Several weeks ago, ESPN’s Jacob Wolf published a news post about the possibility of ROX Tigers, the Semifinalists of League of Legends World Championship 20016, disbanding after the tournament. At the time, ROX responded by emphatically denying that it was the truth, lashing out at the reporter with doing harm to the team’s ability to attract investors. Now, however, the org announced on Facebook that they waived the clause which forbids some, but not all of their players to talk with other organizations, figuring out their next stop in their careers.
Following the announcement, the superstar Jungler, Yoon “Peanut” Wang-ho also expressed his desire to field offers from other teams. So far, the only ROX Tigers player who seems to not be up for grabs for other organisations, is Song “Smeb” Kyung-ho. Of course, if the rest of his team leaves, it’s unlikely that Smeb is going to stay. After all, as the undisputed best Top Laner in the world, he will have no trouble finding a team. The same could, of course, be said about the other free agents, Lee “kurO” Seo-haeng, Kim “PraY” Jong-in, and Kang “GorillA” Beom-hyeon. The least desirable player from what looks to be the ruins of ROX Tigers, is likely to be kurO.
The whole situation is very interesting. Normally, you would expect the avalanche of transfers when the team doesn’t perform well or has inner issues. ROX Tigers, however, got to the Semis of Worlds and won the LoL KeSPA Cup 2016. They are at the top of the global League of Legends scene. While some teams do need to touch up their roster to do well in the future, ROX Tigers aren’t one of them, with the only possible improvement called for in the Mid Lane. Possibly. Also, the always seemed to genuinely have fun while playing together.
No, the only conceivable reason why ROX would not do anything in their power to stay together is financial. Following the bankruptcy of their old name sponsor, KOO, the Tigers have been having problems drumming up enough financial resources to keep operating, reportedly. It seems as if they couldn’t figure it out in this pre-season after all. It’s a huge loss for the professional League of Legends scene because there weren’t many teams on ROX Tigers’ level over the last couple of years. More importantly, not many teams were as fun to watch on the Rift or so happy to play together. Jacob Wolf’s article seems to be coming true. It’s sad. A minute of silence for ROX Tigers, please.
Requiescat in pace, ROX Tigers.