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Esports League of Legends

Team SoloMid Readjusts Coaching Staff

Team SoloMid

A Team SoloMid chant happens at most League of Legends games, regardless of which teams are playing. Not limited to the North America League of Legends Championship Series, the iconic “TSM TSM TSM” has become a familiar ring heard throughout stadiums. One of the most popular teams in the NA LCS, TSM receives a lot of feedback for every change they make.

Recently, TSM demoted their former head coach Kim “SSONG” Sang-soo. Many fans are questioning this as it seems to be an extreme change to happen so early in the season. Meanwhile, the replacement, Ham “Lustboy” Jang-sik faces scrutiny over his capability as head coach.

The Split So Far

TSM started the NA LCS Summer Split season with two wins against FlyQuest and Counter Logic Gaming. The team’s play gave hope to fans that TSM has continued to return to form. However, they proceeded to lose against Team Liquid and Clutch Gaming in Week 2. In both games, fans and analysts critiqued the draft, which is Coach Ssong’s responsibility. With a win against Cloud9, the change to Lustboy seems like a logically valid choice.

Team SoloMid
TSM’s draft against Clutch Gaming. Photo courtesy of LoL Esports

The Importance of the Draft

In the current meta, drafting the right champions requires finesse and strategy. The influx of flex picks due to the volatile state of the bot lane allows for teams to draft compositions based on player ability on certain champions, rather than each player being confined to a specific role and/or lane. The ability to conceal team strategy along with maintaining a well-balanced team composition is difficult. Games can be won or lost during picks and bans.

Riot’s Policies

In 2014, Riot Games allowed a head coach to be on the LCS stage during picks and bans. Riot recognizes the head coach as a part of the team roster and the head coach is held to the same standard as the players. Each team can have one official coach. Any additional staff, coaching or otherwise, is not recognized by Riot.

The Switch

Team SoloMid
TSM’s tweet about the coaching change. Photo courtesy of TSM’s Twitter

Initially, fans discovered SSONG’s switch in position when Lustboy replaced SSONG in the Riot Games global contract database. Speculation arose as fans wondered what would happen to SSONG. His contract expires on November 19, and if he was demoted, his salary would be cut as well. After his change in position, he issued a statement regarding his draft choices and the future. For now, it seems like SSONG will be staying with TSM for the foreseeable future.

According to TSM’s official Twitter, SSONG was not demoted per say. TSM moved SSONG to a position named Strategic Coach, and Lustboy will join the players onstage with the title head coach. Lustboy also issued a statement about the change. SSONG’s ability as coach is still widely respected within the team and in the community. As their responsibilities are basically the same, fans believe that SSONG was moved due to a language barrier between the players and SSONG during Champion selection. Lustboy is potentially the solution to that problem.

Lustboy and TSM

Lustboy, a former TSM player and analyst, now has a new responsibility to uphold. While he returned to Korea to coach there, he was not largely impactful or known. With eyes on him and TSM’s performance, Lustboy needs to prove himself by returning TSM to their former dominance.


Featured image courtesy of LoL Esports Flickr.

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