Image credit: Riot Games (for the headshots and for the background image which was later blurred), SK Gaming (Logo)
SK Gaming's League of Legends European Championship (LEC) squad is set to undergo a major shuffle according to a report by Esportmaniacos' Pablo "Bloop" Suárez, further confirmed by investigative journalist Jacob Wolf: the team is set to sign Kristian "TynX" Østergaard Hansen, Jean "Jezu" Massol from La Ligue Française (LFL), France's regional league; and Ersin "Blue" Gören from 1907 Fenerbahçe.
The move signals a radical shift away from the lineup that emerged in the 2020 LEC summer playoffs, after a disastrous spring showing prompted another roster shuffle before it. Should those players indeed join SK Gaming, top laner Janik "Jenax" Bartels would be the sole confirmed returning member.
SK Gaming's reported decision to bank on young talent is not without precedent: Misfits Gaming had limited success at doing so in the 2020 spring split, whereas MAD Lions thrived in the LEC throughout the season and reached Worlds with a lineup that included four rookies.
Blue was among the most notorious players in the Turkish circuit, maintaining a solid level of play throughout the 2020 TCL season and seamlessly adapting to patch changes. The mid laner's performance helped Fenerbahçe win the spring split outright, but a significant roster shuffle derailed the team's campaign in the summer split, causing them to miss the playoffs.
In the AD carry position, the team is eyeing Jezu, whose arrival in LFL-side Misfits Premier followed Matúš "Neon" Jakubčík's suspension for toxic behavior in solo queue. Jezu's strong performances throughout the year provided steady firepower in the bot lane, which they used to reach the 2020 European Masters summer split quarterfinals and to win the LFL 2020 finals. Of the three signings, Jezu is the most LEC-ready.
However, the inclusion of TynX into the mix may leave room for chemistry issues as demonstrated by his recent benching by LDLC OL ahead of the LFL 2020 finals. The otherwise skilled player showcased his talents throughout Europe since 2016, The player's 10-month stay within LDLC OL in 2020 was his longest, on par with his GamersOrigin tenure in 2018.
The three moves would bring an end to the tenure of three players who helped SK Gaming secure their 2020 summer playoff spot: jungler Kim "Trick" Gang-yun, mid laner Dirk "ZaZee" Mallner, and AD carry Juš "Crownshot" Marušič. In Crownshot's case, the offseason may yield the most interesting turn of events, particularly with G2 Esports' rumored trade of Luka "Perkz" Perković to Cloud9.