Hauntzer frontrunner for TSM top lane
After trying out players for every position except the mid lane in recent weeks, Team SoloMid is close to making a decision on its new top laner.
Gravity Gaming top laner Kevin "Hauntzer" Yarnell is the frontrunner for the spot, sources close to the organization tell the Daily Dot. But the team has also reportedly discussed the position with Counter Logic Gaming top laner Darshan “ZionSpartan” Upadhyaya.
The latter is an unlikely choice for the time being, sources say. But Yarnell has shot to the top of the list after a solid performance in tryouts. His contract with Gravity Gaming does not expire until Nov. 15, however, and he's locked into unless he is bought out by another team or Gravity releases him.
But regardless of the contracting situation, Team SoloMid will be eager make a decision on its full lineup soon. In less than a month SoloMid is slated to play at the Intel Extreme Masters tournament in San Jose. The team will need time to scrimmage beforehand. Their opponents will include a mix of top North American and European competition—Counter Logic Gaming, Fnatic, and Origen—as well as Korean side Jin Air Green Wings and China’s LGD Gaming.
In a now-deleted tweet attributed to Andy "Reginald" Dinh, the SoloMid owner suggested the roster may not be complete in time for the tournament: "Its likely that we will not have a complete roster by IEM or any practice going into it because I want to sign the right players," the tweet reportedly said.
If the team does go with Yarnell, it will still need to fill holes in its jungle and support positions. Only a month ago, the SoloMid announced a major shakeup of its lineup: stalwart top laner Marcus “Dyrus” Hill retired, support Jang-sik "Lustboy" Ham moved to an analyst position, and jungler Lucas “Santorin” Tao Kilmer Larsen left the team. And on Oct. 31, the team benched Jason “WildTurtle” Tran in favor of Yiliang "DoubleLift" Peng.
Yarnell's addition could make the lineup among the most talented Team SoloMid has seen in years. Yarnell was one of the more consistent and strong players on Gravity Gaming during the Summer Split, and he was a major part of the team’s qualification into the League Championship Series last year when it was known as Curse Academy. Putting Yarnell in a lineup with teammate Peng and stalwart Søren “Bjergsen” Bjerg would result in a top tier North American team, especially if SoloMid can find some high-powered talent for its jungle and support.
Update 8:01am CT Nov. 16: Team SoloMid announced its new roster on Nov. 14, which included Yarnell in its top lane. Yarnell and the rest of the team will face off with other teams at Intel Extreme Masters San Jose from Nov. 21 to 22.