League of Legends free agency day one recap: A wild, wild West

by Zoran
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League of Legends free agency

League of Legends free agency officially started yesterday at 6:30 P.M./00:30 CET. Many fans were waiting to find out the futures of their favorite players and teams. Even though free agency just started, general managers have been very busy for weeks, as a lot of deals have been verbally agreed upon already. However, only a few deals have been confirmed before free agency with many more to come.

As soon as free agency started, all eyes were on League of Legends “super-reporter” Jacob Wolf. Similar to their NBA colleagues, ESPN’s esports crew had a live free agency show with “Wolf bombs” dropping live.
The news continued throughout the day, and here is a recap of deals made thus far.

LEC

  • Rogue kicked the night off by re-signing Vander for another two years.  
    Also, Rogue acquired Hans Sama from Misfits. 

    After a great summer split for Rogue, they strengthened their roster with a proven ADC with Worlds experience. He will have a good influence on this young and inexperienced roster. With Vander’s leadership in the mix, Rogue is looking to impress once again in 2020.
  • Excel added Norskaren from Splyce and Patrik from Origen.

    They made their first big move by appointing YoungBuck as their head coach even before free agency started. By adding their new bot lane duo, Excel seriously upgraded, and it will be interesting to see how they will round up their roster. Even though some fans are unhappy with the departure of young support Mystiques, Patrik and Norskaren make a very promising duo. Judging by signings so far, Excel is done with being on the bottom of the table and are looking to secure a playoff berth.
  • Misfits signed jungler Razork and support denyk from Spanish champions Vodafone Giants.

    Last year, Misfits formed a “superteam” with high-profile players across the board. Unfortunately, things didn’t go as planned, and Misfits benched their entire starting roster in the summer split. In 2020, however, Misfits decided to make a “budget roster” and give a chance to unproven but very talented young players. It is still unclear how Misfits will round up their roster, but LIDER and Dan Dan are likely to start with the ADC position still unknown.
  • Fnatic acquired Selfmade from SK Gaming.
    Mithy retires as a professional player and joins the team as a coach.
Selfmade joins Fnatic from SK Gaming
photo via: Riot Games
  • We’ve heard a lot of rumblings about Fnatic having internal problems throughout the year. Most rumors were pointing towards Rekkles and Broxah having disagreements. Though Broxah stated on Twitter that everything is fine between them, Fnatic parted ways with him, signing Selfmade. Ex-SK Gaming’s jungler showed some great skills in his first year in the LEC. Also, he had great synergy with Nemesis in their Mad Lions days when they won European Masters together. 
    Mithy has been considered one of the smartest players in the world ever since he started his career. However, his playing form has noticeably declined in recent years, and he decided to retire as a player. His first coaching job will not be easy at all, as he has to manage many prideful personalities on the team. Fnatic needed a change, but they still look strong and will likely be a title contender in 2020.
  • Origen signed ADC Upset whose contract with Schalke 04 expired.
    Also, they added Xerxe, who was previously a Splyce player as well as a support, Destiny, from the Oceanian team Mammoth.
  • Origen is clearly not playing around, as they added the two biggest European free agents. After reaching LEC final in the spring, they massively underperformed in the summer and eventually missed Worlds. However, adding Xerxe and Upset puts them right back on the top of the LEC food chain. It looks like they will rejoin Fnatic as two teams capable of challenging G2 esports. 
    Origen’s new support, Destiny, is mostly unknown to the European audience, but he proved himself in the OPL as one of the best players. It seems that Origen liked what they saw and gave him a chance to prove himself in the LEC.
    All things considered, Origen looks very scary on paper, and it will be exciting to see their performances in 2020.
  • The final news reported today about LEC is regarding Schalke 04.
    They extended the contract of their toplaner Odoamne and signed FORG1VEN as a starting ADC.
FORG1VEN joins Shchalke 04
photo via: Riot Games
  • A historic player with some of the best mechanical skills ever seen in League of Legends is finally coming back to LEC after three years. Back in the day, FORG1VEN was considered one of the best ADCs in the world, but he also used to have attitude issues. However, FORG1VEN claims that he is reformed and ready to dominate again, and Schalke 04 decided to take a chance on him. 
    Aside from Abbedagge, the rest of the roster is still unknown, but FORG1VEN signing for them alone makes them a very exciting team.

Vitality and SK Gaming are two teams with no major additions yet, and G2 esports is expected to bring back their championship squad as expected.
Splyce rebranded to Mad Lions with Hummanoid being the only player left on their roster.

LCS

  • TSM acquired Kobbe from Splyce.
    Also, they traded Smoothie to CLG for Biofrost

    Both news were expected, as they were heavily rumored in the past weeks. Although European ADCs don’t have the best track record in NA, Kobbe was the best option available to TSM. He has been consistently performing well for years and will hopefully do better than his countryman Zven. With Biofrost coming back to TSM’s bot lane, jungle seems to be the only role missing, since Grig, Akaadian and Spica aren’t expected to start in 2020. With only a few domestic junglers available, the fans are very curious about what Reginald’s next move will be. They could also import a jungler and replace Broken Blade with a domestic toplaner. All in all, TSM is looking to get back strong after two years without Worlds.
  • Team Liquid acquired Broxah from Fnatic.

    This was probably the biggest rumor coming into free agency, and it was still unclear what TL would do. Many different whispers were flowing around such as Xmithe resigning or a Korean import, but in the end, Broxah was their choice. 
    It won’t be easy to fill Xmithe’s shoes in the team, but if Broxah manages to get back to his 2018 form, he should be an overall upgrade.
    One way or another, TL is still a heavy favorite to take their 5th consecutive split, and any other outcome would be a huge surprise.
  • Golden Guardians acquired Goldenglue from C9 via trade for Palafox.

    GGS GG is happening! He is expected to start in the midlane, which means that Froggen will be leaving. With the domestic midlane pool being limited, Goldenglue gives GGS more flexibility in the future. Still, it is still unclear if they will make any more moves.
  • Immortals signed Xmithe as his contract with TL expired.
Xmithe joins Immortals
Photo via: Riot Games
  • Immortals were expected to make a budget roster for the 2020 season as they already paid over 30 million dollars to secure the LCS spot. However, adding Xmithe hints that they might spend more and try to be a contender after all. With Crown and Arrow likely out the door and Dhokla being rumored to start, the lineup is far from done, and we will see in the coming days which path Immortals will take.
  • FlyQuest added former Schalke 04 support IgNar.

    With this move, FlyQuest rounds up their roster with an aggressive support that should, in theory, be a great fit with their franchise player Wildturtle in the bot lane. FlyQuest is looking confident with their squad, and it wouldn’t be surprising if they have a successful spring split. 
  • Evil Geniuses acquired Svenskeren, Zeyzal, Kumo and Deftly from Cloud 9.

    Just like Immortals, EG spent over 30 million dollars to acquire their LCS spot. However, unlike IMT, they seem to want to make a big splash in the league right away. Also, they didn’t inherit any contracts from Echo Fox, so they need to add all players they want to use in 2020. EG wants a strong roster coming into their first season, and reigning MVP Svenskaren and Zeyzal are definitely great pieces to build around.
  • Cloud 9 acquired Zven from TSM and Vulcan from Dignitas.

    Sneaky was the final remaining original C9 member from back in the day. His departure ends a huge chapter in both C9 and LCS history. With Svenskeren and Zeyzal out, Blaber will get a full time starting role. Nisqy is probably staying, and Licorice was “untouchable” anyway. 
    Throughout the years, C9 always seemed to find a way to be relevant, no matter the roster. There are a lot of question marks around C9 yet again, but if history repeats itself, we shouldn’t worry too much about former LCS champions.
Sneaky departs from Cloud 9
photo via: Riot Games

As far as the remaining three teams considered, CLG has traded Smoothie for Biofrost to TSM.
100 Thieves and their new GM PapaSmithy are looking to cut 100T’s spendings as well as turning towards young talent. It is unclear who will make the starting roster, and it’s possible that Bang, Ssumday and aphromoo will all leave, with Amazing already out the door.
Finally, Dignitas has released Damonte, Lira plus Vulcan has been traded to C9. Also, DIG gave a massive $2.3 million two-year deal to Huni, who will reportedly swap to mid lane.

The first day of League of Legends free agency has been wild, and it won’t stop here. Still, there are many more open spots on team rosters, and expect more exciting news in the upcoming days.

Which teams are offseason winners and losers so far?

Feel free to share your opinion in the comments below.

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