With the free agency period fully underway, teams in both North America and Europe have already been making moves to secure their wanted players.
However, some teams have fared better than others. Then there are the teams that have attempted to give some newcomers a shot on the big stage of League of Legends.
Several roster moves have already taken place in the League of Legends free agency. So, we’re breaking down some of the best surprise moves, as well as those that may have broken the bank.
Perkz signs for Cloud9 Esports
When talks arose of G2 Esports making moves, many were surprised to hear that it was Luka ‘Perkz’ Perković who would be finding a new home. ‘Perkz,’ whose name has almost been synonymous with the G2 Esports brand since 2015, was rumoured to be moving across the Atlantic following a buyout discussion with Cloud9.
On 9 November 2020, eSports insider Jacob Wolf broke the news via Twitter that the buyout would be just shy of $5 million for ‘Perkz’ to make a move. On 20 November 2020, Cloud9 announced that ‘Perkz’ would be joining their League of Legends roster for the 2021 season.
Although it has not been announced yet, many speculate that this will be one of the largest contracts signed to date. In the announcement video from Cloud9, CEO Jack Etienne is seen speaking on the phone, agreeing to a multi-year contract worth $11.75 million, but the exact figures are yet to be confirmed.
Rekkles moves to G2 Esports
Another move that shook the European league was the revelation that Fnatic would no longer have their star ADC to lead their charge. On 20 November 2020, rumours of the roster swap were confirmed when G2 Esports announced that they had signed Martin ‘Rekkles’ Larsson to be their ADC in the absence of ‘Perkz.’
Just like ‘Perkz,’ ‘Rekkles’ had deep ties to Fnatic, having been with the team since 2015. His departure came as a surprise considering how long he had been with the team. The Swede has some large shoes to fill, playing alongside Rasmus ‘Caps’ Borregaard Winther in the 2021 season.
Nisqy joins Fnatic
Although it is quite common to see European players move to North America for the salary bump, it is uncommon to see North American players cross regions to play in Europe. However, when you are going back home, it makes a bit more sense. On 24 November 2020, it was announced that Yasin ‘Nisqy’ Dinçer would be joining the starting roster, replacing Tim ‘Nemesis’ Lipovšek.
‘Nisqy’ has frequently hopped across the Atlantic over the past few years. In 2017, he played for Team EnVyUs in North America, then went to Europe to join Splyce in 2018. The Belgian then moved back to North America to play for Cloud9 for two years, but will now represent Fnatic in the 2021 season.
SwordArt boosts Team SoloMid rebuild
In the early morning hours, overshadowing the news of Tristan ‘PowerOfEvil’ Schrage joining Team SoloMid, it was announced that the TSM acquisition of Hu ‘SwordArt’ Shuo-Chieh might have been finalised. The rumours had been floating around since 16 November 2020, but reports cited ongoing immigration issues that could have stifled the move.
SwordArt, who previously played for Flash Wolves and Suning, is a decorated veteran in the professional ranks. Having played in the League of Legends Master Series for most of his career, his time with Suning brought him to new levels of fame.
Considering that Suning made it all the way to the 2020 World Championship finals, the power move of TSM signing SwordArt caused an uproar in the professional scene.
The seismic transfer comes following Søren ‘Bjergsen’ Bjerg and Yiliang ‘Doublelift’ Peng announcing their retirements and the team’s 0-6 performance at the 2020 Worlds. SwordArt will compete for Team SoloMid in the 2021 season, with Lawrence ‘Lost’ Sze Yuy Hui expected to be promoted to the starting ADC position.
With so many massive roster moves occurring in just the first month of free agency, it looks as though the competitive League of Legends landscape will look very different 2021 season. Expect some more prominent names to start making waves before the 2021 campaign begins.