What a year it's been. We've seen roster moves happen that no one could predict a year ago.
Fnatic is British, Vitality will no longer be French, and the legendary Astralis core is no more.
But recency bias aside, these are the best and worse roster moves that happened in 2021.
Natus Vincere adding B1T 📈📈📈
How can this move not be on this list? Na'Vi calling up B1T from their academy roster only to see him have one of the best rookie seasons to date has to be the best transfer of the year.
Replacing a seasoned veteran like Flamie with a 17-year old development player might have been risky, but it paid off.
The move also proved that Na'Vi has faith in their academy system. With B1T now shining on the main team, mONESY reportedly making a lucrative transfer, and a new wave of young prodigies coming in for the 2022 season, they can now reap the rewards.
Heroic acquire Mad Lions duo 📈📈
When making this list, Heroic adding sjuush and refrezh didn't immediately cross my mind. Not because they're bad players, but because it feels like these guys have been on that lineup for ages.
But the move happened in February 2021. And it paid off big time.
Two months later, the Danish team would win EPL Season 13. They would follow this up by a semifinal in Season 14 and the PGL Major.
For a team that came close to collapsing just two years ago, following a botched transfer to FunPlus Phoenix, these are impressive results.
Sjuush and refrezh aren't the stars of the lineup, but are vital elements in Heroic's rise to the top of CS:GO.
Revamping ENCE 📈
ENCE might not be the sexiest name out there, but they've had an impressive year regarding roster moves.
In January, they were faced with the end of their Finish lineup. They replaced over half of their squad with a bunch of Misfits.
Snappi and spinx were lifted from C0ntact Gaming's bench following the collapse of that roster. Dycha had been benched by Sprout at the end of 2020.
And when franchise player allu took an extended break in May, they signed Polish AWPer hades, who had been released from Wisla Krakow.
On paper, this team wasn't supposed to achieve anything.
But they qualified for the Major, reached the Play-offs at EPL, and won a couple of smaller, online events.
Whoever is responsible for scouting in Helsinki deserves a raise.
Liquid bring in falleN 📉
Image: BLAST Premier
This one isn't really a bad move at the time
On paper, it made sense. Team Liquid needed an AWPer and an in-game leader. FalleN filled both those positions.
But it just didn't work out.
FalleN's leadership philosophies clashed with how the Liquid core used to call their tactics.
Stewie2K took over leading duties on several occasions, with falleN struggling to find the middle ground.
FalleN was supposed to usher in a new era for Liquid, but he has left the roster within the year.
Fnatic releasing flusha 📉📉
Now, I'm not saying flusha had been amazing on Fnatic's lineup. Towards the end of his tenure, he struggled with his individual form as the team's performance deteriorated.
It's more so that the team was faced with a leadership decision. Flusha wanted to become an in-game leader, but Fnatic decided to stick with golden.
The team didn't manage to turn the ship around, and six months later golden himself was benched from the roster.
It begs the question: what if Fnatic had stuck with senor VAC?
Vitality removing rpk 📉📉📉
This entry comes with an asterisk: We don't know who's decision it was to remove rpk from the lineup. Did the player indicate he wanted to retire? Or did the management decide to let him go?
If it was the team's decision: Shame on you.
Rpk was vital in Vitality's rise to the top at the end of 2020. Le Tank played every dirty role no one else wanted to play and looked good doing so.
Vitality took a similar gamble as Na'Vi did with B1T: replacing a seasoned veteran with an inexperienced rookie.
Only this time, it didn't work out, as Kyojin struggled to fill the shoes of his predecessor.