Replacing a Legend: TSM's Potential New AD Carry
On Nov. 1, 2016, it was announced that Team SoloMid’s veteran and all-star AD Carry Yiliang "Doublelift" Peng was going to take a break from competitive play and not participate in the upcoming spring split. This announcement immediately sparked the community to start speculating on possible replacements for Doublelift. Many different names were brought up, such as EDward Gaming’s star ADC Kim "Deft" Hyuk-kyu, who recently announced his departure from the number one Chinese team.
While many of these rumors were quickly debunked, TSM’s statement saying that they found a veteran ADC to try out at IEM Oakland allowed us to narrow down the list of potential replacements to three players. There is no guarantee that any of these three players will be chosen to play for TSM, but these seem to be the most likely candidates.
Jason "WildTurtle" Tran
First on this list is fan favourite WildTurtle, who previously was a part of TSM for three seasons. A recent article by ESPN reported that their sources have confirmed that WildTurtle will be the ADC to play for TSM at the upcoming IEM Oakland tournament. If this is true, TSM is going to have to make major playstyle adjustment coming into IEM.
Unlike Doublelift, WildTurtle is not a spectacular laner. Out of all the AD Carries in the past NA LCS summer split, WildTurtle had the third lowest creep score differential at 10 minutes, and the second lowest gold differential at 10 minutes. Compare this with Doublelift, who finished first in both categories, and you realize how much of a downgrade WildTurtle is.
Additionally, there is an aspect of leadership that Doublelift instilled onto TSM that WildTurtle lacks. Before Doublelift’s arrival on TSM, Søren "Bjergsen" Bjerg did all of the shot calling without the help of WildTurtle. I, like many, would be hard pressed to believe that in this past year on Immortals, WildTurtle learned how to properly shot call. If WildTurtle is ultimately chosen to play for TSM in the spring split, then be prepared for Doublelift’s return in the summer.
Konstantinos-Napoleon "FORG1VEN" Tzortziou
The second name constantly brought up for this position is the newly teamless FORG1VEN. Following his impressive semifinal finish at the world championship with H2K, FORG1VEN has become one of the most desirable free agents available at the moment. Unlike WildTurtle, FORG1VEN is famously known for being a very lane dominant ADC.
During the EU LCS playoff, FORG1VEN was statistically the best AD carry, beating out the likes of Jesper "Zven" Svenningsen, who many believe to be the best ADC in the West. The main limiting factor that could keep FORG1VEN from joining TSM is his past with Dennis "Svenskeren" Johnsen.
Back in season five, FORG1VEN and Svenskeren were on SK Gaming together. Having an Immortals-esque spring split, where they finished first in the regular season but bombed the playoff, caused conflict to arise between the two players. Not being able to come to a resolution, an ultimatum was made where either FORG1VEN or Svenskeren had to be dropped. FORG1VEN ended up being the one dropped, and was forced to play for Gambit in the summer split. If there is still any lingering animosity between these two then I don’t see FORG1VEN coming to TSM.
Chae "Piglet" Gwang-jin
The last candidate on this list is none other than Piglet, formerly of Team Liquid. Piglet’s past split was quite rough. Moving from the main roster to TL’s challenger squad, only to fail in the promotion tournament, took quite the toll on the former world champion. Despite these hardships, Piglet’s skill has not deteriorated.
In his limited playing time in the past NA LCS split, Piglet showed that he was still one of the best AD Carries in the league, even if the rest of his team was playing poorly. If TSM picked up Piglet, there is little reason to believe that he would not play up to the caliber he has been previously.
The leadership qualities that Piglet picked up on TLA are also very valuable to TSM. Having another veteran AD Carry to guide Vincent "Biofrost" Wang, the same way Doublelift did, would make the transition process much easier. The work ethic of TSM would most likely suit Piglet really well. It was very apparent during this last season that Piglet was angry and frustrated that his teammates weren’t putting in nearly as much effort into improving like he was.
TSM’s environment of constant practice would be the perfect setting for Piglet, who is constantly striving to be the best. The only problem that arises with the addition of Piglet is the language barrier. Although he has gotten better at English, Piglet is still nowhere near fluent. TSM, not having anyone on the roster or support staff who also speaks Korean, could potentially create issues of misunderstanding.
The Other Possibility
If TSM ends up choosing WildTurtle or any other ADC from NA, there would be a possibility to have a roster change in the top lane. Just by glancing at this new roster, you can tell it’s much worse than season six’s iteration. If TSM’s goal is still to make a deep run at Worlds, this roster won’t be the one to fulfill it. This potential roster with an NA ADC can cause TSM to revert back to the Bjergsen show, where he is forced to carry every game.
Finding a superstar top laner could circumvent this problem. With free agents like former Afreeca Freecs’ Jeon "ikssu" Ik-soo available, as well as other Korean top laners possibly leaving like ROX Tigers’ Song "Smeb" Kyung-ho, there is no reason why TSM shouldn’t import a top laner in this scenario.
Ultimately though, I could be completely wrong with all of these possible candidates. TSM might plan this roster swap to only last for one split, meaning that they might use this opportunity to try out a rookie ADC, like Cody "Massacre" Sun. All we can do is speculate until the inevitable announcement.
Who do you think will be TSM's permanent ADC next split? Let us know by commenting below or tweeting us @GAMURScom.
Article by Malcolm Abbas. Follow him @SmashhLoL
Photos courtesy of LoL Esports