After missing out on Worlds for yet another year, the future of Team SoloMid has never been less clear. With rumors swirling around the face of the team Søren “Bjergsen” Bjerg potentially leaving the team, the roster and organization are set for huge changes. So where does TSM go from here? There are two scenarios to play through for TSM, the first to look at, and probably the best-case scenario is that Bjergsen stays.
In the scenario that Bjergsen stays, it frees up one of the two import slots from having to be invested into a mid laner. With both import slots still available, one of them has to go towards picking up an ADC. With the best ADCs in North America already locked up, the only option for TSM is to go international. Ideally, TSM uses the other spot to pick up a support of that ADC’s choosing, but with Andy “Smoothie” Ta still around as a solid support, the possibility of picking up an upgrade over Sergen “Broken Blade” Çelik is a bigger priority.
As for the jungler position, there are many domestic junglers that can be a great fit as long as TSM is willing to take a risk and allows the jungler to play their own way. Overall, TSM’s focus for their import slots are going to be ADC and then ideally a support player to go with it. In the end, both cases (second import slot being used on top laner/ used on a support) will be played through.
Before anything else, TSM needs to figure out what happened to Broken Blade between the two splits. From an exciting top laner that made huge plays to a top laner that was simply missing in multiple games, the drop off between the two Splits was huge. If it was simply a case of the team environment causing Broken Blade to struggle then it would be fine to keep him on the roster. However, if it was purely a case of Broken Blade falling off, then it’s not worth the risk to keep him.
Domestic Top Laners
In an ideal world, TSM is able to throw enough money at Cloud9 to get either Eric “Licorice” Ritchie or Ziqing “Kumo” Zhao, both amazing top laners that are already or going to be one of the best top laners in the region. Another option if TSM decides that having an import support is more important is to pick up the services of 100 Thieves top laner Aaron “FakeGod” Lee as 100T will likely try to bring Kim “Ssumday” Chan-ho back onto the main roster.
Unfortunately, the top laner pool domestically is fairly weak. As a result, it could make the need to import a top laner much higher than picking up an import support.
Import Top Laners
Meanwhile, if TSM decides that they value having strong carry players in every role and decide to use an import slot on the top lane then some great free agents to pick from. The first big name and the most obvious option that would fit is Paul “sOAZ” Boyer from Europe, as he can speak English, doesn’t have a plan for future seasons (yet) and has shown that he still has a few seasons left in him.
Some less likely options for soon to be free agents include Andrei “Odoamne” Pascu coming off a disappointing end to his season with FC Schalke 04, Heo “Huni” Seung-hoon who will likely stay with Clutch Gaming after qualifying for Worlds and their future rebrand to Dignitas, or even Lee “Duke” Ho-seong who continues to play second fiddle to Kang “TheShy” Seung-lok on Invictus Gaming. Then there’s the even less likely option of picking up Korean top laner Kim “Khan” Dong-ha after he dominated Korea with the rest of his teammates in SKT’s own super team.
Overall with the lack of top lane talent in North America, it may be in the interest of TSM to pick up a strong top laner with their import slot. While they could take another risk with an unproven top lane talent, the goal of their new roster is to finally pull the trigger and build a super team, something an unproven top laner may not be able to aid in. Or, they can always just stick with Broken Blade.
The jungler position is an easier one to cover. The answer here is simple, go domestic. With all the great junglers that are set to become free agents, this will be a great chance for TSM to pick up a strong domestic jungler. However, no matter who they pick up, TSM must ensure that they allow the jungler to play their game. If TSM are unable to do this then the team will simply fall victim to the same issues as past TSM rosters and the super team will quickly become a bust.
The most obvious name right off the bat will be William “Meteos” Hartman, a jungler that has proven that they’re capable of dominating the early game and creating huge leads for the team. However, another solid option that may be harder would be to outbid Team Liquid and steal Jake “Xmithie” Puchero for their own super team. Lastly, there is the risky option, to pick up Joshua “Dardoch” Hartnett. Despite all his attitude issues, it’s hard to deny that Dardoch is a talented jungler. If TSM are able to control him attitude-wise and allows him to focus on his game, Dardoch has the potential to be one of the best junglers in North America. Whether a risk like that would be worth it is up for debate, but it’s hard to deny that it wouldn’t be a great decision if it goes well.
In the bot lane, one position will definitely be an imported player which is the ADC. As for the support position, despite some struggles throughout the Summer Split, Smoothie is still a great support and would be a perfect fit for the team and any ADC TSM decides to pick up. In the case that TSM does decide to use their final import slot on a support, then TSM should ideally pick up whoever the ADC’s former support was for the synergy.
Bot Lane Tandems
In terms of possible options, there are two amazing options in Korea in the tandems of Kim “Deft” Hyuk-kyu and Park “TusiN” Jong-ik along with Park “Ruler” Jae-hyuk and Kim “Life” Jeong-min. These are two bot lane tandems that had disappointing ends to their season and could be looking for a change of scenery. However, the Korean bot lane tandems will cost quite a bit to obtain in the long run and relies on the players having the desire to leave Korea. Meanwhile, in Europe, some great choices include the likes of Elias “Upset” Lipp and Lee “IgNar” Dong-geun, who like the two tandems in Korea could be looking for a change of scenery after disappointing ends to their season.
Meanwhile, in terms of solo ADCs worth picking up, there are options like Gu “imp” Seung-bin who is a capable ADC that can still hold his own against the best in the world and Moon “Route” Geom-su who has shown that he is capable of becoming a top ADC in the World fairly soon.
Overall, in a perfect world, TSM is able to pick up one of the bot lane tandems listed above, but even if they decide to pair Smoothie with a new ADC, it can still easily become one of the best bot lanes in North America.
With solid choices in every position, the roster going forward can look amazing thanks to Bjergsen staying. It shows just how valuable Bjergsen is as a North American resident mid laner considering the overall talent the role has in North America.
Assuming TSM decides to use their import slots on their bot lane their roster could realistically look like this:
Meanwhile, if TSM decides to keep Broken Blade or spend an import slot on the top laner their roster could realistically look like this:
Top- Broken Blade or sOAZ
Either way, as long as Bjergsen stays with TSM, the possible rosters will have a lot of potential to become a top team in North America and hopefully the World. Make sure to check back later for part two, where we take a look at a team without Bjergsen.
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