The League of Legends offseason begins Monday at 12 a.m. GMT (7 p.m. ET) when free agency opens across the globe.
In North America and Europe, 37 players will become free agents at that time, including Splyce jungler Andrei "Xerxe" Dragomir, Team Liquid jungler Jake "Xmithie" Puchero and AD carries Kasper "Kobbe" Kobberup and Elias "Upset" Lipp.
Both North America and Europe are expected to feature big changes, even though the latter had one of its most successful years ever, capped by all three League of Legends European Championship teams making it out of groups at the League of Legends World Championship and G2 Esports finishing runner-up at worlds. That banner year for Europe would not have happened without significant shakeup in the 2018-19 offseason that began last November.
November 2018 featured heavy spending in both of the Western regions -- spending that paid off for some, like G2 Esports and Team Liquid, but failed for others, like Misfits and 100 Thieves. With more changes right around the corner, here's a look back at what big moves happened in the 2018-19 offseason and how it played out in 2019.
G2 Esports signed Caps, moved Perkz to AD carry
Result: Two LEC titles, one MSI title and runner-up at worlds
The biggest move in the 2018-19 offseason came when G2 Esports signed former Fnatic mid laner Rasmus "Caps" Winther and moved their mid laner, Luka "Perkz" Perković, to the AD carry position. At the 2018 League of Legends World Championship, both Fnatic and G2 Esports made miracle runs in the playoffs, with G2 making it to the semifinals and Fnatic finishing as the runner-up (both lost to eventual champion Invictus Gaming).
Caps seemed a franchise player for Fnatic -- they took the risk on him as a rookie and it paid off, with him and Perkz becoming friendly rivals and the best mid laners in Europe. But two is better than one, and G2 went from a powerful European contender to an international juggernaut. Their success spanned two LEC titles, a Mid-Season Invitational championship and, most recently, a runner-up spot at the 2019 League of Legends World Championship. Moving Perkz to AD carry, to many, was risky. He showed he could dominate that lane as much as he could mid in the past, and G2 became the best Western team of all time because of it.
Team Liquid acquire Jensen, pick up CoreJJ
Result: Two LCS titles, MSI runner-up and worlds appearance
Team Liquid was without question the strongest North American team in 2018, but after a disappointing 2018 world championship -- where they failed to make it past the group stages -- changes seemed necessary to take them to the next level. That came with two big outlays: buying out the contract for Cloud9 mid laner Nicolaj "Jensen" Jensen and recruiting world champion support Jo "CoreJJ" Yong-in. With two world champions, CoreJJ and top laner Jung "Impact" Eon-yeong, in tow and two of the most talented North American players in the league -- jungler Jake "Xmithie" Puchero and AD carry Yiliang "Doublelift" Peng -- Team Liquid created a force to be reckoned with.
Team Liquid continued their North American dominance in 2019 and took second at the Mid-Season Invitational, losing to G2 Esports in the final. But their worlds appearance yielded the same result as the previous year, with Liquid (and all of the other North American teams) failing to advance past the group stage. Over the past two years, Liquid have become the greatest North American team of all time within the League of Legends Championship Series, but not on the international stage.
Misfits adds Febiven, Gorilla and soaz
Result: Eighth place in LEC spring, ninth place in LEC summer
Another big spender at the end of 2018 was Misfits, who throughout their three-year existence have had successful campaigns in League of Legends. Like G2, Misfits built what many considered a European superteam, signing the likes of former Fnatic top laner Paul "soaz" Boyer and former Kingzone DragonX support Kang "Gorilla" Beom-hyun and buying out mid laner Fabian "Febiven" Diepstraten from Clutch Gaming. Coming into the 2019 season, Misfits were projected as a strong European contender.
But that's not how it played out. The team had its worst year, and the five players on the team did not jell. After an eighth-place finish in the spring, Misfits tried to make it work in the summer but ultimately blew up their roster a few weeks in, substituting in all of their academy team players. The team has since parted ways with soaz, Gorilla and jungler Nubar "Maxlore" Sarafian, and will likely not hold on to Febiven and AD carry Steven "Hans sama" Liv heading into Monday.
Huni signs with Clutch Gaming
Result: Ninth place in LCS spring, fourth place in LCS summer and worlds appearance
Top laner Heo "Huni" Seung-hoon first made his name as a member of Fnatic in a breakout rookie year in 2015. The four years since have been nothing short of exciting, as Huni has made his way around the world -- competing with Immortals in North America, SK Telecom T1 in South Korea and Echo Fox in North America. Echo Fox was expected to retain Huni initially in the 2018-19 offseason, but financial issues within the team led to concerns over whether it could fulfill the significant salary that he would require.
Huni's signing with Clutch Gaming came after a transfer of three Clutch players -- top laner Colin "Solo" Earnest, AD carry Apollo "Apollo" Price and support Nickolas "Hakuho" Surgent -- to Echo Fox and Febiven being moved to Misfits. With a fresh start on the books and only jungler Nam "Lira" Tae-yoo remaining under contract, Clutch built a team that mixed young talent with the star power of Huni. Clutch had a rough spring split with the lineup, but eventually corrected course and took fourth in the 2019 LCS summer split before winning the regional gauntlet and qualifying for worlds. Now rebranded as Dignitas, the team came to terms Saturday with Huni for a two-year contract worth $2.3 million in guaranteed money, as reported by ESPN.
Bang joins 100 Thieves
Result: 10th place in LCS spring, eighth place in LCS summer
Coming off a 2018 League of Legends World Championship appearance, 100 Thieves needed to make a change at the AD carry spot after internal issues with Cody "Cody Sun" Sun and substitute Richard "Rikara" Samuel Oh not meeting international competition standards. The team courted two-time world champion Bae "Bang" Jun-sik, who moved from South Korea to Los Angeles to play for the young franchise.
Bang's year on 100 Thieves was underwhelming. The team struggled in mid lane -- ultimately trading away Choi "Huhi" Jae-hyun midseason -- and swapped junglers, too, but neither netted results. 100 Thieves finished 10th in the LCS spring split and then eighth in the summer.