Top laner Eric “Licorice” Ritchie confirmed through Twitter that he won’t be coming back to the Cloud9 starting roster in 2021, so he’s looking for a new team.
Licorice joined Cloud9 in November 2017 as the replacement for Jung “Impact” Eon-yeong. Up until that point, Licorice had little professional experience and not many people knew of him. In his debut, Licorice took the LCS by storm and quickly became one of the best top laners in the region.
Cloud9 told me last week that I won’t be a part of the team in 2021. I’m so proud I could help bring the trophy home for all of the C9 fans while I was here. Changing teams is part of being a pro and I’m ready to compete with a new team next year.
— Licorice (@Licorice) October 19, 2020
With the news that players from Oceania no longer count as imports, LCS rosters are due for some changes. According to several reports, Cloud9 is promoting Cloud9 Academy top laner Ibrahim “Fudge” Allami to the main roster. That’s just the first of many potential rosters moves to come for LCS teams.
Licorice is entering the free agency with everything on his favor. Licorice is a North American resident with plenty of international experience and an LCS title to his name. Most teams would be lucky to have him, and there are a few LCS rosters in desperate need of just such a top laner.
Counter Logic Gaming is looking for an upgrade
The first team that comes to mind is Counter Logic Gaming, a team that place ninth and tenth in spring and summer respectively. CLG simply cannot seem to get it right. The organization is at its wit’s end and is in desperate need of a change.
The existing contract with current top laner Kim “Ruin” Hyeong-min is expiring next November, so CLG will be in the market for a new top laner. Having Licorice on the roster will allow CLG to use the import slot on another player, perhaps a jungler.
It’s too early to know the exact roster plans for CLG, as the team needs to find a head coach first.
Licorice fits the Evil Geniuses master plan
The team that should push the hardest for Licorice is Evil Geniuses. The organization has two decent top laners, but they’re not at the same level as Licorice. Including Licorice in the top lane opens an import slot, so Evil Geniuses can play both mid laner Daniele “Jiizuke” di Mauro and bottom laner Bae “Bang” Jun-sik, who are under contract through 2021.
Evil Geniuses had the best results with Jiizuke and Bang as starters, so it’d make sense for the team to get the right pieces around them.
Immortals is looking to rebuild
Just like CLG, Immortals is one the teams that struggled the most in the LCS in 2020. After a series of questionable roster moves, Immortals finished the summer split in tenth place. Halfway through the split, the team demoted its entire LCS roster and used the Immortals Academy lineup. It all lead to the departure of its head coach.
Right now, Immortals is missing a head coach and several players to compete both the LCS and the Academy rosters. Immortals needs a top laner with agency, and Licorice would be the perfect fit for the team.
The League of Legends pro play free agency opens officially on November 17.