Jason “Wildturtle” Tran is back in the black and white of Team SoloMid and everything about it feels so right. TSM’s returning AD Carry showed North American fans exactly what he had to offer during Season Six of the NA LCS, driving Immortals into contention for the championship with some iconic hard-carrying performances. With his contract at an end, Turtle will rejoin Team SoloMid and reject Team Dignitas, staking his claim for a slot that perhaps, should have always been his.
Team SoloMid initially dropped out of IEM Oakland after their World Championship AD Carry Yiliang “Doublelift” Peng, announced that he would be taking some time off from competitive play in early November. It has now been revealed that WildTurtle will become a permanent addition to the squad for the Spring Split – whether he will hold onto his spot when Doublelift announces his return remains to be seen.
WildTurtle was replaced by Doublelift following a disappointing end to the team’s 2015 World Championship campaign. The iconic Canadian AD Carry bore the brunt of the blame for the team’s losses alongside fellow veteran, Marcus “Dyrus” Hill. Many were quick to point the finger at Tran’s aggressive play style, an unwavering aspect of his play, even when the team fell behind.
Infamously, Turtle was embarrassed in an episode of Team SoloMid’s reality television series, TSM: Legends. Then coach of the team, Choi “Locodoco” Yoon-sub was recorded humiliating the ADC in front of his teammates, placing restrictions on his play style:
Nearly every North American fan remembers the facepalm moment that Turtle flashed forwards to his death, but many are quick to forget that the Canadian had been TSM’s most consistent performer up until he was told, in no uncertain terms, only to flash to survive. Coincidently, the resources that had been placed on allowing Turtle to carry were suddenly funneled into the mid lane – birthing the Bjergsen and four wards jibe.
Back in the Alex “Xpecial” Chu support era, WildTurtle consistently crushed the opposing bot lanes of the NA LCS – any form of decline only occurred after the squad switched to Nicolas “Gleeb” Haddad, who was having health problems at the time. The arrival of Korean prodigy Ham “Lustboy” Jang-sik, who focused much more on roaming plays, provided similarly little support for Turtle to thrive.
Locodoco attempted to force an aggressive player to play passively – it’s hardly a surprise that his play suffered as a consequence.
WildTurtle’s resurgence with Immortals has served to prove that his play was never the issue. When set up to be the team’s primary carry – as Immortals so often did, with healing support Adrian “Adrian” Ma always within touching distance – WildTurtle’s aggression is often too much for the enemy to handle.
After being wrongfully kicked out of his own ‘home’, it’s great to see Turtle back in his element – the timeline has now gone full circle.
“Being on the team again is pretty good, even though nearly all the players have changed, it still feels really familiar – it just feels like home.
“My expectation for myself is to be the best in North America, and hopefully at Worlds too.”
Jason “Wildturtle” Tran
As a familiar face, there’s certainly an argument to support the case that WildTurtle was Team SoloMid’s best AD Carry option for the 2017 Spring Split.
For all the discussion on high-calibre talent such as the former ROX Tigers’ star, Kim “PraY” Jong-in – without the promise of a long-term future and the looming return of Doublelift – there are seemingly few incentives for a world class AD Carry to join the NA LCS champions. Turtle meanwhile, has established himself as a solid player and has an existing rapport with the roster.
There’s no guarantee that WildTurtle has a long term future with the team – irrespective of his reference to Worlds in the official promotional video – but heading into the Spring Split, his talents should not be underestimated as they were before. Fans need to forget all the Locodoco propaganda they’ve seen on the TSM veteran.