After struggling out of the gate, some began to wonder if this was the Split where the reigning champions Team SoloMid would finally be overtaken. After a week where they beat the two top teams in FlyQuest and Cloud9, TSM have already shown significant growth and surged ahead once more to the top of the NA LCS.
Team SoloMid had a shaky start to their season. After suffering through their opening match with Cloud9, displaying both pick/ban mistakes and seemingly overwhelmed in multiple lanes – the struggles continued in multiple series where TSM limped to three game victories. Panic ensued, fans cried out for the return of Yiliang “Doublelift” Peng, and the perceived strength of the champions’ stock was lower than it had been in almost a year.
Of course, that did not last.
Individually, there are not many teams in the NA LCS that can compete with the individual talent of TSM, who boast a top-tier player in nearly every role. On paper, the squad should be able to win the majority of their series based on the wealth of their talent alone.
With one of NA’s best talents locked down in their Mid laner Søren “Bjergsen” Bjerg, Team SoloMid possess a player who has consistently performed when called upon, a capable leader for LCS heavyweights. Bjergsen is a vocal leader and shot caller for a team with their sights set firmly on the annual World Championship; this ambition will continue to drive TSM forward.
The series win over rivals Cloud9 highlighted TSM’s growth and ability to fix many of the issues they had experienced in their opening week. TSM came in to the series with a clearly defined understanding of the meta, looking strong coming out of Patch 7.3. After a poor showing in their original series, Bjergsen repaid his missteps in full with a dominant series where he posted an impressive 22/4/10 score line.
While there is still much work to be done and progress to be made, the hysteria surrounding TSM’s opening week is quickly dying down – a storm in a teacup. TSM may not be the strongest team on show internationally throughout the 2017 Spring Split, but they will inevitably continue to grow as the season progresses and will be a team to wary of.
Kevin “Hauntzer” Yarnell has been a rock for TSM in the top lane, a consistent force that may be NA’s best at his role. If Bjergsen and jungler Dennis “Svenkseren” Johnson can sustain their return to form, TSM have the potential to regain their place as the favorites for another NA LCS Championship.
With a number of surprising teams such as Pheonix1, FlyQuest eSports, and Echo Fox making their presence felt early in the NA LCS, TSM struggled initially find their feet. But after stumbling early, TSM have once again shown why they are consistently poised for a spot at the summit of the NA LCS.