The 2021 League of Legends offseason has been a wild one; several well known players have changed teams and others came out of retirement. Many of these significant changes fans will remember and a lot of eyes will be on these players to perform with their new teams. Let’s take a look at which players defined the offseason around the globe.
Honorable mention: LNG Doinb
Kim “Doinb” Tae-sang is a 25-year-old South Korean mid laner that has spent his entire career in China. In recent years, he became the face of FunPlus Phoenix, who he stayed with for three years. With FPX, Doinb also became a world champion in 2019 after beating G2 Esports in the finals with a score of 3-0. While some may think of FPX’s recent lackluster performance where they didn’t make it past the international tournament’s group stage, Doinb was still awarded the MVP award of the League of Legends Pro League’s summer split in 2021. In fact, this move could be in the Top 5, but since this is a global list it will include at least one move from each major region.
LNG Esports were a strong team in the LPL in 2021, in the summer they made it to the League of Legends World Championships. LNG have managed to keep strong players such as jungler Lee “Tarzan” Seung-yong and top laner Hu “Ale” Jia-Le. Doinb with support Zuo “LvMao” Ming-Hao joining the Chinese squad in the offseason as well. These moves makes this a roster to be feared by any team in the LPL and a team for international fans to look at in 2022.
5. Gen.G Chovy
It is our pleasure to announce that midlaner Jihoon ‘Chovy’ Jeong will be joining the Gen.G LoL team for the 2022 season. Join us in giving him a warm welcome to the team!#WeAreGenG #GenG #Chovy pic.twitter.com/zOWXk41ic1
— Gen.G Esports (@GenG) November 24, 2021
Jeong “Chovy” Ji-hoon changing teams is nothing new, but he always has impressive results regardless of where he plays. Whether it’s with Hanwha Life Esports in the League of Legends Championship Korea 2021 Regional Finals, DRX in the LCK 2020 summer playoffs or Griffin in the LCK 2018 and 2019 summer playoffs, Chovy always finished second place. In terms of individual strength, he is the probably the biggest player joining a new team. Will he finally lift the LCK trophy or get further than quarterfinals at worlds? This remains to be seen, but by joining a roster with players such as jungler Han “Peanut” Wang-ho or bot laner Park “Ruler” Jae-hyuk, it is for sure a team to keep an eye on.
Gen.G is an organization that reached worlds three out of the four years it played in the LCK. Signing Chovy so early in the offseason was a massive acquisition.
4. VIT Perkz
When mid laner Luka “Perkz” Perković left G2 Esports in order to join Cloud9 in 2020, many Europeans said goodbye to the Croatian superstar as he signed a three-year deal with the North American organization. However, after one year across the Atlantic, he is now back in Europe with Team Vitality. In his time with G2 Esports, Perkz won six League of Legends European Championship titles, one Mid-Season Invitational title and reached the finals at Worlds 2019. Vitality buying his contract and bringing him back to the LEC was unexpected by many, but must have been a pleasant surprise for Vitality fans as the organization failed to acquire Perkz in 2020. But they finally did it, with a pretty impressive roster around him. Top laner Barney “Alphari” Morris and bot laner Matyáš “Carzzy” Orság were also massive signings for the French organization as both of these players also rank among the best in their respective roles.
Team Vitality didn’t have the best domestic results in the LEC, which also made this move surprising to some fans. With Perkz leading this new roster, Vitality could add their name to the list of LEC title winners.
3. TL Bjergsen
A new chapter. The legacy continued.
— Team Liquid LoL (@TeamLiquidLoL) November 24, 2021
Søren “Bjergsen” Bjerg is a legend of North American League Of Legends. As a mid laner, he won the League Championship Series title six times. Nevertheless, one of the reasons this offseason roster move is so significant is because Bjergsen came back from retirement as he coached in 2021 for TSM. The biggest factor, though, is that he also stayed with TSM for eight years, seven of which were as a player. It’s rare for a professional player career to last that long, to spend such an amount of time for the same organization shows his loyalty to the organization.
Joining Team Liquid on top of that is no joke, they are one of TSM’s rivals and have built a roster with other superstars.
2. KC Rekkles
THE KING IN THE NORTH.
*pending Riot approval pic.twitter.com/1i8ZvAjZcE
— Karmine Corp (@KarmineCorp) November 16, 2021
Who would have expected earlier this year that an European Regional League team would appear in this Top 5? The answer is nobody and that’s why it’s here. Martin “Rekkles” Larsson has more than 579,400 followers on Twitter, which is more than any player who played in the LEC in 2021. But he’s not just a popular name, he is also a face of European League Of Legends. In addition to four domestic titles, the Swedish bot laner has qualified to worlds six times. He even reached the finals at Worlds 2018.
After a disappointing year with G2 Esports, it was known pretty early in the offseason that Rekkles would join a new team. However, each LEC and LCS team were locking in bot laners while there was no news of Rekkles to be seen. The famous bot laner joining Karmine Corp was an absolute surprise most struggled to believe. While it’s common to see LEC players joining European Regional League teams, this is not something expected out of a star player of his caliber.
Karmine Corp is an organization playing in the Ligue Française de League of Legends, the French ERL. This year they won both European Masters titles and accumulated an impressive amount of fans, making them probably the most popular European Regional League team in 2021. Several of their players made it into the LEC, namely Raphaël “Targamas” Crabbé who joined G2 Esports for 2022. While some may be disappointed to not see Rekkles in a league where he can qualify to worlds, this is arguably the most popular European player joining the most popular ERL team. Additionally, Karmine Corp also have the ambition to acquire an LEC spot one day. This roster swap may become historic as it is the first of its kind.
1. BLG Uzi
Jian “Uzi” Zi-Hao is a legend, one of the faces of League Of Legends and is coming from the most popular league around the globe in the LPL. The 24-year-old bot laner started playing in 2012. In 2013 he finished second place at the World Championship. In 2014 he made it once again to the Worlds finals, only to finish in second place. In 2016 and 2017, the player was thought to be cursed as he racked up more second place finishes in the LPL. However in 2018, he finally did it, he won the LPL 2018 spring playoffs, but he didn’t stop here. He also won MSI 2018 with Royal Never Give Up.
Sadly, Uzi retired at the end of 2019 due to health issues related to his dedication to the game, he was still with RNG at that time. Many thought this was the end of Uzi. While he did stream during that time, fans haven’t seen him play on stage for two years. However, he is back, he signed with Bilibili Gaming for 2022. BLG have also signed bot laner Chiu “Doggo” Tzu-Chan, while this makes fans unsure of how much Uzi will play, it is maybe a sign that BLG is putting in effort to have a backup plan to keep Uzi’s health under control.
Coming from FunPlus Phoenix, support and world champion Liu “Crisp” Qing-Song was also signed by BLG and will be paired with Uzi in the bot lane.
Uzi is a name known all around the globe, he is a face of League Of Legends and is coming out of retirement for a roster that will hope to keep his legacy going on. This change takes the crown in the ranking.