Santorin Leaves NRG, Intends to Continue LCS Career

Aug 12, 2016

Santorin will not be helping NRG Esports try and work their way back into the NA LCS. The Danish jungler announced he is now a free agent via Twitter on Wednesday evening.

Was Joining NRG A Mistake for Santorin?

Santorin joined NRG after a short break in competitive play following his time spent playing with fellow Dane Bjergsen on TSM. Santorin played on TSM during a time the organization was transitioning out of their longtime veterans and into a younger, stronger team built around superstar midlaner Bjergsen.

Nearing the end of Santorin’s time on TSM he was not well regarded by the vocal majority of TSM fans who deemed him a ‘human ward’ because of his passive play. It’s difficult to tell how much of that was Santorin’s individual jungle style and how much was a systemic problem within TSM.

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Looking at Santorin’s decision to join NRG Esports from the outside would make it appear disastrous. A team of experienced veterans revealed itself as a group of washed-up players passed their prime. AD carry Ohq entered the season with plenty of hype behind his history of dominating in the Challenger Series, but was unable to translate his skills to the big leagues.

Life as a Free Agent

In reality Santorin will leave NRG with his highest market value yet. Santorin was far and away the best player on NRG for the vast majority of games the team played. Although there were still moments where he chose the safer, more passive pathing over a higher yield gank path, Santorin shined bright throughout the split on a dull NRG squad.

Despite securing only 4 series wins throughout the 18 series season Santorin managed to put up a 40% first blood rate. That was good enough to rank him 4th in the NA LCS above such names as Reignover, Dardoch, and Xmithie. Santorin also ranked first overall in kill participation among NA LCS junglers.

Rick Fox

Who Signs Santorin?

Now Santorin awaits the end of the Summer split to receive the right offer from his third LCS team. He may be waiting a while – playoffs are just getting underway, and then worlds. The next split doesn’t start until early on in 2017. Let’s speculate anyway.

The most popular theory on where Santorin should (not will) end up is Echo Fox. Echo Fox finished Summer with only a single series win forcing them to fight for their life in the relegation tournament. They survived, but it may have been too close for comfort for Froggen and team owner Rick Fox.

Echo Fox have a struggling young jungler of their own who is receiving much of the same criticism Santorin heard at the end of his tenure with TSM. On paper Santorin would certainly be an upgrade, but does he want to play for another bottom tier team trying to turn things around?

He might not have a choice. Barring a massive breakdown by Svenskeren, Xmithie, or the least likely of all, ReignOver, the free agent jungler will almost certainly be fielding offers from the bottom 5-6 NA LCS teams – unless he is willing to return home to Europe, that is.

Is there a chance Liquid moves on from Dardoch after a poor playoff showing? Maybe. He’s been suspended before, and the team can’t be happy with his recent on-stream toxic behavior. Never say never.

Stats via Oracles Elixir.

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Jamie Jacobs
Jamie Jacobs is a bot lane main who once won 17 consecutive Janna games. His favorite champions are Thresh, Kalista, and Bard. Jamie writes about competitive League of Legends and the professional gaming scene every week at Esports Edition.
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