2020 LCS Off-Season Roster Changes
The 2020 LCS off-season has just begun which means we have a bevy of exciting roster changes to go over! Everything written below has either been revealed by trusted sources (former ESPN reporter Jacob Wolf, Travis Gafford, Esportmaniacos, etc.) or flat-out officially confirmed. Either way, these are no longer rumors but signings simply waiting to happen. And, if the way things have developed thus far is any indication, we should be in for one heck of a ride come 2021!
2020 LCS Roster Changes
100 Thieves — The slickest team in the LCS will enter 2021 guns blazing. Can “Closer” Çelik and Victor “FBI” Huang have now been officially confirmed, along with Kim “Ssumday” Chan-ho who signed a contract extension a couple of months back. The more interesting part, however, is that they’re supposedly finalizing a deal with Tanner “Damonte” Damonte and FBI’s most recent lane partner Choi “huhi” Jae-hyun. This, simply put, is an insanely talented line-up and an instant playoff contender. Heck, maybe that’s even an understatement. There’s no weak link, and if they synergize well and get on the same page in time, they’re bound to leave a mark in one way or another.
FlyQuest — Eric “Licorice” Ritchie, Brandon Joel “Josedeodo” Villegas (former Rainbow7 jungler), Christian “Palafox” Palafox, and David “Diamond” Bérubé will all be competing under the FlyQuest banner come 2021. The three former C9 players were sold to FLY as a package deal and it’s fair to say that this eco-friendly organization ended up with a much stronger core than most of us expected. Licorice is still one of the best top laners in the West, Palafox is definitely worthy of a starting spot, and Diamond has been dominating in Academy for far too long; it was about time these up-and-comers got a shot at playing in the LCS, and it’s nice to see them next to a more seasoned veteran like Licorice. Finally, Josedeodo is one of the more exciting pick-ups after his mind-blowing performance at the 2020 World Championship Group Stage. Whether he’ll be up to snuff still remains to be seen, but the potential is certainly there.
Lastly, FlyQuest have finalized a deal with Dignitas to buy out Johnson “Johnsun” Nguyen — a standout performer and an insanely promising young marksman. The fact that FLY managed to snatch him amidst all the off-season chaos can only be described as a home run. Johnsun was quite a hot commodity, as is only natural after such a stellar season. He has a very high skill ceiling and watching him compete in 2021 will be an absolute must. With him aboard, FlyQuest has all the right tools to reach Top 5 and remain relevant. Obviously, there are no guarantees when it comes to competitive League, but the outlook is bright for the boys in white and green.
Despite all the changes, kudos to FlyQuest for assembling such a stellar roster despite losing their biggest and most valuable players after an insanely successful 2020 LCS campaign.
Immortals — Mohamed “Revenge” Kaddoura (former FlyQuest Academy top laner), Andrei “Xerxe” Dragomir, David “Insanity” Challe, Quin “Raes” Korebrits, and Mitchell “Destiny” Shaw will all compete under the Immortals banner come 2021. This isn’t exactly a top-tier roster, but it’s not an egregious one either. Certain parts of it are relatively impressive (jungle, mid, ADC), but signing Revenge and Destiny isn’t exactly what fans expected.
There are numerous top laners in Academy who’ve looked a lot better than Revenge throughout 2020, and Destiny’s abysmal champion pool and shoddy engages left a lot to be desired (to say the least). He was by far the weakest link on Origen and was rightfully replaced (although with an equally unimpressive player). As things stand, Immortals are basically a shoo-in for the last two spots in the standings — there’s just no other way to put it. They might perform a bit better than most expect, but it simply won’t be enough.
Evil Geniuses — The second-best team from Spring has signed Jeong “Impact” Eon-yeong as their top laner and Lawrence “Lost” Sze Yuy Hui as their marksman. As for the rest of the team, Dennis “Svenskeren” Johnsen and Daniele “Jiizuke” di Mauro will both reprise their roles, with Lee “IgNar” Dong-geun transferring over from FlyQuest. This is definitely a strange mix of players. That’s not to say that it’s bad, but rather that there’s a number of ways in which things could go awry. This line-up is packed with energy and aggression which is what you want from a team, but only in small (and controlled) doses. Having too much of it all too often leads to a one-dimensional playstyle and untamed volatility — something we’ve already seen from Evil Geniuses in the past. IgNar, Svenskeren, and Jiizuke all want to dive right into action head-first, but that isn’t always the best course of action — even though the meta favors such an unhinged and bravado-fuelled style of play.
In any case, Evil Geniuses upgraded in two key positions, so they should definitely be able to compete for a spot at the top come 2021.
Golden Guardians — It’s not easy being a GGS fan. Not in the slightest. 100 Thieves basically yanked the best parts of their 2020 roster, as we covered in their changes section, which means GGS will have to start over from scratch for their 2021 LCS campaign. At the time of this writing, they’ve only decided on two players: Aiden “Niles” Tidwell and Nicholas Antonio “Ablazeolive” Abbott.
Not exactly mind-blowing, but it’s a start. Hopefully they’ll find a couple of veterans to round out the roster as well, although the outlook isn’t all that bright with so many orgs signing the best (and most expensive) players available.
Team Dignitas — Former TSM and GGS top laner Kevin “Hauntzer” Yarnell will don a Dignitas jersey for the first time in his storied career. This is definitely an improvement over Samson “Lourlo” Jackson (and Heo “Huni” Seung-hoon, for that matter), although the rest of the team is still somewhat in flux. It’s unclear which player will end up as their marksman — Zachary “Sneaky” Scudery, or someone else entirely.
Finally, Dignitas will have to find a mid laner as well which might prove slightly problematic. While this line-up has some potential on paper, they’ll need to round things out as well as possible if they intend on competing with the best teams in the LCS next year.
Counter Logic Gaming — Finn “Finn” Wiestål, Mads “Broxah” Brock-Pedersen, Eugene “Pobelter” Park, and Andy “Smoothie” Ta are all pretty much confirmed at this point. The only thing CLG needs now is a well-performing marksman. According to Travis Gafford, they’re trying to get Jason “WildTurtle” Tran but it’s not exactly a done deal just yet.
Team SoloMid — This is where things get interesting and confusing. This perennial North American organization is supposedly finalizing a deal with Heo “Huni” Seung-hoon and Hu “SwordArt” Shuo-Chieh (of Suning and Flash Wolves fame). Both signings are of the mind-blowing variety, although for entirely different reasons. The fact that TSM will probably end up with one of the best supports in the world is definitely a cause for celebration. On the other hand, bringing Huni over immediately lowers expectations (and kills much of the hype). This is standard TSM, basically. They make one move that blows everyone’s mind and then regress in the most baffling of ways. Sure, it’s exciting to watch, but it’s also infuriating, especially to their fans.
Still, they’re surely aware of the risk that comes with signing Huni and are probably preparing a “plan B” as well. In any case, they might not end up being quite as dangerous as most of us expected, but you can never be too sure when it comes to the boys in black and white. There’s ample potential, but that means very little if it isn’t harnessed in the right way.
That’s it for now! The 2020 LCS off-season has only just begun, so expect further roster changes to be announced in the days and weeks ahead!