LoL Free Agency – Understanding Roster Shuffles and Transfer Periods
Ever wonder what Free Agency means in League of Legends? What are Transfer Periods and Free Agents, and when do Roster Shuffles happen? – We go over all these terms, what they mean and explain how players end up in different teams every season.
What is free agency?
Free agency refers to the period where a player has no commitments and is not currently signed to a team. Typically, players become free agents when their contract with their previous organization expire. However, free agency may also result from contractual breachs or mutual agreements to part ways. Either way, free agents are highly sought after, as unaffiliated individual players have less bargaining power than organisations behind them.
The most promising free agents constantly change from split to split depending on when individual contracts expire. Given the competitive League of Legends player database is open access, it is easy to monitor when player contracts are set to expire and hence determine an upcoming list of free agents.
Free agency dates
There are no specific “free agency” dates to say, however, there are roster lock periods where teams and organisations are unable to make any changes to their roster. While teams and organisations can still sign players, they would be unable to be part of their official roster and hence official matches. Due to this, the most popular and well-known competitive players who happen to be free agents will try to get signed prior to these roster lock dates.
These roster lock periods are different for every region depending on the level competition (Eg. LCS, LCK, LPL, LEC, ERLs). A player is seriously disadvantaged if unable to sign a contract by the roster lock period, as they will not only gain no competitive experience but miss out on a split’s worth of salary as teams avoid signing them.
When is roster lock?
Roster lock dates for 2023 have yet to be released, however, judging by previous dates, we can expect the first one to be on at the start of January. In 20210, the LCS Spring Week 1 roster lock had been on the 8th of January. However, the roster lock for the remaining of the LCS Spring split had been two months later on the 3rd of Match. These two separate roster lock dates allows the LCS to be notified early in the year, while the second roster lock allow teams to trial and make last minute changes early in the split.
Why are there free agents?
Some of your favourite players may turn into free agents when contracts are set to expire to get a better deal from their current team. Free agency a necessary period for all young and prospective players who have yet to build a name for themselves.
To be a free agent, you must firstly need to meet the requirements to play competitive League of Legends. Being a resident of the region you seek to play is almost always a must, not only for residency and work requirements, but for a team’s consideration towards import slots. Players usually need be rank of Diamond 1 or above, 17+ years old and not affiliated with any other team.
Most players are considered Free Agents if their contract is due to expire “soon” (within a month) and are allowed to seek offers from other teams, if their host organization has agreed for them to do so. You will sometimes notice players saying that they are contracted to an organization until a certain date, but have been allowed to explore their options.
What is a Roster Shuffle?
Roster Shuffle is a period where extensive roster changes happen across a given league. After LoL Worlds concludes, all teams seek to gain a competitive advantage coming into the next season. Usually, only the best teams in the world keep their rosters intact, while everyone else changes between 2-4 players on average. More then 60% of League’s players change teams and places within a Roster Shuffle period.
Some notable shuffles happening in the past few years are linked below:
We expect another minor roster shuffle to happen at the tail end of MSI 2022. Check back with our LoL News to find out once it happens.