ROCCAT patches together final roster with free agents from across Europe
After losing all its players to different teams, Team ROCCAT has finalized its roster for the 2016 season. The brand-new squad includes four League Championship Series (LCS) veterans and one LCS rookie.
Former long-time SK Gaming top laner Simon "fredy122" Payne, who left his previous team after internal disputes and relegation from the LCS, has signed and scrimmaged with the team. It has also acquired former Copenhagen Wolves starting and Unicorns of Love substitute jungler Karim "Airwaks" Benghalia.
For its mid lane and support role, the team has brought in two players from the now-disbanded Gambit Gaming: Swedish mid laner Felix "Betsy" Edling and Russian legendary support Edward "Gosu Pepper" Abgaryan. Filling out the bottom lane with Abgaryan is former Renegades and long-time Gambit prospect marksman Karim "Jébus" Tokhi.
Breitbart's Richard Lewis reported that both Abgaryan and Tohki were close to signing with ROCCAT on Dec. 1. Sources close to both players confirm that the duo have now signed and will be competing with team in the 2016 season.
As for the team’s support staff, its coach is currently unknown after reports of head coach Jakob “YamatoCannon” Mebdi is searching for a new home. However, manager Tomislav “flyy” Mihailov will remain at the team’s helm for next year.
Payne and Benghalia’s signings may be the most surprising. Both players were widely criticized for their performances in 2015, with the Copenhagen Wolves ultimately replacing Benghalia with Dutch jungler Ilyas "Shook" Hartsema on June 23. Payne was never benched. But he also had a bumpy performance throughout the summer.
Tohki, Abgaryan, and Edling have scrimmaged together in the past. Tohki was set to replace Gambit marksman Kristoffer "P1noy" Albao Lund Pedersen after the Spring Split, but he moved to North America, with Konstantinos "FORG1VEN" Tzortziou ultimately taking the Gambit spot.
ROCCAT's roster began dissolving in late November after former jungler Marcin “Jankos” Jankowski and support Oskar “VandeR” Bogdan took a deal with H2k Gaming. That moved prompted mid laner Erlend "Nukeduck" Våtevik Holm to move to Team Vitality, while remaining members Etienne "Steve" Michels and Rasmus "MrRalleZ" Skinneholm were loaned to a Challenger squad. That Challenger team was then signed by Elements after it failed to sell its LCS spot.
ROCCAT’s new roster may struggle against the tough opposition in Europe next season. Worlds semifinalist Origen's roster has barely changed, while other teams—Fnatic, H2K, Vitality, Splyce—have brought in top talent in an attempt to bolster their own rosters.
Update 12:06pm Jan. 5: ROCCAT has announced its final roster, confirming the entirety of this report.
Photo via Riot Games/Flickr