The League of Legends offseason for most teams is a time to recruit new players and get a better overall team. You’re supposed to find your strengths during this time and reevaluate what you can do to have a better season next year.
It’s at this time that hype is driven up and people start to get excited for what’s in store for the 2019 season and it definitely is going to be a year that should be looked forward to. After all, players like Crown, CoreJJ, and Bang are coming into the NA LCS.
But TSM really flopped when it came to picking new players. In fact, in my opinion, they flopped so hard that they might not even have a shot at winning next year’s Spring Split title, let alone make it to the playoffs.
Who did they pick?
Recently, TSM let go of two of their main players: Hauntzer and Mithy. These two were interchangeable. Hauntzer played mechanically well from his own respective lane and had a strong presence split pushing while Mithy synergised well with AD Carry Zven.
But with these two gone, TSM obviously had to pick some new players to fill their shoes and these players needed to be good. And Team SoloMid had the opportunity to go after some of these great players. This year saw some of the best players move throughout the world, ranging from Korean superstars to EU LCS talents.
The potential was limitless but TSM didn’t take advantage. Instead, they failed to even get their fans excited. Don’t get me wrong: TSM did have a decent pick for support. They managed to grab Smoothie, a player formerly of Echo Fox known for his crafty plays and adjusting to the environment really well. He’s obviously a very strong pick to choose but when it came to the critical role of top lane, they chose someone so mechanically dependent that one mess up could mean the end for their team.
I’m talking, of course, about Broken Blade. Team SoloMid picked up a random top laner from a minor region. Sure, he’s fairly strong on top laners like Irelia, Yasuo, and even Poppy but he likes to play flashy and that doesn’t help when League of Legends is a team-centred esport.
Hauntzer played flashy but he played flashy in the team fights and he knew his limits. He didn’t reach to be the big player of the team. He played how his team needed to and excelled in doing so which was why he was such a flashy player.
There’s a difference between the two and it doesn’t help that Hauntzer is a veteran player who knows the insides and outs of the team and Broken Blade is just now getting acquainted with the players on the team.
Therefore, Team SoloMid seems to have the odds stacked against them. Sure, they got a pretty good support. I’m not going to lie. Rating this pick on a scale of 1-10, grabbing Smoothie was probably a seven for TSM overall.
Adversely, I would rate the acquisition of Broken Blade at a 3. He’s a rookie; he comes from a minor region and he likes to play a go big or go home playstyle that could cost his team points. In the end, this just looks like a disaster for TSM.
Who could they have picked?
There are several picks they could have gone for, considering that several major top laners were traded throughout the course of the offseason. One big pick they should have contested for was sOAZ, a strong veteran whose time on Fnatic saw tremendous success.
His playstyle would’ve worked well with Zven’s and Bjergsen’s since all three of them spent time in the EU LCS together. They could’ve even gone for a free agent like Expect whose experience on teams like Fnatic and G2 Esports would have served them well.
There was even Flame, a world-class player who had his fair share of fame on the now deceased team Immortals. Even Marin, the 2015 MVP of the World Champions South Korea Telecom, is available. There are so many players TSM could’ve picked from yet they chose to go with Broken Blade.
In the end, Team SoloMid had the chance to build a powerhouse roster that would’ve imitated that of 2016’s season. But they didn’t. They put all their money on a rookie who had some highlight years in the minor leagues back home and there’s a very good chance they could pay for it.