The 2019 LCS Spring Split has finally wrapped up and awards have been given out to the top performers. There’s no doubt that every award winner deserved the honors they were given, but there’s one outlier.
Andy ‘Smoothie’ Ta, the support for Team SoloMid, was named to the 3rd All-LCS team after his performance during the Spring Split. His play-making abilities helped carry TSM through a tough regular season, and an even tougher playoffs. It’s obvious that he had a great impact this split, but his play was more than deserving of a higher honor.
The MVP Sleeper
Few supports have the skill set and power to dictate the outcome of their matches, and Smoothie is easily one of them. Over the past two seasons, he’s been one of the most consistent supports in North America. His dismissal from Cloud9 after the 2018 season seemed to be a wake up call considering all of the improvements he’s made in his game. It also seems that his confidence on the rift is at an all-time high, meaning he must be comfortable with his new teammates.
Confidence and comfort both play massive roles in the mind of a support, especially professionals. Smoothie is the type of player who likes to make riskier plays to get his teammates ahead. This can sometimes result in a death or wasted summoner spells, but more often than not, Smoothie converts. Whether it’s flash-taunting the enemy as Galio or diving under turret as Alistar, Smoothie has to be precise when engaging. If he doesn’t execute properly, it can sometimes be detrimental to their momentum in the bot lane. However, it’s clear that he’s been more polished as of recent when looking at his statistics from the Spring Split.
A Support With the Mind of a Carry
It took a while for Smoothie and the rest of TSM to get rolling this season, but once they got started it was hard to stop them. Their 11-1 run to close out the Spring Split was nothing short of incredible and Smoothie was key in their success.
TSM has an old-fashioned style of play that revolves around the top side of the map. If they are unsuccessful in establishing dominance around the top lane, the rest of their composition begins to fade. This can be very tough on the bot lane duo, so Smoothie usually takes matters into his own hands. His aggressive mentality, along with an aggressive champion, makes him lethal to any opposing player.
Preferably, Smoothie picks Alistar and Galio to compliment his play style. Both of these champions have strong, diving abilities that can easily catch an enemy off-guard. This makes it easier for Jesper ‘Zven’ Svenningsen to pick up kills and build up a decent lead for himself.
Smoothie’s play tends to have a more noticeable impact on the match itself rather than the stat sheet. This is mainly because of his willingness to sacrifice himself in order to save his teammates. This quality is great for a support to have, but as a result his statistics can suffer.
Spring Split Statistics
Smoothie has been very consistent with his champion pool so far this season. His top three consists of Alistar, Tahm Kench and Galio, with an honorable mention to Thresh. On Alistar, Smoothie averaged a mediocre 3.25 K/D/A, similar to his 4.0 K/D/A on Tahm Kench. However, he racked up a 7-2 combined record on both champions, proving that he doesn’t need a great score to have an impact on the game. He also put together some incredible performances on Galio, totaling a 9.67 K/D/A through three matches.
Spring Playoff Statistics
TSM held a lot of momentum going into the 2019 Spring Playoffs and Smoothie definitely benefited from it. His play reached another level of greatness when it mattered most, which is something that a lot of players can’t say about themselves. Smoothie’s statistics on Galio took a dip from the regular season, dropping to a 3.29 K/D/A. However, he made up for it by performing well on Alistar, totaling a K/D/A of 7.5 through two matches. Also, Smoothie’s kill participation percentages improved during the playoffs by almost 6%.
What the Future Holds for Smoothie
After a solid first season with Team SoloMid, the ceiling for Smoothie’s potential has increased. There’s no telling how much more he can improve, but it’s clear that he’s moving in the right direction.
Play-makers are hard to come by in the LCS and if Smoothie can continue his current level of play, he’ll be an easy consideration for MVP of the Summer Split. It seems that his confidence is only just beginning to grow and with a little more practice, he will undoubtedly be one of the biggest forces in North American League of Legends.
Featured Image Courtesy of LoL Esports Flickr.
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