North American League Championship Series team NRG Esports made three changes to its starting lineup Tuesday by adding veterans in its top-lane, jungle and support roles to replace its current members. It also plans to find a new AD carry in the coming weeks before the beginning of the summer split.
The team has signed former Team Liquid top laner Diego "Quas" Ruiz, who was offered a spot earlier last week. For jungle, former Team SoloMid, Team Huma and Team Ember jungler Lucas "Santorin" Tao Kilmer Larsen is joining. Rounding out the new additions is former Team Dignitas support Alan "KiWiKiD" Nguyen, whom NRG picked up after his former team's relegation from the LCS.
"We are very proud of the first generation of NRG players and thank them for a solid first spring split," NRG CEO Andrew Pruett told ESPN. "We felt the need to improve the communication on the team so we put some incredible veterans in the right roles. [We are] looking forward to [Quas, Santorin and KiWiKiD] showing us what they can do this upcoming summer split."
This offseason, the organization has actively gone after new players. NRG first reached out to Santorin during the season, when Team Huma looked to offload him from its team to solve financial issues in its operating budget. He ultimately chose Team Ember over NRG and Renegades but has come to an agreement with NRG to replace Galen "Moon" Holgate for the summer, following Ember's disbandment after its investors backed out.
As for KiWiKiD, the team has looked for a new support for a while. Throughout the season, AD carry Johnny "Altec" Ru notified team management about wanting a new support over Kevin "KonKwon" Kwon, sources say. Now the team will replace both Altec and KonKwon and start fresh in its bot lane.
The move for Quas comes after NRG's former top laner Jung "Impact" Eon-yeong was traded to Cloud9 last week, as reported by ESPN. Renegades reached out to Quas, as it did to Santorin, but Quas chose to compete with NRG instead and will fill its top lane. Quas has not competed in the LCS since the summer of 2015.
The only remaining player of the NRG lineup will be midlane star Lee "GBM" Chang-seok, who was its biggest acquisition for NRG when it formed in November. He will remain with the team as it looks to build around his talent and perform better this upcoming split.
Pruett told ESPN that he wishes Moon and KonKwon the best, and that he's certain they'll land well with new teams. While Moon has no major offers, KonKwon has an outstanding offer from Apex Gaming to partake in its Challenger side following the purchase of Team Dignitas' Challenger Series spot.
As for Altec, he's currently competing on loan to Cloud9's Challenger team alongside support player Daerek "LemonNation" Hart. That team recently formed and will compete in the Challenger qualifier next month in place of Enemy.
Now NRG, with the help of support staff of manager Chad "History Teacher" Smeltz, head coach Tadayoshi "Hermit" Littleton, and analysts Naser "Empyre" Al-Naqi, Alec "Qwerm" Warren and Joseph "Archon" Aguirre, will look to retool for the summer split with almost a completely new lineup in hopes to place higher than its sixth-place finish last split.