Best available free agents from North America

With the offseason fully underway, many of the newer LCS teams will be looking to fill their rosters. While many will look towards imports to fill some slots, homegrown free agents will be very important in being contenders. With certain teams not making the cut for LCS franchising, there will definitely be some big names to choose from.

In this piece we’ll be taking a look at the best North American free agents available.

Nickolas “Hakuho” Surgent (Support)

Photo by: Riot Esports

Hakuho is the former support of team EnVyus. EnVyus had their moments as a team but were never quite able to reach top-tier status. Hakuho was quietly one of the more underrated supports in the league. It’s his time to finally be surrounded by good teammates to show what he’s really capable of.

When he was paired with veteran ADC, Apollo “Apollo” Price, many analysts noted the improvement to Apollo’s play. Hakuho was substantial to his improvement as they were one of the better bot lane duos in the NALCS. On a team with a lower win rate Hakuho was able to maintain the 3rd highest KDA among supports which is rather impressive.

With Team EnVyus missing out on the NALCS, Hakuho will be a valuable support on the market. If surrounded by better talent, Hakuho can surely make a name for himself.

Jake “Xmithie” Puchero (jungler)

Xmithie was a standout player for Immortals in helping them qualify for their first ever World Championship. With Immortals rumored to be out of the NALCS, Xmithie brings loads of experience with three World Championship appearances.

Many people thought his career was on a decline after a struggling split with CLG. On Immortals he showed just how effective he could be if surrounded by the right teammates with smart pathing and aggression, helping turn Immortals from a seventh-place team to an LCS finals one.

Xmithie will be seen as a strong veteran presence on the market after a great Spring Split.

Adrian “Adrian” Ma and Johnny “Altec” Ru (Support and ADC)

Adrian and Altec both sat out for most of the Summer Split before becoming starters on Team Dignitas at the halfway point in the split. For a time it looked like the move was successful as Dignitas began to go on a tear through the NALCS.

Altec and Adrian looked to be one of the better bot lane duos shortly after coming into Dignitas. In a hyper carry ADC meta, Altec was 2nd in the league in DMG% for summer with 27.5%.

Adrian has long been known for his great play on healing/shielding supports such as Janna and Soraka. His attitude has been noted to be an issue from his previous teams such as Phoenix1 and Team Impulse.

It will be interesting to see if this duo attempts to stay together. They have the benefit of having a built-up synergy already and there’s no language barrier between them compared to importing.

Alex “Xpecial” Chu and William “Meteos” Hartman

Photo by: Riot Esports

Xpecial and Meteos are some big-time veterans that may or may not be returning. The money could be too good for them to pass up though and one could see them both getting some decent offers to stay in the scene.

Xpecial is more likely, as Meteos has a decent following for streaming on Twitch. Meteos has also noted his loyalty to Cloud9. It’s no doubt that both these players still have the talent to play at a competitive level. It didn’t take long for Meteos to get back in the groove of professional play that helped Phoenix1 to a third-place finish.

Xpecial will always be a long time favorite among the scenes as a smart aggressive support. Although he hasn’t seen too much success since his days with TSM and Team Liquid, Xpecial does have a veteran experience and game knowledge to still warrant being on a starting roster.

If we do see them on rosters next split, it will be interesting to see if they are still able to compete at a high level.


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Free agent moves to watch for in North America

With Season 7 ending, it’s no secret that Korea is still the most dominant region. Looking towards North America, they once again seemed like the weakest region there. Only one team made it to quarterfinals, as the week two NA curse took hold again. Team SoloMid came in as the top team from North America with a much easier group, as they didn’t have a Korean team. They still managed to not make it out and fail once again.

With franchising coming to North America next year, we can expect a lot of money being invested among the teams that make it. This may see North America become the most competitive it’s ever been. In just a few weeks, we’ve heard rumors of some big names coming to North America. It will be a long off season so expect more big news to keep coming as we go on.

With the off season in full swing here are some of my big free agent moves to look out for:

TSM Jungler

Photo by: Riot Esports

Team SoloMid once again failed to make it out of groups. Even with all the domestic success the team has had, internationally it hasn’t been working. The biggest scapegoat from this year’s worlds has to be jungler Dennis “Svenskeren” Johnsen. Svenskeren seemed out matched at Worlds as he failed to make any plays in the early game. He was the face of much of TSM’s downfalls as a team lacking early game play making.

It’s questionable at this point whether it’s poor individual play of Svenskeren or a team play style for their jungler? Svenskeren is well known as being an aggressive early play making jungler. This style was punished early in the Spring split where he was often caught out going for cheeky invades.

Rumors swirled on reddit earlier this week that TSM might be looking to import LMS Flash Wolves’ star jungler Hung “Karsa” Hau-Hsuan. While these rumors may be light, it’s definitely a possibility after how the team has looked at Worlds for the past two seasons. Phoenix1’s star rookie Michael “MikeYeung” Yeung could also be available with rumors that Phoenix1 will not be returning to the NA LCS. MikeYeung has been duoing with mid laner Soren “Bjergsen” Bjerg, but it could just be for fun. MikeYeung showed flashes of stardom as he was a huge play maker on aggressive junglers while he was with Phoenix1. His Nidalee and Lee Sin plays made highlight reels during their run at Rift Rivals.

The possibility of TSM keeping Svenskeren and adding a sixth man jungler is also a possibility. SKT has shown the success of having two junglers so TSM could give it a try as well.

Disbanding Teams

Photo by: Riot Esports

With rumors already swirling about who is in/out of the NA LCS, there could be some good rosters disbanding. Teams rumored to be out are Phoenix1, Envyus, Dignitas and Immortals. Each of these teams have some big names to choose from.

In the top lane from Dignitas and Immortals you have two huge Korean stars in Kim “Ssumday” Chan-ho and Lee “Flame” Ho-Jong. Each of them has had success in Korea before coming to North America this past year. Ssumday has been known to be a mechanical God, but Dignitas had some synergy issues when it came down to performing well. Flame showed success with Immortals helping them finish second domestically before being eliminated in the group stages at Worlds. It will be interesting to see if these two decide to stay in NA or head back to Korea.

Junglers in this group are also considered pretty strong. Jake “Xmithie” Puchero quietly became the best jungler in North America after transferring to Immortals. His supportive playstyle was vital in their success during Summer Split. MikeYeung will be pursued following a good rookie split on a struggling Phoenix1 team. Nam “lira” Tae-yoo was another jungler who was a great player on a bad team. He was often praised by other players as being one of the best in the league.

One of the more underrated players out of these teams might be EnVyus support Nickolas “Hakuho” Surgent. Hakuho has quietly been one of the better supports in North America. He was a major reason for the improvement of ADC Apollo “Apollo” Price. He holds a lot of value as a North American player who wouldn’t take up an import slot.

Cloud 9 Top Lane

While Cloud 9’s top laner Jung “Impact” Eon-yeong had a great split overall after taking over full time as the starter, there were still rumors that he may be looking to retire. His contract does expire this year which was a main reason why Cloud 9 took on Jeon “Ray” Ji-won. Impact had a decent showing at Worlds so maybe that will change his mind, but it’s definitely something to keep our eyes on.

With Dignitas and Immortals not making it in, Ssumday and Flame become available. Ssumday has been a mechanical God since he came over, but hasn’t really had the right team to back him up. Flame showed success on Immortals, but language barrier might be an issue with both of them. Cloud 9 has experience working around that with coach Bok “Reapered” Han-gyu.

While it’s still likely Impact makes his way back to Cloud 9, it might be interesting to see if they keep Ray around or look for another sub top laner to eventually take over.

New Rookies?

We got the chance to see some new rookies in the challenger scene last year that could be making their way onto the LCS stage. One big name that has been a solo queue star for awhile and showed some promise last year was Eric “Licorice” Ritchie on EUnited. Licorice mechanically seems pretty sound, but just needs more experience on the big stage against better competition. With academy teams becoming more relevant with franchising, he might be a split away from becoming an LCS starter.

Another rookie that we could see soon is ADC Matthew “Deftly” Chen. Deftly has shown the ability to be a great ADC at times, but has also had some inconsistencies. A nice comparison would be Cody Sun last year. Deftly will most likely get picked up for an academy team for Spring in hopes of gaining enough experience to contend for a starting position in Summer.

Jungler Raymond “Wiggily” Griffin is a challenger player who benefited from Riot’s scouting grounds. He played in the challenger scene on Tempo Storm, who looked good for the majority of the regular season. Wiggily is a jungler on the rise and could see his way into a young team looking for NA talent.

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Fantasy Baseball 2017

Fantasy Baseball 2017: Free Agent Frenzy

In fantasy baseball, it is general knowledge that your league championship isn’t won on draft day. One major key to success is staying active on the waiver wire.

As we are a month into the season, the easiest way to acquire talent is by adding free agents. Below, are four players who are under ten percent owned on ESPN.com, but should be rostered in the majority of formats.

 

Delino DeShields, Outfielder, Texas Rangers, (Seven Percent)

Fantasy Baseball 2017

Delino DeShields will look to make the most of his opportunities in 2017. (Photo by: Rotoprofessor.com)

With Adrian Beltre injured, and Joey Gallo manning third base, DeShields has earned himself the everyday roll in left field. He was a former first-round pick in 2010, and has bounced between the major and minor-league levels since 2015. The 24-year-old has plenty of fantasy potential, as he is currently batting leadoff, is an elite base stealing threat, and is versatile.

DeShields can be an elite producer of runs and steals as long as he remains atop the lineup. Once Beltre returns, it will be interesting to see what the Rangers do with Gallo and DeShields, although their versatility will presumably allow them to continue to see regular playing time.

 

 

 

Michael Taylor, Outfielder, Washington Nationals, (Three Percent)

Fantasy Baseball 2017

Michael A. Taylor will replace Adam Eaton for the remainder of the 2017 season. (Photo by: Gene J. Puskar)

The Washington Nationals lost their starting center fielder, Adam Eaton, to a torn AC, which moves Michael Taylor into an everyday role. Taylor is a career .259 hitter in the minors, with 52 home runs and 140 stolen bases in 560 games played. The 26-year-old’s numbers aren’t overwhelming, although his opportunity to be productive with the Nationals is immense. Taylor will primarily bat seventh, which puts him behind some of the best hitters in the league, including Bryce Harper, Daniel Murphy and Anthony Rendon, which increases his opportunity to produce RBI. Also, if veteran Jayson Werth were to struggle, Taylor could sneak up to the two hole, and be an elite run producer and stolen base threat.

 

Amed Rosario, Shortstop, New York Mets, (Three Percent)

Fantasy Baseball 2017

Amed Rosario is sure to see a call to the majors sooner rather than later. (Photo by: New York Post)

The 21-year-old is currently batting .402, with one home run, 16 runs scored, 14 RBI, and seven stolen bases at the AAA level. He is in line to be the shortstop of the future for New York, although it looks like he will be called up in 2017. His major-league counter parts, Jose Reyes and Asdrubal Cabrera, are playing very poorly, as both are batting under .250, giving Rosario a possible opening to major-league at-bats.

The Mets need a spark, as they have lost many core players to injuries, such as Yoenis Cespedes, Noah Syndergaard and Steven Mats to name a few. Keep an eye out for Rosario, as he is exactly what the Mets need, and should see a call-up sooner than later.

 

Kennys Vargas, First Baseman, Minnesota Twins, (One Percent)

Fantasy Baseball 2017

Kennys Vargas will make an impact in 2017. (Photo by: Getty Images)

Vargas was called-up to the Twins in late-April, and has batted .364 with two home runs, eight runs scored and six RBI in six games played. He can hit for contact and power, as he is a career .277 hitter in the minors with 89 home runs, so as long as he continues to bat in the heart of the order, he will have the opportunity to be an elite fantasy producer.

The 26-year-old has taken over for Joe Mauer twice at first base, but is playing majorly designated hitter this season. The Twins have plenty of flexibility with their bats, as they can move Vargas or Sano to a corner outfield spot to ensure they continue to get at-bats.

 

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The Complete Super Smash Bros Melee Free Agent List

Here’s the complete list of free agents for Super Smash Bros Melee. The ranking is completely subjective (feel free to disagree with me), but every player on this list is available for teams to sign.

Top free agents
1. DruggedFox
2. Shroomed
3. Wizzrobe
4. DizzKidBoogie
5. Mafia
6. SmashG0d
7. Abate
8. Bladewise
9. Rudolph
10. Ghatzu
11. Cactuar
12. Santi
13. KJH
14. Frootloop
15. Prince Abu
16. DJ Nintendo
17. Laudandus
18. Alex 19
19. Slox
20. Hax
21. Kira
22. Amsah
23. Kalamazhu
24. Kels
25. Darkatma
26. Tai
27. Zanguzen
28. Dart!
29. Fly Amanita
30. Reno
31. Zgetto
32. Llod
33. Zoso
34. Redd
35. Matt

S-tier
DruggedFox

Sami “DruggedFox” Muhanna is obviously a top candidate to land the next big sponsorship deal. He’s fresh off his first major win of 2016 and has shown steady improvement throughout the better half of the year. Anyone who knows Sami will tell you just how hard working he is as a player. He’s also known as one of the most knowledgeable players in all of Smash.

The one aspect he needs to work on is his marketability. He’s not known for anything outside of tournaments. If he could add marketable skill to his already impressive playing ability, he’d be a home run for any team looking to sign him.

Shroomed

https://m.twitch.tv/shroomed

https://m.twitch.tv/shroomed

 

Dejuan “Shroomed” McDaniels is a well established player. He’s been around for a long time and has been a consistent performer through all those years. Shroomed has been apart of the big three in Northern California (PPU, SFAT, and Shroomed), and that’s built notoriety for him over the years. He’s arguably the third best Sheik behind Justin “Plup” McGrath and Jason “Mew2King” Zimmerman.

He recently moved on from his former team, Winterfox, so he instantly became a top commodity for teams seeking out Melee players. He’s second on this list, but could easily be considered the top free agent with his resume. You know what you’re getting with Shroomed.

Wizzrobe
Justin “Wizzrobe” Hallett is probably the most talented player on this list. A multi-game star and quickly rising up the Melee ranks. He not only took a giant step in 2016, but showed off that enormous potential moving forward. The most appealing aspect might be that he’s only 18 years old and hasn’t reached his prime yet. He won’t be a free agent for long.

Dizzkidboogie
Kyle “DizzKidBoogie” Athayde has gone from a solid top-80 player to a must-sign. His recent stretch, making back-to-back top 8’s (Eden and DPotG), shows he has the ability to go deep in bracket consistently. His overall game has improved, although he still gets the majority of his kills from wobbling. He has expanded his repertoire on the offensive side.

He does get somewhat overshadowed by the aforementioned “big three” in NorCal, but he’s earned a serious look from a team. He’s not extremely well known, but is starting to make more of an impression on the scene as a whole.

A-tier free agents
Mafia and SmashG0d

James “Mafia” Lauerman and Rishi “SmashG0d” Malhotra might be two of the most improved players in all of 2016. Both will make probably the biggest jump of any players on the Melee it on Me Rankings considering SmashG0d was unranked i. 2015), and have put themselves in a position to earn a sponsorship.

In terms of potential, these two have shown that they can compete with the best players in Smash. Mafia made waves at Smash Summit 3 (shout out to New England for voting him in), and SmashG0d almost pulled the ultimate upset at a Evo over Adam “Armada” Lindgren (lost on last stock, last game with a lead). More notoriety and these two are surely to pick up deals.

Rudolph

Photo courtesy of http://www.ssbwiki.com/File:Rudolph2.jpg

Photo courtesy of http://www.ssbwiki.com/File:Rudolph2.jpg

Daiki “Rudolph” Ideoka is the lone representative from Japan on this list, but he’s earned a look. He’s quickly risen to second in Japan and he’s now among the best Marth players in the world. Despite sub-par performances at American major tournaments; He showed growth and gained valuable experience.

Rudolph receiving an actual deal is unlikely considering the travel distance between events, but as Smash grows, a player with his skill ceiling will command some attention.

Alex19
Alex “Alex19” Ruvalcaba is the first name on here who should get a deal based solely on his social media presence. He’s generated a following and his relationship to Joseph “Mango” Marquez is invaluable. The content and audience make him appealing to buyers.

On top of that, he’s a good player. He’s not going to finish in the top-8, but he’s capable of pulling huge upsets. He gets better practice than just about anyone with relation to the Norwalk crew (Mango, Johnny “S2J” Kim, and Joey “Lucky” Alden’s).

The rest of the list
I don’t want to give the wrong impression here. A full-time Azis “Hax” Al-Yami would be the most sought after name on this list, but he’s still “retired” and dealing with hand injuries. Steve “Abate” Abate is another name that would be higher, but due to inactivity, his future is uncertain.

Inactivity is a big issue among free agents. There are plenty of extremely talented players that simply don’t show up to tournaments (Santi, Kels, Dart!, Fly Amanita). The free agent market isn’t flushed with talent as of right now, but there are plenty of players who could get offers.

Speaking of recent offers, here’s the list of players who just signed:

KirbyKaze with Melee it on Me

The Moon signed with Misfits
Hugs signed with Selfless Gaming
N0ne signed with Allegiance
Swedish Delight signed with Renegades

 

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