Fudge to start for Cloud9 in 2021, Licorice being shopped around to LCS teams

Oceania’s young top lane star will be playing in the LCS next season.

Ibrahim “Fudge” Allami will start for North American giants Cloud9 in the LCS next season, following news former top laner Eric “Licorice” Ritchie had been made available on a buyout offer ahead of the 2020/21 League of Legends free agency period.

The move comes after Kim “Reignover” Yeu-jin was reportedly promoted to the team’s head coach position ahead of Spring 2021, according to ESPN Esports.

Fudge’s move into the big leagues comes after the shock closure of the Oceanic Pro League late last month, and Riot’s decision to make all Oceanic players into LCS residents. The move has open doors for many former OPL stars in the NA pro scene.

As Snowball Esports understands, Fudge has yet to sign on the dotted line for the deal, but the move is all but sealed. Allami, 18, still has three years to run on a contract he signed with Cloud9 when he moved to the LCS system ahead of the 2020 season.

The incoming Cloud9 top laner’s contract expires on Nov. 21, 2023.

Fudge has been a wrecking ball in Academy for the past year, in the best way possible. The young Australian talent has been one to watch since his immense rise in the OPL throughout the 2019 season, which culminated in a Worlds run with Mammoth.

The 18-year-old was promoted from Mammoth’s academy setup mid-Split 2, replacing Kim “Topoon” Ji-hoon. The side went on to win the Split 2 title at the Melbourne Sports Open, and contest a Worlds Play-In group with Clutch Gaming and Unicorns of Love.

Fudge was scooped up by Cloud9 during the first Oceanic Exodus, and played alongside fellow OPL superstar Calvin “k1ng” Truong for much of the Academy season. The team ran first in both Spring and Summer, with a combined 27–9 record.

Fudge playing for Mammoth in 2019.
Fudge has been on LCS teams’ radars since his explosive 2019 run with Mammoth.

The Cloud9 top team had similar success ⁠— 30–6 in the regular season, and a Spring title ⁠— but fell short at the final hurdle. The title favourites fell to second in the regular season, then were bundled out by Team SoloMid in a shock 3–1 upset in the lower bracket.

The defeat, which had followed a similar loss to FlyQuest in the upper bracket, cost the Spring champions a shot at Worlds. The organisation failed to qualify for the year-end event for the first time since 2013, and the first time in their history.

Despite that, the team confirmed they would be “staying together next year.”

That suggestion appears to have been scuppered behind the scenes, however, considering Licorice is on his way out the door. Robert “Blaber” Huang, Yasin “Nisqy” Dinçer, Jesper “Zven” Svenningsen, and Philippe “Vulcan” Laflamme are still contracted to the team until 2022.

Licorice is now available on a buyout from Cloud9.
Licorice will no longer play in the blue and white of Cloud9 heading into 2021.

Snowball Esports has not been able to confirm if the decision was first floated by Licorice, 23, or if the trade decision was made by the organisation’s backroom staff.

His latest statement, made on Oct. 20, would suggest the organisation made the call. He wrote, “C9 told me last week I won’t be part of the team in 2021.”

“I’m so proud that I could help bring the trophy home for all of the Cloud9 fans while I was here. Changing teams is part of being a professional player, and I’m ready to compete with a new team next year,” the LCS star wrote on Twitter.

Licorice has played 106 regular season games for Cloud9 since replacing world champion Jung “Impact” Eon-yeong in the 2017 campaign. He was also part of the star-studded lineup that finished Top 4 at Worlds two years ago behind Fnatic and Invictus Gaming.

Once papers are signed, Fudge will become the second Australian in the LCS after Golden Guardians superstar Victor “FBI” Huang. Snowball Esports is also expecting more OCE stars to join top-level lineups for the 2021 season and beyond.

PhotographyRiot Games
Isaac McIntyre
Isaac McIntyre
Isaac McIntyre is Snowball Esports' editor in chief and head of editorial, leading coverage on Oceanic & Asia-Pacific gaming talent at home and abroad.

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