LCK Off-Season Roster Updates 2021 – Who were the big winners?
Plenty of important transfers are shaping up a formidable LCK season in Spring. Most teams are looking to spice things up one way or another, with only a select few sticking to their guns. Here’s all the important LCK roster transfers this off-season.
Afreeca Freecs rebuild around Kiin
Afreeca Freecs placed sixth in the 2021 LCK Summer Split. They made the decision to rebuild around its top laner Kiin, considered one of the best players in his role in Korea. The organization let go Dread, Fly, Bang, Lehends, and Keine at the beginning of the off-season, and signed FATE, Ellim, Teddy and Hoit, as the team is looking to compete for a strong result in 2022.
The roster is definitely full of strong elements: Teddy, Ellim and Hoit previously played for T1, while FATE performed decently on Liiv SandBox the last split. They might not be the front runners, but we expect them to be in the higher part of the standings.
DRX bets on Deft and BeryL
Having placed 10th and last in Summer, DRX also made the decision to rebuild its roster. The strategy of growing up 4 rookies proved to be unsuccessful and this year they changed their plans. Top laner Kingen and jungler Pyosik were the only two players to remain for 2022. To fill the roster, acquired former Bilibili Gaming mid laner Zeka, former Hanwha Life Esports AD carry Deft, and former DWG KIA support BeryL.
DRX’s roster will definitely be interesting to see, considering how it should be easy to improve last year’s results. The team is capable of getting good results but how well will they perform compared to the rest of the competition?
DWG KIA may struggle
Worlds 2020 Champions DWG Kia let go their bot lane Ghost and BeryL. The organization also allowed all its players into free agency, including Canyon and ShowMaker. Nonetheless, DK announced its completed roster on Dec. 1, with the additions of Kellin and deokdam, formerly of Nongshim RedForce, and Burdol, previous top laner for Gen.G.
DK’s roster, as of right now, is very hard to judge. Khan played a huge part in the team’s success, but now that he left for military service, his absence might be felt. Burdol is a decent player but was never regarded as top tier: DK’s coaching staff will have to make him evolve again. As for the bot lane, DK did make a slight upgrade. Deokdam showed some strong performances and was a core player in NS: let’s see if he can have those carry performances again on the World Champions.
Gen.G builds a superteam
Gen.G Esports is going big this year, as they are definitely the winners of the 2021 LCK off-season. The organization parted ways with top laner Rascal, jungler Clid, mid laner Bdd and support Life, only keeping Ruler. Former Nongshim RedForce jungler Peanut and former AF support Lehends will replace Clid and Life for 2022, with Doran coming in as the new top laner.
The biggest signing, however, is without a doubt the mid laner: Chovy. One of the most mechanically gifted players in recent LoL, as well as one of the best mid laners in the world, has finally ended up in a strong team. If Chovy was always able to elevate any team regardless of the players, it’s curious to see what highs Gen.G might have next year. Nonetheless, expectations will be high for this iteration of Gen.G, who will surely be fighting for a top spot in the LCK.
Legendary organization T1 didn’t make any major changes to its roster, with the exception of the top lane, where T1 substitute top laner Zeus was promoted to the main roster. All the rest of the roster was confirmed, including Faker, who renewed his contract. T1, however, made a huge change of plans regarding their roster building. T1 has always been one of the organizations to push for a 10-man roster that was able to move up and down its players when needed. In this off-season, though, the management let go most of its substitute players, as most have landed in other LCK teams. This will surely raise LCK’s competition and level further, as most T1 players were definitely LCK-level.
Aside from Hoit, Teddy, Ellim who all went to Afreeca Freecs, T1 also let go Canna, following a contractual dispute regarding salary. The Korean top laner transferred to Nongshim RedForce. Substitute mid Clozer, who was regarded as the new T1’s superstar, left for Liiv Sandbox, while jungler Cuzz joined KT Rolster for the upcoming year.
T1’s release of its 10-man roster will definitely make an impact on the whole LCK, as most players were likely hungry to be on a starting roster. This decision benefits everyone, from T1 themselves to their competition, but most importantly, to their fans.
It has been one of the most explosive off-season roster moves in the LCK, and it’s building up to be one of the most competitive starts to the LCK Spring Split: make sure to watch the start of the LCK Spring Split that will kick off in January. (the date has not been confirmed yet)