It’s rare to mention Team SoloMid and “struggles” in the same sentence, but the 2019 Spring Split proved otherwise. Despite their overall success, TSM weren’t able to dominate the bottom side of the map like other successful teams. Instead, they relied on a top heavy play style to keep them going in most matches. This style isn’t necessarily bad, however the bottom lane talent in North America doesn’t make it great either. Not only did Jesper ‘Zven’ Svennigsen suffer, but the rest of the team weren’t able hit their stride because of it.
Falling Short When it Mattered Most
TSM’s talent and game plan got them all the way to the 2019 Spring Finals, where they played 1st place Team Liquid. Earlier in the split, they had bested Team Liquid twice, meaning their confidence was at an all-time high entering the matchup. Their early 2-0 series lead in the finals was enough to shake their opponents, but it started to get to their heads.
Rather than switching up their game plan, TSM stuck to their roots and continued to play their game. As a result of being down two games, Team Liquid responded by mimicking their opponents’ play style. This allowed Yiliang ‘Doublelift’ Peng to snowball into the later stages of the remaining three matches. TSM then had to rely on the strength of their carries, Zven and Søren ‘Bjergsen’ Bjerg. This proved to be costly, as Zven was ultimately caught out multiple times in crucial moments.
Most of TSM’s roster consists of raw talent, meaning they might not be as polished as their results may portray. Of course, Bjergsen is one of the most notable mid laners in the world, but the rest of the team is fairly new. In fact, Bjergsen and Zven were the only returning members of TSM coming into the 2019 season. Everyone else is either a rookie or new to the team, so their overall synergy might be off.
Missing Puzzle Piece in the Bottom Lane
Zven has proven to be an LCS talent, but his play will need to reach new levels if TSM is to have any success in the future. His Spring Split K/D/A of 5.56 was 3rd among North American ADCs, however he also had the 4th most deaths. As an ADC, it is very important to keep your death totals low and stay alive for big moments in the game. Instead, Zven was picked off by his opponents more often than the rest of his teammates.
In addition, TSM weren’t able to spark their bottom lane during the Spring Playoffs. Though Zven improved upon his K/D/A by increasing it to 6.89, his kill totals, kill participation and kill share all dropped substantially. This is a big reason why Doublelift was able to dominate the last three matches of the Spring Finals.
TSM’s top heavy focus ultimately set their bottom lane up for failure. Zven was never able to build up a lead and Team Liquid were able to take the spring championship because of it. Even though they fell short, Zven will have another chance at proving his worth in the upcoming Summer Split. If TSM can stop Team Liquid’s dynastic run, Zven has a shot at keeping his spot on the roster. Otherwise, they should be looking for more help in the bottom lane.
Featured Image Courtesy of TheShotcaller on YouTube.
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