For as long as competitive League of Legends has existed, so too has Team SoloMid.
The brainchild of Andy “Reginald” Dinh arrived on the scene in January of 2011 and has grown to be the most recognized name in competitive League history. The team has changed a lot over the years, but the fans seem to remain more loyal to the brand rather than its players. Nevertheless, some names remain associated with the team, as one of their original players has managed to come full circle and return as a member of their current coaching staff.
Regardless of their sometimes rocky performances, Team Solomid always seems to be at the forefront of North American hearts.
The tale began in January of 2011 when Andy “Reginald” Dinh left the OG League of Legends competitive team, All or Nothing. Reginald rebranded the team after his League of Legends community site Solomid.net, and Team SoloMid was born.
The original roster of TSM had Saintvicious in the top lane, TheOddOne in the jungle, Reginald in the middle lane, Locodoco as AD carry and Chaox championing the support role. That roster wouldn’t last for long, and after three months of turbulence and roster appearances from several other high-profile players like Westrice and Doublelift, TSM eventually solidified the roster that would start the dynasty:
Their first true test would come in the highest-profile event of the year, the League of Legends Season 1 World Championship.
Placing first in their group, they advanced immediately to the Winner’s Bracket Semi-Final, guaranteeing themselves at least $7,000 in prize money. They were defeated in a Best of Three by who many believed to be the heavy favourite coming into the tournament, Against All Authority, and were thus forced to face Epik Gamer, a team that housed Reginald’s brother, Dan Dinh.
They swept that series before losing again to aAa, who already held a 1-0 lead to start the series based on an extended series ruling. At the end of it all, TSM took home $10,000 for their troubles.
TheRainMan remained with TSM through the rest of 2011 and the first quarter of 2012. Solomid continued to perform well with TheRainMan in the top lane, failing to place top four in only one single event while he was a part of the active roster.
That event was IEM New York in September of 2011 – TSM failed to advance to the next stage from a heavily stacked group that included Fnatic, CLG, and a red hot Team Dignitas, fresh off their acquisition from Rock Solid.
The last event with TRM on the roster was IEM Kiev, in which Solomid took second place, just below a strong Moscow 5 team that was also at the beginning of a dynasty. Several months passed, and TheRainMan announced he would be stepping down from Team SoloMid. A difference of opinions on where practice time should be spent was the main cited source for the split.
With Reginald at the helm, Team SoloMid had one of the longest standing congruent core line-ups in League of Legends history. While the iconic line-up that featured Dyrus, TheOddOne, Reginald, Chaox, and Xpecial was only together for 377 days; Reginald, TheOddone, Chaox, and Xpecial amassed an impressive 720 days of consecutive play together – Leaving Chaox out of the number, the roster history grows to a staggering 942 days.
When I think about Team SoloMid, my mind will always return to the middle of Season 2 where Team Solo Mid was undisputedly the best team in North America and, arguably, in the entire Western hemisphere. The aforementioned line-up saw everything they touched turn to gold during a 6-month span, starting at IPL 4 in April of 2012.
IPL 4 was the first time TSM was able to show off their newest acquisition, and they did so with a solid run of 8/3, for a 73% winrate over the course of the tournament, only dropping games to CLG and Dignitas.
Next up for Team SoloMid was the MLG Spring Championship, where TSM smashed through a 20-team bracket with an identical 73% winrate, this time over 15 games, and again, only losing games to their biggest rivals: CLG and their sister team, CLG.EU.
The next premier tournament was IPL Faceoff in August, just before Season 2 World Qualifications. TSM convincingly ascended to the top of the bracket, dropping only one game the whole weekend and ending with a 3-0 sweep of Curse Gaming in the Grand Finals. The last premier event of Season 2 was the World Qualifiers which they won as well.
Reginald uttered the famous, “It was the easiest Finals of our lives,” line in the post-game interview – And to be fair to him, it was a very convincing win and one that teams had been accustomed to for the past six months.
There was a lot of hype leading into the Season 2 World Championships for Solomid. Finishing in First Place at the World Qualifiers meant they got a direct seed to the Quarterfinals, bypassing the group stage entirely.
For their troubles, they met an Azubu Frost team that came off a fresh 3-0 out of the group stages and was well prepared to take on a cold TSM who hadn’t played competitively in over a month. There is a lot of controversy surrounding the series between Solomid and Frost.
The outdoor venue had the mini-maps projected behind the players and in plain view if the players were to turn around in their chairs. The eventuality of the situation resulted in Azubu Frost being fined $30,000 for Woong looking at the minimap to gain information early in the first game. Solomid lost two games in a row and bowed out to Frost in the Round of 8.
Coming off a disappointing showing at Season 2 Worlds, Team SoloMid already acquired a spot in the Season 3 League of Legends Championship Series Spring Split, during which the first casualty from the golden age of TSM would arise.
Following their Week 6 performance, Chaox was released from the team and WildTurtle joined as the newest member of the franchise. Solomid would go on to win the regular season maintaining a 75% winrate over 28 games.
They carried their momentum into the play-offs and dispatched Vulcun and Good Game University (Team Coast) in successive series.
The end of Solomid’s dominance of North America was marked by this one final victory for TSM, before a mind-blowingly successful Cloud 9 team entered the scene during the Summer Split. The Kings had been Crowned one final time.
The Bjerger King
The rest of 2013 saw Team Solo Mid wallow in mediocrity as their winrate during the summer fell by 25%, finishing with a record of 14-14. They did manage to secure a spot at Worlds in the play-offs, only to arrive and get trounced by SK Telecom T1 K, OMG and Lemondogs.
They finished ahead of only GamingGear.eu in their group, but still took home a whopping $30,000 for their 11th/12th place finish. Following a second straight disappointment at the World Championships, Reginald announced he would be stepping down as the team’s mid laner to fill a role as a coach and focus more on the business side of Solomid.
Enter Bjergsen. The new kid from Europe had played the previous split with the Ninjas in Pyjamas to great individual success. Bjergsen led the team to a second place finish behind Cloud 9 and a better record than they had held the previous 2 splits.
Everything was looking good again for TSM and they looked to be returning to their old dominating form, but they were about to face a giant thunderstorm.
The New Hope
That’s when all hell broke loose on the North American LCS. With two new teams joining the mix in LMQ and compLexity, it became increasingly obvious that the caliber of competition in the NA LCS was about to jump through the roof.
With that in mind, TSM felt it was time to make even more roster changes – Replacing Xpecial with Cloud 9 Tempest support player Gleebglarbu and TheOddOne with Copenhagen Wolves rising jungle talent, Amazing. Dyrus was the only pseudo-original TSM member to make the cut and remain on the starting roster.
After issues presented themselves near the end of the Summer Split, Gleeb was released and TSM brought over Lustboy from Korea to play out the remainder of the split (at the lowly cost of $2000). With this fresh looking roster, Team SoloMid looks to make it back to the World Championships for a fourth consecutive year and put up a better performance, especially compared to last year.
In the League of Legends, Team SoloMid has definitely seen a lot of legends play for their squad. As the career lifespan of professional gamers seems to grow ever shorter, TSM has had to make some difficult decisions – Releasing iconic and loved players from the roster.
Regardless of who plays for the team or which faces show up on the LCS cameras on game day, TSM fans remain true to their brand and continue to show time and time again why they love their team.