For a team that just won their 5th NALCS title in the Spring Split, disappointing is the word that came to mind for many fans after they failed to make top 4 at MSI. So much so, people started discussing if failing at international events was to be expected of the NA region. Sometimes the community can have a short memory…*cough cough*…*CLG*. International failings aside, I think TSM has an opportunity ahead to straighten out some of the problems this split before they head off to China.
TSM will have to figure out their shot-calling by the time playoffs roll around. This iteration of TSM has struggled to find a primary shot-caller that could help them translate their domestic success internationally. Bjergsen has said that the burden of primary shot-caller is too difficult to take on and maintain his star play-making. Hauntzer picked up some of the shot-calling in the Spring, but eventually relinquished it back to Bjergsen by the time MSI came around. Doublelift is coming back to the roster this summer and had a big impact on the way the team played in the macro. The biggest concern this split is whether TSM will have trouble reintegrating Doublelift and his strong voice, or will TSM benefit from having 3 members with the ability to make calls.
Player to Watch: Doublelift
Doublelift had a half of a split over the Spring to take a break from competitive League and spend his time streaming. His last split with TSM he was runner up to MVP and took a vocal lead in TSM’s early game. Last split he while loaned out to Team Liquid for 15 games, he had a 3.6 KDA, the highest CS Differential at 10 minutes (CSD10) at 9.8, and the highest Gold Difference at 10 (GD10) at 307. His lane dominance translated to a lot of early leads for TL. Back in the Summer of 2016, his ability to outplay his opponents in lane elevated Biofrost to look like a top 2 support in his rookie season.
Double had a big impact on the team in the summer in terms of their shot-calling too, but when they reached the international stage, he faltered and could not replicate his doomestic success. Turns out when you face better competition the Win-Lane-Win-Game strategy becomes much more difficult. Doublelift is now rejoining his own team just as Hauntzer has come into his own as the best top laner in the NALCS, making TSM a tri-carry-threat team. To give them a chance internationally, Liftlift will need to take some of the late game decision making burden off of Bjergsen’s back while maintaining his strong laning and team-fighting. A tall order for sure. Also, it would help if they had a coach that knew the macro game and could teach the strategy so that the team didn’t look so helpless closing out games against good teams. G2-TSM Game 2 of MSI Group Stage.
TSM will start slow as they are coming back from a break after MSI, but as the season goes on the team will come back into form. Even though this is not the same team as last split, this roster won an NALCS title last year. Their toughest competition will come from C9 and CLG so those match-ups are the ones to watch.
Will TSM 3-peat this year as NALCS Champions?
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