breaks down the biggest esports roster moves in 2021 and their potential impact on 2022. Who were the biggest moves?

General managers have one of the most difficult jobs in esports - make moves happen that will bring about the most success, while also generating a significant amount of buzz for the esports marketing machine to use. It’s not always easy, and it doesn’t always work out. Not only do you have the public perception to consider, but you also have to consider team chemistry, playstyles, how players get along on and off the server, and more.

As such, there are moves that work out better than others, but perhaps more than that, people remember the initial hype when a roster move happens. In that vein, is looking back on the five largest roster moves in 2021, just by their sheer magnitude and how it shook those scenes to the core when they were announced.

In no particular order, then.

VALORANT: Tenz to Sentinels

REYKJAVIK, ICELAND - MAY 22: Sentinels' Tyson "TenZ" Ngo poses at the VALORANT Champions Tour 2021: Stage 2 Masters Features Day on May 22, 2021 in Reykjavik, Iceland. (Photo by Colin Young-Wolff/Riot Games)
REYKJAVIK, ICELAND - MAY 22: Sentinels' Tyson "TenZ" Ngo poses at the VALORANT Champions Tour 2021: Stage 2 Masters Features Day on May 22, 2021 in Reykjavik, Iceland. (Photo by Colin Young-Wolff/Riot Games)

When allegations of Jay “Sinatraa” Won abusing his girlfriend were revealed to the world, Sentinels and Riot both reacted quickly. They suspended Sinatraa, who had been a key part of Sentinels lineup, immediately. He would be out for six months.

This left Sentinels in a bit of a pickle. The team was quickly approaching Masters Reyjjavik and they needed a fifth. Cloud9 came to the rescue, allowing Tyson "Tenz" Ngo, who had proven to be a star player for them, to fill in on Sentinels.

The rest, as they say, is history. Sentinels went on to defend their Masters crown with Tenz in tow. After that, Cloud9 sold TenZ’ contract to Sentinels, where he remains on the team to this day.

Sentinels went on to qualify for Masters Berlin, though they fell out in 5-8th at that event, and didn’t even make playoffs at Champions. Perhaps even more big roster moves are on the way for Sentinels in 2022 - time will tell.

League of Legends: Bjergsen to Team Liquid

Bjergsen made waves when he joined Team Liquid (Photo: Team Liquid)
Bjergsen made waves when he joined Team Liquid (Photo: Team Liquid)

Team SoloMid has been through one of the biggest shakeups in organization history this offseason in League of Legends. Soren “Bjergsen” Bjerg has been a part of TSM since he came to North America all the way back in 2013. He’s been a key part of the lineups featuring players like Doublelift, and has won numerous domestic titles. That success has not translated well to the Worlds stage, and after failing to make it to Worlds this past year, TSM was looking to make moves.

And make moves they did. They did not re-sign Bjergsen, who instead is now suiting up in the blue and white for Team Liquid. This move sent shockwaves around the industry for TSM, who was already weathering their own storm from Doublelift. The team faced allegations of generally being horrible to their players that weren’t made any easier by Bjergsen saying to Travis Gafford that “of course he wants to destroy TSM.”

While we don’t yet know the impact this move will have on the face of the LCS and the new-look Team Liquid, we do know it’s made the LCS one of the most hotly anticipated leagues to watch in Spring.

League of Legends: Rekkles leaves Fnatic to join… Kcorp?!

Rekkles heads to the equivalent of the LoL Minors.
Rekkles heads to the equivalent of the LoL Minors.

Picture this - you’re one of the most famous League of Legends players in the world. You’ve won numerous European titles. You’ve been to Worlds and have placed in the top 2. And the next move in your storied career? You go down to the amateur level that doesn’t seed Worlds. What?!

That’s the story that we’ve seen for one Martin "Rekkles" Larsson, who left G2 Esports earlier this year to join Karmine Corp. K-Corp, as they’re also known, play in the LFL, the French regional league. These leagues do not seed Worlds, but have been extremely popular among European League of Legends fans.

Rekkles joined G2 in a high-profile move from Fnatic in 2020, but was not able to replicate the success he’d seen on that roster missing Worlds out of the LEC. K-Corp are now widely considered the favorites to smash the LFL with Rekkles in tow.

Dota 2: Jerax returns from retirement to join EG

One of the best supports ever to play Dota 2, Jerax achieved much in his time with OG. So much that last year, he announced his retirement feeling that there was nothing left to achieve in Dota 2. But just like with so many other players, the itch to compete is extremely strong.

It was shocking, therefore, to see him announce that he would be coming out of retirement to resume his playing career with Evil Geniuses.

EG has always been a top-tier contender in Dota 2 but has not been able to pull it together recently despite Jerax's involvement. However, they are still working on it, and seeing as Jerax has slowly been able to knock off the rust, it's only a matter of time.

FGC roster move: Defending Capcom Cup champ iDom joins XSET

Will iDom's dominance continue in 2022?
Will iDom's dominance continue in 2022?

Over the past four years, iDom has made a serious dent in the North American Street Fighter scene. Coming out of the NLBC local scene, he’s made a name for himself as someone not to be underestimated, cementing a friendly rivalry with Panda’s Victor “Punk” Woodley, and generally taking names one by one. He continued this dominance until Capcom Cup 2019, where he was finally crowned champion. Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, there’s been a lull in the Capcom Cup, meaning he’s still the champ - and after four years, he’s finally found a team to join: XSET.

XSET has long teased their desire to enter the FGC since their foundation and it seems this has been a match made by the FGC gods. Since iDom has now finished school, his dominance should spread as he looks towards traveling to more events with the support of XSET.

CS:GO esports roster move: Dev1ce joins NiP

Prior to this year, Dev1ce was perhaps one of the players most associated with a team in CS:GO (aside from perhaps S1mple and Na’vi.) From 2016 through to 2021 he was a member of the team from it’s foundation in the aftermath of TSM ditching their team. However, he shocked the world when he joined Ninjas in Pyjamas, donning black and gold for the first time.

Dev1ce's tenure on NiP hasn't been particularly successful.
Dev1ce's tenure on NiP hasn't been particularly successful.

While his impact is debatable as part of NiP, he has certainly gained them their fair share of fans and attention with the move.

NiP have been on a bit of a slump, which perhaps contributes to recent reports that Dev1ce is considering a return to Astralis. That would surely make our list of the biggest roster moves in 2022, should it happen.

What was your favorite roster move of 2021? Let us know on Twitter @esports and keep it locked here to for all the latest as we head into 2022.