The 2020 Summer Playoffs are beginning with a “banger”. But actually, this TSM and Golden Guardians series may be the best one of the first round of playoffs, at least on paper. TSM slipped from a chance at second down to fourth with their loss to Team Liquid. Golden Guardians finished 9-9 after being unable to win against TSM and EG in their final week of games. Now, these teams go at it again with a chance to move closer to Worlds 2020.
TSM are looking to show that they are a dominant team and one that should be feared. Here are three keys that will help them get off on the right track.
1. Abuse the Mid Gap
For starters, Tanner “Damonte” Damonte has been a solid pickup for Golden Guardians and seems to truly understand his role with the team. He knows his job is to push and roam in order to get Hauntzer and FBI leads that the team will look to snowball. The problem is, he is facing Bjergsen, the possible MVP of the Split. It is unlikely that Damonte will get the opportunity in more than maybe one game to actually have lane pressure.
This will be extremely important for TSM to abuse because it is a lot of what Golden Guardians strategize around, making them relatively predictable. Bjergsen should make sure to get champs that he can push in and keep Damonte under his tower. The best way to do this is to give Bjergsen the counter pick during the draft. In a 1v1 Bjerg wins the majority of the time. Thus, Damonte will not want to try and fight. If Bjergsen can essentially make Damonte a minion, especially in the early game, then TSM can play the game how they want to.
2. Actually Prep Objectives
This has been a major issue for TSM for years now. They seemingly set themselves up constantly for 50/50 objectives, If they were more diligent around the Dragon and Baron specifically, they could give themselves much better odds and cleaner control.
They will need to make this a priority as Spica has had issues with Smite fights. While not all of them are his fault and he has shown in the past that he is normally pretty good at them, it seems as though he is a little hesitant, especially when a swarm of enemies are around. If TSM can actually give him time and protection at crucial times then Spica can more easily beat Closer if he tries to steal by himself. While this may seem obvious, it can go a long way in helping TSM get an advantage or come back in a game they are losing.
Also, just keep an eye on all objectives. It is a side note but, losing to TL because of a lack of vision on important objectives is not something TSM should let happen again. They likely won’t, but a reminder couldn’t hurt.
3. Be Aggressive but Smart
Normally the saying would go more like, “be smart but aggressive”. Instead, this is the opposite for TSM. Sometimes they have gone away from being aggressive when they start losing or if they go down a game. This should not be the case, especially with the way League of Legends has evolved over the past few years.
TSM need to control the tempo of the game from start to finish. In order to do so, they need to continue to make plays no matter what is happening. If Broken Blade is getting ganked then a four-man dive bot or a dragon should be on the table. If they get a pushing lane top, then punish Hauntzer with their classic three-man dive top and make his life a living hell.
They don’t need to get cute and try to make overly risky plays. Instead, they need to have smart aggression. If they can establish the pace through this for the series then Golden Guardians will constantly be on their backfoot.
What Could Go Wrong?
Well, the answer to this is a lot of things. TSM have been known to throw games or just be taken out of them because of major mistakes. If they can keep these mistakes to a minimum or at least make sure they don’t become major mistakes then TSM have a good chance of coming out on top.
They will need to play their game and suffocate Golden Guardians through their gold advantages. Getting good drafts and keeping a good mindset will be crucial. Luckily TSM have Bjergsen and Doublelift who have been consistent all split and who can keep everyone’s mind on the here and now. Leaning on these two veterans if their backs are against the wall is not the worst position to be in.
Watch the series live on 8/13/2020 at 4 pm EST/1 pm PST on lolesports.com.
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