Phoenix1 has locked in their roster and is ready to let the world know who they’ll be fielding in the North American LCS come 2017, the team announced in a statement sent exclusively to Yahoo Esports.
The roster will be as follows:
Top lane: Derek “zig” Shao
Jungle: Rami “Inori” Charagh
Mid lane: Yoo “Ryu” Sang-ook
AD carry: No “Arrow” Dong-hyeon
Support: Adrian “Adrian” Ma
Coach: Kim “Fly” Sang-chul
Built around a core of North American players and bolstered by a pair of talented Korean imports, Phoenix1 is aiming much higher than their 8th place finish in the 2016 NA LCS Summer Split.
To do so, the team is placing faith in two of the players they fielded last split — zig and Inori — to lead a roster of highly coveted pros.
Inori in particular had a breakout split in Summer 2016, proving himself to be one of the rising stars of the North American scene. Despite being on a losing team, he managed to retain a 3.6 KDA, a 75.2% kill participation ratio, and scored first blood in 41% of his games. The young jungler looks to be going places – especially on his pocket pick Mordekaiser.
The top/jungle duo seemed to come alive as the 2016 Summer Split entered its second half, helping Phoenix1 win five of their last nine series after going 0-9 to start the split. Thanks to their improvement, the team was able to avoid relegation and come into 2017 revitalized.
The pair are excited about rejoining the organization.
“It would be too hard to leave P1,” Inori told Yahoo Esports. “I never got treated so good by an org before. Some of my past orgs have treated me like sh*t and it felt good to be a part of one that valued me and treated me like a person. They always supported us throughout the bad times during the split and the people I get to work with are amazing.”
“I can see myself improving and enjoying each day as it comes,” echoed zig, “and it’s a much more secure feeling than I felt on previous teams.”
Fresh off his two year stint on Europe’s H2K, former KT Rolster Bullets mid laner Ryu proved himself to be one of the best players in the West over the course of the last year, helping carry H2K to a semifinals berth at the 2016 World Championships.
“After I decided to leave H2K, I got offers from every region, but I wanted to play in NA LCS,” Ryu said. “I will be a new experience for me and I can speak English well so I decided it would be the best for me.
“I decided on P1 because I’ll get to play with Arrow, who is a kind person and a good player. In scrims I saw that P1 can be a good team so I decided I wanted to play with P1.”
In perhaps the most interesting move of Phoenix1’s offseason, Arrow will be joining the roster. Another KT Rolster alumni, he’s been with the Korean organization since 2014, earning a reputation for his high mechanical ceiling and unique champion pool. Despite solid regular season performances throughout his career in Korea, however, he wasn’t able to make it to the World Championship tournament in 2016.
“I’m not satisfied in my career,” Arrow says. “I want more wins, more Worlds. I want to go to Worlds. I want more victories. I’m not satisfied in Korea.”
He’s also one of the best Draven players in the world, something NA players will be shaking in their boots about (lookin’ at you, Sneaky).
Supporting him in the bottom lane will be Adrian, formerly of Immortals. Having recognized and established the ranged support meta back in the 2016 Spring Split, he’s become known as one of the most intelligent and forward-thinking supports in North America. Inherently a passive and protective player, he should be a natural fit for Arrow’s risky, aggressive style. Whenever Arrow gets out of line, Adrian should be able to rein him back in.
Last split’s support Choi “Pirean” Jun-Sik will be stepping down from the starting roster and taking over the substitute slot.
Topping things off is coach Fly. This will be his second time in North America, having coached LMQ and Team Impulse from September 2014 through 2015 (where he coached Adrian), eventually heading over to China to coach Royal Never Give Up in a pair of hugely successful seasons, including a semifinal run at the 2016 Mid-Season Invitational and quarterfinals at the 2016 World Championship.
“When I coached for RNG last year I worked with and played against some of the best players in the world,” he said. “I was able to win the LPL championship, and I hope I can do the same in North America. In the new Phoenix1 roster I am happy to work with Adrian again, and also with the new players.”
Yahoo Esports will be reporting more on the offseason player shuffle, so stay tuned for all the breaking news.
Follow Taylor Cocke on Twitter @taylorcocke.