Yesterday, LCS caster Isaac "Azael" Cummings Bentley stated on Twitter that Mingyi "Spica" Lu will be TSM's starting jungler for the 2019 Summer Split playoffs. This news came as a shock to many. This is because TSM themselves announced that Matthew "Akaadian" Higginbotham would have sole possession of that role in July. Spica has been playing on the TSM Academy team for a while but has little experience on the LCS stage. As a result, many TSM fans are quite worried about their team headed into playoffs.
TSM will be starting Spica for playoffs with Tactical & Treatz as their subs.
After an entire split of figuring out who's the starter between Akaadian & Grig the answer seems to be neither.
Really shocked to not see one at least kept on as a sub for Playoffs!#LCS
— Isaac CB (@RiotAzael) August 7, 2019
Along with this, Edward "Tactical" Ra and Erik "Treatz" Wessén will be their substitutes for the post-season. This means that neither Akaadian or Jonathan “Grig” Armao will play in the playoffs, which is a curious move indeed.
TSM decided to experiment with their jungle position at the beginning of the split, but the decision to keep Akaadian was made weeks ago. TSM hasn't given many details as to why this change is being made now, but something drastic could've happened. Akaadian was a major reason for TSM's success in the Spring Split, where the team challenged Team Liquid in the Finals. He struggled in the Summer Split, but Grig had great games when he played. This leaves a ton of questions around why TSM would decide to make such a last-minute move.
TSM Moving Forward
Spica played in Week Nine of the LCS in TSM's games against FlyQuest and Team Liquid. He played well versus FlyQuest, even stealing a Baron away from his enemies, but fell short to Team Liquid. Seeing as Team Liquid is another potential playoff opponent, this is worrying. Spica was a decent jungler in Academy, but will likely be weaker than many other LCS playoff junglers. He plays standard front-line junglers like Sejuani and Jarvan IV, so he doesn't offer anything different in that regard. Especially considering Akaadian plays that style too.
TSM's Summer Split has been quite lackluster, but the jungle role isn't the only thing to blame for this. Their top and bottom lanes have been quite inconsistent. Though they did make playoffs, they're not seriously expected to take on the likes of Team Liquid and Cloud9. Spica may be a wild card the team needs to take them to the next level, but that's unlikely.
TSM will play against Clutch Gaming this weekend. If Spica and the team can perform here, it will be a good sign for them moving forward.
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