North American mid laner Tanner “Damonte” Damonte will become a free agent on November 18.
According to the mid laner, Dignitas declined to exercise the second year of his contract. The announcement took the community by surprise, especially considering the year Damonte had with Clutch Gaming.
Damonte had a significant impact on the LCS in 2019. The mid laner became the best Qiyana player in the region and was one of the major reasons why Clutch qualified for the 2019 League of Legends World Championship. That strong performance coupled with the fact that he is a North American resident makes him a highly valuable asset for any LCS team.
Damonte is also a popular personality, with fans latching onto the “Tanner Time” meme. His playstyle has evolved over the years and a case can be made that he ranks among the best mid laners in all of League of Legends. Damonte plays a selfless style with enough aggression to dominate his lane. He also has a large champion pool and can adapt to suit his team’s needs.
“Tanner was someone that always put the team ahead of himself and gave it his all, day in and day out. A great mid laner and an awesome guy to work with,” wrote bottom laner Sun "Cody Sun" Li-Yu on Twitter.
Dignitas’ recent decisions have left the fans worried about the future of the team. The organization reportedly signed a $2.3 million guaranteed contract with top laner Heo "Huni" Seung-hoon. Damonte’s release could be confirmation that Huni is transitioning to the mid lane in 2020.
The organization will announce more roster changes in the coming days. According to several reports, the team is close to trading support Philippe "Vulcan" Laflamme. If true, Huni and Cody Sun are the only members of the starting roster that will return in 2020. As a result, Dignitas must find a new jungler, support, and top laner for Spring.
Starting its official LCS run with a brand-new roster might be tricky for Dignitas. The organization may be looking to sign big-name free agents, a strategy that is great for getting attention but not necessarily results.
All roster changes will be confirmed after November 18 when the free-agency officially opens.