It may have required a defibrillator, but Team SoloMid’s 2017 Mid-Season Inviational ambitions made it through the first day still breathing. After causing a scare during the Play-In stages of the competition, Gigabyte Marines returned with a vengeance to upset the NA LCS champions on the opening day of MSI. After a much-needed revision of their strategy, Team SoloMid salvaged their opening set of fixtures with a composed victory over China’s Team WE.
Team SoloMid’s second encounter with Vietnam’s Gigabyte Marines provided painful viewing for North American League of Legends fans. Having previously bested their wild card opponents, TSM stepped on stage as heavy favourites to put GAM to the sword, presumably having learnt from their mistakes during the Play-In series. Yet rather than adapting to the Gigabyte Marines’ somewhat one-dimensional style, instead Team SoloMid inexplicably played directly into their hands.
TSM’s fate vs Gigabyte Marines was sealed in champion select. Team SoloMid opted to flux Lulu into the mid lane, nullifying any potential threat from Søren “Bjergsen” Bjerg and instead putting their faith in AD Carry Jason “WildTurtle” Tran.
Despite WildTurtle’s infamous reputation as TSM’s weak link, the Canadian was handed the brittle hyper-carry Twitch and asked to lead the squad to victory. Whilst it would be easy to blame the AD Carry for not delivering the required damage, WildTurtle was by no means the reason Team SoloMid lost. Though he conceded a number of unnecessary free kills, his mis-steps were mirrored by his teammates across the map: Kevin “Hauntzer” Yarnell suiciding under tower in the top lane as a notable example.
— lolesports (@lolesports) 10 May 2017
Team SoloMid entered the late game stage barely able to scratch the Gigabyte Marines, getting caught out of position on numerous occasions as GAM edged towards victory. Dennis “Svenskeren” Johnsen looked clueless as to how best to get his team back in the game, unable to provide any legitimate threat on Graves from the jungle.
As fans endured witnessing yet more fiesta-worthy mistakes from both sides, GAM finally ceased to provide TSM with opportunities for resuscitation, closing out the game and dragging down Team SoloMid’s international reputation once more. Though the World Championships remain Team SoloMid’s goal, the NA LCS champions had succumb to supposedly the Mid-Season Invitational’s weakest side in the opening game.
As Team SoloMid returned to the stage for their second fixture against China’s Team WE, the roster knew that a loss would put their hopes of advancing from the group stages in serious jeopardy. Immediately erasing the ‘Protect the ADC’ composition from their strategy book, Team SoloMid returned to the play style that had brought them success within North America.
Immediately grabbing Lee Sin for Svenskeren and handing WildTurtle Ezreal to provide the AD Carry with an invaluable escape, TSM moved their priority back to the top lane by drafting Kennen for Hauntzer. Though an unfamiliar pick for the top laner, Sven’s attention to the top lane ensured that Hauntzer evolved into the fearsome split pusher TSM needed him to be.
Bjergsen’s effective zoning and creative use of Taliyah’s ultimate ensured that Team SoloMid slowly racked up objectives across the map. With Baron buff secured, TSM meticulously destroyed Team WE’s base one piece at a time, chewing through every structure on the map before finally destroying the nexus. North American fans exhaled a deep sigh of relief.
Team SoloMid survived a potentially disastrous Day 1 of the 2017 Mid-Season Invitational. The victory over Team WE saved the North American squad from a scarring public backlash, providing some much-needed breathing room as the team seek to patch their issues ahead of their next round of fixtures.