Evil Geniuses are about to make another splash in the offseason. After acquiring much of Cloud 9’s roster, they’re finalizing a deal to acquire two-time World Champion Bae “Bang” Jun-Sik. He will be joining reigning LCS MVP Dennis “Svenskeren” Johnsen in their quest to challenge Team Liquid in 2020 with Evil Geniuses (source). His new bot lane partner, Tristan “Zeyzal” Stidam is relatively young but isn’t a stranger to high-level competition. He has been to Worlds twice, his first ending in a semis exit, and two runner-up finishes in the LCS.
Bang came to North America after a rather disappointing season in Korea. He debuted in 2013 for NaJin Shield but spent most of his career, especially his best years, in SKT. After the implementation of the “no sister team” rule, SKT merged their two rosters and out came a dynasty. Bang won a total of four domestic titles, two MSI’s and two Worlds as SKT’s bot laner. Their loss to Samsung Galaxy at Worlds 2017 started a downward spiral for Bang and the rest of SKT. It culminated in a Worlds absence in 2018 and SKT decided to rebuild their roster, which prompted Bang to move to North America. Since then, he’s been in the NA finals once and earned a third-place finish the split after. At EG, he’ll definitely be back in contention for the title again.
CLG wins Crown lottery
Another former World Champion will be switching teams next year. Worlds 2017 winner Lee “Crown” Min-ho will be joining Counter Logic Gaming in the 2020 season. Like Bang, he came to North America after a disappointing split following a World Championship. Both Bang and Crown cited the pressure of being a Korean pro drove them to look for better work environments. Crown found his new home in Optic Gaming in Spring 2019.
Ladies and gentlemen, we got him.
Drop a 👑 below if you are hyped to have a World Champion on CLG! pic.twitter.com/FAJ8QSdx9G
— CLG (@clgaming) November 21, 2019
However, his arrival wasn’t as explosive as Bang’s, as he failed to qualify for playoffs in his first split and got knocked out of quarters in his next. To be fair, Optic’s lineup never really went past middle of the pack in terms of player potential. Nevertheless, analysts have praised Crown’s resurgence in NA, probably due to newfound motivation and less stress. Expect Crown to bring his A-game to CLG in 2020.
Immortals banking on the old guard
Paul “sOAZ” Boyer and Johnny “Altec” Ru will return to the pro scene for Immortals in the 2020 season. The legendary European top laner sOAZ previously played for Misfits Gaming in the LEC last season but their superteam experiment failed horribly. They finished 8th and 9th in spring and summer, respectively. After Misfits expressed interest in rebuilding with young talent, sOAZ left the team to look for a contender. As for Altec, his last outing was in Summer 2018, where he shared the bot lane spot with Lawrence “Lost” Hui on Echo Fox. Despite being around longer than most players in the LCS, he’s never really been on a contender. On Immortals, he will be joining some of the winning-est players in Western League of Legends in sOAZ and the returning Jake “Xmithie” Puchero. Former Echo Fox support Nickolas “Hakuho” Surgent will also be joining this team.
Gen.G’s revenge lineup
Gen.G’s roster moves this season are nothing short of spectacular. After releasing most of their lineup, they signed two young stars to help Park “Ruler” Jae-hyuk restore their former glory. The two-time World Champion organization added former DragonX top laner Kim “Rascal” Kwang-hee, former SKT jungler Kim “Clid” Tae-min and former KT Rolster mid laner Gwak “Bdd” Bo-seong. Rascal played second fiddle behind the star top laner Khan on then-Longzhu Gaming in 2017 and won a title against SKT. When Khan left to join SKT’s superteam, Rascal rose to the starting position. Despite their inconsistency, they almost went to Worlds 2019, narrowly losing to Damwon Gaming in the gauntlet.
We’re really excited to announce our newest additions to the Gen.G @leagueoflegends team: Clid, @Rascal_LoL1, and @Bdd990301! We ask our Gen.G #TigerNation fans to give them a warm welcome! pic.twitter.com/oX1zNteb3q
— Gen.G Esports (@GenG) November 20, 2019
On the other hand, Clid was a Korean prodigy who started in China’s LSPL in 2016 for Newbee Young alongside Khan. However, it was in JD Gaming where Clid rose to superstar-dom, argued as the “best jungler” in the LPL Despite his individual success, he couldn’t carry his team to a title, much less a Worlds appearance. He then joined SKT in 2019, winning two domestic titles and two semis exits in both MSI and Worlds.
Last but not the least of the newcomers to Gen.G: Bdd. He was one of the most touted mid lane prospects in recent memory. Many analysts compared his raw skill with the legendary Lee “Faker” Sang-hyeok himself. However, it took a while for Bdd to back up those claims with results. He bounced around teams but managed to win a title once, with Longzhu Gaming in 2018. Together with Rascal, Clid, Ruler and support Kim “Life” Jeong-min, this Gen.G lineup might not be as star-studded as the Ambition-CoreJJ-Crown iteration but certainly has the potential to uproot SKT from their throne once more.