If you missed out on my earlier piece about what Koreans say in esports, you should check it out as a primer of this piece for the full experience, because I’m about to read really into what’s being said and whether or not it makes sense.
The League of Legends World Championship is just around the corner with the best teams around the world converging on American soil. The sad reality is that — as usual — it’s a Korean team projected to win the whole thing, not a homegrown American one. But there is some noise about a little-known team that might give the Koreans a run for their money called Team SoloMid. They’re being lauded as the best hope for North America this split, and most impressively don’t have a single Korean player on their roster.
Now I can hear the Redditors already typing away about the “overblown NA hype,” but don’t take my word for it folks, take it from OGN caster and recently-made streamer Lee “CloudTemplar” Hyun-Woo. The man is already a household name and a respected legend in his own right, so he clearly knows what he’s talking about.
In a recent video series hosted by OSEN, OGN casters CloudTemplar and Kim “Dangun” Eui-Joong gave their own unique analysis of group D, also commonly known as “the group of death.” The first team that they they analyzed was TSM, and CloudTemplar opened the discussion up with this sentence:
“I think this season’s TSM is the strongest ever in NA LCS history.”
Well ain’t that something.
Dangun is known for his affinity for North American teams, but the praise is coming from CloudTemplar as well, saying that mid lane carry Søren “Bjergsen” Bjerg was one of the few mid laners in the world that “can go toe to toe against Faker,” and praised AD Carry Yiliang “Doublelift” Peng, whom he said was able to ditch his old solo carry tendency for a more “team centric” play style, which both casters argued was at the center of TSM’s success. That’s not to ignore the other players, though.
“When we look at the other positions as well, their bottom lane, or even their jungle, (Dennis “Svenskeren” Johnsen) and (Kevin “Hauntzer” Yarnell) are all good at what they need to do,
CloudTemplar said. “They’re aggressive when they needs to be, there’s always a good frontline, a good initiator, and they make an intricate team composition. With carries like Bjergsen and DoubleLift, they also have a strong, tanker frontline as well. With that, they have a fantastic balance in their team.”
Of course the bottom lane is a two-man lane, and Dangun didn’t skip a beat when mentioning the unexpected success of Vincent “Biofrost” Wang and his ability to play alongside TSM’s star ADC.
“He appeared, literally like a comet,” Dangun said. “And he’s one of the players behind the hard carries.”
CloudTemplar continued on the topic of Biofrost by further saying that he was “worthy of of the title of best rookie of the season,” and further joked that Doublelift has finally found his “soulmate.” He went on into more details on why he thinks this season’s TSM is particularly strong in the current meta.
“When you look at TSM games, they play very sharp when they need to, and they also have good game management,” he said. “Their laning isn’t the best, but honestly as long as its not weak, its fine. The laning phase is over very soon anyways. Of course getting solo kills and snowballing is satisfying, like 2013’s SKT. But its right that you shouldn’t be able to. As long as the split is like a 55-45, there isn’t any large impacts on the game, and with that tight matchup, the jungler or roaming support along with structuring key team fights is much more important. This is why I think TSM is very good. The large picture that they drew up; without Korean talent and increasing communication to have a team game was the right on the money.”
To close it all up, Dangun jokingly mentioned that he remembers TSM’s Andy “Reginald” Dinh as the sub for the mid lane, mentioning that it would be “good motivations for the players to perform when the owner of the team is on the sub list.”
CloudTemplar also joked that Reginald’s potential involvement in the world championships means “TSM might be prepared to throw the whole tournament.”
Cover photo courtesy of Riot Games