After spending two years with Fnatic, top laner Paul “sOAZ” Boyer will explore free agency for 2019.
Fnatic has given me permission to speak with other organisations before my official free agency on the 19th.
Looking forward to many more years at the top. pic.twitter.com/jTSum4xSdC
— Paul Boyer (@sOAZ) November 11, 2018
This news comes after Fnatic’s historic run to the Finals of Worlds 2018. They would play some of the toughest competition, but they would secure a Finals berth against Invictus Gaming. It was the first time a western team would reach the Finals, since Fnatic back in 2011. Unfortunately, they would fall to the Chinese third seed in a three-game stomp. Still, their performance was great leading up to the Finals and should be remembered for some time.
Boyer boasts a resume of five EU LCS championships with eight Finals appearances. He has also gone to the World Championships six times in his career. He would get to the quarterfinals once, the semifinals twice, and most recently, the Finals.
The Bwipo vs. sOAZ argument
It is clear that Fnatic thinks that the future of their top lane lies with Gabriël “Bwipo” Rau now. For many people, it does make sense for the team and the roster. It doesn’t make much sense to keep two top laners of high caliber on the same team. One player will eventually want to start over the other. Now, sOAZ is one of the most decorated Western players in the world. However, Bwipo would show off an insane amount of potential in his short time with Fnatic.
Additionally, Bwipo is young and has plenty of years ahead in his career. With more time, he could become one of the best top laners in the region. Yes, sOAZ is a veteran leader who has proven himself time and time again, but the upside to Bwipo is too much to risk losing. In the rookie’s first year, he would help Fnatic push towards another EU LCS championship. Also, he would be essential to their success during the World Championships.
However, the one argument that some people say are that all the upsides to Bwipo are still a possibility. He has only had one good season in the league, while sOAZ has had multiple. He has been the definition of consistency for so long, while Bwipo has yet to prove himself. There have been many players who have shown up for one year, only to regress immediately. Although we know this is unlikely with Bwipo and Fnatic, it could happen.
There is a huge market for an experienced top laner like sOAZ. For example, with the introduction of franchising to the EU LCS, many new teams will want a recognizable face for their roster. The four teams who will be recruiting a full roster are the Movistar Riders, Astralis, North and SK Gaming. There could be some movement along the Astralis front, especially with former EU analyst Martin “Deficio” Lynge at the helm.
The five remaining teams who made franchising were Fnatic, G2 Esports, Misfits, Schalke 04, and Team Vitality. As of right now, the only teams that could use sOAZ on their lineup could be Misfits, who have a gap in their top lane, as well as G2 Esports. They could replace their current top laner, Martin “Wunder” Hansen, but it is unlikely. Wherever sOAZ ends up, we wish the European legend the best of luck!
What are your thoughts on sOAZ’s illustrious career so far? Let us know what you think in the comments below! If you want more EU LCS coverage, check us out here!