Team SoloMid launched their 2017 NA LCS Spring Split with a humbling defeat at the hands of their title rivals, Cloud9. The reigning champions later delivered a similarly unconvincing performance in their second series against Immortals, dragging themselves across the finish line on their bellies. But if you thought for one moment that TSM’s disappointing displays would in any way humble team owner Andy “Reginald” Dinh, you were sadly mistaken.
In an interview during Friday’s broadcast of the North American League of Legends Championship Series, Reginald took his moment in the stage spotlight to throw his rival eSports organisations competing in the region into the shade, notably criticising the owners of Team Dignitas and Echo Fox for their employment of imported Korean talent:
“To be quite honest with you, I think that a lot of the team owners don’t really know what they’re doing.
“They’re importing Korean talent over without knowing how to place them into their rosters. Teams like Dignitas, Echo Fox, I don’t think they’re going to do that well. I could be wrong, but I think they’re probably going to place bottom half for sure.”
Andy “Reginald” Dinh
Regi Jesus man this is just an interview not an execution
— scarra (@scarra) 21 January 2017
In contrast to Team SoloMid’s lacklustre displays, Team Dignitas bolstered by the organisations new influx of investment showed great promise for the brand’s first split back in the NA LCS. Former KT-Rolster Top laner Kim “Ssumday” Chan-Ho and former Longzhu Jungler Lee “Chaser” Sang-hyun were signed by DIG in the offseason and after impressive opening series performances; the Korean duo will be hoping to silence Reginald when they face Team SoloMid in the first round of fixtures in the second week.
Dignitas head coach Park Jae-seok has since commented on the remarks made by Reginald, expressing to Slingshot eSports that he hopes to use the comments to motivate his team for their upcoming match. Whilst Regi dismissed the revamped organisation as contenders to finish in the bottom half of the NA LCS standings, Park looked to remove himself from making similarly ill-advised comments so early in the season:
“When we practice with TSM, it’s clear that TSM has the right to say something like that because I think they’re very good,
“But I think an interview like that is actually good for us, since we saw that interview, and I went to players and talked to them about it individually.
“That kind of interview can be a sort of good motivation for us when we play against them next week. I also think that perhaps thinking like that this early into the season might be unadvisable.”
Park Jae-seok, Team Dignitas Head Coach
On the basis of the respective teams opening week performances, Reginald may need to brace himself for an embarrassing backlash, given that many within the community have already highlighted the blatant hypocrisy of the TSM man’s comments.
Towards the tail end of the 2014 Summer Split, and with Team SoloMid languishing in a mid-table position, Reginald opted to import a Korean of his own to salvage the team’s hopes of World Championship qualification. TSM’s suffering Support Nicolas “Gleeb” Haddad was replaced by Ham “Lustboy” Jang-sik, a veteran from the LCK who was part of the Blaze club roster that won the first domestic championship in South Korea.
The move paid dividends for TSM once the playoffs got underway, shaking off a rocky end to the regular-season to secure their spot at Worlds. It goes without saying that, if TSM hadn’t imported Lustboy, they would not have won the split.
Regi’s criticism of Team Dignitas’ importation of top Korean talent is not only hypocritical, but also grossly unfair – given the idyllic Top and Jungle synergy DIG have provided for their former-LCK stars. Dignitas fans will only be hoping that their new found talent prove the outspoken team owner wrong by the end of the season. Schedule the “when I’m Team Dignitas” montage reel.