After the disastrous 2016 Summer Split, which had Origen fighting to keep their LCS spot in the relegation tournament, the entire roster left the team, making the owner, Enrique “xPeke” Cedeño Martínez scramble to scrounge up five players who could hopefully help the org avoid further embarrassment in 2017 Spring. If the report by ESPN’s Jacob Wolf pans out as it usually does, it seems that Origen’s search is finally over.
According to the reporter, Origen is supposed to field Max “Santorius” Günther in Top Lane, Kim “Wisdom” Tae-wan in Jungle, AD Carry Erik “Tabzz” van Helvert in ADC, and Support Aleksi “Hiiva” Kaikkonen, with xPeke himself coming in to play as Mid. The biggest news is that xPeke is going to play, if the report proves to be true. While there were rumors that Origen is trying to sign Korean Mid laners like Bae “dade” Eo-jin and Son “Mickey” Young-min, it seems like the players didn’t meet Origen’s standards or simply elected to go with other teams. With no better options left, xPeke probably had to step in. It’s a regrettable step back for the organization. Even though the Mid Lane superstar can probably compete on an even keel with most Mids in Europe, he will have to put the business side of the org on someone else’s shoulder to have any hope of actually keeping up in performance with his competition, which could seriously impede Origen’s growth as a business. Unless xPeke got some talented and dedicated people to take care of the business side of the org for him, of course.
Looking at the rest of the roster, the reported Top Laner, Satorius, was supposed to have reached an agreement with Schalke 04 top play in the football club’s Challenger Series team, however, it seems that the deal fell through. If Origen topped Schalke’s offer or only provided something that allow the player to live comfortably, the decision to join Origen instead is understandable. After all, the exposure in the LCS is much better than in the Challenger Series, even more so when you consider the fan following Origen has. If Satorius can somehow do well enough in the LCS, many doors should open for the player, while his profile wouldn’t have been influenced that much even if he ripped through the Challenger Series.
The Jungler, Wisdom, on the other hand, comes from stints on GIANTS! Gaming and Misfits, for whom he competed in the Challenger Series and helped them qualify for the LCS. In-game skill aside, his the way he fares in Origen will be a good test to see how a single Korean player can function abroad. For a while now, it’s been conventionally accepted that if you decide to go for Korean players on your roster, you should have two of them so that they don’t feel too isolated in a foreign country, with teammates who don’t speak Korean. Fortunately, Wisdom at least has had roughly a year of experience playing in Europe already, culture shock should be more or less non-existent.
Tabzz is probably the least controversial player to joining the roster, in the sense that he has a long and proven track record as an LCS AD Carry. While Martin “Rekkles” Larsson, Konstantinos “FORG1VEN” Tzortziou or Jesper “Zven” Svenningsen are thought to be more skilled players, Tabzz should at least hold his own. His lane partner, Hiiva, however, is an unproven talent from the Challenger Series. Fortunately, he’s paired with an experienced AD. If his mechanics are up to snuff and playstyle matches Tabzz’s, Origen has the beginnings of a steady Bot Lane duo. Everything else depends on how Origen functions as a whole and how they practice over the coming season.
UPDATE: It turns out that ESPN’s Jacob Wolf got it slightly wrong for once. xPeke is not starting as the Mid Laner. Instead, a Korean newcomer, You “NaeHyun” Nae-hyun will take that spot, providing a social anchor for the team’s Korean Jungler, Wisdom.