DISCLAIMER: This is based on speculation of expiring contracts, previous moves, and rumours that have appeared in recent months. As a result, nothing in this article is certain.
After the dynasty fell between the fingertips, the LPL must step back for now and assess what happened, why it happened and how to move forward. Like seasons prior, new blood looks to burst onto the scene while older players look to grab the crown. Some big names and teams will be looking at the blooded crown this year. Who can they join, who can they pick up to make it theirs? Here are a few.
Firstly, the 4th Seed from the LPL. Their roster was only fully formed in Summer and we never witnessed their truest form. However, four of the five starters contracts are up this off-season and it wouldn’t surprise me to see a change-up. Peanut is the only starter to have another year left on his deal with LGD looking to truly rebuild around him once again. In Spring, Peanut showed out in the regular season, skill checking almost everyone but that wasn’t enough, finishing 15th. Summer was different, Langx joining from RNG, Xiye and Mark arriving from the failed DMO experiment. Achieving 4th in the Summer playoffs and gaining the 4th Seed by way of the regional qualifier. Yet, we all know what happened. The roster fell apart, looked shaky throughout their time at worlds. Langx, Kramer & Peanut especially underperformed. So what’s next?
If LGD wants to contest again, they will need to go big. Personally, I don’t see Kramer staying, sadly. inconsistency throughout summer and his underperformance at worlds makes him unlikely to be resigned. Langx also, he might bite a bullet and make way for some other top lane talent that is available. Flandre & Holder both are available, with Kramer leaving it would also free up an import slot for Holder, who has had some very good moment on Rogue Warriors. Flandre is one of the premier talents of the top lane in China. He burst onto the scene last season on LNG. If LGD gets Holder, their bot lane is left wanting.
Unless they could make a trade, regional talent outside of Smlz is just not worth it. Smlz himself had an awful season. So chasing Flandre or a Chinese top laner could lead to a chance at grabbing another Korean for ADC. Viper, Deft, Mystic, Aiming & Hybrid are all expiring this November which could be very tasty for a team like LGD. Deft having played in China before would be the obvious grab, maybe Mystic for similar reasons. But if importing an ADC doesn’t look good for LGD there are a few within the region they could look to buy-out. GALA & Betty on RNG might be unwilling to share time, with both have impressing periods throughout the year.
LGD could look to pick up one of the duo or even Wink from eStar. Reports earlier in October that suggest J-Team would be looking to purchase eStar’s spot in the LPL which could leave uncertainty for some players. Yes, Wink was a star performer on the roster but it’s not out of the realm of possibility in this ever-changing league. Whatever changes occur, it’ll be interesting to see who will wear the LGD jersey come January.
One close to my heart here, Invictus Gaming (IG). Where will they tread or explore this off-season? Following a very good showing in both Spring & Summer regular split but in playoffs for both falling flat on their face. This season saw a new bot lane in Puff & Southwind, yet by Summer we had seen all three signed supports played. Reheal made his LPL Debut, Baolan returned after going missing in Spring and Southwind tried to keep his starting spot. It was Baolan who got the spot with a couple of MVP performances with Puff who managed to level up in Summer and become a very reliable ADC. Yet it was enough to get to worlds, failing completely against LGD. Everything in playoffs seemed off, from macro to mechanics, their performance barely resembled the IG fans were used to
Reheal is the only player expiring this off-season, so it begs to ask what will happen at IG? First of all, to our European readers, Upset to IG won’t happen. I may sound biased because I support IG, but Puff is either equal or better than Upset, also the language barrier etc, the move itself seems fundamentally bad for all parties involved. However, other rumours have surfaced on Weibo, about the promotion of IG.Y jungler Xun the main roster. IG also attempted to buy/get WeiWei from Suning who was on loan at V5 in Summer. Due to IG’s sale of Huanfeng to Suning, IG management was attempting (from the source) to use a VAM/Valuation Adjustment Mechanism to get WeiWei. Obviously take all this with a pinch of salt, other than Xun being promoted, this was in talks before Summer much like how Leyan was promoted in 2019.
For Ning, as the tweet below states, he’d either be transferred away or benched. Outside of the Jungle, TheShy on his streams has spoken about if Rookie doesn’t play this season he won’t. Hinting that if this season is Rookie’s last, this might be the last we see of TheShy. In addition, unrelated to League, Puff has the wife buff now as he got married this off-season.
Edward Gaming (EDG), what shall you bestow upon us now?
After bringing back Clearlove to coach, EDG looked poised to push for the top. Yes, they let iBoy walk, but Hope looked to bring hope to the fanbase once again. Earning a respectable 5th-6th position in Spring playoffs, but after Jinoo, who hadn’t been with the squad, announced his retirement. Leaving a void in the top lane. Having already brought up Aodi & Xiaoxiang, Clearlove trusted the youngsters. Also, in spring we saw an emergence (sort of) out of JunJia, while he filled in for Jiejie. They would share time the rest of the season. Summer was where we saw the cracks in the team all over, a lot of the games felt like how hard can Hope carry. They weren’t pretty sights to see.
Moving into the off-season a major warning sign is appearing, Scout. With his contract expiring, what will he do? Will he look to leave to find a new team or stay? It’s a question that must be answered immediately by EDG. Right now they probably know what is happening, and with Scout not announcing anything like he’s available I pray that he’s staying. The only real addition EDG needs is a Top Laner. Aodi might be solid but he won’t push your team further. Much like LGD earlier, they should chase Holder or Flandre. Before Tarzan joined LNG (yet to be announced), I really wanted EDG Tarzan & EDG Flandre to join Scout, Hope & Meiko but obviously that isn’t happening. Yet, EDG needs a strong top laner if they want any chance at challenging.
Check out our article on AHQ and J-Team looking to join the LPL in 2021.
And take a look at our other article on the end of the Oceanic Pro League, and how that could benefit the LCS.