Joshua "Dardoch" Hartnett has left Team Liquid to join Echo Fox, both teams have confirmed.
As first reported by ESPN's Jacob Wolf, Dardoch will be replaced on TL by mid lane substitute Lyonel "Arcsecond" Pfaender in their upcoming North American Regional Finals match against Team EnVyUs.
Dardoch was suspended in May due to "insubordinate behaviour" and a conflict with head coach Yoonsup “Locodoco” Choi. Locodoco later said in a interview that Dardoch would finish the summer split with Liquid, but would not say whether he had a future with the team beyond that.
In a statement given to ESPN Tuesday, Team Liquid League of Legends general manager Nick Phan said that the team "tried really hard to make this lineup work" with Dardoch, but they ultimately felt a change was necessary to maintain a team atmosphere that was "optimal for performance."
"Dardoch and Liquid have come a long way together and we are happy that we were able to be a place where he could grow from being a Challenger player to a top LCS player," Phan said.
"We are excited for Dardoch's next step, and hope that playing for Echo Fox allows him to continue to advance his career."
In an email to theScore esports, Echo Fox confirmed that Dardoch had joined their team.
"Dardoch brings a competitive spirit that we feel will fit right in with our team," team owner Rick Fox said in a statement. "He has a desire to compete both personally and as a team at the highest level and will settle for nothing less. I feel this will help the competitiveness of our team and I welcome him to Echo Fox."
"He is a really skilled player and who is also motivated," head coach Simon "heavenTime" Jeon added. "I believe that his playstyle and him having experience with Korean players will make the team more solid."
Though rosters are currently locked for teams playing in regional qualifiers for the World Championship, Echo Fox did not make the Summer Playoffs or the NA Regionals. Since Fox will not hit the rift again until spring 2017, they are free to add new players to their stable without penalty.
The same is not true for Team Liquid, who must use a player already on their bench to replace Dardoch. Although Arcsecond's experience has primarily been as a mid laner, he will be starting for Team Liquid in jungle in their Gauntlet match on Sept. 3 against nV. Before joining Liquid as a sub, Arcsecond played with a procession of Challenger teams, including TSM Darkness and Winterfox. Liquid picked him up in July 2016.
Phan told ESPN that Liquid's coaching staff have been working closely with Arcsecond, and he has shown "great strides."
"Arcsecond has been diligent and dedicated to adjusting to a new role in a very short time and his attitude and approach to the game have been exemplary given the situation," Phan said.
This is the second departure from Team Liquid announced since their Summer Quarterfinals loss to Counter Logic Gaming. Earlier today, former starting ADC Jovani "fabbbyyy" Guilen said on Twitter he was leaving the team after losing his spot to rookie Phil "Jynthe" Vu. Dardoch later tweeted that he was kicked off of the roster.
Team Liquid's full NA Regionals starting roster now looks as follows:
- Samson "Lourlo" Jackson at top lane
- Lyonel "Arcsecond" Pfaender in jungle
- Kim "Fenix" Jae-hoon at mid lane
- Phil "Jynthe" Vu at AD carry
- Matthew "Matt" Elento at support
Sasha Erfanian is a news editor for theScore esports. Follow him on Twitter, it'll be great for his self-esteem.
Jeff Fraser is a supervising editor at theScore esports.