Jason “WildTurtle” Tran appears to be wary of the notion Team SoloMid would falter against wild card teams at the Mid-Season Invitational.
North American League of Legends teams have struggled at times in international competition, specifically with suffering upset defeats to teams from wild card regions. Most recently, it’s happened to Counter Logic Gaming (at last year’s MSI and the League of Legends World Championship in 2015 and 2016), but TSM also lost to GamingGear.eu from Lithuania in the Season 3 World Championship. As a whole North America’s performance on the international stage has been under intense scrutiny in recent years.
Speaking at the post-game press conference following TSM’s win in the North American League of Legends Championship Series spring finals, WildTurtle said the problem stems from the mindset teams have when playing opponents with lower skill or reputation.
“I think underestimation is probably the biggest thing (that happens) when you lose to a lower team,” he said. “Just taking them lightly and not doing things you’re used to doing, like playing around with calls, playing around with vision, etc. When you’re playing lower teams, teams that think they’re better tend to skip steps, and that’s what makes you lose games.”
TSM’s own recent international history has been murky. TSM did not advance past the group stages of the last two worlds and won only a single game at MSI in 2015. Heading to this year’s MSI in Brazil, TSM will be a part of the play-in stage, in which the representatives from nine other regions (Brazil, CIS, Japan, Latin America North, Latin America South, Oceania, Southeast Asia, Taiwan, Hong Kong, Macau (LMS) and Turkey) will compete, with three advancing to the group stage of the tournament to play with the representatives from Korea (SK Telecom T1), Europe (G2) and China (TBD).
In a field littered with wild card teams, focus will be important for TSM to avoid an upset. Kevin “Hauntzer” Yarnell said the team will not prepare any differently than it normally would.
“We’re gonna do the same thing we do against any other team,” Hauntzer said in the press conference. “Try our hardest to beat them, and practice really hard going into the match.”
Cover photo courtesy of Riot Games/illustration by Slingshot