Since its first tournament in 2011, League of Legends esports has grown into one of the biggest and the most recognized esports scenes around the world. It is the birthplace of many renowned pro players who became living legends within the LoL community. It is also a place of opportunity where new aspiring gamers can prove themselves and take their place alongside their idols. As fans, we are always eager to welcome more players with potential; it is always exciting to follow their journey as they climb to the top.
Here is a list of 5 players who have recently transferred to new teams and are worth keeping an eye on, whether they are a rookie or a player who has been playing as a pro for multiple years. I picked one player for each role; they are players who have shown a lot of potential and will definitely make 2019 an exciting year to follow LoL esports.
SKT T1 Clid
Clid is a prominent jungler who used to be somewhat underrated despite his skills. Having a wide champion pool and awe-inspiring mechanical skills, there have been multiple instances where he has turned the tide of a game and saved his team. His keen perception and quick decision-making helped him make up for his team’s loss in many games. His skills especially stand out when he plays Lee Sin; some even say he would have come in first place for the best Lee Sin in the world if it wasn’t for Flawless. Clid had a 71% win rate on his Lee Sin for solo ranked games on the KR server, scoring a 4.27 KDA during the preseason (based on data from 2018/12/24). He also scored over a 50% win rate for most of his jungle champions, placing him 3rd in the KR solo ranked ladder; he has stayed in Challenger tier for four seasons in a row now.
Despite his strong individual performance in solo ranked games, Clid didn’t receive the attention he deserved back when he played in the LPL. During the first part of his stay in JD Gaming, his team stayed around the middle of the rankings. It was up to Clid and a few of his teammates to push their team towards the top, and together they managed to make it to 3rd place in the 2018 China Regional Finals. The way Clid could carry his team with his precise skill shots and aggressive plays made him a hot commodity to many teams in Korea. In the end, the team that was able to acquire him was SKT T1.
There were many fans that were rather concerned about him playing in the LCK since he has been playing in the LPL for a long time. The two regions have different playstyles, so they were worried that he would find it hard to adjust to the Korean playstyle, which is more passive than China’s. Despite these concerns, Clid showed that he can match the Korean style when his team, SKT T1, played against APK in the 2018 KeSPA Cup, crushing them 2-0.
Although SKT T1 is going through difficult times at the moment, there are many who believe that Clid will play a considerable part in guiding his team to the international stage once more. Clid’s past experience from the LPL may be extremely beneficial when his team has to battle the teams from China to reclaim the throne.
Team SoloMid Broken Blade
Broken Blade (BB) is a recent new addition to Team SoloMid. He was known for his large champion pool and flexibility in champion picks back when he played for the Turkish team, Royal Bandits. BB’s true talent stood out most during team fights. Regardless of how his team fell behind during the laning phase, he would create opportunities for them to take kills and turn the tide of the game. Because of this, BB has been considered one of the top players in the TCL, where he and his team dominated both the TCL 2018 Winter and Summer Seasons, placing 1st and 2nd in each. During the year 2018, he got high win rates on almost all the champions he played; he got a 100% win rate on his signature pick, Irelia.
This wasn’t surprising as BB remained in Challengers on all four of his accounts before leaving the EU West server to join TSM in North America; it is hard to stay in Challengers on just one account but Broken Blade was fully capable of keeping his place on all four. This is a testament to how competent and talented he is. BB is at the moment placed 74th in the ladder in NA, having made it to Challengers in a short time during the preseason. He got a 68% win rate on his favorite pick, Irelia, and 86% on Riven (based on data from 2019/01/03). Most of the champions he played have over a 60% win rate, with many of them going over 80%. During his time playing in the EUW, he had a 70% win rate on Irelia and 60% on Riven on his other Challenger smurf accounts.
BB has the tendency to play aggressive champions that heavily rely on mechanical skill; given how he scored a fair KDA and win rate on these champions, he certainly has confidence in himself. His large champion pool will also help him adapt to any meta changes easily, meaning he will be a valuable asset to TSM in the future.
Regardless of their place in the rankings, TSM always managed to make it to Worlds, barring last year. Will Broken Blade be able to guide TSM to Worlds once more and contribute to his team climbing to the top? Many fans believe this player certainly has the potential.
DAMWON Gaming ShowMaker
ShowMaker is the mid laner for DAMWON Gaming, a Challengers Korea team that recently qualified for the 2019 LCK Spring Split. Despite being a Challengers player, ShowMaker gained a lot of attention from pro players and fans alike for his outstanding performance in KR solo ranked games. There were even some pro gamers who have been surprised by his skills when they came across ShowMaker in their ranked games. ShowMaker is known for his great mechanical skills as well as his ability to carry his team; his extraordinary Katarina plays have led to a lot of montages.
One indication of his skills is his exceptionally high win rate on his signature picks like Katrina, Cassiopeia, and Syndra in KR solo ranked games. In season 8, he had a 74% win rate on his Cassiopeia, scoring a 3.92 KDA. His other signature champions like Katarina, Jayce, and Syndra all had over a 60% win rate. ShowMaker had even better results in season 7, where he had over a 70% win rate for the top 6 champions he played. It was no surprise when he has placed 3rd in season 8 for KR solo ranked.
ShowMaker has proven his worth not just in his solo ranked games but in Challengers Korea as well; with ShowMaker joining the team, DAMWON gradually began to climb up the rankings in the 2018 CK, eventually placing 1st in the CK 2018 Summer Split. ShowMaker displayed amazing plays with his Syndra and Katarina in the LCK 2019 Spring Promotion, where DAMWON won against bbq Olivers and SANDBOX Gaming, and qualified for the LCK.
It wasn’t just the spring promotion where he stood out; in the 2018 KeSPA Cup, ShowMaker caught the attention of many viewers with his super plays on Galio when DAMWON Gaming defeated KeG Seoul 2-1. Although Galio wasn’t exactly one of ShowMaker’s signature picks, he certainly pulled it off well when he came to save his teammates while crushing his enemies. With Clid on their team, DAMWON was the one that eliminated SKT T1 in the quarterfinals. Clid has great potential and is capable of mastering a wider champion pool, which is why many fans are excited to see what ShowMaker has to offer in the future.
▲ These highlights from DAMWON Gaming vs KeG Seoul at KeSPA Cup 2018 Round 1 Game 3 show ShowMaker's Galio plays. Video from LOL Montage Highlights
FC Schalke 04 IgNar
IgNar, the new support for FC Schalke 04, was known as one of the top support players in the whole world. Prior to making his professional debut in the League of Legends esports, he was recognized as a prominent support even during his amateur days playing in Challenger tier. His strength stood out especially when he was playing for Misfits Gaming, a team playing in the EU Challengers League. With IgNar on the team, Misfits Gaming was promoted to the EU LCS 2017; at the end of the 2017 Summer Season, Misfits made it to the League of Legends World Championship 2017.
It was sensational for the League fans to see a Challengers team climbing all the way up to the world tournament in such a short period. Misfits made all this possible with IgNar -- many times, he saved his team during critical team fights with his extraordinary plays on Alistar and Thresh. He would make up for the mistakes his teammates made with good peel and macros even in most disadvantageous situations.
IgNar was known for his aggressive supporting with tanky champions. He has outstanding mechanical skill and potential as a support, which he showed off in both the laning phase and team fights. Back when the year 2017 was all about the Ardent Censer meta, IgNar did not follow the mainstream but chose to play aggressively with Blitzcrank and Leona. Even though Misfits lost by 2-3 against SKT T1, it was duly notable how they, a team that was recently created and was just in Challengers League not too long ago, won 2 sets against the titan. This was all possible because IgNar hard carried his team at Worlds, with atypical picks that could be considered a counter for the Ardent Censer meta. IgNar's performance at the events in 2017 engraved his name in the hearts of many fans.
▲ Highlights of IgNar’s Blitzcrank at Worlds 2017. Video from LOL Highlight
Contrary to his performance in 2017, it is true that IgNar did not do great in 2018 when he came back to Korea to play for bbq Olivers. However, IgNar’s aggressive play style, which he used to create opportunities for his teams to reverse the game, did not go along with the LCK’s passive playstyle. He had to take risks in order to create opportunities and carry but this did not go too well during the 2018 Summer Season. bbq did not have great team coordination, which made it difficult for IgNar to create the opening they needed to turn the tide. Eventually, bbq Olivers was relegated to the Challengers League.
However, IgNar has gone back to Europe to play in the LEC in 2019 with FC Schalke 04 now. He will finally be able to play to his own strengths once more with a team that fits his style -- aggressive and bold. Many are looking forward to seeing the return of his past glory this year with FC Schalke 04.
SKT T1 Teddy
Teddy is one of the players that received the most applause from the crowd during his time in the LCK. He is known for his aggressive and thrilling play style. With his exceptional mechanical skills and focused laning, Teddy would often pose a threat to enemy bot laners. He would overwhelm his enemies with his precise skill shots and great kiting. He was great at surviving for a long time to deal more damage during the team fights even when he put himself in riskier positions at the frontline. He was known for getting no deaths several times during the LCK, thanks to his great positioning.
There were many times Teddy would create opportunities for his team to turn the tide during both laning and team fights. He has a record of having the highest CS rating when he was in Jin Air Green Wings; he scored 1465 creep kills on Sivir during the first round of the LCK 2017 Spring Season. He had not only broken the record but also carried his team during the very match, winning 2-1 against SKT T1. It was one of the longest games ever, and JAG managed to hold out even though SKT had taken the Baron and Elder Dragon. It was Teddy’s Sivir that made all this possible.
▲ The game JAG played against SKT T1 where Teddy scored 1465 CS.
Video from LoLeventVODs - LoL Esports VODs YouTube
In addition to all those talents, Teddy is one of the players with the widest champion pool -- he could play not just most of AD Carry champions but also played many mid champions such as Vladimir, Swain, and Ryze in 2018, when AD Carries had less impact on the game. Although Teddy did not have high win rates in his tournament results, he had a moderate KDA, which was especially good during the Spring Season. In solo ranked games, he had scored over a 60% win rate for most of the champions he played in season 7 and 8. He has scored a fairly high win rate for Jhin and Caitlyn, at 63% and 69% respectively. It was clear that Teddy was a great player in both solo ranked games and tournaments when he was at the peak.
Many say that Teddy could have done better only if he was placed with another team; according to them, there were many times his team lost regardless of Teddy’s outstanding performance. Now that he is placed among other prominent players in SKT T1, it will be up to Teddy to prove that he can also be an outstanding player with a team that can back up his abilities.