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Former Liiv SANDBOX top laner Park “Summit” Woo-tae has reached a verbal agreement to play top for Cloud9, sources told Upcomer on Monday. As a result of this move, Ibrahim “Fudge” Allami will move to the mid lane, putting to an end C9’s extensive search for their 2022 solo laners, which saw them mull over several options.
Summit and SANDBOX parted ways after a year where the team placed fifth in the League of Legends Champions Korea 2021 Summer Playoffs after an 0-3 loss to T1 and fourth in the LCK 2021 Regional Finals after a 1-3 loss to Hanwha Life Esports. Summit had played for SANDBOX since the organization’s rebranding and entrance into the LCK back in 2018, but the team let him go along with Kim “OnFleek” Jang-gyeom on November 13th, 2021.
Fudge, meanwhile, has been with the organization since the end of 2019, when he left the Oceanian team MAMMOTH to joined C9 Academy. He played for them until October 2020, when he was promoted to the starting C9 roster.
Before finalizing on Summit and moving Fudge to the mid lane, C9 went through several options for their 2022 starting solo laners.
After bowing out of the Søren “Bjergsen” Bjerg race in favor of Team Liquid, C9 reportedly turned their sights on either promoting Academy player Jouhan “Copy” Pathmanathan or transferring 2020 starter Yasin “Nisqy” Dinçer from Fnatic. After zeroing in on Nisqy, neither C9 or Fnatic could come to terms on a buyout deal, per Upcomer insider Brieuc Seeger.
This led the North American franchise to look elsewhere, contemplating the position switch for Fudge while attempting to sign a high-end top laner from a different region.
C9 attempted to see if a transfer was possible for T1’s starting top lane Kim “Canna” Chang-dong but changed course to focus on Summit, who is an unrestricted free agent this offseason with no buyout for his contract. Per sources, C9 beat out several LPL and LCK franchises to secure Summit, including an attempt from LEC’s Fnatic to sign the coveted South Korean top laner.
C9 had a productive year in 2021, riding a second place finish in the League Championship Series Lock-In tournament into a first place finish during the spring split and the Mid-Season Showdown. But after qualifying for the Mid-Season Invitational, Cloud9 finished just outside the top four.
When they returned to the LCS for the summer, they maintained that level of performance and qualified for the 2021 League of Legends World Championship as the North American third seed. The team powered through both the play-in stage and then the group stage, ending up as the only North American team to reach the knockout stage of the tournament where they lost to Gen.G in the quarterfinals.
League of Legends free agency officially opens at 7 p.m. ET on Nov. 15.
Tyler Erzberger is entering a decade of covering esports. When not traveling around the world telling stories about people shouting over video games, he’s probably arguing with an anime avatar on Twitter about North American esports.