The moment Kim “Reignover” Yeu-jin signed his immediate future to Team Liquid, it seemed inevitable that a host of other big name players would follow the NA LCS MVP in a bid to form a potentially World Championship-worthy roster. Rather it is last season’s relegation strugglers Phoenix1 who have faired best in the offseason, dramatically improving their season’s chances with two major Korean imports.
Phoenix1 are set to announce the addition of former H2K-Gaming Mid Laner Yoo “Ryu” Sang-ook and former KT Rolster AD Carry No “Arrow” Dong-hyeon to their formidable 2017 Spring Split roster. The team have significantly upgraded their squad after sitting at the foot of the NA LCS for the majority of the Summer Split.
P1 have now opted to remove the inconsistent Brandon “Mash” Phan, having already brought in former Immortals Support Adrian “Adrian” Ma into the bot lane who will now duo with Arrow. Rookie Mid Laner Choi “Pirean” Jun-will remain as a sub, though Ryu will undoubtedly start for the LCS Championship hopefuls.
Phoenix1 have re-signed impressive Jungle rookie Rami “Inori” Charagh, also retaining Top Laner Derek “zig” Shao in what forms a prominently solid roster in an offseason full of uncertainty. Though the talent pool is limited, Zig and Inori have grown tremendously over the past year and are some of the best talent NA has to offer. Adrian – despite his marijuana issue – has already proven his worth in the NA LCS, whilst the additions of Arrow and Ryu will add a critical element of Korean quality.
With a potent roster all sealed for the Spring Split, Phoenix1 should be targetting a top 3 finish in the NA LCS – they’ve certainly performed far better than Team Liquid in their offseason dealings…
From a rumoured carry trio of Reignover + Song “Smeb” Kyung-ho and Eugene “Pobelter” Park to a confirmed combination of Samson “Lourlo” Jackson and Greyson “Goldenglue” Gilmer… that’s quite a fall from grace.
Team Liquid’s bolstered finances have been well-publicised over the course of 2016, with cash rich sponsorships flying in from a number of directions including Monster Energy, Razer and PokerStars.com. The organisation were linked with nearly every highly valued free agent in the professional scene, with many expecting the team to acquire some heavy talent in the offseason.
In reality, Team Liquid have little to show for all the rumours and cash-rich investors. Instead, the team will promote two of its former Team Liquid Academy lineup to its main roster: Mid Laner Goldenglue and the re-introduction of 2013 World Champion AD carry Chae “Piglet” Gwang-jin. Top Laner Samson “Lourlo” Jackson and Support Matthew “Matt” Elento will remain with the starting squad.
It’s hardly the roster Team Liquid fans will have hoping for.
With Chae “Piglet” Gwang-jin stepping back up to the main roster alongside Reignover in the Jungle, TL have filled both of their import slots with Korean talent. The move will force former Mid Laner Kim “FeniX” Jae-hun to pursue his future elsewhere.
Team Liquid’s roster is solid, but it’s a fairly anti-climatic lineup given all the rumours surrounding the team in the offseason – Phoenix1 have stolen the limelight ahead of the 2017 Spring Split.