While the North American League starts to settle down and teams begin to settle, the pre-season 2016 Korean League is ablaze with action. Players leaving teams, management clearing teams to bring on new talent. The majority of this action has happened within the past few days and with this many changes it is hard to say who is safe. Listing out the changes individually could get confusing so they will be grouped by teams:
NaJin e-mFire took roster changes to a whole new level terminating nine of their player contracts as well as two of their coaches. The team announced this over a Korean News site Fomos on the 30th of November. NaJin have been a long standing team in Korea since 2012 and founded teams such as NaJin Sword and NaJin Shield. In the news release from November 30th the team’s owners stressed that they are clearing out the roster for new and talented individuals to bring the team to new heights. They thanked the fans for their continued support as the team undergoes these growing pains. Thus far NaJin has yet to release any information on the players that they are bringing aboard. There have been some rumors that the team might be disbanding but as of late, these are just rumors.
Next up, Samsung Galaxy White, the name might sound familiar because the team placed very well in 2014. However, to start 2015, the Korean esports Association (KeSPA) announced that organizations will not be allowed to have multiple teams and the Samsung organization subsequently released all of their players. As the team settled and found players they failed to perform as well as the previous season. The pre-season 2016 changes brought on new Top, AD Carry and Jungle positions. As recently as the 1st of December five players left the Samsung organization to become free agents.
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KT Rolster also felt the impact of the rule change banning organizations from having more than one team. The newly merged team did not place well in the 2015 circuit. In the massive pre season overhaul KT Rolster lost two supports, two mids and an AD Carry to free agency. Along the way they picked up a Jungle and support player. The team retains a few substitute positions and the roster looks to be filled for the pre-season 2016.
Jin Air Green Wings recently competed in the Intel Extreme Masters in San Jose. Just ten days after the tournament ended and the team placed 3rd-4th, three members of Jin Air’s starting line up left the team. As of the 2nd of December all three former teammates remain free agents.
CJ Entus are going through some changes as well. The organization has been around and competed in League since Season two. During the start of the pre-season 2016 the team underwent a few roster changes. In the following months the teams saw even more changes including the most recent loss of their Mid, Jungle and AD Carry.
Lastly and quite possibly the most astonishing of all is the move made by Lee “Easyhoon” Ji-hoon. The former Mid laner for SK Telecom T1 lived within the shadow of famed Mid laner Lee “Faker” Sang-hyeok. As the season progressed Ji-hoon made himself known and is now signed to play for Vici Gaming in China. The move to China makes sense as Ji-hoon has the opportunity to make and even greater impact on a league where Faker is not playing in his place.
With this recent flurry of changes in Korea it seems as though no one is a safe bet. These changes mark a significant attempt for organizations to increase their standings within the League. That might sound ridiculous coming from the a region that currently has the most successful League of Legends teams in the world but competition is fierce. With the 2016 season looming in the not too distant future, the teams will soon have to lock in rosters or be disbanded.