League of Legends

Biggest winners & losers in LCS and LEC after League of Legends free agency

Published: 2/Jan/2021 6:34 Updated: 2/Jan/2021 7:05

by Isaac McIntyre


The League of Legends offseason is nearly over, with the LCS and LEC on the verge of returning for the 2021 season. Now all the rosters have been locked in, Dexerto takes a look at the biggest winners and losers of LoL free agency.

The 2020/21 offseason may have been one of the biggest in League history. A number of high-profile veterans, including Bjergsen, Doublelift, called time on their storied careers, and dominoes fell across both North America and Europe in a massive roster reshuffle.

In the LCS, nearly every roster looks different; only the Golden Guardians core lineup actually stuck together, and even they will be flying a different banner.

Two of the biggest shifts in power were sparked from G2 Esports. 

The first was letting eight-time LEC champ Luka ‘Perkz’ Perković leave for North America. The second was their move to replace him; the perennial winners lured Fnatic’s Martin ‘Rekkles’ Larsen to the black and silver heading into 2021.

Here’s our picks for the biggest winners & losers of the 2020/21 offseason.

Offseason Winners


Cloud9's huge $11.75m deal to sign Perkz is one of the biggest in League of Legends history.
Riot Games
Cloud9’s huge $11.75m deal to sign Perkz is one of the biggest in League of Legends history.

For a team that so often “loses the offseason” ⁠— at least according to LoL fans ⁠— Spring 2020 champs Cloud9 have done quite well coming into the 2021 season.

The perennial LCS heavy hitters actually only made two changes to their starting lineup, but they were big ones. Yasin “Nisqy” Dinçer and poster boy Eric “Licorice” Ritchie out, boom top laner Ibrahim “Fudge” Allami and Perkz, the self-appointed king of Europe, in.

And that’s all Cloud9 needed to “win” the offseason this time around.

We can be quick on Fudge. He’s a rising star, and moved from Australia last year. He’s been tearing up Academy, and is expected to do the same in the LCS.

Then there’s Perkz. His record speaks for itself; eight LEC titles, one Worlds final, and semifinal finishes either side. The only question about the Croatian is the fact he’s played ADC for most of the last two years. A clear ‘winner’ for sure.

G2 Esports

G2 Esports are in pole position to claim another LEC title in Spring 2021.
Riot Games
G2 Esports are in pole position to claim another LEC title in Spring 2021.

Funnily enough, G2 Esports are another big winner from the 2020/21 offseason, despite losing Perkz to Cloud9. Simply put, losing a role-swapped mid laner playing ADC, and picking up Europe’s best bot laner in his place, can only be a positive for the team.

The defending LEC champs are losing their spiritual leader and captain, but Rekkles has never been one to drag down his teams.

If he can bring the same rock-solid performances he dished out for Fnatic over the past seven years, while the rest of the G2 Esports lineup do what they do best ⁠— sow chaos ⁠— then G2 should win another title in 2021.

100 Thieves

100 Thieves scooped up fourth-fifths of the Golden Guardians' 2020 roster.
Riot Games
100 Thieves scooped up fourth-fifths of the Golden Guardians’ 2020 roster.

Nadeshot’s red and white 100 Thieves are my pick of the litter for offseason winners. The Golden Guardians roster from 2020 was well-equipped to go to Worlds, and but for one small slip-up against Team SoloMid, they would have made it too.

Now, heading into 2021, they’ve kept the core together, and been handed a monster upgrade in the top lane to boot. Can ‘Closer’ Çelik, Victor ‘FBI’ Huang, Tanner ‘Damonte’ Damonte, and Choi ‘huhi’ Jae-hyun have all made the move to 100 Thieves on long-term deals.

Add in Kim ‘Ssumday’ Chang-ho, and that’s a killer LCS lineup.

Expect 100 Thieves to be challenging for their first North American title by the end of this season. With so much upheaval in the LCS, to have four of the same lineup together off the bat will prove key, and Ssumday is just the cherry on top.

SK Gaming

Could SK Gaming repeat the MAD Lions blueprint this time around?
Riot Games
Could SK Gaming repeat the MAD Lions blueprint this time around?

The final winner may be an outside pick for some: SK Gaming. The German org overhauled its 2020 roster, and picked up a number of exciting young European Masters stars.

This gets a big green tick of approval on our end. These aren’t names many people will have heard of in the wider League of Legends community but boom rookies like Ersin ‘Blue’ Gören,  Jean ‘Jezu’ Massol, and Kristian ‘Tynx’ Hansen are aiming to impress.

Treatz and Jenax are more known quantities, but blending this big mixing pot of young European talent together should be an exciting rollercoaster for SK Gaming fans. Dexerto has a good feeling SK should make playoffs with a burst, like MAD last season.

The only concern might be a similar flame-out, like the MAD Lions suffered at Worlds in late 2020, but with Jenax and Treatz bringing experience, it should all work out okay.

Offseason Losers

Golden Guardians

Golden Guardians are putting their stock in youngsters for LCS 2021.
Riot Games
Golden Guardians are putting their stock in youngsters for LCS 2021.

If 100 Thieves were one of the biggest winners of the offseason, then Golden Guardians have to be one of the losers. It makes sense, with owners the Golden State Warriors pulling back funding in 2021 to deal with the NBA’s crowdless situation, but is still a loss.

As mentioned before, GGS came very close to Worlds last year. Without double elimination, they basically would have been a shoo-in. Instead, they had to watch from home as TSM flew to Shanghai in their stead, then they lost that star-studded roster to boot.

There’s little to love about the new lineup too. Academy pickups like Ablazeolive are interesting but, unfortunately, fresh faces won’t win titles this year.


Astralis looks set for another tenth-place finish in the LEC this year.
Riot Games
Astralis looks set for another tenth-place finish in the LEC this year.

It’s kind of hard to lower expectations after you ran aground in tenth, but Astralis have managed to do it. Picking up youngsters is a good idea, but when your veteran core is Nukeduck and promise it’s hard to get excited.

Astralis were picked clean by Team Liquid, Fnatic, and Immortals in the offseason. They look like they’re just trying to make up numbers in the LEC again this year.

Jeskla could be a bright spot, but there’s question marks over the Swede until he plays, and having promisq as support won’t help anything. Astralis excel at CSGO, sure, but looks to have missed the mark again in League of Legends.


Rekkles left Fnatic after seven years with the org.
Riot Games
Rekkles left Fnatic after seven years with the org.

Now, on paper, Fnatic haven’t done too badly. Elias ‘Upset’ Lipp is regarded as a solid European ADC. Nisqy could be an upgrade over Tim ‘Nemesis’ Lipovšek. Any offseason that sees you hand your best player off to your rivals is a loss, however, and one that Fnatic knows all too well.

Since the LEC veterans gave G2 Esports their mid laner, Caps, they’ve lost four seasons in a row to their arch-enemies. Now they’ve let Rekkles go too, and neither of their new signings should bridge the gap that just got even bigger.

Fnatic may have upgraded overall, and could be a clear second-place team if everything goes according to script. The odds are against them to break that mold.

Team SoloMid

Doublelift retired, ending his second stint on TSM, ahead of the 2021 season.
Riot Games
Doublelift retired, ending his second stint on TSM, ahead of the 2021 season.

And so we get to TSM, and their 2021 roster. This could well be a coinflip lineup, and the defending North American champs could well have been dubbed “winners” if the team’s rivals hadn’t recruited so well. There are some issues though.

The first is Heo ‘Huni’ Seung-hoon. The South Korean top laner has a list of achievements any League star would be proud of, including a Worlds final and multiple domestic titles, but is far from his glory days coming into 2021. To most, he’s a bad pickup for TSM.

This is especially stark when Licorice and Impact were available.

TSM also lost two of their greatest ever stars, Bjergsen and Doublelift, ahead of 2021. That in itself makes the new season a tough ask, as they look to find their feet in a new era. Only jungler Mingyi ‘Spica’ Lu remains from the 2020 lineup in a massive overhaul.

Tristan ‘PowerofEvil’ Schrage, Hu’ SwordArt’ Shuo-Chieh, and Lawrence ‘Lost’ Hui are all solid. Whether they work together, well, that we’ll see.

So there you have it; all the winners and losers from the LCS and LEC heading into the new year. Europe’s premier competition is set to begin on Jan. 22, while the LCS begins a week earlier with their preseason “Lock In” tournament on Jan. 15.

League of Legends

LIVE: LCS Lock In 2021 Day 1: Perkz’s debut for Cloud9 goes awry

Published: 15/Jan/2021 23:00 Updated: 16/Jan/2021 2:52

by Andrew Amos


The LCS has kicked off 2021 not with the Spring Split, but with a new tournament called Lock In. Similar to the KeSPA Cup or Demacia Cup, NA’s top teams will duke it out in a pre-season event right before the main season. Here’s what you need to know.

  • 100 Thieves, Liquid, Evil Geniuses, Dignitas open up LCS Lock In with wins.
  • Perkz’s Cloud9 debut goes awry with 4/7/2 statline on Yone.
  • Golden Guardians vs CLG next at 7pm PT / 10pm ET.

LCS Lock In: Stream

The LCS Lock In tournament is the 2021 starter for League of Legends in North America. All 10 LCS teams will take part in the two-week competition that gives fans a taster of the year to come.

They’re not playing for pittance either. The winning team will take home $150,000 USD, and a lot of confidence heading into the start of Spring 2021 in February.

LCS Lock In 2021: Teams & groups

As we mentioned earlier, all 10 of the LCS teams will be taking part in the Lock In tournament. Some teams may choose to field their academy rosters instead of their main rosters, but with $150,000 on the line, there’ll definitely be some teams gunning for the flag.

Among them, Summer 2020 champions TSM would be favorites. Having made a number of moves in the off-season, only keeping jungler Mingyi ‘Spica’ Lu, the new squad will have a hard task in front of them. Team Liquid, CLG, and Cloud9 also made some big moves in the off-season to catch back up.

The 10 teams will be split into groups of two, with the top four from each group making it to the single-elimination playoffs.

Group A Group B
TSM FlyQuest
100 Thieves Cloud9
CLG Dignitas
Golden Guardians Evil Geniuses
Team Liquid Immortals

LCS Lock In 2021: Schedule

Groups Day 1: Friday, January 15

Group Match PT ET GMT
Group A 100 Thieves 1 – 0 TSM 3pm 6pm 11pm
CLG 0 – 1 Liquid 4pm 7pm 12am (Jan 16)
Group B Cloud9 0 – 1 Evil Geniuses 5pm 8pm 1am (Jan 16)
Dignitas 1 – 0 FlyQuest 6pm 9pm 2am (Jan 16)
Group A Golden Guardians vs CLG 7pm 10pm 3am (Jan 16)

Groups Day 2: Saturday, January 16

Group Match PT ET GMT
Group B Immortals vs Evil Geniuses 1pm 4pm 9pm
Group A Golden Guardians vs TSM 2pm 5pm 10pm
Group B Cloud9 vs FlyQuest 3pm 6pm 11pm
Immortals vs Dignitas 4pm 7pm 12am (Jan 17)
Group A CLG vs 100 Thieves 5pm 8pm 1am (Jan 17)

Groups Day 3: Sunday, January 17

Group Match PT ET GMT
Group B Immortals vs Cloud9 1pm 4pm 9pm
Group A Liquid vs 100 Thieves 2pm 5pm 10pm
Group B Dignitas vs Evil Geniuses 3pm 6pm 11pm
Group A CLG vs TSM 4pm 7pm 12am (Jan 18)
Golden Guardians vs Liquid 5pm 8pm 1am (Jan 18)

Groups Day 4: Friday, January 22

Group Match PT ET GMT
Group B Dignitas vs Cloud9 3pm 6pm 11pm
Group A Golden Guardians vs 100 Thieves 4pm 7pm 12am (Jan 23)
Group B Evil Geniuses vs FlyQuest 5pm 8pm 1am (Jan 23)
Group A Liquid vs TSM 6pm 9pm 2am (Jan 23)
Group B Immortals vs FlyQuest 7pm 10pm 3am (Jan 23)

Quarterfinals Day 1: Saturday, January 23

TBD vs TBD 1pm 4pm 9pm
TBD vs TBD 5pm 8pm 1am (Jan 24)

Quarterfinals Day 2: Sunday, January 24

TBD vs TBD 1pm 4pm 9pm
TBD vs TBD 5pm 8pm 1am (Jan 24)

Semifinals Day 1: Friday, January 29

TBD vs TBD 3pm 6pm 11pm

Semifinals Day 2: Saturday, January 30

TBD vs TBD 1pm 4pm 9pm

Grand Finals: Sunday, January 31

TBD vs TBD 1pm 4pm 9pm