Fnatic top laner sOAZ to explore free agency
Fnatic’s top laner, Paul “sOAZ” Boyer, has announced the start of his free agency on Twitter ahead of the end of his contract on Nov. 19, 2018.
sOAZ inserted his resume in his announcement for good measure. His credentials speak for themselves: he is a two-time World Championship finalist, a two-time semifinalist, and reached Worlds six times out of eight. He is the greatest Western League of Legends player when combining performance level and achievements.
Community perception varied regarding the top laner. However, his performance level has been steady since the beginning of his career in 2010. sOAZ’s split pushing prowess came in handy numerous times during 2015 (on Origen), and 2017 and 2018 (on Fnatic). However, when his teams underperformed, he frequently received community heat.
In addition, his 2018 campaign as Fnatic’s top laner was not smooth sailing. Following a hot start to the 2018 spring split, he injured his hand before the playoffs. His replacement, Gabriël “Bwipo” Rau adapted to the circumstances and improved under pressure. As a result, the team benched sOAZ until the start of the 2018 summer split, despite his hand healing during the Mid-Season Invitational.
The Frenchman was the starting top laner during the summer split and frequently played alongside Bwipo. The Belgian player turned into a sixth man as he played in the bot lane for most of the split. However, Bwipo started as a top laner during the playoffs, and sOAZ acted as an emergency measure. The latter shined during the 2018 EU LCS summer finals and throughout the World Championship, albeit as a sub.
Despite the relative lack of playing time in 2018, sOAZ’s performance level was at a steady high level. In fact, it has been that way since 2010. The top laner has hardware on a regional level to show for it: he won the LCS playoff finals five times out of eight.
Fnatic’s offseason may prove tricky should they seek to retain both sOAZ and Bwipo. Beside the heartache involved in sitting one of them out, financial considerations also come into play. sOAZ may become one of the most disputed free agents in Europe and North America during the 2019 offseason, with teams sparing no expense to sign him. Furthermore, the same applies to mid laner Rasmus “Caps” Winther, who is also becoming a free agent.