Following a mediocre fifth-/sixth-place payout in the League Championship Series, NRG Esports star top laner Jung "Impact" Eon-yeong is exploring an option to join Cloud9 after the team put out an offer to NRG, sources close to the organization and Impact tell ESPN.
Due to contractual obligation on NRG's side, it was required to notify Impact of the offer. While Impact is not unhappy at NRG, he is interested, but the trade has not been finalized and will likely not be completed or dropped until several weeks from now.
If it does go through, Cloud9 would use substitute jungler and former star William "Meteos" Hartman in place of Lee "Rush" Yoon-jae to free up an import slot. Meteos began training with the team before its playoff series versus Team SoloMid, and even attended the event with Cloud9.
According to sources, if the deal for Impact goes through, Cloud9 will have two separate configurations for its summer roster. The first will contain Impact and Meteos, as well as mid laner Nicolaj Jensen, AD carry Zachary "Sneaky" Scuderi, and supports Hai Du Lam and Michael "Bunny FuFuu" Kurylo. The second lineup will have current top laner An "BalIs" Van Le and Rush, with the rest of the lineup remaining the same.
Impact's will to leave the team may see him find more interested suitors in the coming weeks due to being a high-profile player. In 2013, he won the Riot Games World Championship with South Korean squad SK Telecom T1. And since moving to North America in 2015, Impact has solidified himself as one of the best top laners in the region.
This season, he had the second highest kill participation among top laners, sitting only behind Renegades top laner Shin "Seraph" Woo-yeong. He's also the third highest in damage percentage on his team among starting top laners in the league, behind the Immortals' Heo "Huni" Seung-hoon and Counter Logic Gaming's Darshan "Darshan" Upadhyaya.
The potential moves make sense due to the upcoming North America LCS format changes, which will see each matchup be a best-of-three instead of the current single-elimination format. This change will allow for teams to execute substitutes more effectively, similar to the likes of League Champions Korea.
Based on analyst predictions prior to the spring split, Cloud9 and NRG generally lived up to the expectation to be competitive top-five teams in North America. C9 ended up in third and NRG took fifth in the regular split, however both squads fell out of bracket stage of the NA LCS playoffs early after taking losses to Team SoloMid and Team Liquid respectively, earning themselves fifth/sixth payout.
NRG Esports declined to comment on this report.