One of this year’s contenders at the League of Legends World Championship revealed its new 2016 lineup this morning.
Yesterday was rough for KT Rolster, one of the most storied esports franchises in Korea. The team revealed that two starters from its 2015 squad, mid laner Kim “Nagne” Sang-moon and star playmaking support Lee “Piccaboo” Jong-beom, had left the team, along with three more players. Then StarCraft legend Lee “Flash” Young-ho retired, ending a six-year stint with the team.
Today, the team’s fans got the good news. KT Rolster has added mid laner Song “Fly” Yong-jun to the lineup, the first player to return to Korea after leaving for China during the infamous exodus prior to the 2015 season, and up-and-coming support player Lee “IgNar” Dong-geun, one of the few in the role that might be able to match the aggressive playmaking KT Rolster lost with Piccaboo’s departure.
The two youngsters, both 19 years old, should soften the blow of losing a player like Piccaboo, who helped lift KT Rolster to challenge for the LCK title in Korea after joining the team in the Summer this year.
An up-and-coming mid laner on Jin Air Green Wings in 2014, Fly joined Invictus Gaming ahead of the 2015 season but was moved to their sister team Young Glory shortly after the Chinese squad recruited star mid laner Song “RooKie” Eui-jin. He showed enough in the LPSL, the league under China’s top division, to attract the attention of a team that reached the World Championships from the toughest region. Fly should be an upgrade over Nagne, a player who often seemed the weakest link on KT Rolster.
The move from Piccaboo to IgNar is a tough pill to swallow considering Piccaboo’s playmaking and shot calling really helped make KT Rolster a true contender. But IgNar played like Incredible Miracle’s best player during the Summer season, an emerging support similar to Piccaboo with a playmaking flair on champions like Alistair and Thresh. If KT Rolster can’t bring back Piccaboo, who likely has large offers from foreign teams, reportedly turning down one from Team SoloMid, then IgNar might be the best option to replace him.
It’ll be tough for KT Rolster to reach the world stage yet again in the incredibly competitive Korean region, but they’ve managed to come out of the tumultuous offseason with a roster that should be capable of doing it.
Photo via Riot Games/Flickr
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