We have grown together through several seasons of League of Legends, always hearing the roar of the iconic T-S-M chants at tournament events. Since the inception of professional League of Legends, Team Solomid has stood a cut above the rest, consistently outperforming and continually adapting to new metas, new strategies, and new champions.
While the TSM that will take the stage at the beginning of the 2014 Summer Split may be a different TSM than the one we remembered way back when, the fans should still ‘baylieve’ in the power of the Kings of North America, as it will be exciting to see whether these new roster changes can bring both fresh skill and passion to the team as they seek to reclaim their former glory in the number one seed position, a spot that has eluded them ever since Cloud 9 appeared on the scene in Season 3.
Spring Split Performance
Though Team Solomid blazed triumphantly through the first half of the Spring Split – with upstart EU to NA star Bjergsen carrying the team on his shoulders – the team began to falter midway through. The departure of Bjergsen mid-Split to sort out some Visa issues in Europe seemed to set TSM off balance, and they looked to be playing catch up throughout the remaining half of the Split.
While able to take one game off of Cloud 9 during the Split, a first for TSM, they were ultimately unable to make a dent in the Finals, swept away 0-3 by their rivals in blue. However, TSM was able to convincingly beat down CLG for this opportunity, and has still been able to show that they are truly a talented group of individual players. Bjergsen is hailed as being the best mid laner in NA and has beaten each and every other NA mid laner at least once in TSM’s match-ups.
Shortly after the end of the Spring Split, TSM fans were met with the contentious news of Xpecial’s benching and the announcement by OddOne that he would be stepping down as TSM’s jungler to join Reginald in coaching TSM. TSM voted unanimously to replace Xpecial with Nicolas ‘Gleebglarbu‘ Haddad, previously with Cloud 9 Tempest. Ex-Copenhagen Wolves player, Maurice “Amazing” Stückenschneider, will be stepping up to fill in OddOne’s shoes as TSM’s new jungler. It was felt by Reginald and the team that the introduction of these changes would be better for the team as a whole moving forward.
These changes mark the end of an era for TSM – For the first time, there will be no original members on the TSM squad from this Split onward. How will these dramatic roster changes affect TSM’s performance within the Summer Split? Many fans are unsure of the team’s ability to remain at the top with these changes, but hope to keep the T-S-M chants alive throughout the Summer Split.
Meet The Team
Marcus “Dyrus” Hill – Top
Hailing as a League of Legends player since its beta stages, Dyrus is no slouch when it comes to doing his job in the top lane. He continues to bring knowledge, experience, and skill to the table for TSM, staying mostly on par with his opponents, despite the ever-shifting meta-game.
During the Spring Split, Dyrus showed preference to Mundo and Shyvana, though his performances on Mundo seemed to be contingent on not being focused early, as it is a prevalent strategy to gank Mundo under tower and kill him at early levels, often setting Dyrus back and never allowing him to gain the proper momentum needed to assist his team as an unkillable front-liner during the mid game. Junglers have often scored success in visiting Dyrus early to punish his over-aggression in lane, setting him behind in terms of lane dominance, experience, and occasionally putting him on tilt.
However, despite these setbacks, Dyrus remains extremely consistent in his ability to cs, regardless of his lane success. When teams made the mistake of letting Dyrus be, he would bully his opponent out of lane more often than not, racking up cs and becoming a major headache for the enemy team and acting as a meat shield for his team, many times doing the unthinkable and carrying as a tank – Soaking the majority of the enemy team’s damage, all the while, providing consistent damage output, particularly when he was allowed to snowball as Dr. Mundo.
Søren “Bjergsen” Bjerg – Mid
Viewed as the best mid-laner in north America and voted #1 to represent NA at Paris All-Stars, Bjergsen has been no stranger to the limelight since his arrival to the NA scene. With top-notch mechanics and his remarkable ability to make plays on nearly any champion he plays (from his famed LeBlanc Distortion jukes, to clutch Nidalee spears, and Karma Pentakills), Bjergsen is undoubtedly the superstar for TSM and the player who is relied on most heavily to win lane and win game.
There is no question that Bjergsen has the ability to mechanically outplay all NA mid laners that he has met up against thus far. He typically always moves ahead of his laning opponent in terms of cs and prefers to use his strong lane advantage to gain either an individual kill or to provide pressure through roaming to other lanes and picking up kills to begin snowballing into the mid game. A lot will continue to rest on Bjergsen’s shoulders within the Summer Split, and it will be important that he can establish a strong synergy with TSM’s new jungler, Amazing. If Bjergsen is still able to outplay his mid lane counterparts and keep communication strong with the rest of the lanes, TSM may well be able to continue to use his superior mechanics to their ability as they push for victory within the Summer Split.
Maurice “Amazing” Stückenschneider – Jungle
After OddOne publicly announced his decision to step down as TSM’s jungler, TSM moved to acquire Copenhagen Wolve’s Amazing. Despite the overall struggles for the Copenhagen Wolves during the Spring Split, TSM felt that Amazing’s mechanics, champion pool, and individual skill in professional level play would help them stay on par as the game continues to change.
While Amazing does not bring the amount of LCS experience to the table as that of OddOne, TSM’s past decisions to bring in new players who have been more able to adapt to the game’s frequent changes have seemed to serve them well in the past (Season 3: Acquisition of WildTurtle, Season 4: Acquisition of Bjergsen). It remains to be seen just how well Amazing will take to working with TSM, and it will be extremely important that he is able to complement Bjergsen and Dyrus well in helping them to snowball.
Jason “WildTurtle” Tran – AD Carry
Known for his ever-present smile and lackadaisical attitude, WildTurtle has been a strong addition to the TSM line-up ever since the benching and departure of Chaox in Season 3. While WildTurtle’s performance may not have been as strong in the latter half of the Spring Split, there is no denying that he still remains one of the top AD Carries in terms of his overall creep scores and ability to keep up with his lane opponents.
The disintegration of synergy between WildTurtle and Xpecial seemed to begin somewhere in the middle of the Spring Split and the old duo lane never seemed to be able t regain control over bot when up against partners like CLG’s Doublelift and Aphromoo or Cloud 9’s Sneaky and LemonNation. The hope is that a fresh and new synergy will develop between WildTurtle and Gleeb, allowing WildTurtle to shine again as best he can, even within a meta that has shifted slightly away from the bot lane and placed more emphasis on jungle carries.
Nicolas “Gleebglarbu” Haddad – Support
Previously the Support for Cloud 9 Tempest, Nicolas “Gleebglarbu” Haddad has joined TSM as the replacement for Xpecial. This decision has been one of much contention, as Xpecial is known to be much more experienced and was frequently showcased for making plays that allowed TSM to completely turn around games for the better. Gleeb’s lack of LCS level experience will be a risk for TSM and could potentially be a weak spot for them as they reach for the top.
However, from what has been seen up to now, Gleeb has shown strong promise and an uncompromising work ethic. Given time and confidence, perhaps his positive attitude will bring something to the team that has been lacking for some time. TSM needs to continue to improve their communication and keep their morale high, as well as regain control within the bot lane. All eyes will be on Gleeb to see how well he and WildTurtle work together as we enter the Summer Split.
Summer Split Predictions
TSM has proven time and time again that they are a team worthy of being in the Top 3, still consistently beating down CLG when it truly counts, but falling short to Cloud 9 for two splits in a row now.
TSM has made some major roster changes that could either spell new success or spiraling disaster as the team will have to adjust their shot-calling, communication, and working with two new team members. TSM has always been known for carrying such a large amount of individual skill in all their laners; every one of them has the ability to shut down and suffocate enemy lanes in a way that most other teams cannot. I expect that the individual skill of TSM will remain high, but what will make or break them is whether or not they can tighten up in terms of their rotations and mid-game shot-calling.
TSM lagged behind the other teams mid way through the Spring Split with slow adoption of changes to jungler meta and early tower pushing strategies, generally losing control of vision or prioritizing objectives incorrectly – This was clearly felt in the Finals versus Cloud 9, when Cloud 9 always remained one step of TSM, beating them to the punch when TSM felt they may have an edge. A weak point for TSM will be Gleeb, as he is inexperienced at this level of play, and many of the NA bot lanes have been looking a lot stronger this Season.
However – The fact that despite their rotational and communication errors TSM was still able to convincingly secure the number two seed spot in NA shows just how strong they are. If TSM is able to iron out some of these issues under the combined guidance of OddOne and Reginald, I believe that TSM has a very strong chance at becoming an even better team, and perhaps one with the ability of giving Cloud 9 another run for their money. Their combined experience as a team should help them remain a head above the newcomers in the pack, and with some work, there should be plenty of opportunities for another Split filled with T-S-M chants. Baylife!