Moving on to part 2 of this series of articles, I move on to the current North American LCS champions, TSM. With no changes to name, it's going to be same old TSM from the last split. Nevertheless, let's take a look at what will be the keys of success for them in the upcoming split.
TSM ended the Spring split with 1st place in the ladder, and after the play-offs. It may have been a little harder than expected, but TSM came out on top in the finals vs GGU ( Now Team Coast ). Their roster at the end of the season, and their current roster remains the same :
Dyrus - Top
TheOddone - Jungle
Reginald - Mid
WildTurtle - ADC
Xpecial - Support
Here's the part where I explain what has changed for TSM over the course of the break, but nothing really changed. Well, maybe something.
The only benefit I can think of that TSM gained from the break is Dyrus and Xpecial's experience in China for the All-Stars. North America put up a brave performance during the All-Star tournament, playing well in both games against China, defeating the favourited Europeans, and then being schooled by Korea. Dyrus did relatively well, one of the more consistent members of the NA All-Star team, not performing amazingly, but not doing badly either. It is however Xpecial I wish to focus this section on. Xpecial played phenomenally during the All-Star tournament, him and Doublelift where the shining hopes in a side plagued with inconsistency. One must only look at how NAs bot lane fared up against the others. It was a rare sight to see XpeciaLift get thoroughly beaten in lane. Hopefully Xpecial can take this experience, build on it, and consolidate his spot as the best support in North America, and one of the best in the world.
How each member contributes to TSMs success
Dyrus - The best thing about Dyrus is how consistent he is. He rarely goes on tilt and always plays to LCS champion standards, occasionally even better. This is why enemy bans are almost always focused on him, if Dyrus get's one of his comfortable picks ( Malphite, rumble, Shen, etc ) it is very unlikely he is going to lose to the opponent top laner, even if a lane swap is enforced. With bans and constant ganks headed his way, he draws pressure away from the rest of the team, whilst still generally winning/tying his lane and using his teamfight awareness to swing it in TSMs favour. For Dyrus to contribute to TSMs success he simply needs to continue doing what he is doing. I struggle to find an area in which Dyrus struggles in. He used to be very susceptible to early pressure and would often give up early deaths, however since then he has improved drastically in minimizing his losses while the enemy camp him and attempt to dive.
TheOddone - Ahh what to say about my favourite jungler in all of League of Legends. Well, not anything new really. TheOddone initially struggled to adapt to the carry jungler, having to relinquish his beloved maokai. Since then however he has transitioned perfectly into the current state of the game, dominating on champions like Nasus and Jarvan IV. Not quite carrying but doing more than supporting. His Nasus and J4 games total 11 played, with 11 wins, not something to ignore. For Oddone to continue to be a key factor in TSMs success, he has to continue adapting to whatever the meta throws at the junglers. The jungle seems to be the role that changes the most, and as long as Oddone can keep ahead of the curve, he will continue to strive a sturdy member of TSM.
Reginald - As owner and captain of TSM, reginald has taken on a sort of Dark Knight role in TSM. I refer you to the quote " He is the hero TSM deserves right now, but not the one it needs " ( Swapped TSM for Gotham ). Regi does a fantastic job of playing very well, yet taking every piece of criticism TSM ever receives. he does have a habit of making 1 or 2 glaringly obvious mistakes during the big games, but aside from these mistakes ( that usually lead to nothing ) he wins his lane more often than not. On top of this, he is the main shotcaller for TSM, and is regarded by most of the North American LCS players as one of the best shot callers/Captains in the game. Reginald could work on trying to minimize the errors he makes, generally they consist of bad TF ults or whiffed skill shots, but by minimizing these tiny mistakes he may be able to finally win some fans so he can stop taking flak for very little reason. Aside from this, Reginald is a solid leader, and one that TSM is very lucky to have.
WildTurtle - Remember when Chaox left? and everyone thought the same thing ' Gah, there's no way WildTurtle will ever be nearly as good! Chaox was the best, and Regi is a tyrant! '. Hell, even I thought that, until he played his first week in the LCS that is. WT has been a breath of fresh air for TSM. Before his arrival they were stagnant, performing below average and sitting in 3rd/4th of the LCS standing, after him, TSM went 12/2. An outstanding record, which led them to the top of the LCS. the worry now however is that the initial shock factor of WT has worn off, people have figured out how he plays and how to counter his hyper aggressive style. I believe that TSM have too many threats to pin down WT. For every ban thrown at him, it opens up another champion for Dyrus, or Reginald, this is where TSM shine above other teams. It is simply impossible to ban out 2/3 players, whereas Chaox would not command any bans and simply be a member of the late game team fight, WT brings early game domination.
Xpecial - So I'll elaborate on my thoughts of Xpecial from earlier on in the article. it was made obvious at the All-Star event that Xpecial/Doublelift was probably the best bot lane partnership in America. I strongly believe that Xpecial/WildTurtle is the best bot lane partnership of an LCS team, and that they are only going to grow stronger. Xpecial is a veteran of the game, it is known that his game knowledge allows for him to play any role he wants with almost guaranteed success to a certain degree. If you really watch Xpecial alone when TSM play, it is rare you will see him make a mistake. It is the supports job to carry the AD Carry into the late game, and Xpecial does that to the highest standard.
So how will they do?
It is mine, any many others opinion that TSM will continue to dominate the North American LCS during the Summer split. The real question is whether or not TSM can challenge at an international level. If they continue to improve at the rate they are, the gap will close, there's no doubt about that. I do however feel that Regi needs to swallow his pride, and bring in an analyst for TSM. Dan Dinh is already transitioning into a sort of manager role, with Dan as manager and someone else on board to analyze opponents/Scrims, I think TSM will have a chance at competing with the best in the world.
- All members are consistent performers
- reginald is an amazing leader/shotcaller
- WildTurtle growing into a leading AD Carry
- Lack of coach/analyst
- Difficulty performing internationally