With the announcement that the top laner could be on the move from Cloud9, here are three teams that might be perfect landing spots for Licorice.
Cloud9 almost went an offseason without a shocking player move…almost. Yesterday, ESPN’s Jacob Wolf dropped the bombshell news that Cloud9 top laner Eric “Licorice” Ritchie, who has been the starting top laner since the 2017 offseason after Impact left the organization, will be available for a buyout in the upcoming 2020-21 offseason. His buyout will mark the end of the last remnant of the C9 starting five which finished top-four at the World Championship in 2018.
Much like last year’s offseason hinged on who would buyout Vulcan from Team Dignitas, this offseason will likely hinge on which LCS team buys out Licorice from Cloud9. One could make a very good case Licorice is the best native top laner in the history of the region. He has been solidly among the three best players in his role in NA since his debut and has been able to compete with other top laners on the international stage.
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Cloud9 announced they will be promoting Academy top laner Fudge to the starting lineup. The move was made possible after Riot recently announced their plans to dissolve the OCE league and integrate its pro player base into North America.
The announcement is especially shocking when you consider 2020 saw Licorice and company deliver Cloud9 their first LCS title since spring 2014, and in dominating fashion. Licorice was also reportedly the only player on Cloud9 last offseason who was not available for a trade or buyout.
Only time will tell if an internal conflict between Licorice and the organization led to this move, or if the impact of Covid-19 and the profitability of certain team’s esports operations factored into the decision. In the meantime let’s take a look at the three teams who should be scrambling to sign him.