League of Legends Championship Series (LCS) team Golden Guardians acquired FlyQuest’s top laner Eric “Licorice” Ritchie. The former Cloud9 top laner has joined his new team on Tuesday, July 6.
Licorice Seventh Stop of His Esports Career
Golden Guardians acquired Licorice as their new top laner for the LEC 2021 Summer, the North American esports organization announced on Tuesday. Licorice has been bought out from his contract with FlyQuest and has signed a three-year contract with his new team.
Golden Guardians mark Licorice’s seventh stop of his five-year career. He began his LoL esports career in December 2015 with Storm and later played for Frank Fang Gaming and Cloud9 Challenger.
It wasn’t until December 2016, when Licorice signed his first professional contract with eUnited. He stayed with the team for 11 months, helping them finish second in NA CS Spring 2017 and NA CS Summer 2017.
His performances didn’t go unnoticed, and Licorice got picked up by Cloud9, who signed him in November 2017. With Cloud9, Licorice finished second in NA LCS Summer 2018 and won NA LCS Regional Finals 2018 to secure a spot at the 2018 World Championship.
There, he helped Cloud9 finish third-fourth, which is to date the best placement a North American LoL team has achieved.
In 2019, Licorice led C9 to a silver medal at LCS Summer 2019 and added an LCS Spring 2020 title in April 2020. Cloud9 would then go on to finish fourth in LCS Summer 2020, missing out on LoL Worlds for the first time since 2013.
After a disappointing season, Cloud9 decided to part ways with Licorice, who would go on to join FlyQuest for the 2021 season. There, he struggled to achieve much success.
FlyQuest ended LCS 2021 Spring in eighth with a 6-12 record and failed to improve upon that in the summer season. After five weeks of play, FlyQuest put together a disastrous 3-12 record, which sits them in tied-eighth place in the LCS standings with a 9-24 record on the 2021 season.
Golden Guardians Eyeing LCS Playoffs
Licorice joined Golden Guardians in a bid to restart his career that has been on the downwards path for the past year. Surprisingly, he has signed for the only team in the league with a worse overall record than FlyQuest.
Regardless, Golden Guardians have been showing much better form than FlyQuest in the LCS 2021 Summer. They’re 8-25 overall but 5-10 on the summer season, which is marginally better than FlyQuest’s 3-12 run.
With the addition of Licorice, Golden Guardians will hope they can make a push for a playoff spot. The final ticket leading into the postseason is occupied by Counter Logic Gaming, who sit in eighth place with a 9-24 record.
This essentially means Golden Guardians are only one win short of breaking into the top-eighth, and they still have four weeks left to close the gap.
By signing Licorice, Golden Guardians will need to make some roster changes. They have moved Colin “Solo” Earnest to the bench to make room for the 2019 LCS champion, who will take over as GG’s new starting top laner.
Outside of that, GG haven’t announced any roster moves since adding Solo and support Jonathan “Chime” Pomponio to their roster in May 2021.
Licorice’s Debut With Golden Guardians Slated for Friday, July 9
Licorice will make his debut with Golden Guardians on Friday, July 9, at 17:00 PDT, when GG face off against 100 Thieves. It will mark the rematch from June 12, when 100 T won with a 9.3k gold lead and 19.3 in kills.
Odds for Golden Guardians vs. 100 Thieves Match
Odds courtesy of BetOnline Sportsbook:
- 100T -588
- Golden Guardians +367
- 100T -9.5 Kills +103
- Golden Guardians +9.5 Kills -141
- Over 23.5 Kills -128
- Under 26.5 Kills -105
100 Thieves have since not shown any signs of slowing down and are rightfully priced as the favorites to win. However, Golden Guardians are not to be underestimated with the improvement they have been showing this season.
They might have lost their last two outings against Evil Geniuses and Dignitas, but they put up a solid fight in all of their games. With Licorice on the team, GG should be more competitive, but it remains to be seen whether they can upset the current LCS leaders.