The script was pretty clear cut – Jason “WildTurtle” Tran re-signs with Team SoloMid, tallies a pentakill to secure himself a permanent slot on the Spring Split roster, the NA squad cruise to a comfortable trophy win. In reality, the ESL directors appeared to have dug up an all too familiar screenplay for TSM’s first match of IEM Oakland – scheduling the Americans against their European kyptonite, Unicorns of Love.
You hope that after four seasons of competitive play and one entire season of your coach persistently reminding you before every game: “Don’t flash in”, that you might actually learn your lesson. Granted, Team SoloMid had little preparation time together heading into IEM Oakland, but that certainly doesn’t excuse the shambolic level of play on display at the competition.
It’s safe to say, that based on this performance, WildTurtle has wavered any chance he might have had of remaining on the Team SoloMid roster for the Spring Split. It was widely acknowledged that Tran would fly out to Korea following the conclusion of the tournament, joining up with the reformed Team Dignitas for a tryout. Turtle had better hope that the coaching staff weren’t watching IEM Oakland – based on the viewing figures, they probably weren’t.
The irony of Turtle’s tweet three days before their match with the Unicorns of Love is now all too sweet:
Me: I’m not gonna flash in this game
Inner me: flash in you’ll enjoy it ? pic.twitter.com/w39ba6K7tt
— Jason Tran ? (@IMTWILDTURTLE) November 17, 2016
As one the easiest opportunities to lay your hands on silverware, IEM Oakland was WildTurtle’s shot at redemption. Team SoloMid fans welcomed back their former AD Carry with open arms, hoping to see a wiser, more refined player take to the rift after an impressive season with Immortals.
The draft certainly wasn’t favourable towards Turtle – his Jhin play was on par to the performances displayed by Yiliang “Doublelift” Peng at TSM’s catastrophic World Championship. Despite shamefully holding a 40% win rate on Jhin, WildTurtle was forced uncomfortably onto the champion twice, failing miserably on both occasions.
You can bash us for not practicing enough but it was a last second decision to go, with half our players being in different countries/states
— Søren Bjerg (@Bjergsen) November 20, 2016
Ahh that was an unfortunate series :(. Too bad we only had 1 week to prep
— Jason Tran ? (@IMTWILDTURTLE) November 20, 2016
The argument that Team SoloMid were out of practice and lacked synergy does not provide a satisfactory explaination for fundamental mistakes. By the point Turtle decided to suicide, the game was already lost, the Canadian simply took it upon himself to sign the death warrant.
Team SoloMid’s search for Doublelift’s replacement will have to continue heading into the new year – at this rate, the veteran AD Carry will reclaim his starting spot for the Summer Split with ease. There’s a significant gulf in class between the performances of TSM’s two most recent ADCs:
Where WildTurtle flashes in to kill himself, Doublelift only opts to dash in to his death.