TSM’s been busy this pseudo-offseason, benching IGL Stephen “reltuC” Cutler from the VALORANT roster and parting ways with coach Taylor “Tailored” Broomall. With the players relegated to watching VCT Masters Reykjavík from their homes, changes clearly needed to be made to bring back the team’s glory days.
That’s where new coach Chet Singh comes in.
The organization announced Chet’s hire last week, calling the move a “new age of TSM Valorant.” While the squad sports tons of talent, experience, and firepower, they failed to qualify for the last two VCT Masters tournaments. A fresh start was necessary—and Chet feels like he has plenty to offer this struggling TSM squad.
“I’m going to offer a really structured approach, and I’m going to make sure we’re very efficient in the time that we have before the next qualifier.” Chet told Dot Esports. “Hopefully some sort of leadership has been added to the team now with me in the coaching role. And, overall, keeping the vibes high.”
After coaching NRG’s VALORANT squad since its inception eight months ago, Chet moved on because the “chemistry wasn’t correct” and it was “hindering [their] process to get better.” Throw in the abundant roster changes and Chet felt the future was uncertain. “It just didn’t feel right,” he said.
TSM, on the other hand, has James “hazed” Cobb, Matthew “WARDELL” Yu, Yassine “Subroza” Taoufik, and Taylor “drone” Johnson in the starting lineup. And each of those four players has been on the roster since it was created in May 2020. Since the organization seems “very invested in VALORANT,” Chet felt it was the best long-term decision for his career. The veteran coach had other suitors, including Team Envy, but ultimately decided on TSM because they’re “in it for the long haul.”
“[Envy’s] good consistently, top four, they have really good players,” Chet said. “But if I was to go with Envy, I felt like in my head, personally, it would be a really short-sighted move because I wouldn’t be looking at the long-term stability of my career.”
Chet’s fortunate enough to inherit a star-studded roster, which only improved when TSM signed Braxton “brax” Pierce in March. But they still have a long way to go under a new regime and with a different lineup. And Chet’s first order of business as the squad’s new coach is ironing out fundamentals.
“A lot of the things that I focus on are fundamentals and making sure they’re being done correctly before moving on to more advanced things, which I think that’s something they probably lacked before,” Chet told Dot Esports. “I want to make sure we’re focused on the very small things before we get into bigger picture things.”
Before going into more complex strategies, like a mid split, Chet wants to focus on things like spacing, trading, and prioritizing ultimate orbs. The new coach has also encouraged players to try out new agents, especially since there’s a lot of time to experiment and it’ll help the team break out of their comfort zone. And with everyone on the team being “pretty open-minded,” Chet’s happy with the results.
WARDELL, for example, is known for being one of the scene’s best Jett opers. But Chet says he’s been trying out other agents, too.
“He plays Jett still on some maps and he’s just learning on other maps to play different agents,” Chet said. “It’s a good thing he’s trying new things and he’s doing pretty well playing other agents. It doesn’t mean it’s set, that he’s never going to play [Jett] again. It’s just good to know that he’s willing and able to play it at a high level just as much as he could on Jett.”
Chet plans on playing to TSM’s strengths, an experienced and mechanically proficient squad that was once the pinnacle of NA VALORANT. Taking advantage of WARDELL’s operator skills is high on the list, something TSM should “keep abusing” because “most teams don’t even have a good oper to begin with.” The new coach also wants to flex their agent pool, incorporating various comps that can be whipped out at any time to maintain unpredictability and keep opponents on their toes. And since TSM has “a lot of experienced clutchers on the team,” the squad can usually secure a round in post-plant situations.
One question mark left behind after Cutler’s benching is who would take over as in-game leader. Chet identified hazed as the new shotcaller, putting in extra time with the CS:GO vet to talk strategy, comps, and to make sure they’re on the same page.
“I’m not a dictator or anything,” Chet said. “I want to make sure I’m making him as comfortable as possible, doing the things he likes as well, but then he also does the same. He’ll compromise on things I want to try, as well. So it’s been a pretty healthy relationship.”
As a seasoned coach with five years of combined experience in CS:GO and VALORANT, Chet doesn’t feel much pressure taking over a tier-one team looking to turn things around. Instead, he’s concentrating on the long-term. While he’s aiming for a good performance in the third leg of the VCT, it’s “not the end of the world” if things don’t work out.
“I want to make sure, long term, we’re set,” Chet said. “So that way, next year when the next [circuit] happens, we’re ready for it.”
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