Why Is TSM Struggling

Despite previous accomplishments, Team SoloMid struggled to gain a place for the 2019 World Championship. Supporters and analysts are now left to question the reason.


While TSM was always the favorite in many games, it lost to Clutch Gaming in the NA LCS quarterfinals. Nobody expected it.


Clutch Gaming, one of the new structures of the NA LCS, appeared to be an inferior opponent as the series approached. However, the team succeeded in knocking out the most successful organization in NA LCS history during a one-sided Bo5.


In this article, we explain the worst split of the best North American organization.


A Season Below Expectations


After 2017, TSM took a risky bet by breaking with its excellent bot lane, Doublelift, and Biofrost, to recruit the "best Western duo": Zven and Mithy. As a result, the team also had to replace Svenskeren so as not to exceed the allowed number of imported players. However, these changes did not prove fruitful for the six-time LCS champions.


MikeYeung has been slow to adjust to his new surroundings, and he is still a long way from the top of the standings in his position. Additionally, communication issues hindered the team's performance as the presence of two-shot callers, Bjergsen, and Mithy seemed to fight during the season.


Thus, everything seemed to be finally working out:


  • Bjergsen was back in his traditional form and managed to carry his team.
  • The players were more in sync.
  • TSM managed to snatch 3rd place in the tiebreakers without winning.


Despite this comeback, the result remains disappointing. Many were expecting this team to be in the first place, and the quarterfinal debacle ended the hope that TSM would represent North America at MSI.


Tough quarterfinals


It all started well for TSM in the quarterfinal match against Clutch Gaming. In the first game, the team quickly managed to gain an advantage thanks to the players' natural talent and control without too much difficulty. TSM secured the win and seemed to be on track, but things didn't go as planned afterward.


By the second part, the problems that followed TSM throughout the season resurfaced. The team is botching its vision control and neutral goals. Cohesion is almost nonexistent. Shot calling seems hesitant again, and Clutch Gaming players play much better than during tiebreakers and punish TSM mistakes perfectly well.


Also, players seem to crack psychologically and start making some very unusual mistakes. Zven played the worst BO5 of his career, dying a total of 15 times in four games.


A Historic Failure


Team SoloMid is one of the oldest existing structures on League of Legends. It has competed in every world championship, has won the LCS NA on six occasions, and has not missed a single LCS final since its beginning in 2013. After 10 consecutive rankings in the top two, this is the first time that TSM is knocked out from the quarterfinals.


The Bottom Line


TSM may fail unless they identify the structure of real problems that have led them to this stage. It's not all over yet for the six-time champions, but they need to redouble their efforts to catch up on the international stage. The 2020 TSM team may not address the issues that have affected them in recent years. They may have reached their greatest levels with their historic mid-centered playing style. However, they've even experienced their lowest points. It's time for Team SoloMid to make a dramatic transition.