Team SoloMid are expected to achieve great things at the 2016 League of Legends World Championship. With each passing team interview, leaked scrim and exuberant fan post, it’s difficult not to buy into the TSM Worlds hype. Perhaps concerned at the wild fantasies his team’s fanbase are starting to dream of, owner Andy “Reginald” Dinh is doing everything in his power to suppress expectations.
Despite a difficult group stage draw, TSM are hot favourites to stamp their mark as the number one seed in Group D. Yet TSM have been in this position heading into international competition before, and Reginald will not let his team become a laughing stock for a second time.
Season 5’s Mid Season Invitational was one of the lowest points in TSM’s competitive history – after openly boasting about their seemingly guaranteed road to victory, the confidence of the roster quickly crashed and burned:
MSI 2015 was completely humiliating for the Team SoloMid brand, and as the brand’s biggest ambassador, Reginald had to bear most of the burden for his team’s failure. Heading into Worlds 2016, it was difficult to gauge whether Regi had truly learnt his lesson from MSI:
Just landed in Korea and saw the group draw. We’re gonna take 1st in our group. #TSMWIN
— Andy Dinh (@TSMReginald) 11 September 2016
Reginalds opening tweet gave the immediate impression that a wave of ‘hyped’ media would flow from Team SoloMid’s active channel, but since his initial boastful remarks, Regi seems to have remembered the lessons he learnt a little over a year ago.
It appears that TSM’s Worlds 2016 will not be a repeat of MSI 2015 – no trashtalk videos, no regular fighting-talk tweets – just a professional and respectful approach to the tournament.
In a video posted by TSM’s group stage opponents, Royal Never Give Up, renowned AD Carry Jian “Uzi” Zi-Hao passed comment on the scrim matches between the unpredictable Chinese side and the North American champions:
(Translated from Chinese)
“We scrimmed TSM when we first arrived in Korea. It’s very difficult to win against them. And sometimes we were dumpstered on. I think TSM is in a very good shape this time.”
Jian “Uzi” Zi-Hao
Uzi’s comments naturally flared a response from a wealth of excited TSM fans, quick to point out that scrim victories over SK Telecom T1 and RNG meant that Team SoloMid were fit to crush any Asian opposition. Not all, but the vast majority of western League of Legends’ fans firmly believe that they can justify their claim that the delta between the western and eastern scenes is closing, citing scrim results as evidence.
Ahead of the tournament, Reginald seems set on preventing the crippling weight of expectation hindering his team’s chances of progressing through the group stages, looking to suppress any hype that builds up around TSM:
Too much TSM hype in interviews. Scrims don’t mean shit. We are only thinking about groups, nothing else. All we can do is try our best.
— Andy Dinh (@TSMReginald) 18 September 2016
Looking to shift the focus away from Team SoloMid, Reginald took to his team’s sub reddit to provide his renewed overview of the group stages:
“…ROX is favored, but G2 has a chance to beat ROX.”
“…EDG has the advantage, H2k has a decent chance to take 1st.”
“I don’t want to predict our group and jinx it. If we end up winning, we would live up to expectations. If we lose, lots of redditors will remember this and hold it against us for quite sometime.
“Our players and staff are honestly doing everything we can to win and there would be no feelings of regret if we do lose. As the owner, I would be happy regardless of results, there hasnt been any season so far where we’ve sacraficed this much to win.”
Andy “Reginald” Dinh
Reginald is trying to decrease the hype around TSM and NA as a whole and deflect the pressure onto EU – it’s a complete 180 degree turn in his approach. “I don’t want to predict our group and jinx it” – did he not already say conclusively that TSM would win the group!? Regi pls.
It’s certainly a smart shift in strategy from Team SoloMid’s owner, covering both his and his team’s backs just in case the worst case scenario is acted out on stage – at this point, his ploy is proving effective – likely because every NA fan will still have nightmares about last season’s World Championship debacle…
NA 0-10 the dream 🙁
— Jason Tran ? (@IMTWILDTURTLE) 11 October 2015