Following a disappointing end to the 2020 League of Legends season, Evil Geniuses has decided to move on from head coach Heo “Irean” Yeong-cheol. This marks the end of Irean’s second stint with a North American team.
EG made a return to the LCS at the start of the year by acquiring the spot from Echo Fox. The org also made some big splashes during that offseason, signing Bang, Svenskeren, Zeyzal, and Jiizuke. EG also signed Irean as its head coach fresh off a year with CLG.
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The team stamped their mark on the LCS by finishing in second place during the 2020 Spring Split but failed to get past FlyQuest in the playoffs. The following season, the team ran into roster cohesion issues that caused them to drop to sixth place in the regular season standings. Once again, they were eliminated in the playoffs, this time by C9.
After these disappointing results, it was clear that some changes had to be made. For the amount of resources that must have been pooled into EG’s coaching staff and roster, a sixth-place finish with an early playoff exit likely wasn’t acceptable to the org.
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No roster moves have been confirmed yet, but Irean’s departure could mark the start of some bigger changes for the team. There have been some question marks surrounding the team’s mid lane, for example, with the presence of both Jiizuke and Goldenglue—the latter replaced the former for the last few weeks of the split.
EG is not only the team going through offseason changes. C9 parted ways with top lane Licorice recently as well.
Fudge would be replacing longtime top laner Licorice, who will reportedly be available for buyout before the start of the 2021 season. The 23-year-old veteran has spent over three years with C9 since he was added to the main roster at the end of 2017.
Through those three years, Licorice has quickly become one of the best top laners in North America. As a result, he’ll be one of the most sought-after players on the market when the offseason rush begins. But his future with another organization will also depend on the price that C9 sets for his buyout.
This move follows Riot Games’ decision to close the Oceanic Pro League at the start of October. Since the OPL has shut down, all players from the OCE region no longer count as an LCS team’s import slot. As a result, Fudge can now join the main roster with European stars like mid laner Nisqy and AD carry Zven.
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In September, C9 also parted ways with veteran head coach Reapered. In his place, the team has reportedly promoted former player and positional coach Reignover. The 25-year-old competed in both the LEC and LCS as a star jungler before retiring from pro play at the end of 2018.