TSM and the Super Team Fallacy
As the NA LCS finishes up its second week after the most eventful off season in the League's history, those eager to weigh in on the fresh teams finally have an adequate sample size to bite into. While lineups like Immortals and NRG reap the predictable spoils of their roster swap loot, one team can't seem to find their place on the Summoner's food chain.
With a 2-2 record going into week 3, fan favorite Team Solomid, considered by many as having "won" the off season, is scrambling to find an identity among their star studded roster. Solomid has huge names and huge history; from seasoned veteran Bora "YellowStar" Kim, to the Dyrus approved Kevin "Hauntzer" Yarnell. TSM is the new face of Elements’ “Super Team” buzzword, and all the same have fallen short of its glory. TSM has only managed to pull out one convincing win, in their game vs. Dignitas, while their second best performance was in a loss to 1st place juggernaut, Immortals; and with star AD Carry, Yiliang “Doublelift” Peng being vocal about the team’s struggles, fans of the NA powerhouse are feeling unexpectedly vulnerable as they look to the future.
League of Legends is now, more than ever, a team game. Having long transcended the flow of Solo Queue, precise cooperative decision making is paramount, and talent alone isn’t enough. Double alludes to this, pointing towards “conflicting game instincts” as the source of the new roster’s troubles. In the case of TSM, this comes as no surprise to those recognizing the increasing complexity of player strength, and weakness, on and off the rift. With Solomid’s talent comes a lot of baggage, and although many of the players see this new chapter as a fresh start, the house certainly has its share of strong will and ego. Such is the fundamental struggle of the super team- think Kobe and Lebron playing together.
There is hope, however, for TSM. While growing pains are unavoidable, the infrastructure needed to focus the five man squad is in place. With new head coach KC Woods, of a traditional sports background, at the helm, and years of experiences between the players to learn from, perhaps Solomid can show us a super team afterall.