LCS free agency officially began on November 21st, when all League of Legends professional players’ contracts through 2022 expired. While massive rumors have swirled around the scene and sweeping changes have already taken place, Team Liquid has been largely silent on their approach to 2023. A few months ago, the Team Liquid Co-CEO Steve Arhancet teased plans for the roster in 2023, loosely discussing their plans to include talent from the “Team Liquid pipeline,” referring to their back-to-back academy championship team, on their lineup in 2023. While no specific details were given, many fans were left speculating which of the academy players would be promoted to the starting lineup.
A few weeks ago, LCS insider and content creator Travis Gafford spoke on his stream about Team Liquid’s strategy for 2023. Although he had no player names to give at the time, Gafford leaked that Team Liquid would be taking an “all Korean” approach to the 2023 season. Rather than investing in English-speaking players as they had in the past, Team Liquid would be pivoting to a fully Korean-speaking team. Alongside the players, Gafford reported that the coaching staff would also be Korean.
On November 18th, Team Liquid announced the signing of former T1 (formerly SKT T1) World Champion top laner Jang “MaRin” Gyeong-hwan to lead their roster as the Head Coach in 2023. Less than two weeks later on November 29th, TL released a video detailing their roster direction headed into 2023. As leaked by Gafford, the four minute video hosted by Team Liquid League of Legends General Manager Jun “Dodo” Kang detailed TL’s all-Korean roster approach for 2023. Although Team Liquid has yet to officially log the player contracts in their database, Kang confirmed that star player Jo “CoreJJ” Yong-in would be returning for his fifth year with the team. Alongside the Team Liquid veteran, Kang announced that both Harry “Haeri” Kang and Sean “Yeon” Sung from Team Liquid Academy would be promoted to the starting lineup for 2023.
Two World Champions
As of November 30th, only those three players have been confirmed by Team Liquid to be starting in 2023. Fortunately for Team Liquid fans, insiders, leakers, and investigative journalists from the community have already determined the remaining two players. Joining World Champion CoreJJ, are former Cloud9 LCS Spring MVP Park “Summit” Woo-tae and current 2022 World Champion Hong “Pyosik” Chang-hyeon from DRX.
The news of Summit’s arrival comes from renowned League of Legends insider Brieuc “LEC Wooloo” Seeger, who announced Summit’s return in full on November 22nd. His complete post is as follows:
[Sources] Toplaner Summit has reached a verbal agreement with Team Liquid and will return to the LCS.
FlyQuest and MAD Lions are other teams that considered the toplaner during the offseason.
The news of Pyosik’s move was announced by investigative journalist Alejandro Gomis, whose full post is as follows:
Sources: Pyosik has reached a verbal agreement with Team Liquid and will be the team’s LCS jungler.
The winner of Worlds will leave Korea to compete in North America.
This marks the first time in LCS history that an LCS team fields two World Champions since Impact played alongside CoreJJ on Team Liquid from Spring 2018 to Summer 2020. Aside from those two, only Bang, Piglet, and Crown have both won a World Championship and started in the LCS.
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