Image credit: LoL Esports (composite)
Cloud9 are parting ways with top laner Eric “Licorice” Ritchie after a three-year tenure as a starter in the League of Legends Championship Series (LCS)’s roster, both parties have revealed on Oct. 19 via social media. The news was announced after a report from ESPN Esports’ Jacob Wolf revealed that the academy's top laner Ibrahim “Fudge” Allami and head coach Kim “ReignOver” Yeu-jin would be joining the starting lineup.
Licorice’s tenure with Cloud9’s LCS squad started in 2018 when after replaced Jung "Impact" Eon-yeong during the offseason. From there, he rose as one of the best top laners of the region, taking the LCS to its best showing ever at the World Championship – the semifinals in 2018 – then followed it up with a group stage exit in 2019.
Cloud9’s 2020 season started on a strong note as they lost two games throughout the entire spring split, lifting the LCS trophy for the first time since the 2014 LCS summer split. However, after an 8-0 start in the summer split, the team lost 11 of its next 15 games and fell in fourth place, missing the Worlds for the first time ever. They subsequently parted ways with Bok “Reapered” Han-gyu after four years of collaboration on Sep. 14.
As the organization eyed its options for 2021, Riot Games’ announcement of the closure of the Oceanic Pro League (OPL) and of its players’ ability to count as residents within the LCS allowed them to promote Fudge to the starting lineup. Had the OPL remained active, they would have been unable to field him as they already have Yasin “Nisqy” Dinçer and Jesper “Zven” Svenningsen, two European imports, on the lineup.
In the meantime, the organization is promoting coach ReignOver and top laner Ibrahim “Fudge” Allami from their academy lineup to the League of Legends Championship Series (LCS) squad, according to a report from ESPN Esports’ Jacob Wolf. ReignOver and Fudge are emerging from a successful season in the Academy League as they finished first in the regular season and in the playoffs throughout 2020.
Following Licorice’s departure, Robert “Blaber” Huang is the sole remaining member of the 2018 Worlds semi-finalist squad. Of the other members of that roster, Nicolaj “Jensen” Jensen met with the most success with two LCS titles and a Mid-Season Invitational finals appearance in 2019. Dennis “Svenskeren” Johnsen and Tristan “Zeyzal” Stidam left for Evil Geniuses in the end of 2019, and Zachary “Sneaky” Scuderi left the active roster before 2020.