Sources: Huni to sign with Clutch Gaming

Heo "Huni" Seung-hoon waves to the crowd at the NA LCS Arena in Santa Monica, California. Provided by Riot Games

Clutch Gaming will sign former Echo Fox top laner Heo "Huni" Seung-hoon ahead of the 2019 season, sources close to the team and player told ESPN.

Huni joins a team that has several desired roster pieces on its starting and backup lineups, creating a flexible free agency period.

Clutch currently have two AD carries, American Apollo "Apollo" Price and South Korean Chae "Piglet" Gwang-jin, who are both contracted through 2019 and residents per the Riot Games interregional movement policy. The team also has two of the highest-valued North American supports, Nickolas "Hakuho" Surgent and Philippe "Vulcan" Laflamme. On Tuesday, Clutch completed a transfer agreement to move Fabian "Febiven" Diepstraten to Misfits. Clutch Gaming declined to comment.

The Huni deal comes after a process that saw both Clutch Gaming and Echo Fox -- now his former team -- bid for the player, sources said. Huni will replace top laner Colin "Solo" Earnest, who remains contracted with Clutch through the end of 2019.

Since his relocation to Europe, and then North America, Huni, 20, has become one of the best top laners competing in the western League of Legends. In his debut professional season with Fnatic in 2015, Huni and jungler Kim "Reignover" Yeu-jin led that team to two consecutive first-place finishes in the European League of Legends Championship Series. Fnatic then took third-fourth at the 2015 League of Legends World Championship.

In late 2015, Huni and Reignover struck a deal to relocate to North America and compete on Immortals. The following season ended with disappointment for the team, as they failed to qualify for the 2016 League of Legends World Championship. Huni then departed on his own and looked for opportunities in his home country of South Korea.

He landed on SK Telecom T1, the three-time world champions led by Lee "Faker" Sang-hyeok, often considered the best player to ever compete in League of Legends. In his one-season stint with SK Telecom, Huni won one League Champions Korea title and took second at the 2017 League of Legends World Championship.

He then returned to North America, signing with Echo Fox in late November 2017. Throughout the 2018 season, Echo Fox had a tumultuous journey, finishing third in the North American League Championship Series spring slit. Over the summer, the team made abrupt roster changes -- cutting mid laner Kim "Fenix" Jae-hun, AD carry Johnny "Altec" Ru and support Adrian "Adrian" Ma just hours before the end of the mid-split signing period. Echo Fox took fifth-sixth in the summer and failed to qualify for the 2018 League of Legends World Championship.