Huge LEC Roster Changes Announced for 2020
The last couple of days were, for a lack of a better term “insane,” but in the best possible sense. The off-season has officially begun, which means almost every single team announced many changes to their starting line-ups for the 2020 Spring Split. There’s a lot of ground to cover, so let’s take a closer look at the newly-announced LEC roster changes ahead of 2020 and how they could impact these teams and individuals going forward!
2020 LEC Roster Changes
[LEC][Origen] Alfonso “mithy” Aguirre Rodriguez > [Fnatic Head Coach]
A pretty big signing for the former “kings of Europe.” Read more about Fnatic’s newest head coach by clicking here.
[LEC][Fnatic] Mads “Broxah” Brock-Pedersen > [Team Liquid]
Fnatic’s seasoned jungler will transfer over across the pond and compete for the best and most successful North American organization in history. Read more about the transfer by clicking here.
[LEC][Misfits] Steven “Hans Sama” Liv > [Rogue]
Hans is pretty much synonymous with Misfits at this point and has had many triumphs and defeats while wearing their jersey. But after a crushing 2019, it was only natural for him to try his luck at a different organization. Fortunately, he seems to have found a very solid one — Rogue!
He’ll join Oskar “Vander” Bogdan in the bottom lane which, on paper, certainly looks like a top-tier duo. Whether or not it’ll pan out as well as we expect still remains to be seen, but the potential is certainly there.
Hans Sama needs a stellar showing in order to get back to his prior (premier) ADC status.
[LEC][Schalke 04] Elias “Upset” Lipp > [Origen]
The staple Schalke AD carry has now officially signed with Origen and will play for a different organization for the first time in his LEC career. Will he finally be able to find regional success now that he is no longer tied to Schalke? Will he live up to his multi-year-long hype? We’ll have to tune in to find out, but many fans across Europe are expecting Upset to finally shine.
[LEC][SK Gaming] Oskar “Selfmade” Boderek > [Fnatic]
Selfmade quickly made a name for himself once the 2019 Spring Split began. His aggressive, top-oriented (almost to a fault) style of play garnered a ton of attention from the moment he stepped foot on stage, and with good reason. He was awarded the Rookie of the Split award and was also selected as the 2nd All-Pro LEC team jungler in his very first split.
Talk about leaving a good first impression.
Selfmade found success when people were convinced there was none to be found. His ganks and creative pathing blew the minds of many, and he was rightfully touted as the “next breed of European junglers.” While SK Gaming ultimately failed to leave much of a mark in the grand scheme of things, Selfmade was, without a doubt, their biggest and most potent catalyst.
And now, he’ll move over to play under the Fnatic banner, one of the biggest and most prestigious organizations in all of competitive League. His trajectory is one defined by success, and it seems that he’s only getting started. Now that he has some of the best and most talented teammates around, many believe that Selfmade will not only further develop but will also “unlock” his allies and vice versa. There’s a lot on the line for Fnatic and Selfmade certainly has some big shoes to fill. But despite this, the outlook is very positive.
Today, we say goodbye to @selfmade_lol!— SK Gaming (@SKGaming) November 19, 2019
Thank you for bringing the fire and passion into the jungle during our first year in the #LEC. We wish you all the best for next year and beyond! pic.twitter.com/h5ZMEW4ks2
This will also be a reunion of sorts as both Tim “Nemesis” Lipovšek and Selfmade played together on MAD Lions before Nemesis got picked up in early 2019. The fact that they already have pre-built jungle-mid synergy is absolutely huge and should give Fnatic a noticeable upper hand once 2020 comes along.
Will all of that be enough to dethrone G2 Esports? Only time will tell, but they definitely look like a worthy contender, that’s for sure.
[LEC][Free Agency] Konstantinos-Napoleon “FORG1VEN” Tzortziou > [Schalke 04]
One of the best and most divisive AD carries in the history of the region is making a comeback. It took him a while, too. We’ll finally be able to see whether he still has what it takes to compete at the highest of levels or if he’s past his prime. There’s a lot on the line, but if there was ever a player who was willing to take a step forward and clutch things out (for better or worse), it has to be FORG1VEN.
[LEC][Misfits Gaming] Vodafone Giants’ Iván “Razork” Martín (jungle) and Petr “denyk” Haramach (support) will be starting for Misfits Gaming come 2020
After a bafflingly abysmal 2019 season, Misfits Gaming has decided to take a different approach this time around. They will no longer invest into a superteam and hope for the best but will, instead, sign young, up-and-coming Academy players and give them a chance to grow and develop while testing their might against the best Europe has to offer.
Both Razork and denyk are proven quantities and have already shown their skills during their time with Vodafone Giants. They were a part of a stellar five-man line-up that eventually won the LVP SuperLiga Orange Summer Split, before finishing second in the finals of the 2019 European Masters against Berlin International Gaming. Playing in the Spanish league is one thing but playing in the LEC is a completely different matter. They’ve earned their shot and will surely start the season off swinging.
Misfits’ success, however, hinges around many more factors. Having a good jungler and support won’t yield better results than in 2019, but at least they’re making huge changes in an attempt to reach their former heights.
[LEC][Splyce] Andrei “Xerxe” Dragomir > [Origen]
Xerxe is, without a doubt, one of the best and most creative junglers in the world. He’s renowned for his creativity and staggering champion pool and was the first professional player who pulled out many insane picks throughout his career. His skill and potential were evident from the moment he signed for the Unicorns of Love back in 2017. And while he had his ups and downs, his impact on the Rift never wavered.
2019 has, in many ways, been his most successful year as a professional player. Not only did he qualify for the World Championship for the first time in his career, but he went on to compete on an even footing with the best teams in the world, SK Telecom T1 included. As a result, his stock has skyrocketed and he was definitely one of the most sought-after players this off-season.
With Splyce re-branding and undergoing immense change, it was only natural for Xerxe to look for a new home. As a result, he will now start for Origen come 2020 Spring.
[OCE][MAMMOTH] Mitchell “Destiny” Shaw > [Origen]
This is, quite frankly, an unexpected signing from Origen. Oceania players aren’t exactly sought-after, especially not in major region. That said, Destiny is definitely a top-tier support and was a part of one of the best OCE teams in 2019. He is a staple OCE player and has many years of play behind his belt.
If anything, we should have full faith in Origen and their scouting ability, so they’re definitely getting our full benefit of the doubt on this one.
[LEC][Schalke 04] Kim “Trick” Gang-yun > [SK Gaming]
Former two-time MVP of the Split jungler Trick has decided to stay in Europe and will compete for SK Gaming. This doesn’t come as too big of a surprise seeing how he still has the right tools to compete at the highest of levels. He was one of the main reasons why Schalke started dominating back in Summer; he was the missing piece of the puzzle. Trick’s style of play was just what Schalke needed. He’s aggressive, flexible, and impactful on a wide variety of champions.
His play did deteriorate as the split went on, but we simply cannot know whether that’s because of him as an individual or because of a team-wide problem. Be that as it may, Trick definitely deserves another chance and is bound to find success under the SK Gaming banner. While Selfmade certainly was their most important player, he was by no means the only one within their ranks who had the ability to hardcarry his team to victory.
The loss of Selfmade shouldn’t slow down this fascinating line-up, so expect them to start the split in an aggressive manner.
[LEC][Origen] Patrik “Patrik” Jírů > [Excel Esports]
Origen’s AD carry will don Excel Esports’ jersey come 2020. Excel is making all the right moves this pre-season in order to leave a mark in the LEC, and signing a young (but highly dangerous and capable) AD carry is definitely the right way to go. Patrik, in particular, had a fantastic season overall and has proven his worth on many occasions. Whether he’ll find more success with Excel than he did with Origen still remains to be seen, but the potential is there.
[LEC][Splyce] Tore “Norskeren” Hoel Eilertsen > [Excel Esports]
Excel Esports is supposedly finalizing a deal with Splyce to buy out Norskeren’s contract and make him their starting support for the 2020 season. This isn’t a big surprise overall as Norskeren definitely stands out as one of the better native support players. That said, his 2019 season wasn’t as solid as the one he had with Team ROCCAT a year prior.
His play was riddled with mechanical misplays, bad positioning and strange champion picks. Despite this, he still brings a fair bit to the table and is definitely a solid pick up, especially if he manages to clean up his play. Many fans and analysts blamed his champion pool as well, but even though he isn’t synonymous with flexibility, he’s still a stellar player that can be fairly impactful in today’s meta.
With Youngbuck as their head coach, it seems like Excel intends to make their upcoming season worthy of mentioning. They are no longer content with finishing at the bottom of the standings and are bound to announce a fairly solid roster in a matter of weeks if not days.
[LEC][Splyce] Tamás “Vizicsacsi” Kiss > [Retirement]
One of the oldest and most respected LEC top laners Vizicsacsi has decided to retire after a long and fairly successful career. Now, to the LEC regulars, Csacsi is as legendary a player as they come. He never lifted a trophy on home soil, but he fought his heart out split after split and attained spectacular results over a very long career (in esports terms). He’s universally beloved for his work ethic, personality and professionalism.
Announcement— Kiss Tamás (@Vizicsacsi) November 15, 2019
Seeing such a famous member of the old guard retire never invokes a good feeling, especially considering just how many highlight reel moments Vizicsacsi gave us over the years. His tenure over at the Unicorns of Love — one of the more fascinating teams to ever step foot on stage — were certainly the zenith entertainment-wise. His career then shifted in a slightly different direction after he signed for Schalke 04 and, finally, Splyce.
2019 was the moment he was finally able to fulfill his long-term dream as he qualified for the World Championship. Csacsi and his team went on to surprise quite a lot of people as they not only fought harder than most expected but actually reached the quarterfinals and gave SK Telecom T1 a run for their money.
All things considered, Vizicsacsi decided to retire while he was still on top. His play wasn’t as consistent as in year’s past, but he was still the clutch player we all knew and loved.
We wish him the best of luck in all of his further endeavors.
LEC Roster Changes 2020: Free Agents
[LEC][Team Vitality] Daniele “Jiizuke” di Mauro
What can one say about Jiizuke after his two-year stint in the LEC? His play has been defined by both spectacle as well as failure in equal measure. His 2018 was a resounding success overall, and it saw Team Vitality challenge both Cloud9 and Royal Never Give Up in one of the hardest groups at the tournament.
2019, however, wasn’t so kind. In fact, it was the exact opposite. Vitality — Jiizuke included — struggled with even the most basic things and concepts on the Rift, and they struggled mightily in both Spring and Summer. Despite this, we’ve seen Jiizuke’s immense heights and we were not left indifferent. A bad season doesn’t mean he’s past his prime or, perhaps, washed up. Jiizuke is one of the best and most talented (albeit inherently inconsistent) mid laners that Europe has to offer, and if he signs with a solid top-tier team he’s bound to once again dominate come 2020.