Let’s compile and breakdown some of the biggest roster moves that are rumored in the LEC currently. In case you missed the previous free agency article, here is the LCS free agency report. All of these rumors are compilations from ESPN’s Inside Jacob Wolf and LEC Insider known only on Twitter as Wooloo.
Are They MAD?
The earliest offseason report we have this year is from the MAD Lions. After fizzling out in the Play-In Stage of Worlds reports came out that MAD were looking to replace Top Laner, Andrei “Orome” Popa, and Jungler, Zhiqiang “Shad0w” Zhao. The replacements are allegedly İrfan “Armut” Berk Tükek and Javier “Elyoya” Prades. This is surprising as the team reached top four in both LEC Splits this year. In addition to great finishes, Shad0w finished First Team All Pro this past Summer. With these two replacements coming in, MAD can now shop Shad0w and Orome. Throughout the league there are three teams who have expiring Jungler and Top Laner contracts: Astralis, Misfits, and Excel.
On the flipside, MAD gains a peaking Top Laner as well as a young Jungler looking to prove himself. Coming into the offseason, Armut is one of the highest valued free agents after an incredible Worlds performance. However with Elyoya, the team is once again taking a gamble on a young player who looks mechanically gifted. While it historically works for the team, it will be interesting to see how Elyoya develops given the departure of MAD’s Developmental Coach, Peter Dunn. Overall this is a risky move for MAD with a lot of potential backdraft.
The Dearly Departed
As it happens every offseason, a few LEC pro’s look to be making the jump across the pond to the LCS. The current rumor is that former Origen (now known as Astralis) Jungler and Top Laner, Andrei “Xerxe” Dragomir and Barney “Alphari” Morris, are moving to the LCS. However, the two are rumored to be taking very different routes. Xerxe is to be heading to the tenth place LCS team, Immortals. A team that will surely be built around him as the star but, at what cost? The Immortals are in a complete roster build against an already top heavy LCS. It is peculiar that Xerxe is choosing to leave the LEC after being touted as one of the best Junglers in the league not long ago.
On the other hand, Alphari is set to join LCS super power, Team Liquid. Widely considered one of the best Top’s in the LEC, this is an excellent move for Alphari. Joining a Team Liquid roster with an excellent support structure and incredible teammates; this is the absolute best choice for Alphari in terms of money and legacy.
The Return of the Hulk?
With an expiring contract on Team Liquid, former Fnatic Jungler, Mads “Broxah” Brock-Pedersen, could be making a return to Europe. With the previous rumor about Alphari, Team Liquid would then be import capped, meaning no room for Broxah. While it is possible for Broxah to stay in North America, it seems unlikely. As a player who has always been committed to the one goal of winning Worlds, there are few options for that in North America. The reality of the LCS is this; if you are not FlyQuest, Team Liquid, Cloud9, or TSM you have minimal chances of getting to Worlds, let alone winning. Now, where does that leave Broxah? Cloud9 and TSM both have resident Junglers who they are committed to and FlyQuest, even if they lose Santorin, cannot take on another import.
With all of this information, there is truthfully only one LCS option for Broxah, 100 Thieves but that seems outlandish. Broxah should be leaning towards the LEC if he truly desires to compete. In this case Misfits, Astralis, and Excel are all looking for Junglers but even some middle-of-the-pack teams like Schalke or Rogue could be looking to improve their Jungle position. Another case for Broxah’s return is his candid interviews with Travis Gafford about the difficulties his personal life faces being so far away from his loved ones.
The Great Breakup?
Now there is one move that the LEC will make this year that will shake fans to the core. For the first time in his LEC career ADC and former Mid Laner, Luka “Perkz” Perković, will not be playing for G2 Esports. This report first came shortly after G2’s departure from Worlds. The initial report simply stated that Perkz would not play ADC in 2021 as he was seemingly fed up with the role.
The departure of Perkz from G2 will signify the end of an era as Perkz has been the face of the organization since 2015. Now, there are not many possible homes for Perkz as he will surely have a standard on where he wants to play. The current rumors for Perkz include Fnatic, TSM, Cloud9 and Evil Geniuses. Since Perkz has been very vocal about his desire to compete and win Worlds a departure to NA seems incredibly unlikely. Fnatic looks to be the spot for Perkz to land which sees him committing the ultimate plot twist of joining his old rival. The return to the Mid Lane for Perkz will seem rusty at first but, in the long run this team has unlimited potential.
On the flipside of this breakup, who plays Bot for G2? The prevailing rumor here is former Origen Bot Laner, Elias “Upset” Lipp. Upset has been allowed to search for new teams after the team failed to qualify for Worlds 2020. A incredibly gifted player, Upset would bring true carry potential to G2 that they never really had in the Bottom Lane with Perkz.
The New Kids on the Block
Following their Summer EU Masters win, AGO Rogue will be sending four of their five players to the LEC. Their positions and teams go as followed:
Top Laner- Mathias “Szygenda” Jensen to Vitality
Jungler- Nikolay “Zanzarah” Akatov to Astralis
Mid Laner- Paweł “Czekolad” Szczepanik to Excel
Support- Adrian “Trymbi” Trybus to Rogue
This is nearly the perfect result and the golden example for the success of EU regional leagues. Four of the five players from the reigning EU Masters are signed to LEC teams in starting roles next split. It is going to be wonderful to watch these rookies get their shot and as an LCS fan, I’m jealous. However with Zanzarah going to Astralis this does eliminate the possibilty of Broxah or Shad0w to Astralis.
While these are not all the moves currently rumored, these are the biggest stories. Free agency begins on November 16th at 7PM EST and we will be updating you all on the roster moves as they happen.