underwent major shake-ups.
A dynasty reborn?
SK Telecom suffered their first ever finals loss at the World Championships this past year after a resounding 3-0 loss at the hands of Samsung. Even though SKT’s championship roster from the previous year remained mostly intact, the new additions of Huni and Peanut were not able to trump the cohesion amongst the Samsung starting five, as Faker and co. fell in astonishing fashion.
After a bad loss in the finals for a team that has built their legacy off of dominating the scene, it was back to the drawing board for SKT management as roster moves were expected to be made. With the world’s greatest LoL player of all time at your disposal, there’s not many changes that need to be made in order to succeed.
SKT top brass acquired wisely so far in the off season, re-signing long time Head Coach kk0ma to a continued deal. The changes for SKT were needed in team infrastructure, which had little to do with the talent of the team to begin with. The organization announced earlier this week the return of former players turned coaches Bengi and PoohManDu, to assist kk0ma in running the team.
These moves are a breath of fresh air for a team that is always associated with utmost excellency at the top level. Losing Peanut and Huni is definitely a blow, but Faker, Bang and Wolf have always succeeded with players that assist their playstyle, not compete with it. The returning of Untara and Blank into the fold will provide a reasonable amount of stability to an SKT roster that was shaky to say the least last season.
Samsung have resigned all five of their World Championship starters for another season. T Rolster have also made no roster changes in the lead up to Spring 2018, but the potential for kT is much lower than last season given their dismal end to 2017.
As Peanut leaves the SKT red he rejoins his former ROX bot lane duo of Pray and Gorilla at Longzhu Gaming where he will compete with Cuzz for a starting spot. Longzhu will hope to make another run at a championship with a reinvigorated Peanut by their side. Khan re signing in the top lane will also add some wind to their sales as he was one of the breakout stars of last season.
The only other roster changes came from bbq Olivers as both Trick and Ignar were announced at the Jungle and Support roles. These changes don’t seem to be enough to break the Roosters out of another possible bottom three climb as the 2018 season approaches.
Major Changes in Europe
The past couple years in EU, the top three or four teams have all been pretty predictable just based on roster profile and track record. With all the changes going on to the most important teams in the league, it’s safe to say that everything is up for grabs this season as G2 underwent major changes along with Splyce, Unicorns of Love and H2k gaming.
For G2 Esports, Perkz at mid lane will be the only returning member of the multi-time European champions. The new look squad has yet to be finalized, but all sources point to Hjarnan and Wadid being the new bot lane duo for G2.
This personnel change will be a welcome edition for Perkz and both Hjarnan and Wadid showed glimmers of brilliance last season. While there is no confirmation on Top and Jungle, the remaining talent pool in Europe and abroad will be pivotal in deciding whether or not G2 will reign again. A blockbuster move for Marin as he announces free agency from Afreeca Freecs would be a massive boost.
Splyce have made interesting acquisitions with Xerxe and Nisqy joining their ranks as Kobbe at AD is the only returning member for 2018. The former all-Danish trio will now be much more diversified as their new coach, recruited from Brazil’s INTZ, will take the reins of a completely new team. Peter Dun will have his work cut out for him filling out a roster that can potentially pack a lot of promise given Xerxe and Kobbe’s propensity to shine in abstract situations.
As the rest of the rosters hustle and bustle to cram in as many hours as they can with their newly formed teams, the most important teams to watch are those making minimal roster moves in an attempt to refine their skills.
Fnatic is already poised to come out of the gate as front runners for next season as Broxah will finally get a full season with the team that worked extremely well to force their place into a World Championship spot this last season. The only possible roster move of Hylissang to FNC and Jesiz to head coach position will bolster the squad and reinforce infrastructure for the team, making it a win-win situation. Although a lot of rosters in EU have potential, Fnatic’s continued run of excellence is hard to bet against in this climate.
Photo Credits: LoL Esports