Road to Worlds: Team SoloMid
A GAMURS exclusive series, taking a look at the 16 teams going to Worlds from the beginning of their qualification and see just how their road to Worlds went. Today, we look at Team SoloMid (TSM) of the North American LCS.
End of an era
Coming off of a Worlds 2015 performance that was below what the organization was expecting, a lot of changes would occur within the TSM camp. The TSM legend that is Marcus "Dyrus" Hill retired with an emotional farewell to the fans on the Worlds stage and the world lost one of its League stars; the very man who got me interested in TSM and the NA stage in the first place, and I was lucky enough to sit down with him a while back to discuss things which you can check out here.
Ham "Lustboy" Jang-sik would become an analyst for the team, Jason "WildTurtle" Tran wold move on to be the starting ADC for newly formed Immortals of the NA LCS and Lucas "Santorin" Tao would leave to go to a host of new teams throughout the year.
I'm going to now quickly write small sections on the two new additions that were officially a part of TSM throughout the year, but are not a member of their current Worlds roster.
Raymond "kaSing" Tsang would join the starting lineup for TSM in their new look 2016 squad, however, after only playing a couple of games for the team, he was quickly replaced by Fnatic's former support Bora "YellOwStaR" Kim. But, even Yellowstar would see himself leaving after the Spring Split, heading back to Fnatic for the Summer Split.
This left TSM with the following roster to represent the organization for either most of the year or the full year. Some were very controversial to the community, but we will touch on that briefly now. Yiliang "Doublelift" Peng, the former Counter Logic Gaming ADC, was the first to join the team with Søren "Bjergsen" Bjerg, who was the only team member on TSM at this time. Doublelift was picked up by TSM after CLG dropped him from their roster, closing the ADC tryouts they had going at the time.
Spring Split and Spring Playoffs 2016
Rocky starts for the new look TSM
There was a lot of focus on this newly formed TSM team with a lot of people expecting great things from an impressive roster that was, at the time of the Spring Split, Hauntzer, Svenskeren, Bjergsen, Doublelift and Yellowstar.
However, a strong looking TSM side struggled to show up in the Spring Split and ended up with a final record of 9-9, finishing in sixth place with a 50% win rate. Going into the playoffs as the sixth seed, their record of reaching every LCS final was in jeopardy, unless they could perform a miracle to get a chance of representing NA at the Mid-Season Invitational 2016 in China.
To then say that TSM would show up in the playoffs is an understatement. The team would first look to thrash Cloud9 3-1 after impressive shot-calling plays that would see the team set up a match with the first seed Immortals, who, for the lack of better words, were uncharacteristic in their approach to playing against this now strong TSM side. Immortals would also fall to TSM, after such an impressive split, 3-0. This new mantra that TSM had saw them go against the run of the tournament to come out as new favourites to set up a match with longtime rivals, Counter Logic Gaming.
CLG would take the first game to begin a seesaw of results, with TSM taking the next to tie the series at 1-1. The next two matches would tie up the series once again at 2-2, but TSM were unable to capitalise on a lot of missed chances, meaning they would miss out on an international encounter, for the time being, with CLG going to MSI instead.
Summer Split and Summer Playoffs 2016
Back to best
The summer season would see Yellowstar returning to his former team in the EU LCS, being replaced with Biofrost to finalise the TSM roster for this split and beyond. They had a lot to prove on the back of their lackluster form in the spring split and only time could tell if the break would mean the team would be able to show a greater understanding and synergy than it did before.
The new best-of-three format used in the NA LCS seemed to only benefit TSM as a whole as they were able to finish at the top of the NA LCS, only losing one series overall against Phoenix1, which led to a certain TSM legend having his head shaved due to losing a bet made on Twitter during the split (it's hilarious and you should go watch it here). This meant TSM went into the summer playoffs with the biggest chance of all to take the NA LCS' number one seed for Worlds 2016 with a home turf advantage.
TSM would be placed against CLG in the semifinals for a rematch of last split's final, the winner knowing that they would be able to qualify for Worlds regardless if they won the final or not due to their series points. With all of this on the line, TSM would dominate a lackluster CLG 3-0 to be guaranteed a spot at Worlds, however, they were not willing to leave it at just that.
The finals would be the el Clasico of the NA LCS, Cloud9 vs. TSM, for the number one seed at Worlds. C9 took the first game, with TSM taking the next game back to tie up the series. But that was the only game C9 could win as TSM continued and pushed on with their usual team fight mentality to destroy Cloud9 3-1 and head to Worlds as the top team in NA.
And that, ladies and gentlemen, is Team SoloMid's "Road to Worlds!"
As we head into Worlds 2016 in North America, we ask you guys which team you are supporting in the competition? How far do you think they can go? Let us know on twitter @GAMURScom.
Adam Newell is a writer for @ and can be contacted in ways displayed below:
Images from lolesports