I’m not a therapist. But if I was, I would say that it feels like TSM is working through something.
It has been reported that TSM’s VALORANT line-up has been trialing with former North America Counter Strike: Global Offensive great Will “RUSH” Wierzba. Recognized for his ability to be a great teammate, this would be the esports veteran’s first team in the competitive VALORANT space.
His trialing with the team comes after the benching of Sean “bang” Bezerra. An early exit in the Stage 3 Challengers Playoffs was a punch in the face for a team that seemingly was on the rise. It is also the presumed departure of a young player displaying a ton of potential.
Not only was it surprising, it may be signaling a lack of directional focus on the organization.
Testing the Waters
TSM has made nine roster changes since March 31 — including coaching changes. It’s been that type of year.
After a respectable 2020 year, the team fell behind other organizations when it came to reacting to the status of their team. Thinking time would heal their wounds left them far behind other organizations in picking up top-talent searching for a forever home. Able to get their hands on two young players in bang and Aleko “LeviathanAG” Gabuniya, it should have been considered an absolute win for the organization given how late they were.
Yet the team didn’t see the return on their investment that they were expecting. They were looking for the immediate boost, the immediate reward of not only making it to play-offs but winning play-offs, playing at Berlin. That never happened for them.
Their reaction continues to play into the short-term mindset of the team. Rather than continuing to develop, the stop in the road was read as being too damaging.
RUSH is everything different from what the team has been previously looking for. He’s a veteran, he’s a “glue guy.” While talented, he isn’t necessarily known for his superior gunplay.
Wanting something different is understandable. It’s a new experience. It provides a different perspective. As long as there is an understanding of what the new experience means, there really shouldn’t be a major problem.
What a player like RUSH could provide to TSM is a new voice into a team that has primarily relied on key veterans players stepping up to the table. Expected to take a supporting role in the team, his could potentially free-up the gifted riflers on the squad of their strategic thinking, able to simply focus on the round in front of them. It would also be interesting to monitor how Yassine “Subroza” Taoufik’s performance changes given his streaking performance as an entry fragger.
But what does RUSH fix?
That’s the biggest question. RUSH is a mechanical downgrade. He’s being brought in because of his ability to potentially connect the dots for TSM. But he also could present a new problem with the team.
TSM would be putting faith into their riflers. Matthew “Wardell” Yu continues to shine with the team as their primary OPer but Subroza has, at times, really put the team in an uncomfortable position to start rounds. Would RUSH potentially push James “hazed” Cobb out of the in-game leader role and potentially open the team up for a new, more mechanical rifler?
And it doesn’t feel like the questions will stop there.
TSM’s VALORANT squad is in an incredibly awkward position. The amount of changes they’re making followed by the lack of consistency with their changes is disrupting any sense of progression. What may feel like a step in the right direction may just be a step back to where they started from. The hope is that one of North America’s most popular organizations can remain competitive in a growing esports scene.
Yet it instead, it feels like they continue to be one of the most confusing organizations in North America. They need a sense of direction rather than continuing to spend. It is understandable that teams want to test and trial early in an esport. What doesn’t make sense is reckless trialing and testing with a purpose.
“From Our Haus to Yours”