After an impressive start to their 2017 World Championship, Team SoloMid’s opening week ended on a flat note, with Dennis “Svenskeren” Johnsen once again villainized for his performance.
Although the squad is certainly in a workable position, in joint first place at the summit of Group D, many disgruntled fans and analysts have suggested a declining level of play in comparison to the team’s playoff performances.
The most vocal of these complaints are frequently aimed towards Team SoloMid’s jungle position, where Svenskeren has against been highlighted as a point of weakness in the team.
A number of unnecessary early deaths and puzzling lack of synergy with the rest of TSM has seen the Danish jungler thrust into the spotlight once more.
With players in each of his lanes with the ability to carry games puts a lot of pressure on Svenskeren to get the ball rolling for his team.
It what has become a common theme for Team SoloMid, the North American champions have a tendency to stretch themselves too thin during the early game, this has been shown quite vividly throughout the first week of the group stage, where they have been first blooded in all three of their games.
The issues don’t stop there either as the mid-game has seen many of out-of-sync engages, with Svenskeren looking to be on a completely different page than his team.
One of the notable occurrences took place versus Flash Wolves in which Sven would see himself picked off during a dance at the rift herald not once, but twice in quick succession.
In an interview with ESPN eSports, Svenskeren offered an explanation his occasionally over-aggressive movements:
“Invading the blue buff is just a big priority that our coach has put on us, that every mid laner is always going to feel like they’re under pressure if they don’t have a blue and the enemy mid has a blue.
“It’s just a big team goal we have where, if we feel like we have any kind of pressure, we should contest it.
“It just kind of sucks being the sacrificial lamb.”
Dennis “Svenskeren” Johnsen
It is impossible to know what the calls are preceding these mistakes and most likely speak to a larger issue within the team as a whole, but with this in mind Sven cannot be pardoned for these mistakes and if Team SoloMid wants to make any headway at this year’s world championship they will need to be on the same wavelength.
The fight for first place in group D is of increasing importance for Team SoloMid. With Korean teams having only dropped a single game in the tournament so far, it is safe to say that the North American Squad would like to avoid such high calibre opposition in the first knockout round.
Considering the relatively easy group draw TSM received, it becomes paramount that they cannot just get out of this group, but do so with the top seed in hand.
One of the best things for Team SoloMid in the first week would have to be the emergence of Kevin “Hauntzer” Yarnell internationally.
After a forgettable debut at the world championships last year, Hauntzer has started to show the same level of promise he has domestically on the global stage.
Critically this extends to all points in the game, where he is laning at a top-tier level but also having a game-changing impact in team fights. For this very reason, the top lane has become a viable option for Svenskeren to focus on moving forward.
Svenskeren has all the pieces around him to make a success of Team SoloMid’s 2017 World Championship, provided look he works with the meta, not against it.
Considering that the majority of Team SoloMid’s struggles have come from early game mishaps – often stemming from the jungle – getting away from this and instead relying more on their team-fighting (which saw them defeat Team WE) will be the best adjustment they could make and give the team their best chance of moving forward.