After a long wait full of speculation, the newly franchised NA LCS has started. It did not go as most people expected.
Before the Spring Split started, two teams, Liquid and TSM, were thought to be the favorites. The first match of the split pitted these two teams against each other and Team Liquid won handily, invoking a wave of criticism towards the TSM lineup and its star, Søren “Bjergsen” Bjerg in particular.
The situation didn’t improve any after that, when TSM lost not only to Liquid but FlyQuest as well, even though FlyQuest wasn’t thought to be among the league’s best by any means and actually lost to Echo Fox in their first game of the split.
Currently, 100 Thieves, headed by Zaqueri “Aphromoo” Black, Cloud9, Echo Fox and Team Liquid are at the top of the standings with 2-0 records. Clutch Gaming and FlyQuest are in the middle of the pack with 1-1, and CLG, Golden Guardians, OpTic Gaming and TSM are bringing up the rear, having lost both of their first two games.
The most interesting thing about this week of the EU LCS is the fallout against TSM on the hub of League of Legends, its subreddit. With some rare exceptions, most people were quick to jump on the TSM bash train.
There are many reasons why this happened. First of all, TSM has been dominating the NA region for so long that the fans are honestly tired of them winning, so they relish in TSM’s failure. Also, the roster is honestly one of the strongest in the LCS, so when the teams fails to win, the team gives birth to loads of memes, jokes, and digs at their own expense.
Additionally, there’s also the fact that one of the most popular players in the NA LCS, Yiliang “Doublelift” Peng, was let go from the team and joined Team Liquid, only to crush TSM in the inaugural match of the season and go on to win both of this week’s games with his team. The whole thing makes for a great narrative, where a spurned superstar player joins another team and goes on to crush them, making TSM regret letting him go.
The truth, however, is that the current TSM roster has been playing together for less than a month. It has Bjergsen and Kevin “Hauntzer” Yarnell who have their ideas about how to play the game, it has Jesper “Zven” Svenningsen and Alfonso “mithy” Aguirre Rodríguez who also have their own ideas born from a no less successful run in the EU LCS. And the team also has a rookie jungler, Mike Yeung, who can’t really break any stalemates in decision making because he’s a rookie and honestly not that experienced.
With a new coach, two pairs of players with their own ideas and a rookie, the team will have to find a way to mesh together. That is no easy task in a roster with experienced players who know how they want to play. If TSM signed more talented rookies, the team’s staff and veteran players would be able to mould them to do what they wanted them to do but that is not the option now.
So, the only way to get better and start winning is to actually find a way to function together. This is honestly a similar situation to what happened in KT Rolster last season. That roster, despite being chock full of the best players in the world, was pulled in two directions as well, with Song “Smeb” Kyung-ho and Kim “Deft” Hyuk-kyu demanding their share of jungle attention and resources. After a year, the team still failed to find a way out. Hopefully, TSM can do better.
There is no easy way to fix the situation. It can only get better if the whole team joins together, forgoes their ego and believes in the process. Two weeks or even a month is not enough time to get over this hump and the community ripping TSM apart will not help.
Yes, TSM shit the bed in their debut week of the NA LCS. This new roster might be a disaster on the same level as the Bora “YellOwStaR” Kim signing or it might not. What is not helpful is ripping them on the Internet, unless the players are used to it and can just use it as motivation to do what needs to be done, get better and rip through the Playoffs, just like they’ve been doing since the NA LCS started.