After a dominant Spring Split and a disastrous Summer Split, Cloud9 is shaking up its League of Legends roster heading into 2021.
Top laner Licorice announced today he had been informed C9 would be going ahead without him next season. The 23-year-old Canadian has been with C9 since he was acquired in November 2017 after a year with eUnited in the North America Challenger Series.
Since joining C9, Licorice and the team have reached three LCS Finals, won one domestic title, and most notably, became the first NA team since 2011 to reach the semifinals of Worlds when they finished in the top four at the 2018 event.
C9’s 2020 season started off very well, with the team winning nearly every match of the Spring Split regular season. They then cruised to title after winning nine of their 10 games in playoffs.
The team picked up right where they left off in the Summer Split by winning their first nine matches. A loss to 100 Thieves in week five began a period of relative inconsistency, however, leading C9 to finish second in the regular season by Team Liquid.
Despite the second-half struggles, C9 needed to just finish in the top three in playoffs to qualify for Worlds, an event C9 had played in every year since 2013. Unfortunately, the team were unable to do so, as they lost to FlyQuest, who they had swept in the Spring Finals, and to TSM, the eventual Summer champions.
His reported replacement is C9 Academy top laner Ibrahim “Fudge” Allami, who won both Academy splits this season with C9 this season. Fudge, an Australian native, can replace Licorice without the team needing to make additional moves due to the recent change to Oceanic players’ import status.
Fudge’s contract was extended a year on Oct. 13, locking him in through the 2023 season, according to the Global Contract Database.
Fudge would be replacing longtime top laner Licorice, who will reportedly be available for buyout before the start of the 2021 season. The 23-year-old veteran has spent over three years with C9 since he was added to the main roster at the end of 2017.
Through those three years, Licorice has quickly become one of the best top laners in North America. As a result, he’ll be one of the most sought-after players on the market when the offseason rush begins. But his future with another organization will also depend on the price that C9 sets for his buyout.