Nuguri from DAMWON Gaming

Who are the biggest LCK free agents ahead of franchising?

Melany M. October 25, 2020

The 2020 World Championship is not over yet, but offseason rumors are already flying around. On November 16 the free agency period starts in Korea, but it won’t be like previous years, because it’s the first year for the LCK as a franchised league.

Early in the year, the LCK announced its plans to transition into a franchised model in 2021. The selection process is over and the league will soon reveal the chosen teams. The announcement might come after the World Championship final on October 31.

All 10 teams who played the summer split applied for a franchise and most teams have its core roster secured through at least 2021. However, there are some big names entering the free market next November.

Jang "Nuguri" Ha-gwon

Regarded as the best top laner in the LCK right now, Nuguri is an asset that any team would kill for. Nuguri’s style is inventive and aggressive, he’s not scared of pushing the limits of the champions and playing weak side of the map. Nuguri made his debut with DAMWON Gaming in 2017 and is part of the core three alongside jungler Kim "Canyon" Geon-bu and mid laner Heo "ShowMaker" Su.

Nuguri has been playing in the LCK for two years and has qualified for Worlds twice, so he got more than enough international experience. DAMWON must be working hard to secure Nuguri’s contract, he’s not an asset the team wants to let go ahead of franchising.

Jeong "Chovy" Ji-hoon

Chovy qualified for Worlds two times, made it to the LCK’s finals in several occasions before reaching the age of 20. Chovy has more international experience that many veterans, something that teams value. With that history behind him, Chovy is guaranteed to get some good offers in the offseason.

In 2019, when Chovy parted ways with Griffin, he received offers from the LPL, LCS, and LCK. Ultimately, Chovy chose to follow head coach Kim "cvMax" Dae-ho to DRX. The team finished its Worlds run on a disappointing note and that might be enough for the organization to shake things up. As a free agent, Chovy is guaranteed to receive some great offers from all around the world.

Park "Viper" Do-hyeon

Another former Griffin member enters the free agency in November. Viper is part of the wave of rookies that took over the LCK in 2019. Despite his brief experience as a pro player, Viper already qualified for Worlds one time.

Viper’s time with Hanwha Life Esports was far from ideal. Viper reunited with former Griffin duo Son "Lehends" Si-woo, but their synergy wasn’t enough to take the teams to the playoffs. Hanwha finished the summer in ninth place, and if it wasn’t for the franchising, Hanwha would’ve had to compete in the relegation tournament. Viper is a reliable player and a good piece that could fit on any roster.

Park "TusiN" Jong-ik

TusiN has everything that a team needs in a support: assertive play, an aggressive approach to the game, and the agency to guide some rookies. TusiN is an institution in the LCK and is highly respected worldwide. Every offseason, there are several rumors of TusiN leaving the LCK and moving to a different region. In 2019, TusiN was rumored to move to the LCS, but such a deal never went through.

TusiN is again on the market and teams may be getting their checkbooks ready for him. If KT Rolster is granted a franchise, it’s in the team’s best interest to keep TusiN and pair him up with a good jungler.