LoL free agency in full swing as DWG KIA, T1, HLE release players

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Following the conclusion of the 2021 League of Legends World Championship last 6 November, the League of Legends free agency period opened on Monday (15 November). 

Free agency is now in full swing in South Korea as the biggest teams in the region have already made moves, with DAMWON KIA (DWG KIA) releasing three players from their Worlds 2021 roster, T1 parting ways with two players, and Hanwa Life Esports (HLE) releasing two of their key members.

DWG KIA release Showmaker, Canyon, and BeryL

On Monday (15 November), the Worlds 2021 runner-up announced the release of three of their starting players into the LoL Free Agency pool. 

Following the expiry of the contracts of Heo "ShowMaker" Su, Kim "Canyon" Geon-bu, and Cho "BeryL" Geon-hee, these players are now exploring options with other teams.

This year, all three players were important in the team’s dominance in the League of Legends Champions Korea (LCK). 

The team also placed second in this year’s Mid-Season Invitational and were South Korea’s first seed at Worlds 2021, where they dominated in the Group stage, swept the MAD Lions in the quarterfinals, outlasted T1 in the semifinals 3-2, but fell short against EDward Gaming in the finals 2-3.

Showmaker has been with the team since 2017 as the star player in the mid lane, helping DWG KIA dominate the region since 2020 and even earn their first Summoner’s Cup in 2020.

Canyon, on the other hand, started with DWG KIA in 2018. He gained the first pentakill for a jungler in the LCK in 2019, which made him one of the best junglers in LoL. He was a key player in DWG KIA’s dominant years in the LCK, where he also was part of the team’s winning roster in Worlds 2020.

Meanwhile, BeryL joined the team in 2017, initially as the team’s bot lane ADC. He moved between ADC and Support roles in the bot lane in the next couple of years but remained DWG KIA’s Support since the end of 2018. While BeryL’s performance is not as stellar as Showmaker and Canyon, he has shown his best form in Worlds 2021.

In the post, the team said that “DWG KIA will continue to communicate with players to re-sign, to continue their time with players.” Following the retirement of their top laner, Kim “Khan” Dong-ha, the South Korean juggernaut is also looking to sign a new top laner for 2022.

T1 parts ways with Teddy and Cuzz

South Korean powerhouse T1 announced a series of roster changes in the last two days. On 15 November, T1 announced Park "Teddy" Jin-seong’s departure. This was followed by a post from T1, releasing Moon "Cuzz" Woo-chan into the Free Agency.

Teddy joined T1 in 2018 and has played as T1’s starting bot laner since then, until he moved as bot lane substitute in July 2021. As the team’s former AD carry, Teddy helped T1 win 3 LCK titles and place T1 in 3rd-4th place in the League of Legends World Championship in 2019.

Teddy currently holds the record for the highest CS rating in LoL history, with a score of 1456 creep kills.

Teddy’s contract has been terminated through a mutual agreement. Currently, Teddy is exploring his options with multiple teams from the LCK and has even “accepted initial talks” with at least two North American organizations.

Cuzz joined T1 in 2019 as the team’s jungler, where he helped T1 secure an LCK title in 2020 and participated in the Group stage of the 2020 Mid-Season Cup. In July 2021, he moved as a substitute jungler.

The contract of Cuzz ended in November 2021, and he is currently exploring other options at this time.

Hanwa Life Esports release Chovy and Deft

HLE announced on Tuesday (16 November) that they are parting ways with mid laner Jeong “Chovy” Ji-hoon and bot laner Kim “Deft” Hyuk-kyu following the expiry of their contract this November.

Both Chovy and Deft were part of the HLE roster for the League of Legends World Championship 2021, where the team had a dominant run in the Play-ins and a surprisingly strong performance in the Group stage. Unfortunately, HLE were eliminated in the Quarterfinals despite all the team’s efforts after a 3-0 sweep by T1.

Chovy is the first LoL player to achieve a 100 overall KDA in a professional league in 2019. Following his success, his fans dubbed themselves “The Church of Chovy,” believing in the player’s success in the upcoming seasons.

Meanwhile, Deft is considered one of LoL’s “greatest players of all time that never won a Worlds title.” He participated in the three World Championships with three different teams and won the 2015 Mid-Season Invitational with EDward Gaming.

He’s also the only player to reach 1000 kills in two regions, becoming the 7th player in China to reach this milestone in 2016 and the 9th player in South Korea to reach the milestone in 2019.

Chovy and Deft left DRX and joined HLE in November 2020. Both were key players in bringing HLE to 3rd place in the 2021 LCK Spring Championship, where Chovy was also awarded “Player of the Split.” The team also qualified for Worlds in the same year. At Worlds 2021, Deft had a 69% kill participation rate at the Groups and Knockout Stage.

The two are joining the free agency pool and are exploring their options with other organizations at this time. HLE also confirmed that they “will continue the conversation with the two players for the best result”.

Anna is a freelance writer and photographer. She is a gamer who loves RPGs and platformers, and is a League of Legends geek. She's also a food enthusiast who loves a good cup of black coffee.

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