Welcome to the first instalment of OPL Shuffle, your one stop shop for all the roster moves, trades and signings of the offseason as we get ready for the Oceanic Pro League in 2018! A new edition will be going up each week right here on Respawn Ninja, so be sure to come back every Monday/Tuesday to see who’s gone where.

From League……..to beyond!

First up, we’ll cover the two players that have moved on from playing competitive League of Legends. As we found out in mid-November, TM Gaming’s support Bradley “tgun” Seymour has crossed games, almost as if it was real sports and someone was changing from rugby union to rugby league or vice versa. Returning to his roots in one of the world’s first esports, tgun has taken up residence with Legacy eSports to become amember of their new Starcraft II team that is now competing in the Starcraft II ANZ Pro League. With a storied career in League stretching back to 2014, tgun has been a mainstay in the Oceanic Pro League, and the OPL will miss his exceptional support skills.

Another support player has moved on, although he’ll remain in League of Legends for the moment. Bryce “EGym” Paule, the support for the Chiefs eSports Club, will retire from competitive play and instead move on to a casting position at Riot Games for the upcoming 2018 OPL splits. After starting out on Mindfreak eSports and moving through AV Ascension and Legacy before arriving at the Chiefs in May of 2015, EGym quickly made himself known as an outstanding mechanical player, with his nickname “EGym Ali God” highlighting his particular brilliance on League’s horned monster. Both of these players will be sorely missed and I wish them the best of luck for the future. With this news, both the Chiefs and TM Gaming are on the hunt for new supports for 2018, and I’m curious to see what talent they’ll pull upon to fill out their roster.

Player movements

Player: Andy “Cupcake” Van Der Vyver
Position: Support
Team left: Legacy eSports
Team signed: LG Dire Wolves

The shifting of support players continues with Andy “Cupcake” Van Der Vyver filling thevoid left by Mitchell “Destiny” Shaw becoming a free agent, with the OPL champions the LG Dire Wolves buying out Cupcake’s contract from the perennially second placed Legacy eSports. A background in sports (formerly a competitive tennis player) has prepared him well for the rigours of the Dire Wolves’ new training environment, and I fully expect he’ll perform even better in 2018 than his rookie year. Overall, a good pickup for the Dire Wolves, and again they secure themselves as top contenders for the OPL titles next year.

Player: Stephen “Triple” Li
Position: Mid Lane
Team left: Avant Gaming
Team signed: LG Dire Wolves

The Oceanic League of Legends community was shocked when Richard “Phantiks” Su announced his retirement from competitive League of Legends in the middle of October, after the Dire Wolves failed to make it out of the Play-In Stage at the 2017 League of Legends World Championship. After being on the team since 2014, Phantiks has been a consistent face on the OPL, from when he played under the name Perfection as a top laner to his natural home in the mid lane when he changed to the name we know now.

With a spot open for a prized position on the current OPL champions up for grabs, competitionfor that slot was going to be fierce. In the end, the Dire Wolves picked up Stephen “Triple” Li from Avant Gaming to fill the breach. An insane mechanical player, Triple possesses raw talent coupled with phenomenal drive which will serve him well far into the future. If Triple can unlock a new level of his play, he has the potential to be as good as the best midlaners of the region, if not outright the best. This is another great signing for the defending champs, and their 2018 roster consisting of Ryan “Chippys’ Short in the top lane, Shern “Shernfire” Tai in the jungle, Triple, Calvin “k1ng” Truong at AD Carry and the aforementioned Cupcake can be easily envisioned hoisting the trophy high once again.

Player: Jackson “Pabu” Pavone
Position: Top Lane
Team left: Abyss eSports Club
Team signed: Avant Gaming

Possibly the youngest player the OPL has ever seen, as he juggled school and League in 2017, Jackson “Pabu” Pavone takes over the reins of Avant’s top lane from Evan “Ceres” Mascarenhas. Just as Legacy traditionally occupy the second place spot, it has always been Avant’s fate to take that fourth or fifth spot, and something they will be definitely trying to turn around in the upcoming split. Pabu has great mechanical skill, consistently demonstrated over 3 years of competitive play. He has the potential to be a great player, but only time will tell whether Avant’s gamble pays big dividends.

Player: Leon “Frae” Lee
Position: Mid Lane
Team left: Abyss eSports Club Academy
Team signed: Avant Gaming

The second player to switch from Abyss ESC to Avant Garde, Leon “Frae” Lee started out alongside many Oceanic LoL veterans on Team Immunity before moving through Hellions ESC and both Abyss teams that competed in the OPL and OCS before being signed by Avant Garde. Tasked with the job of filling the shoes of Stephen “Triple” Li, Frae does have a hard road ahead of him to reach the highs of his predecessor, but there is no reason he can’t. With what they had, Avant have done well with this pick and Frae should be able to hold his own with the rest of Oceania’s mid lane cohort.

Player: Jordan “Only” Middleton
Position: Jungle
Team left: TM Gaming
Team signed: Avant Gaming

Arguably the standout player for TM Gaming in 2017, Jordan “Only” Middleton’s skills in the jungle are a worthy addition to the new AV roster which should be competitive moving into 2018. He played with Alpha Sydney and Nuovo Gaming before stamping his mark with Tainted Minds in 2017. Easily one of the best junglers in Oceania, Only should jump from strength to strength and make 2018 his best year yet.

In addition to the above signings, Avant Garde has retained their botlane in Blinky and Jayke, clearly intending to set them up as the bedrock that Avant will build their 2018 OPL campaign upon.