With the North American regional finals taking place this weekend, mid lane substitute Lyonel "Arcsecond" Pfaender will start for Team Liquid in the jungle in place of star Joshua "Dardoch" Hartnett, sources close to the players and team tell ESPN. Dardoch will be joining Echo Fox as their new jungler and will replace Anthony "Hard" Barkhovtsev and Kevin "Kez" Jeon.
Dardoch's parting ways with the team comes after a suspension earlier in the split. At the time, Team Liquid looked to trade him following a reported disagreement and confrontation with head coach Choi "Locodoco" Yoon-sub and former AD carry Chae "Piglet" Gwang-jin. However, the team opted to use him throughout the season and move Piglet to its Challenger squad, Team Liquid Academy.
Historically, Arcsecond has played as a mid laner, but recently he began practicing jungle. His competitive history involves time on Team SoloMid's former Challenger squad, Team SoloMid Darkness and Winterfox last summer in the Challenger Series. This will be the first time he has competed as a jungler professionally.
Moving Arcsecond into the jungle is not the only Team Liquid roster change, as AD carry Jovani "fabbbyyy" Guillen announced today that he would be looking for a new team. Fabbbyyy was benched during the playoffs after substitute Phil "Jynthe" Vu played for the team.
Team Liquid's first game in the regional finals is Saturday, when they play Team EnVyUs. As for Echo Fox, the team will not compete until next spring after securing its spot in the LCS with victories over Team Liquid Academy and NRG Esports. The team struggled throughout the season and finished 10th in the regular season.
Update: "We have decided to move forward with Arcsecond, a top tier Challenger player and one of our subs, over Dardoch in the jungle position," said Nick Phan, general manager of Team Liquid League of Legends. "Our coaching staff have been working closely with him to help acclimate and he's been showing great strides. Arcsecond has been diligent and dedicated to adjusting to a new role in a very short time and his attitude and approach to the game have been exemplary given the situation.
Dardoch and Liquid have come a long way together and we are happy that we were able to be a place where he could grow from being a Challenger player to a top LCS player. Josh is an incredible talent and we have tried really hard to make this lineup work and get the most out of this group of players. Ultimately, we feel we weren't able to build an atmosphere that was optimal for performance and believe in making a change going forward. We are excited for Dardoch's next step, and hope that playing for Echo Fox allows him to continue to advance his career. Knowing Josh and his desire to win and improve we're confident that he is going to be of tremendous value there. Team Liquid and Echo Fox are currently working closely with Riot to finish any final details regarding the transaction to ensure Riot's final approval."