Talk about a full 180 from the previous week. TSM looked like the team fans hoped they would eventually be but they were able to make the turnaround in week two. It was still a little rocky in the Golden Guardians game but then against Team Liquid and Immortals TSM played their two cleanest games of the season. They seem to be flowing well and now sit at 4-2 after a 3-0 week two. Here are five takeaways from their games in week two of the LCS.
1. Keep the Same Draft Strategy for Huni, Spica and SwordArt
These three players are the key in most of the TSM drafts. That is because PoE and SwordArt will mostly play the same champions that they have been. For Huni though, it is clear that he needs to be playing tanky playmaking champions. More superficially champions that support the rest of the team. When he has done this TSM are 7-3. The champions on this list are Gnar (2-2), Gragas (2-1), Ornn (1-0), Lulu (1-0) and Shen (1-0). All of these champions allow for Huni to stay relatively even in lane while still being able to have an impact around the map for his team. This is not the SKT Huni that many fans in NA have been waiting to see but this version of Huni is solid and he helps TSM win.
As for Spica, when he is able to play champions that allow him to also go in and make plays similar to Huni, but without being tanky, he is 7-2. His Olaf in particular is 3-0 this year. These types of champions allow him to have an impact in every stage of the game. The farming and poke champions like Graves and Taliyah are not his style. This is pretty easy to discern considering he is 0-4 with them and has a 1.67 KDA. TSM have likely noticed this and will continue to give him champions that he is able to get in the middle of fights with.
Lastly, SwordArt is a bit more of a puzzle when looking at his champions. He has mostly played a lot of engage champions seeing varied results. There are three champions that he has found quite a bit of success on though. Pantheon, Galio and Bard. All three of these champions tend to leave lanes and have an impact on the other lanes after already helping their bot laner get ahead. For TSM this is exactly what they want. Pantheon and Galio have ultimates that help them move around the map and create advantages while Bard can go up and down the river as fast as any champion in the game. There’s no doubt that he needs to stay on these champions and abandon ones like Alistar and Leona who are more lane-focused for the time being.
2. SwordArt’s Vision Control is Other Worldly
If fans have been paying attention to TSM’s games, they are absolutely crushing it when it comes to the vision game. TSM as a whole place more regular and control wards than any other team as of the Spring season. SwordtArt himself averages 73.67 wards placed per game while the opposing supports average 57.5. Even in TSM’s losses, SwordArt is a vision master.
It is clear that this is something that not only he is great at but it is helping TSM win. Their objective control has also been excellent as they are getting towers at an incredible pace compared to their opponents. Being able to know where everyone is, helps TSM know where they need to be and allows for there to be less mistakes. Vision score is not considered sexy, even for many analysts, but SwordArt may change that all by himself. If he can continue to win the vision war for TSM on a consistent basis then this team should continue winning.
3. Early Game still need some Work but Mid and Late Game are Excellent
Even after going 3-0 TSM are still some of the slowest starters in the League. When looking at their games they are not only low-kill affairs early on but essentially nothing happens until about 10 minutes. Because of this, TSM have the lowest first-blood percentage in the league. Only one first blood in their first six games. They are truly a team that does not like to do much in the early game. Currently, this is not an issue unless they are falling behind in lane because they can’t farm. That said, it may be something that needs to change.
TSM currently have one of the best mid and late games in the LCS. They find good teamfights or just outmacro their opponents to victory. For them to truly become a complete team this needs to change. They need to be more active and take some calculated risks. This includes but is not limited to, diving opponents who are pushed into their towers, pressuring lanes to get early drakes or pushing ahead PoE or Lost intentionally. These are things that needs to happen more. If they can add a solid early game to their already great mid and late games then they are a real threat to the whole LCS.
4. Lost Could Be a Legitimate Carry Threat
At the beginning of the season, many fans were worried about Lost. He was not pumping out much damage and was dying without contributing much to fights. Those days could be past him as Lost may end up being the long-term carry threat for TSM. He is currently tied with Zven for second amongst LCS bot laners with 31 kills. He also owns ~42% of TSM’s kills overall. Lastly, his laning stats are trending in the right direction.
While these stats may not mean everything, fans should be able to see his improvement just by watching the games. Ever since the CLG comeback Lost has been playing extremely well. This is because he is playing with confidence. He knows that his team is there to back him up and this allows him to bring out things like the Ravenous Hydra build on Ezreal that no one else in the LCS had so far this season. He is also leading the charge in many fights and dishing out huge amounts of damage. Sure, Lost needs to prove that he can be more consistent but so does the whole team. If he can keep up the controlled aggression and learn even more about when to take fights and when to backoff, Lost could end up being a premiere bot laner in the LCS.
5. They Need to Show Consistency Before Everyone Completely Buys In
Sitting at 4-2, TSM fans have every right to be happy and excited. The worries from the Lock In tournament and first regular-season week were real though. The team was on a downward trend that looked like it was about to spiral out of control. Then almost overnight they fixed a lot of issues they were having and came out to stomp two straight games. Even on a four-game winning streak though, fans need to be cautiously optimistic.
The reason being that TSM need to show that they can do this for an extended period of time before fans and analysts can start talking about them like a top team. Two of their four wins were very sloppy and most likely would have been losses against better teams. It is still possible that TSM are a coinflip team and until they can prove differently, fans should look at them as such.
The hope is that they can learn from their wins as much as the losses and see what is working and try to repeat it. There is no doubt that the talent is there. Now they need to continue having good showings, even in losses, to convince anyone that they are the real deal. Once they can do that, TSM fans should happily start talking about this team as a true contender.
“From Our Haus to Yours”