The Impact of Roster Changes in Esports


For esports teams, roster changes are a mixed bag. On one hand, they’re a good way to separate the wheat from the chaff, cutting free stragglers and replacing them with more promising players. On the flip side, all manner of things can lead to a top-flight player departing from a line-up, leaving a gaping black hole in a roster crying out for talent.

Then there are those changes that fall somewhere in between. Believe it or not, it’s often the smallest roster changes that result in the largest ripples. Let’s take a closer look at how new signings, transfers, and departures can alter a team’s dynamics and impact performance.

LoL Team Changes

Roster Changes in Esports lol

Even the most established League of Legends teams aren’t averse to role swaps from time to time. Some of these substitutions are borne of necessity, with the North American and European S-Tier leagues particularly affected.

While roster changes are an annual occurrence, they were particularly noticeable in 2020. Let’s take Team Vitality as an example. In 2020, the French favorites sought to mix things up after a poor performance in the previous split left them limping to the finish line in last place. What was behind Vitality’s bad luck? Many fans blamed new patches, which prioritized the importance of the end game. At the time, Vitality’s secret weapon was their jungler, Nij, who didn’t exactly thrive in the final throes of a match.

Despite Nij being a popular player and consistently high-ranked player, Vitality sought to switch him out for his backup. Enter Skeanz. More trigger-happy than Nij, Skeanz was more of a force to be reckoned with early on in the game. What’s more, his champion pool was far broader and better balanced than Nij’s. While Team Vitality would still lose their next match against Fnatic, the odds of them winning were greatly increased purely thanks to this single lineup change.

By the end of the LEC Summer Split, they managed to secure a 40% win rate, escaping the shame of a final-place finish. Want to see how Vitality is doing with their current roster? Check out the latest LEC schedule at

A New Starting Jungler for Immortals

2020 LCS Summer Split

For the European LoL team Immortals, Xmithie was seen as a star player. Beloved by fans and many top-flight players, this jungler was Immortals’ secret weapon against major team rivals such as Team Liquid. However, when the 2020 LCS Summer Split began, Xmithie wasn’t occupying his usual jungler role. In his place was Potluck, a relative novice in comparison. This single change led to some pretty paltry odds being assigned to Immortals. These odds proved to be an accurate forecast, with Potluck putting in a less-than-impressive performance. In fact, Immortals would lose every game played in that LCS split until Xmithie returned to his usual role.

While this star return wasn’t enough to cinch Immortals an immediate win against their 100 Thieves, the odds did shift in their favor. Ultimately, they managed to win only four games of the Summer Split. If they’d deployed Xmithie sooner, they might have been able to escape a dreaded last-place finish. Want to see who’s playing for Immortals this year? Check out the Spring Split 2024 roster here.

There’s a real science to perfecting the makeup of an esports team. However, as far as League of Legends is concerned, a successful roster hinges on having the right jungler in place. However, a proficient player isn’t enough to guarantee a win. More than any other role, junglers are greatly impacted by patch updates and meta changes. If a player lacks adaptability, even minor meta changes can render them redundant.