Author: Grayson Neander

Fnatic Announce 2023 LEC Roster

After being unable to reach their expected potential last split, Fnatic is looking to win with a different strategy this season. Their previous roster iteration from 2022 debuted some of the best players in the LEC from 2021. Joining Upset and Hylissang, Fnatic signed Humanoid from a MAD Lions team that won both the Spring and Summer Splits. They also took a chance on a young jungler from an over-performing Misfits roster in Razork. Alongside those two rising stars, Fnatic reached deep into their wallets to sign the best top laner in the LEC, stealing Wunder away from G2 Esports.What Went Wrong in 2022?Despite constructing a team of the best players Europe had to offer, Fnatic’s 2022 season was disappointing. In the 2022 Spring Split, the “European superteam” did quite well, finishing the split just behind Rogue with a 13-5 record. However, the team was constructed to win the LEC in both Spring and Summer. While they came very close to taking over in the Spring Playoffs, they fell short in the Loser’s Bracket Finals to the eventual winners in G2 Esports. Now out of contention for the European MSI seed, the team set their eyes on the biggest prize: winning the Summer Split and a spot at Worlds.Intending to grow as a five-man unit, the team refrained from making any roster changes in the midseason. The other contending LEC teams like MAD Lions and Misfits, on the other hand, made big pickups, raising the level of competition around Fnatic. As a result, Fnatic drastically underperformed expectations, falling to 5th through a string of three miracle wins over Astralis, Team Vitality, and Misfits.While they had managed to rally and secure themselves a spot in the LEC Summer Playoffs, it was not pretty. Throughout the year, the team struggled to find an identity. With stars in every role, it became unclear who Razork needed to play through to win. It was not until their miracle finish that the true star of Fnatic rose to the occasion to decimate their opponents. Although Hylissang continued to disappoint, Upset stepped up tremendously. Putting the team on his back, Upset handily defeated his opponents, and gave Fnatic a clear strategy for success that allowed them to defeat Excel, Misfits, and MAD Lions to earn their spot at Worlds.Despite being one of three teams to take a map off of eventual Worlds 2022 Runners-Up in T1, Fnatic fell short in the group stage, forcing the organization to reevaluate their roster in 2023.FNC 2023After he failed multiple times to assess and properly deal with multiple draft threats from opponents in critical matches, Fnatic’s first priority became replacing their head coach, YamatoCannon. Yamato had proven to be a valuable asset since they acquired him in 2020, however, internal discussions led the organization to take their roster in a different direction for 2023. Replacing him, Fnatic have signed Hiiva from Misfits to act as their Assistant Coach alongside Crusher, their new Head Coach who they promoted from their academy team: Fnatic TQ.Curiously, Fnatic have opted not to keep Upset for 2023. Unfortunately, the way contracts and buyouts work in the League of Legends scene have made finding a new team for the star problematic. While he is not on their active roster for 2023, Fnatic refused offers from other teams interested in him in the offseason, relegating him to what many players refer to as “contract jail.” Leaving the roster with him is their longest-tenured player in Hylissang. After being outperformed by almost every support he laned against in both the Spring and Summer splits, Fnatic rightfully decided it was time to move on. After nearly five years with Fnatic, Hylissang will be joining MAD Lions for the 2023 season.Recognizing the talents of their remaining players, Fnatic has opted to retain Wunder, Razork, and Humanoid. While this trio struggled to cooperate throughout the year, their upside was proven by their individual performances on the biggest stage of the year: Worlds 2022. Alongside academy stand-in Rhuckz, Wunder; Razork; and Humanoid were able to take a game off of the likes of T1, the second best team in the world.With Upset and Hylissang out for 2023, Fnatic did not have to look very far to find their new support. With very little practice, Rhuckz made an immediate and noticeable impact in the bot lane, allowing Fnatic to sail through play-ins and put pressure on elite teams like EDG and T1.Alongside Rhuckz, Fnatic have signed LEC veteran and fan-favorite ADC superstar Rekkles. Rekkles had previously played for the team for five years from 2015 to 2020. Given Upset’s incredible performances this year, his return has shocked many, but has also excited an equal amount of die-hard fans.To see this new roster in action, be sure to tune in when the LEC returns with their first-ever Winter Split in January 2023.

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FlyQuest Announce 2023 LCS Roster

FlyQuest has finally announced their 2023 LCS roster. Read more about their changes from 2022 and outlook in 2023 here.FlyQuest Announce 2023 LCS RosterIt’s official. FlyQuest has become the ninth of the ten LCS teams to announce their roster for the 2023 season. Ahead of them, 100 Thieves; Cloud9; Team Liquid; Evil Geniuses; Immortals; TSM; Golden Guardians; and Counter Logic Gaming (CLG) have already publicized their starting five.Unsurprisingly all but CLG have made roster changes. What is surprising; however, is that three teams have replaced four or more players from 2023. Interestingly, all three of these teams were within the top five last split. Both 100 Thieves and Team Liquid rebuilt around one player (100T Closer and TL CoreJJ), replacing four of their starters. FlyQuest, on the other hand, have replaced all five of their starters to make a title run in 2023.What Happened to FlyQuest 2022?FlyQuest’s starting lineup for 2022 was as follows:Top: Philip “Philip” ZengJungle: Brandon “Josedeodo” Joel VillegasMid: Loïc “toucouille” DuboisADC: Johnson “Johnsun” NguyenSupport: Zaqueri “aphromoo” BlackTwo of these players have already received and accepted offers to play elsewhere in 2022. Both toucouille and Josedeodo will return to their respective regions, EMEA and LATAM. Josedeodo will join Estral Esports in the LLA while toucouille will compete for Team GO in the LFL.Both Johnsun and aphromoo will not compete professionally in 2023. This marks the first time since Summer 2013 that aphromoo will not be on an LCS roster. Philip, a fan favorite, will return to play for FlyQuest in 2023; however, he will be competing on one of their two NACL (North American Challengers League) rosters: FlyQuest Academy or FlyQuest FAM.FLY 2023With Philip being given time in the NACL and the remainder of the 2022 lineup being released, FlyQuest initiated a complete rebuild around young Korean talent and proven LCS veterans. In the top lane, FlyQuest turned into a resident World Champion who led Evil Geniuses to their first-ever LCS title in Spring 2022.Replacing Philip, FlyQuest acquired the statistically strongest (by a long shot) top laner in the LCS: Jeong “Impact” Eon-young.Alongside Impact, FlyQuest wanted to have a strong LCS jungler to remain competitive with the current top junglers Inspired and Closer. Fortunately for them, TSM had just released the 2021 LCS Spring Split MVP. Filling in for Josedeodo in the jungle is none other than Mingyi “Spica” Lu.As each team is afforded two import slots to compete alongside three North American players, FlyQuest have signed the best overseas talent available.Replacing toucouille in the mid lane and Johnsun in the bot lane are two of the LCK’s best upcoming players: Lee “VicLa” Dae-kwang and Lee “Prince” Chase-hwan. VicLa has spent the entirety of his career (roughly two years) with KT Rolster where he recently played for his first-ever full split in Summer 2022. Prince, on the other hand, has played for a few more years across multiple LCK teams.He rose to prominence this year after carrying Liiv Sandbox to the LCK Summer Playoffs.Finalizing their roster, FlyQuest signed former Team Liquid Academy support and “second best support in the LCS” according to CoreJJ: Bill “Eyla” Nguyen.Community sentiment is largely optimistic, with many believing that this lineup could bring FlyQuest a title this year. Title or not, FlyQuest will certainly be at the top of the table, giving known contenders like Cloud9 and Evil Geniuses a run for their money.

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G2 Esports Announce 2023 VALORANT Roster

G2 Esports are one of the most well-known gaming organizations in the world. The self-proclaimed “most entertaining esports organization in the world” hosts professional teams in nearly ten different games, including League of Legends, VALORANT, Rainbow Six Siege, and Rocket League.The organization was founded by former League of Legends professional player Carlos “ocelote” Rodríguez Santiago, and is best known for its thriving European League of Legends team. Despite their successes across multiple games this year, G2 Esports attracted the most publicity following a social media post by Santiago with controversial figure Andrew Tate. After coming under fire from the public, Santiago doubled-down, preaching that the people had no right to “police his friendships.”At the time, Riot Games, the creator of both League of Legends and VALORANT, were still determining which teams would enter their partnered leagues (international leagues) for the VALORANT Champions Tour (VCT) in 2023. While most mainstream organizations were excluded for financial or internal leadership reasons, the negative press garnered by Santiago cost G2 Esports a multi-million dollar deal with Riot Games in their EMEA League.Left without a franchising spot for VCT 2023, G2 Esports set their eyes on the tier two VALORANT scene: VALORANT Challengers 2023.What is VALORANT Challengers?Similar to amateur leagues in other games, the Challengers aims to provide a pathway for non-partnered organizations to compete for a spot in the partnered leagues. Currently, there are three partnered leagues: Americas League, EMEA League, and Pacific League. These three leagues encompass a total of thirty teams that compete at the highest level to be crowned regional and world champions.The Challenger Leagues, however, are much more expansive. Starting in 2023, there are 21 different Challenger Leagues competing across the three major partnered league regions. The competing Challenger Leagues are as follows:Americas:North America (NA)Latin America North (LATAMN)Latin America South (LATAMS)BrazilEMEA:Northern EuropeSouthern Europe (Spain, Italy, and Portugal)France and BeneluxDach (Germany, Austria, and Switzerland)TurkeyEastern EuropePacific:South Asia (including India)ThailandVietnamMalaysia and SingaporeKoreaJapanChinese Taipei and Hong KongPhilippinesIndonesiaOceaniaEach year, the teams from each of the three Challengers territories (Americas, EMEA, and APAC) will compete in Challengers Ascension Tournaments—the formats of these tournaments are still under development—for the opportunity to “ascend” to the international leagues. Only one team from each territory can be promoted, meaning one team will be added to each international league. Further information about VALORANT Challengers can be found on Riot Games’s website here.G2 Esports 2023After it was announced that G2 Esports would be offered a spot in VALORANT Challengers, the organization quickly put together the most skilled team they could find using unsigned players from both North America and EMEA.Their team for 2023 is as follows:Shahzeb “ShahZaM” KhanMichael “dapr” GulinoMaxim “wippie” ShepelevErik “penny” PennyFrancis “OXY” HoangAfter both of their star players, Auni “AvovA” Chahade and Óscar “mixwell” Cañellas Colocho, opted to leave the organization to join partnered organization Team Heretics in the EMEA League, G2 were left to completely rebuild their roster. Two of the remaining three players departed to play for Giants, another team in the EMEA League, while the last player was released to explore his options.Both ShahZam and Gulino were acquired from Sentinels, the most popular North American VALORANT organization, after the organization parted ways with the two in favor or former LOUD and current World Champions pANcada and Sacy, as well as former XSET players zekken and dephh. Both ShahZam and Gulino were members of Sentinels when the team won back-to-back VALORANT Masters tournaments in North America and Reykjavík, Iceland.Joining the two established names are some of North America’s most underrated players. Both wippie and penny are arriving from Version 1, a top-tier North American VALORANT team, a team where they showed tremendous potential but found very little success. Alongside them, G2 Esports enlisted the help of a successful player from the tier two scene: OXY. In 2022, OXY won four amateur tournaments and came in second in five others. Across multiple amateur teams, OXY proved to be a very reliable and skilled player, earning him a spot on what will be one of the most competitive tier-two teams in 2023.

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EXCEL 2023 LEC Roster Announced

Prior to the start of the global League of Legends free agency period, there were massive rumors swirling around the Excel 2023 plans. After it was announced that their 2022 starting Jungler and Support players, Mark “Markoon” van Woensel and Mihael “Mikyx” Mehle would be leaving for SK Gaming and G2 Esports, respectively, Excel were quick to initiate a complete rebuild around one of their remaining three 2022 starters.The starting lineup heading into the offseason this year was as follows:Top: Finn “Finn” WiestålJungle: Mark “Markoon” van WoenselMid: Erlend “Nukeduck” Våtevik HolmADC: Patrik “Patrik” JírůSupport: Mihael “Mikyx” MehleWhat Remains of Excel 2022With both Mikyx and Markoon leaving for more competitive contract offers, Excel were left with mostly mediocre players. While Patrik had a standout performance alongside Mikyx in the bottom lane, both Finn and Nukeduck were rather average players by the end of the year.Originally, Excel fully intended to keep Finn; however, KOI’s (formerly) Rogue decision to release star top laner Andrei “Odoamne” Pascu, left Excel with an opportunity they could not pass up. With eyes set on someone else, Finn was given the opportunity to explore his options in the LEC.It was not long before Astralis found a spot for him after releasing their veteran top laner Vivicsacsi. Not long after, Nukeduck was released from Excel and opted to join 100 Thieves as their new Assistant Coach. It is unclear as of now if Nukeduck intends to retire completely from competitive play or if he will make a return in the future.With only one starter left on their roster, Excel put into motion their rebuild for 2023. Centered around ADC Patrik, who showed significant promise in the 2022 Summer Split, Excel have invested entirely in players who played in the LEC in 2022.Excel 2023Retaining Patrik for 2023, Excel dipped into the rosters of their opponents to find players that could facilitate his playstyle. Looking at the Support position, there was one clear option available. Although he is only entering his second year in the LEC in 2023, former G2 Esports support player Raphaël “Targamas” Crabbé was the best available active player in the free agency market.Ironically, his availability was only brought about by G2 Esports interest in Mikyx, who had previously played for them for three years starting in 2019. Although this has not been confirmed, the rumors surrounding their interest in Mikyx suggest that their latest ADC pickup, former Rogue star Steven “Hans sama” Liv, specifically requested to play alongside him. Eager to make an upgrade in their own bottom lane, G2 obliged and released Targamas.With their bottom lane now complete, Excel looked to strengthen their mid lane, a position that quickly became a liability to them headed into the 2022 Summer Playoffs. With Nukeduck taking a position in the LCS on 100 Thieves, Excel opted to spend big on a player who had proven himself to be one of the best in the league. Joining Patrik and Targamas for 2023 is none other than Spring Split MVP Vincent “Vetheo” Berrié.Although he had been with Misfits Gaming (now Team Heretics) since 2020, Vetheo made a name for himself this year after carrying Misfits to the playoffs, not once, but twice. Although he had many terrific plays this year, his standout performances include a comeback from a 10,000 gold deficit against Spring Split Champions G2 Esports.With the sudden arrival of Odoamne to replace Finn, Excel only needed to fill one position. Although Markoon had been their best performer across the year, SK Gaming left Excel in a difficult position after they acquired him for 2023. Opting to get the best bang for their buck, Excel finalized their roster with the best “under the radar” jungler of the 2022 Summer Split: Andrei “Xerxe” Dragomir.Although they finished bottom two in both the Spring and Summer Splits last year, Xerxe’s emergence in the Summer had a drastic impact on their win rate. As opposed to their 3-15 finish in the Spring, Xerxe managed to single-handedly carry the bottom-tier team to a 7-11 finish in Summer. At the same time, he consistently maintained a top three spot in the jungle behind established names like Jankos and Elyoya.With five strong and proven players on their roster for 2023, Excel could look to make a huge splash this coming split. To catch them in action, be sure to tune in to the LEC when it kicks off in early January 2023.Read more esports news.

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100 Thieves Go 3-0; Cloud9 Falters: Red Bull Homeground #3 Day 1

Red Bull Homeground #3 is officially underway. Read more about the tournament details and Day 1 results here. 100 Thieves Go 3-0; Cloud9 Falters: Red Bull Homeground #3 Day 1While the official 2023 VCT season does not kick off until January, seven VCT teams were given the opportunity to show off their VCT-ready rosters in Red Bull’s Riot Games affiliated tournament. The third iteration of this sponsored event is held in Manchester, England, and offers a $100,000 prize pool to be distributed across the eight competing teams.The first place team secures $50,000, while the second place brings home $20,000. The remainder of the prize pool is segmented into placement tiers due to the structure of the tournament stages and the absence of 7th, 5th, and 3rd place matches. As a result, the 7th-8th place finishers bring home $2,000. The 5th-6th place finishers bring home $3,000. And the 3rd-4th place finishers bring home $10,000. What is Red Bull Homeground #3?While the previous versions of the tournament have included many more teams, a smaller prize pool, and invited exclusively EMEA teams, Red Bull Homeground #3 opened its wallet and borders. This time around, the tournament was reduced to eight teams. Complications with the dissolution of teams following the announcement of Riot Games’s partnered VCT initiative resulted in the invitation of seven teams to accompany the sole remaining qualified team.Although FUT Esports and BIG had both earned a spot through the Turkish and EMEA qualifiers, BIG’s roster dissolved after it was announced that professional VALORANT would be transitioning to a partnered format.FUT Esports (a partnered EMEA team from the EMEA League), however, joined the partnered program and debuted their roster alongside the following seven invited international teams:100 Thieves (NA, Americas League)Cloud9 (NA, Americas League)Team Liquid (EMEA, EMEA League)Team Heretics (EMEA, EMEA League)Team Vitality (EMEA, EMEA League)KRÜ Esports (LATAM, Americas League)FOKUS (unaffiliated)Although FOKUS is not a part of Riot’s partnered VCT program, they are expected to compete in the Tier 2 scene and were invited alongside the seven partnered organizations.Similar to its previous iterations, Red Bull Homeground #3 is a two-stage, single-elimination tournament hosted across three days. It is split into a preliminary group stage that ends in a bracketed playoff stage. The first day of the tournament encompasses the entirety of the group stage, allowing the bracket to be laid out for the second day.The group stage splits the eight competitors into two groups of four. Each group plays a single round robin, and the three teams with the best records move on to the playoff stage. Their placement in the playoff stage is based on their record, and ties are determined by round differentials. In other words, between the tying teams, the team with the higher round win-loss differential takes the higher seeding.The second and third day of the tournament break the playoff stage into two sections. The second day hosts the quarterfinals, a best-of-three, single-elimination matchup between the second and third place teams from opposing brackets. In traditional bracketing style, the higher (2nd place) seed from the first group plays against the lower (3rd place) seed from the opposing group.Day three pits the advancing quarterfinals teams against the first seed from each group. These matches are also a best-of-three and the winners advance to play the grand finals shortly after. Unlike the previous stages, the grand finals are best-of-five, and the winner takes home the $50,000 cash prize. Day 1 OverviewWhile the group stage went largely as expected, there were quite a few surprises. The results of the group stage are as follows:Group ACloud9 (2-1)Team Vitality (2-1)FOKUS (1-2)KRÜ Esports (1-2)Group B100 Thieves (3-0)Team Liquid (2-1)Team Heretics (1-2)FUT Esports (0-3)Surprising many, FOKUS managed to defeat KRÜ Esports, and move into the playoff stage. While KRÜ Esports does not offer the most talented lineup, they are a part of the Americas League. FOKUS, on the other hand, are a Tier 2 Turkish team, who were expected to go winless in this tournament.What makes this even more incredible is that FOKUS’s win comes over Cloud9, the roster with some of the biggest names in the North American VALORANT scene. Although C9 rallied to secure the top seed in their group, their lost opener to FOKUS showed some glaring weaknesses in their perceived impenetrable roster.Looking at Group B, 100 Thieves managed to be the only team to end the group stage without a loss. Although their wins were close, their losses were similarly close. Notably, their 2-1 victory over Team Liquid was only against three of TL’s starting members. Both Redgar and nAts were absent from the tournament following VISA issues.

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