By Justin Wenzel
The time between LCS splits gives managers and coaches time to evaluate their team and time to make changes before the upcoming split. With teams being relegated, a whirlwind of roster changes from LCS teams, and challenger players coming into their own, the talent of free agents in the League of Legends scene is at an all-time high. With all of the talent on the market, teams are making changes that they feel gives them a better chance at winning worlds.
With this brief respite, Team Curse researched their options and have decided to add Team SoloMid reserve player Alex “Xpecial” Chu to the Team Curse roster. Xpecial comes to Team Curse coming off an exceptional spring split, where he helped TSM to a second place finish in North America and a finals appearance against Cloud 9. Xpecial was also named the week nine MVP of the split, making him the only support player to be named a weekly MVP. Over the spring split, Xpecial ranked first among supports in kill-death-assist ratio (4.91), and second in gold per minute (270.57) and total gold. His most played champions over the entire split were Annie (7-2), Thresh (8-1), and Leona (7-1).
“I’m extremely excited to be here,” said Xpecial. “Recently the NA scene has evolved to where every team is competitive. Every team is looking forward to the 2014 World Championships. I felt Curse was the right spot for me to achieve my goals.”
Last year, Xpecial was the North American All-Star support, and in Shanghai he and CLG’s marksman Doublelift finished second in the bottom lane skills competition, prompting Doublelift to call him the best support in North America. Since that point, Xpecial has only continued to impress and consistently play at an All-Star level.
Xpecial left TSM after the Spring Split due to complications with the team. “I'm extremely grateful for the time that I've spent with Team SoloMid and the opportunities it has given me,” he said. “When I first joined the team, I was a top mid player in NA with a thirst for competition. Three years later, I have become a top support player that is respected worldwide and I have satisfied my thirst for just competition.”
“I’m very happy that Xpecial was able to find a new home so quickly,” said TSM owner Andy Dihn. “I’m confident that he will have continued success with Team Curse. He is a world class player and I look forward to the TSM vs Curse games this upcoming split.”
“We are excited to sign a world-class support player,” said Team Curse owner Steve Arhancet. “He has proven he has the skill, experience and, above all, the drive and hunger to take our team to Worlds in the Summer Split. I want to thank my friend, Reginald over at TSM for making this acquisition a smooth and professional process.”
Xpecial will be replacing Team Curse support player Bunnyfufuu on the LCS team roster. “This was not an easy decision to make, as Bunnyfufuu has shown to be a very strong player with a massive amount of potential,” said Arhancet. “I am currently in negotiations to do my absolute best to place Bunnyfufuu on a current summer-split LCS team. Should those efforts fail, I have offered Bunny a chance to re-building our Curse Academy roster around him so he can continue to play as he finishes up his last few months in High School. I will do what I can to continue to support his growth in the eSports community with our organization.”
With the addition of Xpecial, Team Curse marksman Cop looks to get even better. Last split, Cop shined on the way to Curse finishing fourth in the LCS Spring split. For the split, Cop ranked in the top eight of kill-death-assist ratios (5.69) and top four in total gold over the entire split. The stats become even more impressive with the realization Cop worked with three different supports over the course of the split: Zekent, Saintvicious, and Bunnyfufuu. With a stable lane partner like Xpecial, Cop could become a headache for opposing teams.
“My goals have shifted. I no longer long for only competition,” said Xpecial. “I long for victories at the world stage; something that has alluded me all of my career. Team Curse is an amazing opportunity for me. Having worked with Liquid (Arhancet) during All-Stars of last year, I realize how important a proper environment is needed to fully unlock a team's potential, something that is realized in Korea and is a key reason in their domination at the highest level. Each player on Curse has shown that they have the skill to be among the best in the world, and I want to assist them to achieve just that.”
“With Curse, my goal is beyond simply attending Worlds,” continued Xpecial. “I want to be competitive with all the regions and aim for a spot in the top 4, something that has not been achieved by any NA team since the first world championships.”
With this roster change, Curse is confident that they have improved and can contest for a spot to represent North America at the upcoming 2014 World Championships.
The roster for Team Curse is now as follows:
Top: Diego “Quas” Ruiz
Jungle: Christian “IWillDominate” Rivera
Mid: Joedat “Voyboy” Esfahani
AD Carry/ Marksman: David “Cop" Roberson
Support: Alex “Xpecial” Chu
Analyst and Head Coach: Mark Zimmerman
General Manager and Owner: Steven Arhancet
Reserve/Substitute Players for Team Curse
Reserve: Michael "Bunny FuFuu" Kurylo
Reserve: Derek “Zignature” Shao
Reserve: Brandon “Saintvicious” DiMarco
Reserve: To be Announced
Reserve: To be Announced