The LPL off-season has been a busy one. Besides transfers across teams and star academy players promoted from the LDL, a handful of former LCK players have also joined the ranks for the 2021 season.
At the same time, you’ll notice that the top two teams Top Esports and JD Gaming still have their main rosters intact. Who’s in, who’s out, and in all, how will they fare?
Out: GimGoon (Top), Khan (Top)
In: Nuguri (Top), Prince (Bot)
Unchanged: Tian (Jungle), Doinb (Mid), Lwx (Bot), Crisp (Support)
The biggest transfer of the season is Jang “Nuguri” Ha-gwon, who provides the best of both worlds of what GimGoon and Khan individually contributed to the team. A versatile carry and tank top laner, we’ll have to see just how much Tian will play around him. There are two main things to consider — firstly, the language barrier and secondly, FPX’s typical playstyle which revolves around Kim “Doinb” Tae-sang roaming to snowball bot lane.
Final roster: Nuguri (Top), Tian (Jungle), Doinb (Mid), Lwx (Bot), Prince (Bot), Crisp (Support)
Out: Ning (jungle)
In: XUN (jungle), Wink (bot), Snow (bot), Lucas (support)
Unchanged: TheShy (top), Rookie (mid), Puff (bot), Southwind (support), Baolan (Support)
The good news for iG fans is that former eStar and Royal Never Give Up academy bot laner Zhang “Wink” Rui is here to elevate bot lane, alongside iG academy player Wu “Snow” Hao-Shun and their 2020 starter Ding “Puff” Wang. Their academy support Li “Lucas” Tan-Pan-Ao will also debut.
The not so good news is that Gao “Ning” Zhen-Ning is on a temporary break from professional play, so they’ll be solely reliant on their promoted academy jungler, Peng “XUN” Li-Xun.
Final roster: TheShy (top), XUN (jungle), Rookie (mid), Puff (bot), Wink (bot), Snow (bot), Southwind (support), Baolan (Support)
In: Zhuo (support)
Out: QiuQiu (support)
Unchanged: 369 (top), Karsa (jungle), knight (mid), JackeyLove (bot), Photic (bot), yuyanjia (support)
The main roster of the number one LPL team in 2020 will be sticking together for Spring 2021. Support player previously from Team WE academy, Wang “Zhuo” Xu-Zhuo, will replace Zhang “QiuQiu” Ming, who did not get much playtime last year.
Having swept Team WE 3-0 in the 2020 Demacia Cup final for the championship, how many more will TES add to their trophy cabinet?
Final roster: 369 (top), Karsa (jungle), knight (mid), JackeyLove (bot), Photic (bot), yuyanjia (support), Zhuo (support)
In: Jinjiao (bot)
Out: SwordArt (support)
Unchanged: Bin (top), SofM (jungle), View (jungle), Angel (mid), huanfeng (bot), Jinjiao (bot) ON (support)
The dark horse third seed LPL team that took it all the way to the Worlds 2020 final managed to re-sign their star jungler Lê “SofM” Quang Duy for the new year. They also added Xie “Jinjiao” Jin-Shan at bot, who was previously from Bilibili Gaming, and will rely solely on their previous substitute support, Luo “ON” Wen-Jun.
However, without their playmaking support and shotcaller, Hu “SwordArt” Shuo-Chieh, who left for TSM in the LCS, as well as the head coach who had been developing the talent for one and a half years, Shih “Chashao” Yi-Hao who left for JD Gaming, can Suning realistically return to their peak form?
Final roster: Bin (top), SofM (jungle), View (jungle), Angel (mid), huanfeng (bot), Jinjiao (bot), ON (support)
In: xiye (mid), Mystic (bot)
Unchanged: Zoom (top), Kanavi (jungle), Yagao (mid), LokeN (bot), LvMao (support)
Why change something when it’s not broken? That seems to be the philosophy of the top two teams that dominated the LPL in 2020. The addition of former LGD Gaming mid laner Su “xiye” Han-Wei and Afreeca Freecs bot laner Jin “Mystic” Seong-jun only gives them more options to push their advantage.
Even though they lost to Team WE 3-2 in the Demacia Cup semifinals, it was without their main mid laner Zeng “Yagao” Qi. We expect to see more JD Gaming versus Top Esports finals in 2021 that will definitely not disappoint.
Final roster: Zoom (top), Kanavi (jungle), Yagao (mid), xiye (mid), LokeN (bot), Mystic (bot), LvMao (support)
Out: Aodi (top)
In: Flandre (top), Clearlove (jungle), Gori (mid), Viper (bot)
Unchanged: Xiaoxiang (top), Jiejie (jungle), Scout (mid), Hope (bot)
Former Griffin player Park “Viper” Do-hyeon will make his debut in the LPL this Spring. Bolstering the strength of bot lane, he joins fellow former LCK mate Kim “Gori” Tae-woo, who was the substitute mid laner to T1’s Lee “Faker” Sang-hyeok.
Former LNG Esports Li “Flandre” Xuan-Jun is a solid top laner who racked up a handful of highlight plays last year and has the potential to grow further. Completing the roster is Ming “Clearlove” Kai himself, who coached EDG in 2020 before coming out of retirement to grace the stage once again.
On paper, EDG’s roster has individual star power coupled with strong leadership in their veteran jungler. How well they are able to gel together, on top of communication barriers, remains to be seen. Perhaps if all else fails, they could always play around Viper to carry in the late game.
Final roster: Flandre (top), Xiaoxiang (top), Clearlove (jungle), Jiejie (jungle), Scout (mid), Gori (mid), Hope (bot), Viper (bot)
Out: Flandre (top), chenlun17 (top), Xx (jungle), Maple (mid), Duan (support, retired),
In: M1kuya (top), Tarzan (jungle), icon (mid), Hoyoung (mid)
Unchanged: Light (bot), Iwandy (support)
A former Griffin player headlines LNG’s squad this year. Lee “Tarzan” Seung-yong is here to bolster a squad that finished 16th out of 17 teams in Spring and 13th in Summer.
To fill the gap at top, rookie Chang “M1kuya” Xiao will step up to the plate. He is joined by seasoned mid laner Xie “icon” Tian-Yu — who built his career with Oh My God since 2015 — and former substitute mid laner from Team WE, Bae “Hoyoung” Ho-young (formerly known as Plex).
In the recent Demecia Cup, LNG did not make it beyond groups having finished 2-2. Rough around the edges, we all know that one star player alone cannot carry the entire team. At the very least, they’ll definitely not be finishing last this season.
Final roster: M1kuya (top), Tarzan (jungle), icon (mid), Hoyoung (mid), Light (bot), Iwandy (support)
Out: Peanut (jungle), xiye (mid), Mark (support), Killua (suuport)
In: Cult (top), Flora (jungle), Kui (jungle), Uniboy (mid), Peace (support)
Unchanged: Garvey (top), Kramer (bot)
After spending time as a substitute support with JD Gaming and their academy roster last year, Lin “Peace” Shang-Ren will start for LGD this season. Drawing strength from their own academy, LGD promoted top laner Chen “Cult” Guo-Ji, and two junglers Xu “Flora” Hui and Ding “Kui” Zi-Hao, to the main roster after superstar Han “Peanut” Wang-ho returned to the LCK.
Former LMS mid laner who played with ahq and Talon in the PCS, Chen “Uniboy” Chang-Chu enters the LPL for the first time in his career. What LGD does have going for them are experienced solo laners among the majority of former academy members.
Final roster: Cult (top), Garvey (top), Flora (jungle), Kui (jungle), Uniboy (mid), Kramer (bot), Peace (support)
Out: ADD (top), Kingen (top), Fofo (mid), Jinjiao (bot)
In: Biubiu (top), Zeka (mid), Aiming (bot), Mark (support)
Unchanged: Alielie (top), Wings (bot)
Former KT Rolster bot laner Kim “Aiming” Ha-ram, best known for his time on Afreeca Freecs, will make his debut in the LPL this upcoming season. He will be supported by Ling “Mark” Xu who represented the league at Worlds 2020 with LGD Gaming. Kim “Zeka” Geon-woo, who was with Vici Gaming, will be their sole mid laner.
Of interest is former Suning trainee and Victory Five top laner Yu “Biubiu” Lei-Xin, who made waves with the team last Summer, and is one of the strongest players on the team.
Final roster: Alielie (top), Biubiu (top), Zeka (mid), Wings (bot), Aiming (bot), Mark (support)
Out: Biubiu (top), Samd (bot)
In: Langx (top), Aliez (top),
Unchanged: Weiwei (jungle), Mole (mid), y4 (bot), ppgod (support)
Victory Five surprised last Summer by downing top teams in the league and finishing fifth in the regular season. Even though many wanted to see them at Worlds, they could not advance through the playoffs.
Many fans will be happy to know that Wei “Weiwei” Bo-Han, Li “Mole” Hao-Yan, and Guo “ppgod” Peng will continue playing together in 2021. Rising above the shadows, bot laner Wang “y4” Nong-Mo will start now that Lee “Samd” Jae-hoon has moved to ThunderTalk Gaming.
Huang “Aliez” Hao previously from Oh My God, Xie “Langx” Zhen-Ying formerly from LGD Gaming and Royal Never Give Up, will field top lane.
Do you dare doubt a team with ppgod?
Final roster: Langx (top), Aliez (top), Weiwei (jungle), Mole (mid), y4 (bot), ppgod (support)
Rare Atom (formerly Vici Gaming)
Out: Forge (mid)
In: Fofo (mid)
Unchanged: Cube (top), Aix (jungle), Leyan (jungle), iBoy (bot), Maestro (support), Hang (support)
The former J-Team and Bilibili Gaming mid laner Chu “FoFo” Chun-Lan might finally be unlocked on his newfound team. He replaces Deng “Forge” Jie who has headed to Rogue Warriors.
No longer held down by the weight of his teammates, we’ll have to see how well Fofo works with his junglers and how coherent they’ll play around Hu “iBoy” Xian-Zhao. Should RA find its pulse, they’ll be able soar into playoffs beyond their 11th place finish last season.
Final roster: Cube (top), Aix (jungle), Leyan (jungle), Fofo (mid), iBoy (bot), Maestro (support), Hang (support)
Royal Never Give Up
In: Xiaobai (top), Wei (jungle)
Out: 705 (top), New (top, formerly known as Meow), Betty (bot)
Unchanged: Xiaohu (mid/top), XLB (jungle), Cryin (mid), GALA (bot), Ming (support), Lele (support)
In the biggest twist of fate this season, mid laner Li “Xiaohu” Yuan-Hao added top lane to his repertoire because RNG needed someone to fill the gap. He might not need to flex into that role for long though, since RNG acquired former eStar players Yang “Xiaobai” Zhong-He and Yan “Wei” Yang-Wei, who reunited with former teammate Yuan “Cryin” Cheng-Weiin.
RNG started fielding GALA more towards the end of Summer last year, and he still has room to grow. Nonetheless, three eStar players together are a definite upgrade. Together with Shi “Ming” Sen-Ming, they have the capacity to elevate RNG to be real contenders in the playoffs.
Final roster: Xiaobai (top), Xiaohu (mid/top), Wei (jungle), XLB (jungle), Cryin (mid), GALA (bot), Ming (support), Lele (support)
Out: Xiaobai (top), Wei (jungle), Fenfen (mid), Wink (bot)
In: zs (top), H4cker (jungle), Insulator (mid), irma (mid), rat (bot)
Unchanged: ShiauC (support)
A brand new eStar has been born. The organization was bought out by Nenking group, the same company that owns Guangzhou Charge in the Overwatch League.
Besides two experienced players Liu “ShiauC” Chia-Hao and Yang “H4cker” Zhi-Hao previously from Oh My God, all other members were subs last year and have yet to show their worth.
Final roster: zs (top), H4cker (jungle), Insulator (mid), irma (mid), rat (bot), ShiauC (support)
Oh My God
Out: icon (mid), H4cker (jungle),
In: New (top), AKi (jungle), Wuming (mid)
Unchanged: Bright (mid), Eric (bot), Bafang (support), cold (support)
OMG finished 14th in Summer 2020. They’ve kept most of their roster, included Mao “AKi”, a former TES academy player, Wang “Wuming” Xin from Rogue Warriors, and previous RNG top laner Tian “New” Zhi-Peng. They’ve also promoted Liu “Bright” Jin-Chao and Hao “Bafang” Yi-Chen to the main team, so they’ll have to saunter by grooming the talent they possess.
Final roster: New (top), AKi (jungle), Wuming (mid), Bright (mid), Eric (bot), Bafang (support), cold (support)
Out: Holder (top), Crazy (top), Youdang (jungle), Ruby (mid), Wuming (mid), Ley (support)
In: Ziv (top), Forge (mid), Betty (bot), kelin (bot), QiuQiu (support)
Unchanged: Haro (jungle), ZWuJi (bot)
Two former LMS players Chen “Ziv” Yi and Lu “Betty” Yu-Hung will be on the same team for the first time since the start of their careers. Ziv will be making his debut in China, while Betty parted with RNG.
Former Top Esports support Zhang “QiuQiu” Ming, who sat on the bench for most of last year, will be the sole starting support for his new crew. Like iG, Rogue Warriors recruited three bot laners. The famed Flash Wolves player is of course, the most experienced, while Huang “kelin” Bo-Lin has been moved up from the LDL.
Having a veteran top, three different bot laners, and a support who desperately wants to prove himself, RW in 2021 is truly a mixed bag of players.
Final roster: Ziv (top), Haro (jungle), Forge (mid), Betty (bot), kelin (bot), ZWuJi (bot), QiuQiu (support)
Out: Morgan (top)
In: Breathe (top, formerly known as Curse), Yimeng (mid)
Unchanged: beishang (jungle), Shanks (mid), Teacherma (mid), Jiumeng (bot), Missing (support)
After a clutch 3-2 win over JD Gaming in the Demacia Cup semifinal, Team WE were sept by Top Esports 3-0 in the final. Nonetheless, it was a good showing for the team, who had to climb out of their group of death to make it that far.
Team WE is always full of promise, all throughout 2020. With more mid laners to make up for Jiang “Teacherma” Chen’s limited champion pool, their flashes of brilliance might become more frequent this year.
Final roster: Breathe (top), beishang (jungle), Shanks (mid), Yimeng (mid), Teacherma (mid), Jiumeng (bot), Missing (support)
TT (formerly Dominus Esports)
Out: Natural (top), subin (bot), Yui (support), Mitsuki (support)
In: VV (jungle), Captain (mid), Sky (mid), Samd (bot)
Unchanged: Chelizi (top), bless (jungle), Xiaopeng (jungle), Twila (mid)
At the very least, TT also known as ThunderTalk Gaming, wins the coolest team name in LPL for 2021. The former Dominus Esports finished last in Summer 2020, and is now headlined by former Victory Five bot laner Lee “Samd” Jae-hoon.
His only support, Wang “Teeen” Yao-Ji, hails from JD Gaming’s academy team. Former iG Young jungler Zhang “VV” Qi and mid laner Luo “Captain” Fei-Yang, as well as former TES academy mid laner Zhan “Sky” Xiong add fresh blood.
A place for budding seeds, we’ll see how much TT can grow in Spring… or how hard Samd can carry.
Final roster: Chelizi (top), bless (jungle), Xiaopeng (jungle), VV (jungle), Captain (mid), Sky (mid), Samd (bot), Twila (mid)