The game against C9 was not good. There is not much else to take away from it other than TSM just seemingly had no idea what to do. They were taking terrible plays that had very low chances of success. Objective control was non-existent and they got beat in nearly every facet of the game. For any TSM fan, these first two games and really the first half of this season has not inspired confidence. The way TSM are currently playing puts them at or near the bottom of the league. For a team as talented as this one, that is beyond disappointing to say the least. Luckily or potentially not so, TSM have a game against another 0-2 team in CLG. For TSM it may not be too brash to say that this is already a must-win game for their Spring season.
2021 Spring Game 3: TSM vs CLG
Start Time: 7pm est/4pm pst
Top: Huni vs. Finn
Jng: Spica vs. Griffin
Mid: PowerOfEvil vs. rjs
Bot: Lost vs. WildTurtle
Sup: SwordArt vs. Smoothie
These two teams have already faced off but there have been some changes on the side of CLG since their previous matchup. Finn is finally here and starting while rjs is filling in for the apparently disgruntled Pobelter. Even though CLG are 0-2, both of their games have been pretty close so far. The 100Thieves game was specifically a clown fiesta that saw CLG throw at the end. Thus far everyone on the team has had their moments and getting a win against TSM would be a huge boon for an organization that has struggled for quite a while.
TSM have looked awful and completely out of sync to start 2021. This rivalry with CLG may not be much of a rivalry anymore considering TSM have dominated for the past few years but for CLG this game probably means a lot. There is no doubt that TSM players are feeling the stress after getting slaughtered by C9 and being winless to start the regular season would be a disaster. There are only six weeks this split so going 0-3 is a big blow to a team’s chances of make the playoffs. TSM really need this game and surely the players will be feeling that. It is time for them to buckle up and force this win however messy it needs to be to make it happen.
Matchup to Watch: SwordArt vs Smoothie
So far SwordArt has looked almost completely out of sync with his team. He has tried to make plays and the rest of his team are either not there to follow-up or he is forcing because he feels like TSM are down and he needs to make something happen. For this game against Smoothie and CLG, SwordArt needs to take a deep breath and let the game come to him. He is a great player and absolutely knows what he is doing but right now things just aren’t working. In this matchup, he needs to let Smoothie make the mistakes and then capitalize on them. Smoothie is good for making at least two major blunders a game and a player as good as SwordArt should be able to turn them into big plays for TSM.
This really should be a matchup that favors TSM’s bot lane in a massive way. SwordArt cannot allow for Smoothie and WildTurtle to take control of the bot lane. He needs to remind everyone that he is a world-class support and just put the CLG bot lane in their place. Hopefully, he will be given a champion where he has agency and is able to make plays around the map. As was said in the last piece, Galio would be a great pick here for SA.
Champions to Watch: Taliyah, Galio and Rell
Taliyah is definitely a strong champion, but not for Spica. He has played her two games in a row and looked absolutely awful. The biggest issue with her for Spica is that he has not been able to pair an ability with smite to make any steals happen. Normally when TSM are down this is a great way for them to get back in and even when they aren’t down his insane ability to make anything a 60/40 in favor of TSM helps them with objective control. This may just be the opinion of the write but hopefully, Spica never plays her again. Otherwise, this will start feeling like DL and his Senna. Obviously, DL figured it out but TSM are just in such a bad spot that they can’t afford for Spica to figure it out right now.
Galio needs to be a top priority for TSM. They have to start allowing for SwordArt to play him and that means getting him in the first round of picks. Sure there are plenty of good picks for this team but for the style that TSM are playing Galio fits perfectly. The shielding and CC from his ult can turn any fight into TSM’s favor and it can be a great zoning tool when used correctly. Galio is almost always banned in the second round of bans so TSM need to get him early and show they are ready to fight anywhere on the map.
While Smoothie has not necessarily been great, when he does make big plays it is mainly because Rell is just a strong champion right now. Smoothie seems to understand her pretty well and even if he hasn’t been playing well her CC always makes her a threat. If TSM have no intention of playing her then they should ban her. Make Smoothie play something that he has not been as good on and try to give SwordArt an even bigger advantage. Rell can be good for TSM as well but SwordArt has yet to play her which makes it seem like TSM just don’t want to. Just ban Rell and move on.
Prediction: TSM Win
This is a very important game for TSM. Not just for the standings but also for their mental. Confidence is clearly at a low as was seen at the end of the C9 game when Spica was seemingly looking off into the distance, Huni was literally biting his lip and PoE was slouched over in his chair. A 1-2 record heading into week two can really help TSM start to build momentum before they face GG and then TL. TSM really need to get to 2-2 before the TL game to allow themselves to have confidence going into what will be a pivotal matchup.
To make this win happen TSM have to scrap whatever they have been doing and just draft a super teamfight heavy late-game scaling team. Make Huni play either Gragas or Ornn so that he has the late game scaling and tell him to ward as they will likely try to gank him early. Put Spica on an extreme comfort pick or Udyr if Nidalee is banned. They can go J4, Voli or even river Shen if that will allow him to actually gank and make plays. For PoE, give him Ori, Syndra or Azir and call it a day. Then for the bot lane go KaiSa first pick or give Lost Aphelios. He is a great scaling champ that he has had success on and has been played plenty in this current meta. Lastly for SwordArt, as was stated many times Galio would be the icing on the cake. Between the CC bot known as Huni and his insane teamfighting this team would really be able to find themselves.
TSM have to actually play the map and the comp well but not giving up drakes for nothing, not taking silly fights and actually just scaling for late-game should give them their first win of the 2021 Spring season. They are the better team at literally every position and a loss here may be enough to send this team into an uncontrollable spiral forcing changes to be made. Sadly for Huni and Lost this game may already be for their jobs as Hauntzer and CodySun wait in the wings. Do not forget, if TSM lose this game then they will have a record of 3-9 across all their games from the Lock In to now.
“From Our Haus to Yours”