Winterfox make most bizarre roster swap of the season

This season hasn’t gone quite as Winterfox planned

This season hasn’t gone quite as Winterfox planned. The former Evil Geniuses team adopted new branding this offseason and along with it new hopes that their League of Legends year would go differently than a mediocre 2014.

With young up-and-coming stars Eugene “Pobelter” Park and Johnny “Altec” Ru at their two carry positions, the future looked bright.

But a 5-7 start to the League Championship Series (LCS) has left the team and its players searching for answers, including Ru, who requested a move to the support position. The team has acquiesced to his desire, leading to one of the most bizarre midseason roster moves in recent memory as Winterfox coach Choi “Paragon” Hyun-il will now man the marksman role for the team. Winterfox outlined the move in a post on Facebook, noting that support player Jang “Imagine” Hyeonsu will move to a substitute position.

Choi started for Incredible Miracle during the 2012 season of League and played for that team’s second squad last year, so he has high level experience playing marksman, and playing it well. But moving Ru, one of the team’s young stars expected to serve as a backbone of the team to a different position, doesn’t seem like the move you want to make to salvage a season.

Ru himself said that playing a carry position was “stressing me out” because at times he wasn’t being “productive.” Moving to support, he says, will allow him to be more “vocal.” Of course, in a team with three native Korean speakers and a fourth fluent in Korean, making Ru’s English communication more critical might be a poor decision. But only time will tell.

For now, though, it looks like an inexplicable change for a team that’s already falling towards the bottom of the LCS standings, save for the fact that the player requested it himself. It’s one that’s left the community in shock.

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Granted, Counter Logic Gaming‘s infamous roster swaps were often not at the behest of the player. But it’s still just as puzzling a move, even if Ru himself feels its a necessary change, because others believe in his talent as a marksman, even if he seemingly does not.

Of course, perhaps the best support players in both North America and Europe are former marksman-turned-support. Ru himself says that he’s familiar with the role thanks to his experience in the bottom lane.

Replicating the success of Zaqueri “Aphromoo” Black and Bora “Yellowstar” Kim will be tough, even for a talented youngster like Ru. But now it’s what Winterfox needs to claw their way up the LCS standings and challenge for a spot in the playoffs.

”Following our recent performances, it has become clear to us that we need to alter our team dynamic if we want to meet our goals in the future,” Ryan Armendariz, Winterfox player manager, says. “We have identified many of our weaknesses and are going to move to remedy them in the coming weeks.”

The team says that “further changes will be considered” if the move doesn’t provide the desired changes. Ru will open his career on support with trial by fire as the team will face first place Team SoloMid on Saturday.

Photo via Riot Games/Flickr