*The original footage for the clips above can be found on TSM’s YouTube Channel: www.youtube.com/user/SolomidDOTNet*
In the absence of AD Carry Yiliang “Doublelift” Peng, the baton for Team SoloMid’s shot calling responsibilities seemingly fell into the lap of the roster’s star Mid laner, Søren “Bjergsen” Bjerg. Though his abilities on the rift have never once been doubted, Bjergsen’s previous roles as a shot caller have delivered inconsistent results. As the team continues to adapt in the absence of Doublelift however, Kevin “Hauntzer” Yarnell has stepped forward to share the burden with the Danish Mid laner, actively challenging Bjergsen’s calls to drive the team towards success.
As a long-standing eSports reality series, TSM: LEGENDS provides a unique insight into the strategy and team chemistry that exists within Team SoloMid, away from the glaring lights of the LCS studio. Invaluably, the content features the team’s in-game voice communications, providing solid grounds upon which to analyse the attributes of TSM’s developing leaders.
A re-emerging theme within the current season of the show is the tussle for in-game shot calling power between Hauntzer and Bjergsen. As the Spring Split develops, Hauntzer is becoming increasingly vocal during Team SoloMid’s in-game voice communications, shouting down Bjergsen’s potentially incorrect calls to push the squad over the line. This is best exemplified by the voice comms in TSM’s opening win in their series victory over Cloud9:
Hauntzer: “I have Graves, Graves; no flash.”
Bjergsen: “Keep going, keep going.”
Bjergsen: “Baron, baron, baron!”
Hauntzer: “No, no, no, go, go go; kill ’em! What the f***, go, go, go!”
Bjergsen: “Alright okay, let’s end.”
Hauntzer: “End the f***ing game, end through mid!”
Bjergsen: “You guys wanna give me the penta or not?”
Hauntzer: “No, f*** off.”
When comparing Hauntzer’s level of influence in the series vs Cloud9, to that of the scrappy Team Liquid victory three weeks prior, the difference is night and day. The Top laner leads from the front against C9, disciplined and commanding in his strategy to end the game. Over-ruling Bjergsen’s call for baron in the knowledge that TSM could secure victory before dismissing his plee for a pentakill, Hauntzer is filling the void in leadership created by Doublelift’s departure.
Whilst their contrasting styles can evidently cause friction in a strategic environment, the distinction between Hauntzer and Bjergsen’s approaches to the game provide an idyllic balance for Team SoloMid. Bjergsen has been frequently criticised for his cautious, risk-adverse calls, exemplified in the team’s inability to close out games earlier in the Spring Split. It’s greatly beneficial for the TSM squad to have someone else on the team who is willing to pull the trigger when the crosshairs land on a target.
“In terms of shotcalling, instead of a single shotcaller we have a system where each person contributes in an area that they’re specialized in.
“However, both Hauntzer and Bjergsen have stepped up in the amount of responsibilities that they each have to carry the load that Doublelift once had.”
Vincent “Biofrost” Wang, Team SoloMid Support
Doublelift’s potential return in the Summer Split could either stabilise the team or disrupt the new-found balance discovered in his absence. From an optimistic stance, Doublelift’s influence would help Team SoloMid play even more decisively, potentially freeing up Bjergsen to focus on his dominance in the Mid lane, given that Hauntzer has now established himself as a leader within the roster.
Shot calling comes more naturally to some, and as Hauntzer grows into his new role within the roster, Team SoloMid will only continue to improve. Though he may not be as mechanically gifted as other Top laners in the North American League of Legends Championship Series, Hauntzer is invaluable to Team SoloMid – having found his voice as a leader, he is intrinsic to the team’s success.
The Evolution Of Team SoloMid Across Six World Championships