With the dust settling after that climatic finish to what only can be described as a roller coaster League of Legends World championship, it looks as if the first of many changes to high profile rosters has begun. Arguably China’s best team and first seed Edward gaming came into Worlds as potential favourites to make the grand finale, but were disappointingly sent home by the ROX Tigers in the Quarter finals, now it appears that they’ve lost their two best players. Both Heo ‘PawN’ Won-seok and Kim ‘Deft’ Hyuk-kyu have announced their imminent departure from EDG after the Demacia Cup later this month.
Both PawN and Deft who previously played on different teams under the Samsung umbrella moved to the LCK in late 2014 in what is now known as the Korean pro exodus. This exodus stripped Korea of much of its major talent due to large Chinese investors and sponsors offering big bucks to pro players in the hopes of creating super teams, combining both Korean and Chinese talent. Unfortunatly for players however, this formula has yet to produce a summoners cup for China, and now appears to have lost them some of their biggest imports. PawN made his announcement via social media saying:
“During my two years in EDG there were a lot of tough moments but I won a lot of tournaments and even learned a little Chinese, so I think it was time well spent,” he wrote. “If I had any regrets, it would be that we lost against the ROX Tigers without being able to play a single game. I want to thank EDG for taking care of me for two years and I hope they have more success next year.”
PawN also touched on his back injury and what team and region he may attend.
“I don’t know what team I’ll be a part of next year, but I will work hard to show an even better performance for worlds. As for my back, I’ve been taking good care of it so I don’t expect it to be a problem during practice or competition.”
Whether or not EDG’s now former mid laner PawN and ADC Deft return to Korea is uncertain at this point, but it will be interesting to see if other pro’s follow this move. Pawn and Deft are still considered some of the best players in the world in their positions.
On the flip side to this story however is EDG’s rumoured moves attempting to import Sk Telicom T1’s mid laner Faker. If you don’t know by now, Lee Sand-hyeok aka Faker is the world’s best League of Legends player who recently racked up his third world championship title and first back to back title in League of Legends history. Faker was apparently offered 2 million dollars back in late 2014 during the exodus, but knocked it back, apparently stating he wanted at least $6m to “start talking”.
The rumour which started as whispers has now taken a more solid form after being talked about by respected and official figures in the League community such as FOX’s head coach Heaventime, who tweeted this about a potential offer towards Faker.
Hmm interesting rumor that EDG has offered $4m to Faker
— Simon (@FOXheavenTime) October 31, 2016
It’s worth mentioning that large figures like this are not totally unforeseeable in Chinese esports, as figures such as the son of richest man in main land china Wang Jianlin own teams in the LCK. With the rumour mill now in overdrive, and players leaving their respective organisations, it will be interesting to see what will happen to many teams. If we learnt anything from the last exodus, it’s that huge shifts in power due to these roster changes terra form the professional League of Legends scene.