Worlds is over, so let the off-season begin! A few organizations have made announcements regarding coaches, but no player changes are final yet. While both franchising and Riot’s removal of relegation may cause more teams to keep their rosters intact, player changes are inevitable. No organization wants to stay at the bottom, and no player wants to keep losing. Here are some of high profile players most likely to change their scenery.
100 Thieves benched Cody heading into summer playoffs, and did not put him back in for the World Championship, despite starting the rest of the year. The reasoning still has not been discussed, which indicates serious issues within the team. Assuming neither party is happy with the situation, Cody is likely to bounce to a new team for 2019.
Unfortunately, most LCS teams’ issues do not lie in the AD carry position. OpTic Gaming is the only team that could gain from a new player in the role. Replacing Arrow could free up an import slot for their top lane or jungle, if they want. Otherwise, Cody Sun may be looking at an Academy or substitute spot.
In that same vein, Meteos had a controversial departure from 100 Thieves earlier in the split. He ended up traded to Flyquest for Anda, where he finished out the year on their Academy team. Meteos has been vocal about wanting a starting LCS spot, or else he might return to streaming and producing other League content. Since Santorin was arguably Flyquest’s best performer of the Summer Split, Meteos may need to look elsewhere.
Several North American teams could use a jungle upgrade. Clutch Gaming is probably the best candidate, as Lira did not perform very well over the course of the year, and Meteos would free up an import slot. Counter Logic Gaming is another team in a similar situation. While Reignover has his strong moments, he flew under the radar most of the year. TSM is a bit of a stretch, but they could use a talented, vocal, North-American jungler to replace Grig.
2018 was not what fans expected from Levi’s importation into North America. While the Vietnamese jungler constantly impressed in solo queue, he remained a substitute for 100 Thieves. Levi got to start at Rift Rivals, but only played Academy League beyond that. For such an exciting name to import, Levi did not get to prove much on a big stage.
Now that he has had a full year to assimilate into North America, Levi may get traded to another team that may need him. Almost any team should be happy to add him, unless they already have two solid import slots taken. Clutch Gaming is probably the best fit, as Lira already holds an import slot for them. CLG could try to bring Levi on, but they would need to change their style. Although Contractz is not necessarily a poor jungler, Golden Guardians may want to add Levi as a star player to build around.
Febiven’s gameplay felt degraded in Summer Split compared to Spring Split, and CG’s place in the standings definitely suffered for it. He seemed notably upset on some of his social media outlets and Twitch streams. Most fans probably would not be surprised if Clutch replaced Febiven, or if Febiven looked for a new squad. It depends on how much frustration was coming from his relationship with the team, and how much of it was himself.
With Europe entering a permanent partners program next year, several new organizations will be looking for rosters for 2019. One of them might lobby for Febiven to return to the EU LCS. At different points in his career, Febiven has looked world class, so he could find a starting spot back home. If he stays in North America, the only other team possibly interested would be Golden Guardians. They need a strong anchor in the mid lane, which Febiven can be if he returns to his former sharpness.
Huni in the top lane mirrors Febiven in the mid lane. He has had flashes of brilliance in North America, dominating his opponents at various points of the game. However, he has also shown both occasional slumps and lack of growth. Echo Fox could be ready to find an alternative, and Huni may also want to return to the LCK.
Korean teams will be rebuilding for 2019, following their shortcomings at the World Championship. Top laners may be in high demand, as organizations jockey for the best of the best. Huni could be in the conversation for some of these teams, including SKT, where he previously played. If he stays in North America, it may be with OPT or GGS. These two teams could use more top-side power. Huni may even choose to stay with Echo Fox, as their relationship has not seemed strained from the outside.
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