Team SoloMid is one of the most reserved organizations in esports — especially League of Legends — and every chance for the public to take a glance at how TSM operates is worthwhile.
TSM’s strategy coach for League of Legends Parth “Parth” Naidu’s conducted an AMA on Reddit, in which he took the time to answer questions of all kinds. If you missed out on the AMA, here are some of the more interesting thoughts that Parth chose to share.
With the recent focus from the community regarding North America’s scrim culture in League of Legends, of course one of the first questions was about TSM’s approach on the topic. Parth said TSM plays scrims “to learn, not win,” and that the best way to scrim is to actually give your opponents their strengths for practice, which is why “scrims results aren’t indicative of anything.”
He took the time to also address the TSM scrim stories against Korean teams during last year’s worlds, and that the phrase “TSM shows their strategies to Korean teams in scrims,” isn’t just for Korean teams.
“You have to prove you’re worthy scrim partners in that you take scrims seriously and play champions/strategies that provide meaningful practice for your opponents in order to retain them,” he wrote. “You can’t hide everything, you have to pick and choose what to hide against certain teams and we always do that. Especially at worlds, you get to test the efficacy of certain strategies against good teams, so it’s a give-and-take. You can either choose to not practice or refine your strategies against good teams for the surprise factor, but that’s not a style I prefer because we’ve been burned a lot more by good strategies that didn’t translate because of lack of practice on them rather than “they countered our strategy.”
Another interesting topic spawned from the much-discussed video from Alberto “Crumbz” Rengifo about pros and their potential love lives, and how Parth would evaluate relationships of his players. Parth said that TSM’s goal is to “be the best,” and that means sacrifices must happen.
“Relationships are time-consuming, especially when they’re starting out and there’s an emotional component to it that players in the LCS at their age aren’t mature enough to handle entirely,” he wrote. “Either you’re going to have a half-assed relationship where you have no time for the other person, or you’re not trying as hard as you can be.”
Parth also offered advice to those aspiring analysts and coaches who want to join the esports workforce. Advice like getting one’s name out there through an online medium and keeping a flexible personality were some of the most obvious, but the step after that point was rather striking.
“It’s hard to explain how much context matters,” he wrote. “For example, you can see how a team’s X strategy is bad and recognizing that is important, but working with a team gives you the context in why are they not solving the problem. Usually teams recognize their problems, they are either working on how to solve it or working on other priorities they consider bigger. This context will help you recognize where you should focus your learning in order to help the players/team rather than just something that you think is interesting.”
Oh, and of course, “don’t be a dick.”
On the lighter side of the AMA, Reddit user herptydurr asked a pointed question about their upcoming match against Team Liquid, which has been made more interesting with Yiliang “Doublelift” Peng moving from TSM to the opposition. Despite Doublelift’s longstanding relationship with TSM, Parth summed up his thoughts with:
“Losing against former teammates/friends is the worst and the only way Peter is getting a win against us is over our dead bodies.”
Finally, as a rather hopeful Redditor asked Parth if season 4’s TSM was better than season 4’s world champions Samsung White, Parth spared no words on his thoughts on the matter.
“In no universe.”