Amazing leaves Team SoloMid to return to Europe
The 20-year-old German player moved to America in May of this year to join the most popular League of Legends franchise on the planet, stepping in for the retiring Brian “TheOddOne” Wyllie. Famed for his Lee Sin play, Stückenschneider was tabbed to bring more active and aggressive jungling to a SoloMid team hoping to keep up in the North American arms race.
The move worked. Stückenschneider and SoloMid struggled early, but down the stretch their form improved as SoloMid took the League Championship Series title, winning their first championship since Cloud9 entered the league last year.
“Working with Maurice has been an amazing experience and I was very glad to have him play for our organization,” SoloMid owner Andy “Reginald” Dinh said. “He was a huge part in our success this season and I wish Maurice the best of luck. I truly believe that he’ll find success within any organization.”
Stückenschneider is reportedly stepping down of his own volition, opting to return to his home country and continue his career in a more familiar environment.
“No team has ever inspired me more to become more skilled, smarter and overall just better at my individual role than TSM, thanks to the coaches, but especially the players who all have the drive to be the best,” he said. “I am sad about leaving this type of environment, but I’m equally excited to be back in the country I was born and raised in.”
But while Stückenschneider’s domestic play was solid, at Worlds he was wanting. Team SoloMid's champion select options were limited by his small champion pool, with SoloMid often forced to first pick Lee Sin. Of the eight junglers to reach the quarterfinals, Stückenschneider posted the lowest KDA (2.59) and the most deaths (39). His damage per minute ranked second to last at 216.52 DPM, only ahead of Cloud9’s William “Meteos” Hartman’s 197.31 DPM.
Of course, replacing Stückenschneider will be a tough task. The North American talent pool may not be as thin as some seem to think, but it's clear there's a decided lack of experienced talent. Team SoloMid may need to take a chance on an amateur, as they did with support player Nicolas "Gleeb" Haddad in the Summer.
The new LCS roster rules, which requires at least three players of a roster to be part of the region of competition, will limit SoloMid’s options. Currently only Jason “WildTurtle” Tran and Marcus “Dyrus” Hill hail from North America, meaning a new jungler must also be an American.
One potentially tantalizing option would be moving Korean support Ham “Lustboy” Jang-sik to the bench or a coaching position, opening the possibility of picking up a Korean jungle player like free agent Lee "KaKAO" Byung-kwon by fulfilling the North American roster obligation at the support position. But Team SoloMid struggled picking up an American support, Haddad, in the Summer, proving there's no easy solution.
Discussing potential replacements, however, is just speculation at this point. The only thing sure now is that Stückenschneider’s SoloMid career is at an end. While it’s debatable just what impact his individual performance had on the team, it’s safe to say it was a positive one. His tenure at Team SoloMid produced results greater than any they achieved since 2012.
Image via Riot Games/Flickr