Former professional mid Laner and current Team SoloMid team owner, Andy “Reginald” Dinh is the single most divisive figure in the North American eSports scene. Despite announcing his playing retirement in 2013, Regi has continued to polarise the communities’ opinion as an outspoken public figure for the largest team in region. Reginald’s latest quote of controversy is his assertion that he was once the best mid laner in the world.
For many League of Legends fans, their earliest memories of competitive play are flashbacks to Season 3 of the North American League of Legends Championship Series, by which point Regi’s Mid lane prowess was already a shadow of its former glory.
Dinh certainly contested the title of ‘Best mid Laner in North America’ during his prime (Seasons 1 and 2), though whether he could ever truly be described as the best in the world is a significantly bolder claim:
“When I created my eSports organisation it was about pursuing my passion – so I just decided to form TSM because I loved it.
“At one point, I was the best player at my position in the world.”
Andy “Reginald” Dinh
The early seasons of competitive League of Legends were an unrecognisable landscape compared to the eSports scene of the present day. As Team SoloMid’s mid laner, Reginald was never a player to shy away from a fight. Regi’s bold and confrontational personality, which has been the source of so much negativity in recent years, was idyllically suited to the play style of the early League of Legends pro scene.
Whether he was throwing barrels, bombs, runes or poison, Reginald positioned himself toe-to-toe with his enemy at every possible opportunity, forcing them to fight him. An iconic Pentakill in 2011, widely understood to be first ever in competitive pro play, perfectly captured Regi’s dominance over the mid lane position:
Transitioning into Season 2, Reginald was Team SoloMid’s pivot point, one of the most dominant players in his position in North America around which the entire team orientated. With supportive Jungler, Brian “TheOddOne” Wyllie always at his right hand, Reginald continued to play aggressively to win his lane.
As the team’s primary shot-caller, Reginald constructed his team strategy around teamfights, often promoting champions with a global influence (Karthus, Nocturne, Shen, Twisted Fate). Regi was invaluable to Team SoloMid’s success, often sacrificing himself to assure the team’s victory – there were a number of high death count games. There were no other shot callers that matched Reginald’s decisiveness during Season 2.
Crucially however, Regi’s dominance over the North American region transpired during competitive League of Legends infancy. A number of the players deemed to be at a standard to play professionally were underdeveloped compared to the high intensity of the present day – Regi consistently won lane off due to his unrelenting aggression, a strategy few players of the time knew how to deal with.
The lack of competitive teams allowed Reginald to play almost exclusively against the same rivals time and time again, none of whom matched the TSM mid laner’s style of play. Yet, even with the lack of notable rivals in the scene, Reginald’s claim to have been the best mid laner in the world is still disputable.
By Season 2, the European mid lane talents of Henrik “Froggen” Hansen and Alexey “Alex Ich” Ichetovkin had certainly surpassed the iconic Team SoloMid man. It’s possible that Reginald was referring to the dark ages of League of Legends, potentially even the games’ beta stage. Reginald was rank 1 on NA before LoL gained any significant traction in other regions, initially making guides on solomid.net for the small player base.
Reginald’s statement to the title of best mid laner in the world isn’t technically inaccurate, though perhaps it should have an asterisks in accompaniment. Being the best in the world when a minute portion of the games’ current population were playing doesn’t quite hold the same level of gravitas compared to the throne currently occupied by SK Telecom T1’s Lee “Faker” Sang-hyeok.