The Golden State Warriors-owned Golden Guardians have finished signing a five-man League of Legends roster for the 2018 season, sources close to the players and teams told ESPN on Friday.
Golden Guardians has signed top laner Samson "Lourlo" Jackson, jungler Juan "Contractz" Arturo Garcia, mid laner Hai "Hai" Du Lam, AD carry Matthew "Deftly" Chen and support Matthew "Matt" Elento. The team has come to buyout agreements for Lourlo and Matt with Team Liquid, who those players were under contract with until 2019, sources said. The Guardians have also bought out Contractz from his team Cloud9. Hai and Deftly were signed as free agents.
The team was assembled by Warriors assistant GM Kirk Lacob, Guardians head of esports Hunter Leigh and head coach Choi "Locodoco" Yoon-seop. The Golden Guardians declined to comment on the signings.
Lourlo and Matt have competed with Team Liquid throughout the 2017 season. Liquid took two consecutive ninth-places in the 2017 spring and summer splits. Those finishes led Liquid to completely rebuild its roster for 2018; the team acquired three former Immortals players, Team SoloMid AD carry Yiliang "Doublelift" Peng and Cloud9 top laner Jung "Impact" Eon-yeong. Those changes left Lourlo and Matt without starting positions.
As for Contractz, he leaves Cloud9 as it looks for a new jungler. That team is currently exploring options from both Europe and South Korea, sources said.
Hai competed with FlyQuest in 2017, before it also did a rebuild of the majority of its roster. Deftly is the only of the four to never compete in the League of Legends Championship Series; he played with eUnited in the Challenger Series, and eUnited was declined entry into the LCS franchising earlier in the year.
The Golden State Warriors were accepted into the North American League Championship Series as a permanent partner in October. Golden State's application was led by Warriors majority owner Joe Lacob and his son, Kirk. The 2017 NBA champions then dubbed their team as the Golden Guardians.