The vast majority of Team SoloMid fans were calling for Parth “Parth” Naid’s resignation in the aftermath of the 2017 Mid-Season Invitational; their disparaging voices are silent now as the Head Coach returns to North America with a Rift Rivals trophy in tow.
‘Why is Parth putting Bjergsen on utility mid laners? Let him carry!’, ‘why is Parth drafting protect the AD carry comps!?’ and of course, ‘can Parth stop forcing Bjerg to play Galio mid!?’.
The weight of the community came down hard on TSM’s Head Coach, but despite it all, he stayed true to his long-term strategy. Parth knew there was method in the perceived madness.
It was Team SoloMid’s final game of MSI 2017 that would cause such significant damage to Parth’s reputation.
Due to G2 eSports’ two victories over Flash Wolves and their pivotal win over the NA LCS squad, Team SoloMid were thrown into a tiebreaker with FW to decide which team would be heading home.
Many consider Parth to have handicapped his squad during the draft phase. Flash Wolves’ comfort picks were left on the table, where by contrast Dennis “Svenskeren” Johnsen – who had looked weak on any champion other than Lee Sin or Ivern – was forced out of his comfort zone, top laner Kevin “Hauntzer” Yarnell was also drafted into a difficult match up.
It was the decision to focus two of TSM’s bans on AD carry hypercarries Twitch and Kog’Maw in particular, that drew the scorn of Riot Shoutcasters Isaac “Azael” Cummings Bentley and David “Phreak” Turley:
— Isaac CB (@RiotAzael) 15 May 2017
@NaserAlNaqi Parth drafts were ass this tournament. I’d be mad too.
— David Turley (@RiotPhreak) 15 May 2017
Parth became a popular scapegoat for Team SoloMid’s failure at the Mid-Season Invitational, a trend that would continue as the reigning NA LCS champions experimented with a range of new compositions and strategies at the beginning of the Summer Split.
As the roster became more comfortable in their macro orientated style however, Team SoloMid began to surge up the standings and entered Rift Rivals in a rich vein of form.
Without doubt, Team SoloMid’s draft phase was the strongest of any team competing at Rift Rivals, the cornerstone upon which the team built their success at the tournament.
For Parth, the shining moment of his redemption would come during the second of Team SoloMid’s highly anticipated fixtures against Fnatic.
The Head Coach showed he had done his research, predicting and baiting Fnatic’s ‘dream draft’ as he drafted his own, perfectly balanced counter composition.
I'm watching every Fnatic game from now on.
— Parth (@parthenaan) April 15, 2017
In the EU LCS, allowing Fnatic to get their hands on Kennen, Shen, Camille and a play-making mid laner was to essentially sign your own death sentence, yet Parth fearlessly allowed the European favourites to pick up their favourite champions.
In response, ironically it was many of the picks for which Parth had been so heavily criticised that dismantled Fnatic.
Søren “Bjergsen” Bjerg’s Galio in the mid lane, Dennis “Svenskeren” Johnsen playing something other than Lee Sin in the jungle; Parth had proven his critics wrong as he sat silently watching his hard work pay off.
Parth did not receive the recognition he deserved for Team SoloMid’s success at Rift Rivals. So often employed as a scapegoat when results are not in TSM’s favour, Parth seems destined to continue his career as the team’s unsung hero.