Team SoloMid's new roster looked shaky in the IEM San Jose quarterfinals but could be really strong with more practice
With four new members—top laner Kevin “Hauntzer” Yarnell, jungler Dennis “Svenskeren” Johnsen, AD carry Yiliang “Doublelift” Peng, and support Raymond “kaSing” Tsang—Team SoloMid managed to take down Chinese team LGD Gaming 2-0 to advance to the semifinals, where they will face European team Origen.
Previously Team SoloMid included players that spoke various languages, with mid laner Søren “Bjergsen” Bjerg being the only remaining member from the team’s last roster.
One of the main things that Team SoloMid owner Andy “Reginald” Dinh wanted for the new roster was to add English-speaking players only to try and improve communication—and while it is still very early days strong communication was not evident during the two quarterfinal matches.
Overall game one was played very defensively by Team SoloMid, with multiple aggressive pushes leading to either no kills or fewer kills than they could have got due to poor communication. This also led to the game being dragged out a lot longer than it needed to, with the team cautiously going for the re-spawning inhibitors rather than the open Nexus.
A recurring theme in both game one and game two was Team SoloMid overextending, with newcomer Tsang caught out of position early in game one.
It was evident that the new roster had only played together for a week, but the shakiness is understandable and with more practice it could be very strong going into the 2016 season.
“The first game I think we all played really bad,” said Peng in an interview after the matches. “I made like 10 mistakes that game. For game two I think all of us were playing more clean and trying to fight less.”
Top-laner Yarnell—who joins the team from Gravity, which lost the 2015 season playoff quarterfinals to Team SoloMid’s old roster—looked particularly strong overall, with impressive map awareness and positioning, which could be extremely important for the roster moving forward.
During his post-match interview Peng was asked about his former team, Counter Logic Gaming, which has a fierce rivalry with Team SoloMid dating back to when Dinh and Counter Logic Gaming owner George “HotshotGG” Georgallidis played on the same team. A lot of controversy was stirred up when Peng decided to switch teams at the end of October.
“It’s a fresh start,” said Peng of moving to Team SoloMid. “All these people come from a different place, a different team. We get to do things the TSM way… we’re the crowd favorites.”
Team SoloMid go up against Origen in the semifinals tomorrow at 10.40 A.M. PST.
Photo via TSMPRO/Facebook