TSM will try to bounce back after a rough year.
If you want to talk about a tough year, it doesn’t get worse than TSM’s 2022. Not many teams get a Competitive Ruling from LCS for their staff in the middle of the year, while TSM got handed two of them in the span of a month. First, the co-owner Andy "Reginald" Dinh was fined for a pattern and practice of disparaging and bullying behavior towards TSM players and staff members. Then the former head coach Peter Zhang was permanently banned from any association or affiliation with a team or organization in a Riot-sanctioned competition for engaging in alarming and unethical behavior towards current and former TSM players. Not even mentioned losing their franchise player, Søren "Bjergsen" Bjerg, to the league rival Team Liquid.
The off-season following the Worlds 2022 wasn’t any better either. They lost their biggest sponsor, FTX, followed by the next face of the franchise as the MVP jungler Mingyi "Spica" Lu left for FlyQuest. Thankfully, they were able to hold onto their coaching staff, headed by Wong "Chawy" Xing Lei, and most of the LCS roster so there is a small chance they can find some stability. The roster for TSM in LCS 2023 Spring is:
- Top laner: Colin “Solo” Earnest
- Jungler: Lee “Bugi” Seong-yeop
- Mid laner: Huang “Maple” Yi-Tang
- Bot laner: Toàn “Neo” Trần
- Support: Jonathan “Chime” Pomponio
TSM didn’t loosen the purse strings as expected
When the LCS team didn’t see success during the 2022 Season after the LDL experiment didn’t pay off, many fans expected TSM to go back to a more traditional roster building and maybe spend on some imports to build a contender again. There was even a day during the off-season when fans thought they had signed Hung "Karsa" Hao-Hsuan after reports came out saying TSM reached an agreement with a former Flash Wolves jungler. The signing ended up being Bugi, who spent the last year and a half at LLA.
While a decent enough jungler, there are a lot of questions about Bugi. The last time we saw him play on a bigger stage was at Worlds 2022 when he qualified with V3 Esports. Although he had a Summer with Estral Esports, the jungle pool in the LCS is pretty deep and there is a chance he might struggle, especially if we have a carry-oriented meta.
TSM isn’t too hot when it comes to their solo laners either. Both Solo and Maple had their fair share of good performances during the 2022 Summer, FlyQuest series comes to mind, but they aren’t exactly top performers. It’s nice to see Solo finally get a starting spot on a team from day one and he is a stable laner, he won’t carry a team to playoffs. I’m not expecting too much from Maple either as we saw him struggle in the lane a lot last year. It would be a lot different if they had a bot lane that gives confidence, but that isn’t the case for TSM.
Keeping Chime around was a good move, he played a lot better last year compared to his debut split. But 2022 was a rough year for Neo, who got benched in Dignitas. Neo is a player fans looked at with a lot of hope as he showed a lot of potential during his stint with Aphromoo, but his performance has been steadily slipping. There is a chance he can find himself again with a change of scenery and a new support, but it would still be unrealistic to expect this duo to be in the top half of the league. I can see TSM playing with a scrappy style and finding some upsets here and there, but I don’t think they can do it consistently enough to make some noise towards the playoffs.
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