During the League of Legends offseason, contracts expire, players are fired, major moves in the market take place. Quite often, once a player’s contract expires, he spends some time waiting for offers from various teams. Then, he looks at his options and tries to find the next stop in his career. It’s been announced today that several League of Legends players are now in the market for a new team.
First up, Phoenix1, the team which finished the 2016 NA LCS Summer Split in 8th place and barely kept their spot in the league after defeating Echo Fox 3-0 in the 2017 NA LCS Spring Promotion tournament, are dropping their roster. So far, the team’s Support Austin “Gate” Yu, ADC Brandon “Mash” Phan, Mid substitute Andrew “Slooshi” Pham, and Brandon “Brandini” Chen have announced their free agency.
To be honest, it’s not easy to see most of these players finding an LCS team unless they’re lucky. Let’s be honest here, why would you sign a player who played on the 8th best team in NA if you actually want to improve your roster? Not to mention the subs of said team? Of course, announcing that you’re available is paramount in getting a new job, but you have to be a hot commodity to expect something great to come your way. Despite the somber words, we wish Gate, Mash, Slooshi and Brandini the best of luck in the future.
Up next, we have Splyce’s Top Laner Martin “Wunder” Hansen, Mid Chris “Sencux” Laursen, and Support Mihael “Mikyx” Mehle. Splyce was a much more successful team than Phoenix1, even if they played in different regions. Where Phoenix1 almost got relegated, Splyce finished the 2016 EU LCS Summer Split in 2nd place, getting to the Finals of the Playoffs as well, where they lost to G2 Esports. Then, the team played in the Regional Qualifiers and actually succeeded in favor of Unicorns of Love, qualifying for the World Championship. Unfortunately, they were seeded into the the same group as Team SoloMid, Royal Never Give Up, and Samsung Galaxy. Was it very surprising that they finished the tournament in 13th – 16th place? No? I thought so too.
While it’s hard to know the behind the scenes stuff that led to the decision to not resign these players, it’s even harder to say if Splyce can actually improve upon the roster they had. They could have easily went the same way as Unicorns of Love and elected to keep the players they had. If the players themselves refused contracts they were offered, the validity of this decision could be questioned. After all, how likely are they to find teams which would perform better than they have in the previous season? The only upgrade they could make in terms of team strength would be if they went to G2 Esports in Europe or one of the NA teams, like Team Liquid or Cloud9, maybe. G2 definitely has a better Support, the Top Lane spot could be up for grabs, while the Mid spot is questionable. We shall have to wait and see how this goes.
Here we have two different situations, where players are announcing free agency. Some come from a failed team, hoping to have an offer to play another split somewhere, while others are coming off of a fail at the World Championship, a tournament the vast majority of teams never gets to participate in. As a result, they have better chances of finding a team, however, it could very well prove to be a downgrade from what they had, bringing up the topic of whether they should have stayed. As in all things, it’s very hard to say what’s the correct course of action. Let’s hope all of these players truly know best.