In the wake of Team Liquid’s flurry of recent roster chops and changes, the organisation’s decision to move their former World Champion AD Carry Chae “Piglet” Gwang-jin into the mid lane has stirred the debate surrounding the effectiveness of role swaps. The professional League of Legends scene has witnessed a number of astonishing role swaps in it’s history, some of which were revelatory for their rosters, others served to completely decimate their organisations.
Role swaps are relatively common in professional play, given the finely tuned mechanics and strategies that come with each unique position on the rift; learning a new role brings a number of different responsibilities. A beneficial role-swap can be considered to be a relatively rare sight in League of a Legends.
With nowhere to go but up, Team Liquid opted to shift Piglet’s carry position mid split, ultimately allowing for Yiliang “Doublelift” Peng to fill in as the team’s AD Carry until the end of spring. Critics labelled Piglet’s role swap as an extremely risky move, a judgement reinforced by the number of historic failures role swaps have resulted in over the years. As Team Liquid’s Korean settles into his new role, the team’s fans will be hoping he joins the exclusive hall of fame of successful roleswaps:
League of Legends Role Swaps Hall of Fame/Infamy
Yell0wStar: AD Carry to Support
Bora "YellOwStaR" Kim's transition from aggressive ADC to shotcalling support not only defined Fnatic's legacy, but cemented the icon's position as one of the all-time greats of the European scene.
Aphromoo: AD Carry to Support
Aphromoo's success as CLG's support has been widely documented. His decisive play making made him a natural fit for the role after the organisation switched him from AD Carry. "Support is so easy dude!"
WildTurtle: Top to AD Carry
A veteran of the scene, WildTurtle is renowned for his aggression as an ADC, though his career initially started as a Top laner the lesser known entity, Monomaniac Dominatus.
Doublelift: Support to AD Carry
Another veteran AD Carry who started his career elsewhere on the rift. Playing under the banner of the kings of role swaps, Counter Logic Gaming, Doublelift was moulded into the ADC star the world knows today.
Voyboy: Top to Mid
Known for his carry top lane champions, Voyboy made the yet to be repeated move from top lane to mid whilst playing for Curse.
Altec: AD Carry to Support to AD Carry
During his period playing with WinterFox, Altec briefly spent a spell playing as Support... WFX lost both games before Altec returned to his natural ADC position.
Ambition: Mid to Jungle
Ambition is one of the greatest Korean League of Legends players of all time - the only black mark against his career will be his decision to pursue life as a Jungler.
Chauster: AD Carry to Support
Name a position on the rift, chances were that Chauster could play it on a competitive stage if it was needed. Chauster was a great ADC but stepped aside to allow Doublelift to develop in the role.
Xmithie: Jungle to AD Carry
After establishing himself as perhaps the best Jungler in NA during season 3, XDG opted to move the now CLG man to ADC. The swap had disastrous consequences with the team ending up relegated having previously reached the World Championship. Xmithie returned to the Jungle and never looked back.
CoreJJ: AD Carry to Support
One of the most surprising moves in recent off-seasons, CoreJJ announced that he would be leaving struggling
Team Dignitas to join Korean powerhouse Samsung Galaxy as the team's new Support.
Hai: Jungle to Mid to Jungle to Support to Mid
The value of Hai's shot calling is so great, that team's will look to accommodate him into the roster wherever they can.
HotshotGG: Top to Jungle
Now owner of Counter Logic Gaming, HotshotGG established his reputation as a feared Nidalee player in the top lane. His move to the Jungle after internal disputes signalled the downwards curve of his playing career.
Kiwikid: Top to Support
With the iconic Dignitas roster lacking a Support for Imaqtpie, Kiwikid was quick to offer his services in the position. Both Kiwi and QT were quick to admit that the former Top laner was far from a natural in the role, but their friendship allowed for the Dignitas roster to persevere.
Locodoco: AD Carry to Support
Perhaps the worst role swap in history, after paving a career as a decent AD Carry in Korea, Locodoco chose to move to CLG to play alongside Doublelift as a Support. Building up an expansive champion pool of one (Nunu), Loco quickly realised his error and returned home to play as an ADC.
Lustboy: Jungle to Support
Lustboy's career switch from Jungler to Support was an immediately popular decision. Following his move to NA to play with Team SoloMid, the Korean established a cult following on account of his fearless plays.
Xpeke: Top to Mid to AD Carry to Support
Over the course of his seasoned career, Xpeke has covered every blade of grass on the rift. Beloved for his Fnatic career as a Top and Mid laner, with Origen spiralling the drain Xpeke has since tried his hand at ADC and Support roles... displaying amateur proficiency on both occasions.
Impact: Support to Top
It goes without saying that if you role swap and become a World Champion as a result, then the swap was undoubtedly a success. Impact was considered to be a mid-tier Support in Korea, but after switching to the top lane, he established legendary status as SKT marched to their first World Championship.
Alex Ich: Jungle to Support
An icon of his era, few remember Alex Ich initially started his professional career as a Jungler. Alex Ich only became the fabled Mid laner for Moscow 5 on account of an internal dispute.
Uzi: AD Carry to Mid
The prospect of facing Uzi struck fear into the hearts of even the most seasoned AD Carries. Yet after his dominance of Season 3, Uzi spent the next half of Season 4 as a below-average Mid laner. Thankfully the change was reverted, though his former glory was never quite reestablished.
Saintvicious: Jungle to Support
Known as a competent Jungler, after switching from CLG to Curse, Saint decided to step away from the Jungling role. After initially adopting a coaching role, Saint took over as Support as the team slumped to 6th place in an eight team league.
Piglet: AD Carry to Mid
How will Piglet compare to other memorable role swaps? Whilst his mechanics are certainly up to LCS standards, does Piglet possess the necessary knowledge of the position to lead Team Liquid to victory?