For the first time since before the 2018 season, TSM will have a shot at getting back to the top of the North American scene with a win over Cloud9 at the LCS 2019 Spring Semifinals.
Not too long ago, seeing Team SoloMid making it to the finals was pretty much par for the course in North America. Even if they started the season on a bad note, they’d always changed gears once the post season arrived. However, in 2018, TSM saw their consecutive finals streak come to an end after losing to Clutch Gaming in the quarterfinals. They managed to make it back to the semifinals come summer time, but they couldn’t make it all the way back to the finals and eventually would miss out on the Worlds for the first time in team history.
With some more changes to the roster and the coaching staff, Team SoloMid looks to dominate the League of Legends Championship Series once again. With an 8-1 record in the second half of the split, TSM was able to secure third place, losing only to Cloud9. In the quarterfinal, after being taken aback by a rather shrewd Kindred draft from Echo Fox, TSM made the necessary adaptations, and emerged victorious with relative ease with a 3-1 score line.
Now, TSM will face off against Cloud9 in the LCS 2019 Spring Semifinals.
Below, we discuss if and how TSM can finally slay some demons of their recent past, as well as forge their relevance and glory in the present and finally claim their atop the North American scene once again.
What Does Team SoloMid Look Like in 2019?
Heading into the LCS 2019 Semifinals, Team SoloMid’s identity is clear. Their play revolves around Sergen “Broken Blade” Celik and giving him split pusher that he could lane well with and scale immensely into the later stages of the game. To help with this, they give Jesper “Zven” Svenningsen a lane dominant AD Carry that could clear waves quite fast, Andy “Smoothie” Ta usually on an engage support, as well as both Matthew “Akaadian” Higginbotham and Soren “Bjergsen” Bjerg on a strong mid and jungle 2v2.
Usually the team’s strong laning phase allows Akaadian to invade the enemy jungle and starve them of jungle camps and place aggressive vision. The team relies on often relies on Bjergen’s versatility and put him on either utility or carry champions depending on the nature of their lineup.
With a clear draft and gameplay n mind, Team SoloMid’s early games have been crisp and well-executed. It probably also helps that the team has an expansive champion pool. This allow the team to play to the meta, and against it, depending on who they’re playing against.
What’s different about this iteration of Team SoloMid is how scrappy they are. They’ll take fights and skirmishes whenever possible. Better yet, they’re smart enough to force fights that favour them in numbers. But, the team isn’t perfect. Because of how aggressive they are, they have a tendency to overextend their leads. As a result, they end up getting into unnecessary team fights and sometimes give away too many kills to enemy teams.
This is why, despite their stellar early-game execution, the team can and has given games away due to poor execution late in the game.
How TSM Can Beat Cloud9 in the LCS 2019 Spring Semifinals
Team SoloMid will have their work cut out for them. Because Team Liquid picked FlyQuest to be their opponents in the LCS 2019 Spring Semifinals, they’ll have to face Cloud9.
The LCS’ second seed is the only team in the playoffs left that has a 2-0 record over them. Although, if it’s any consolation, both matches were rather close and went into more than forty minutes, with the results coming down to who executed better late in the game.
Cloud9 is one of a kind in North America. They are a team that is also quite scrappy, but their synergy is unparalleled. In team fights, they are usually on the same page, and appear to be perfectly capable of executing their designated roles. What happens to teams that Cloud9 faces is that they seem to be constantly forced to fight or skirmish more, which these opponents, in turn, lose. They get sucked into this cycle of fighting over and over again until Cloud9 has a clear advantage, and through superior vision and objective control, they would win out in the end.
Another thing that Cloud9 is quite good at is finding proper containment matchups for opponents with great carry potential. This means that Cloud9 could be capable of blocking the TSM players’ capacity to carry, or they might bust out counters that no one else could be expecting.
TSM has to be wary of these possibilities, and must be prepared with strategies to ensure that they do not get lured into playing Cloud9’s game.
The best way for TSM to finally win against Cloud9 is the same way that they were doing so throughout the regular season: draft winning lanes, skirmish early, get an early Baron Nashor and end relatively early. They should execute perfectly or close to perfection or else they might give Cloud9 a chance to get back into the game as they have in the past. If they observe a rather unique counter pick, the best way to deal with it might be to just ban it if it proves to be too difficult to deal with.
If Team SoloMid makes it through the semifinal, then they would have an easier time against whoever wins on the other side of the bracket: they have won against both FlyQuest and Team Liquid before.
With that said, Cloud9 is now arguably Team SoloMid’s biggest challenge if Team SoloMid wants to prove that they remain a top contender in the LCS.
Which team do you think will win in the LCS 2019 Spring Semifinals? Is it going to be Team SoloMid? Or Will Cloud9 be able to force the games to go late and tilt it towards their favour? Be sure to let us know your thoughts in the comments down below.