Samsung White and Blue Torn Apart by Roster Swaps
Six players leave the Samsung organization, Blue potentially disbanded.
The post-Worlds roster shakeups continue over the weekend, as Samsung White and Blue lost a number of players, likely heralding more future shifts in Korean rosters.
Last week, Riot announced new rules for Korean pro leagues — one of which banned sister organizations like Samsung’s. As such, both teams’ fates were unsure entering Season 5 and as players’ contracts came due after the conclusion of Worlds, some of Samsung’s best players have opted to try their luck on the free market.
Singing the Samsung blues
With no love lost for the team that earned them a world championship, Samsung White’s Imp, Dandy, and Pawn all announced their departure from the team last Friday. This comes days after the team’s support Mata retired on Wednesday; now only top laner Looper remains, along with two substitute players.
Although some reports claim Imp and Mata have retired, their future remains unsure. Sources have reported that Imp doesn’t consider himself retired, but is simply taking a break. Mata has also been chatting with coaches and members of various teams.
Dandy and Pawn have already made up their minds and will be moving to China to play for LPL team Invictus Gaming. This move remains within the new interregional rules outlined by Riot.
Samsung Blue fared only marginally better than White, losing its mid laner and carry, Dade and Deft. However, rumors have also pointed to Blue being disbanded entirely. If this is the case, Samsung may simply be moving to consolidate their two teams into one, in order to comply with new regulations.
Dade briefly considered moving to NA’s Cloud9 before he was lured away by a bigger paycheck in China. Deft also opted for the LPL, however neither player has revealed which team they will be playing for.
What it all means
After last week saw a number of Korean players moving to EU, it has become apparent that something is amiss in the world of Korean pro LoL.
“I find it puzzling that Korean teams backed by multi-billion dollar corporations can't retain their talent,” League analyst MonteCristo tweeted Friday after the moves. “Something needs to change.”
Some suspect the exodus from Korea is mainly motivated by money. It’s no secret that many Korean players are underpaid when compared to players in other regions, and it seems Chinese firms are willing to step in and fill the gap in order to secure top talent. When viewed with Riot’s recent changes to Korean tournaments, this all but confirms that despite having the best talent, Korea’s pro organizations are lacking.
As it stands, Korea may suffer in Season 5. They have lost a number of their top 5 players in every lane — most of them moving to China. Indeed, Samsung White and Blue composed half of the top four teams last season, and yet Samsung could not retain its players once their contracts came due.
Although interregional movement rules may entice Korean players home next season, if organizations like Samsung can’t retain players, they certainly won’t be able to attract them.
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