Free Agency Breakdown: Roster Swap shenanigans in the LEC
We are now 10 days into the League of Legends Free Agency period and “drama” has been happening in all four major competitive regions. Today we kick off our Free Agency Breakdown for the LEC as we track down all transfers, rumors and lineups leading up to the 2020 Spring Split.
The European league is currently having the most peaceful off-season in years. Roster swaps are scarce as teams are mostly extending contracts and marginally refreshing rosters. An exception to this are teams Mad Lions (formerly Splyce) and Schalke04 who went on to rebuild their entire rosters for 2020. SK-Gaming had many contracts expire and did not opt-out into renewing them as well as not announcing new additions as of yet.
The current LEC roster breakdown looks like this:
If it works…
Straight out the gate we notice LoL Worlds 2019 finalists G2 did not make any changes to their 2020 roster. The starting five are all contracted until 2021 and the only change coming from the roster is that they released the meme god Hampus “promisq” Abrahamsson into the wild. On the 25th of November, Promisq announced he was not able to land a team for the LEC 2020 Spring split, but that he is still actively looking for an Academy/National team to join.
The upstart Rogue hasn’t made huge changes to their roster also. Their first LEC season was “not great, not terrible” as they rallied heavily into summer and are seeking to become a staple top4 of the league in 2020. They did however sign Draven god Hans Sama to their roster during this Free Agency period, and are now fielding a full roster signed until 2021.
Fnatic mildly refresh their roster also coming into 2020. In the lead-up to Free Agency a lot of rumors were spawned about the roster falling apart and huge changes coming in the offseason. It was rumored that Rekkles would be leaving to the LCS and Nemesis would go play for SK-Gaming together with Selfmade, Hylissang would get booted and Broxah would go to North America. In the end most of the rumors were incorrect as Fnatic kept ⅘ of their roster and only released Broxah to Team Liquid. Selfmade came over from SK-Gaming to rejoin his former teammate Nemesis and round out the 2020 Fnatic Roster. On the coaching side, Youngbuck has also left the roster and went on to join ExceL. The new coach of Fnatic is yet to be announced. Rumors are that Alfonso “Mithy” Rodríguez will be the new coach, but it is yet to be confirmed.
If it doesn’t work…
The following three rosters are going to rebuild their rosters partially coming into next season.
First up, Origen. The team released their botlane in the offseason and replaced them with former S04 AD Carry Elias “Upset” Lipp and MAMMOTH’s support Mitchell “Destiny” Shaw. Destiny is also the first OCE player to be signed by an LEC team in the history of the league. The jungle position was reinforced with Andrei “Xerxe” Dragomir moving over from Splyce. As far as we know, Kold is still under contract with Origen as a jungler but his status is still set to inactive. All in all, Origen was the fastest team to make roster moves and fully announce their 2020 roster only days into the Free Agency Period.
Similarly to Origen, Schalke04 is also refreshing their 2020 roster. They also released their botlane duo and have only signed an ADC so far. FORG1VEN will be making his triumphant return to the league after taking a 2 year hiatus due to his mandatory military service. His support is still not announced as Schalke is still evaluating all options. SK-Gaming’s Support Han “Dreams” Min-kook is likely going to join Schalke next season based on rumors.
SK-Gaming was left without an ADC and Jungler in the offseason. After releasing Selfmade to Fnatic and Pirean as a Free Agent. The team has not made any announcements on their 2020 roster as of yet. Former S04 Jungler Kim “Trick” Gang-yun was rumored to have signed with SK for the next season, but this is yet to be confirmed by the organization. The ADC role is yet to be filled.
Misfits, ExceL and Vitality all have players still on contract all the way through next season.
After Misfits updated their Academy roster up to the LEC last summer they are still evaluating their options for 2020 while also releasing some of the players singed earlier. Maxlore, SoaZ and Gorilla all left after being bumped down from the starting lineup and we know Hans Sama left recently. This means only Febiven remains from the original 2019 Spring “Super Team”. No new additions to the roster have been announced as of yet.
Vitality has only lost Jizuke this off-season. After having a horrible Summer Split the Italian stallion is now seeking a new organization to continue his career. The team still has their Academy jungler Lucas “Saken” Fayard to bump up to the main roster. Rumors are that Vitality is also completing a deal with Vodafone Giants midlaner Aljoša “Milica” Kovandžić, but the deal is yet to be confirmed by the team.
ExceL have retained most of their players from the previous season, but have swapped their coach leading into 2020. The team has not announced any roster additions as of yet, but rumors are that Tore “Norskeren” Eilertsen will be signing with the team. He would also change his name to Tore for the upcoming season.
The Splyce Story
Lastly, we arrive at Splyce and the story surrounding the players and squad for next season. Back in November 2018, OverActive Media Group fully acquired Splyce and added the team in their expanding portfolio featuring teams like Toronto Defiant and Toronto Ultra. Back in May 2019, MAD Lions Esports Club was also acquired by said company hinting at at the marriage between the European teams.
In September of this year it was announced that Splyce’s offices in Rochester would be closed and the employees sacked. Marty Strenczewilk co-founder of Splyce is the only remaining employee that is still working for the company. With OverActive owning both the Mad Lions and Splyce they have opted out to fully eliminate the Splyce brand from the European scene and continue the LEC story as Mad Lions coming into next season.
The Worlds 2019 quarter-finalist roster of Splyce has largely been released. Kobbe has signed with TSM, Xerxe to Origen and Norskeren probably to Excel. Vizicsacsi announced this retirement in the off-season and the only remaining player on the roster is Humanoid. The 2020 Mad Lions roster will likely feature a team build around Humanoid and Academy toplaner Andrei “Orome” Popa. Three new players are rumored to complete the roster. Former mousesports players Shadow & Gistick are rumored as new additions to the roster with Berlin International Gaming AD carry Matyáš “Carzzy” Orság rounding out the roster.
There is still much that could change before teams have to put down their final LEC rosters. Keep checking our LoL news section for more updates after the Free Agency period is complete. Next time we will take a look at the LCS Free Agency and everything that goes on in the North American scene.