Analyzing and Explaining LEC Roster Changes As Free Agency Closes

As we come closer to the LEC Summer Split restarting, we analyze the roster moves that have occured post-MSI for the LEC.

With the LEC Summer Split set to start on June 11th, we have seen a flurry of changes from some of the teams. However, a lot of the moves were very strange given the nature of the changes. Let’s dive right into it then.

Fnatic Changes

Fnatic made a few changes for the start of the Summer Split. Selfmade leaves the team to join Vitality while Bwipo swaps to jungle and Fnatic signed Kcorp’s Adam for the top lane. Obviously, we have to start with the Bwipo role swap and there is a bit of context to it.

During MSI 2021, there were rumors floating around that Bwipo would swap to the jungle. Most fans wrote it off as a meme and Bwipo even played into that. However, a few days after MSI ended, the whole thing turned into a reality.

With the move, a lot of fans were questioning Fnatic’s thought process. Fnatic did come out with a statement explaining their thought process. The only insight to draw from it would be that they are preparing for their future as opposed to now. Their pro-activity should be commended for as they acted on something that is a problem for them going forward.

However, just looking at the moves, Fnatic did not do it in an optimal way. It was clear that Fnatic letting Selfmade go was more about Selfmade not wanting to be on the team. Also, his contract would be after this season wraps up so he was likely leaving the team at that point.

Bwipo going to the jungle was more confusing than Selfmade leaving. He and YamatoCannon did put out tweets individually to talk about the situation. Both of them support the role swap and have asserted that the team as a whole was backing this move. One other key thing to note is that Bwipo is also in the last few months of his contract. Also, Hylissang’s contract will also run out so Fnatic could look to start fresh after this season.

That theory does have credence due to them signing a young and high-caliber rookie in Adam for the top lane. If Bwipo jungle works out, we could possibly see him return to Fnatic. However, if it does not work, Bwipo will probably be on another team and that would work for Fnatic. Fnatic can then look to rebuild their team to a contending team in the LEC.

This would be the right direction for Fnatic to move towards. It is high time that they look to push on the reset button and analyze the way to move forward.

Will It Work?

This is probably the biggest question in every LEC fan’s mind at the moment. There is not much evidence to support the move on the basis of his experience as a jungler. However, he does have excellent knowledge about the game and his work on MSI 2021 on the analyst desk should be enough evidence for that. Youngbuck (coach of Excel) has said that Bwipo’s mindset matches that of the jungler than a top laner.

There is still a lot of unknown about it and we wish the best of luck to Bwipo on his endeavors this upcoming split. If it works out, Fnatic would be a tough team that will try to make it to Worlds 2021.

SK Gaming Changes

The changes for SK Gaming came out of nowhere when they dropped a video on Twitter about their roster for the Summer Split. The team has replaced TynX in the jungle with Treatz role swapping to jungle and their head coach Jesiz becoming their support. Also, they have promoted their assistant coach Tom as their head coach for the split.

This one was quite puzzling given Treatz was in the running for Rookie of the Split as a support player. Treatz and Jesiz have also put out their statements on Twitter. Reading into those, it is clear that the team did not like the direction they were going in with TynX and that this was a very quick decision. It was also fairly late for them into the mid-season window for them to do such a move. That certainly did raise an eyebrow from many fans. There were junglers available to be grabbed but it looks like SK is going to go with this lineup for this split.

It is a big risk for Treatz to take considering he was such a great support last split. Also, it’s pretty clear that Treatz made this move for the team and we will see if it works out. With all of these jungle role-swaps going on, we may see a lot of new junglers coming in next season for these teams.

Schalke04 Changes

S04’s changes were more telegraphed by some people around the esports scene. S04 is a team that is based on their German Bundesliga team and the football team took a hit this year. They have been relegated to a lower league which has costed budget cuts for the Esports team as well. Thus started the changes that S04 had to make to stay afloat for the upcoming split.

Firstly, they sold Abbedagge to 100 Thieves. That netted them a good amount of money to put into the fund to keep things running. However, it was not enough so they had to bench Gilius. Replacing Abbedagge is Nuclearint, who was in Schalke Evolution and Kirei will be moving from GamersOrigin to S04 as their starting jungler.

From what we know, these moves were to cut costs for the team to function. However, there are rumors that S04 is potentially trying to sell their LEC slot. We do not have enough information about it and will do a follow-up when we do so.

Having said that, S04 was put in a tough financial situation and are moving forward by doing the best they can.

Vitality Changes

Vitality clearly upgraded their roster by acquiring Selfmade from Fnatic, LIDER from mouseports, and SLT from Berlin International Gaming. The swap in the top lane was rather fast given Szygenda was only there for one split so they saw more out of SLT to go get him and put him in as a starter.

Selfmade and LIDER were clear upgrades as a jungle mid duo. They have both played together before so Vitality will be hoping some of that synergy is still there for them to tap into. With Crownshot being a late acquisition during the Spring Split, Labrov remains the only player in the roster since the start of the split.

This team is extremely talented with the likes of Selfmade, LIDER, and Crownshot. However, whether this short amount of time is enough for them to make a run to reach playoffs and have a chance to be at Worlds is a tall order. If they do get it going, it is not an impossible task with the talent they have on their roster.

Excel Gaming Changes

Lastly, we have the changes Excel made at the start of the window. They replaced Tore and Czekolad for Denyk and Nukeduck. Denyk has played with Patrik before but a new bot lane duo takes time to mesh usually.

The last time we saw Nukeduck, he was not playing well enough and Astralis signed MagiFelix who is doing well for the team. Thus, Excel is gambling on Nukeduck retaining his form for them this split. Czekolad being replaced drew the ire of fans as it does not seem like an upgrade of a move.

This was mindboggling from fans’ point of view and even ours. The moves do not really emphasize on winning now and feels very directionless. We will have to wait and see when the split starts about 10 days later.

Final Thoughts

Most of the changes are trying to address problems the teams have had. However, some of the changes raise more question marks going into the split. We will have to wait and see whether the role swaps work or not. The clear winner of the moves so far has been Vitality who will be vying for a playoff spot in Summer.

In our perspective, S04 and Excel will be taking a downturn with these moves and Fnatic’s and SK’s fate are up in the air. It’s really hard to say where these teams actually land so we will have to wait and see how these teams will fare. One thing is for sure is that Summer Split will be really spicy.

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