Cloud9 is saying goodbye to C9 Licorice and will be promoting their academy top laner Ibrahim "Fudge" Allami.
Eric "Licorice" Ritchie was added to the C9 LCS roster in November of 2017. The top laner had big shoes to fill as he would be replacing former season three World Champion, Jeong "Impact" Eon-Yeong. Licorice stepped onto the scene and cemented himself as one of the best carry-oriented top laners in the League of Legends Championship Series. During his Cloud9 tenure, he would become Rookie of the Split for Spring of 2018, win Spring Split of 2020, and reach the semifinals of the World Championship in 2019 — further, than any North American team had gone before.
Licorice tweeted about his departure from Cloud9 before the esports organization could even upload a proper farewell video. His tweet suggested that the move was a result of differences between the player and organization, but that is purely speculation.
The move comes as a surprise to many Cloud9 fans. It had been originally stated that the main LCS roster would remain intact after the departure of head coach Bok "Reapered" Han-gyu. In an interview with Christian "IWillDominate" Rivera, Licorice stated:
"I mean it's nice, it's definitely good to know that there aren't going to be any huge changes. I think we all get along really well and I like everyone on my team, so it's good to know I'm going to be playing with them next year..."
Many theorize that the decision was a result of Riot Games dissolving the Oceanic Pro League. OCE players, such as Fudge and BrokenBlade, no longer occupy an LCS import slot. You can expect teams to obtain more OCE players (at a cheaper cost than domestic LCS players).
Licorice is expected to hit free agency and will be in high demand. He was an integral part of Cloud9 and their domestic and international success. Teams can expect to pay a hefty price point for a player such as Licorice.