League of Legends LCS: Grading the Moves from Free Agency Day 1

League of Legends. Photo Courtesy of Riot Games
League of Legends. Photo Courtesy of Riot Games /
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CLG Biofrost. League of Legends.
League of Legends. Photo courtesy of Riot Games. /

We’re only one day into the 2020 LCS offseason and already there have been huge changes to the North American League of Legends landscape.

The free-agent feeding frenzy has already started across North America, with nine of the ten LCS teams making some moves within the first few hours of free agency. While some teams most definitely improved, plenty of League of Legends teams in North America are still trying to finalize their rosters.

With all of the Wolf Bombs being dropped last night by Jacob Wolf, Tyler Erzberger, Travis Gafford, and the rest of the media, we’re here to supplement our lack of insider knowledge with wild opinions. As a result, we’ll be grading each of the confirmed transactions through one day of free agency for the LCS (unlike our evaluation of the rumors we did last week).

Cloud9 acquires Vulcan

The first of the rumors turned fact of the day, Cloud9 paid a hefty $1.5 million buyout to acquire former Clutch Gaming/Dignitas support Philippe “Vulcan” Laflamme and TSM Academy bot laner Johnson “Johnsun” Nguyen.

Grade: C-

I think Vulcan was an incredibly overrated support in a role that seems to be very talent-rich (relatively) in NA. Yes, getting a native support frees up C9 to do a lot of things, but they paid a hefty bounty to get Vulcan when they really didn’t have to.

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I rated Vulcan as the seventh-best LCS support in Summer 2019. I know Cloud9 fancies themselves as the org that can pump up undervalued assets, but Vulcan struggled despite playing with a top-three ADC in Cody “Cody Sun” Sun, so I don’t know how much he is undervalued or was actually propped up by playing with Cody.

Johnsun is a nice throw-in to see if he develops, but unlikely to be more than that.

TSM trades Smoothie to CLG in exchange for Biofrost

In the first of many straight-up trades, old rivals TSM and CLG did indeed swap supports. Andy “Smoothie” Ta heads to his fifth team while Vincent “Biofrost” Wang returns to the team that gave him his first shot at pro play.

TSM Grade: A
CLG Grade: D

A lot of people are seeing this as a trade that helps out both sides. I am not one of those people.

I think CLG got absolutely hosed if they straight-up swapped the second-best support in the LCS (and an NA native at that) for the player I rated as the third or fourth worst support in the league. Smoothie gets a lot of credit for stabilizing TSM’s shaky bot lane last year, but people forget that he had the second-worst vision score per minute among supports (2.1 VSPM) and an adjusted KDA (1.84) that was also below average for his role (support average aKDA was 1.88).

Biofrost outclassed Smoothie in every statistical category despite the fact that Bio was playing with a far inferior bot lane partner in Stixxay (rated the fourth or fifth-worst ADC in the LCS). On the other hand, Smoothie benefitted by being paired with Zven who was consistently a top-three AD Carry in the league. I think TSM completely fleeced CLG unless there is money heading out the door with Smoothie.