NA LCS Free Agency: Notable players who are good bargains for teams

Source: Riot Games Flickr

Free agency for the upcoming NA LCS season started this past week and many roster shuffles occurred. Team Liquid made a huge impact in the free agency pool acquiring former Immortals’ players Eugene “Pobelter” Park and Jake “Xmithie” Puchero, former Cloud9 top laner Jung “Impact” Eon-yeong, and former Team SoloMid AD Carry Yiliang “Doublelift” Peng. Other notable acquisitions include Michael “MikeYeung” Yeung to Team SoloMid, Echo Fox close to signing former SKT top laner Heo “Huni” Seung-hoon, and 100 Thieves picking up Kim “Ssumday” Chan-ho, William “Meteos” Hartman, and Yoo “Ryu” Sang-wook.

Most LCS rosters are finalized per ESPN and other sources, but not confirmed by the teams themselves. A few LCS teams have roster spots available. Cloud9 needs to fill the jungler position after Golden Guardians bought out Juan “Contractz” Arturo Garcia’s contract, Counter Logic Gaming needs to fill the Support role after Zaqueri “Aphromoo” Black left to explore free agency, and 100 Thieves still needs an AD Carry and Support.

There are currently high-profile players available for teams to pick up. The players below can make a significant difference in a team’s dynamic and swing games towards their favor. They contain the ability to call shots throughout the game, create plays, and have the mechanics to make a difference in games.

Aphromoo (Support)

Source: Riot Games Flickr

Aphromoo was a long-time member for Counter Logic Gaming since 2014. In his time with CLG, he matured as a person and a team player. When there were team conflicts with former teammates Doublelift and Joshua “Dardoch” Hartnett, Aphromoo stepped up to resolve these conflicts. At this point, his teammates viewed him not as a team player but a leader. When Doublelift left CLG in the 2015 NA LCS Summer Split, a void opened for a player to step up as leader. Aphromoo proved to be more than capable to fill the role.

In the 2016 NA LCS Spring Split, Aphromoo’s shot-calling carried CLG to a 2nd place finish. While CLG did not perform as well during the Summer split, they secured a position for Worlds during that year due to championship points.

In 2017, CLG struggled to find the same success as they did in 2016. They had the leadership to be one of the top teams in LCS, but lacked decision making and mechanics.

Aphromoo has not signed a contract agreement with CLG at this time to explore offers from other teams. Teams that could benefit from Aphromoo’s signing include Team Liquid and 100 Thieves. Even though sources state Kim “Olleh” Joo-sung will sign with Team Liquid, the team did not make a statement to confirm that fact. If Team Liquid signs Aphromoo instead, he will reunite with former CLG members Xmithie, Pobelter, and Doublelift. 100 Thieves are also in search of a support and Aphromoo can fill that hole. However, if Aphromoo signs with 100 Thieves, he needs a compatible dance partner in the AD Carry role. One player that has the potential to be suitable with Aphromoo is former Immortals’ AD Carry Cody Sun. Aphromoo can be a mentor to Cody Sun to aid him in decision making and maturing as an AD Carry.

Cody Sun (AD Carry)

Source: Riot Games Flickr

In 2017, Cody Sun completed his inaugural year in the LCS. There were questions coming into 2017 whether he is capable of replacing Jason “WildTurtle” Tran for Immortals. In the 2017 Spring Split, Immortals did not perform on par compared to last year, finishing at 7th place. Albeit, the roster went through an overhaul only keeping Pobelter at mid. Nonetheless, the Spring Split was a learning experience not only for Cody Sun but for the entire team. They learned from their mistakes and came into Summer Split with an open mind.

In the Summer Split, Immortals replaced Dardoch with Xmithie in the jungle position. Immortals immediately made a statement and competed with Team SoloMid to be the best team in the LCS. Both teams were neck-and-neck from Week 1 to the Championship Finals of the Summer Split. Cody Sun played a significant role in keeping Immortals at the top of the standings. He was 2nd in KDA and 1st in gold earned for the AD Carry position. However, in a close series at the Championship Finals, Immortals was unable to dethrone Team SoloMid as the best team in the NA LCS. Despite that, Immortals qualified for Worlds.

At this time, only one team in upcoming LCS season is looking for a starting role in the AD Carry position. Cody Sun can fill that role as he is not a shot-caller. He is a solid player when it comes to following the team’s needs and be in position for team fights. If paired with another free agent Aphromoo, Cody Sun has the potential to be the best AD Carry in the NA LCS.

Peanut (Jungle)

Source: Riot Games Flickr

Another player that teams should look at is former SK Telecom jungler Han “Peanut” Wang-ho. He made his name known in the League of Legends scene in 2016 with ROX Tigers. His plays with champions such as Lee Sin, Elise, and Nidalee created highlights throughout social media like Reddit, Twitter, and YouTube. Throughout his career, Peanut proved to make a significant difference in games for ROX and SKT. Although the jungler tank meta in Season 7 did not favor Peanut’s playstyle, Season 8 can be a resurgence for him.

During the preseason, many pros state that the game is currently favoring Junglers. In solo queue, champions with the highest win rates in jungle include Kha’Zix, Xin Zhao, and Shyvana. The jungle role is in a great position with the meta at this time and teams needing to fill a starting role like Cloud9 should look into Peanut.

Edit: Peanut signed with Longzhu Gaming

He will reunite with former ROX Tigers teammates, Kim “PraY” Jong-in and Kang “GorillA” Beom-hyeon. All 3 Longzhu Gaming members will look to go back to Worlds and win the championship that eluded them in 2016.

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