Team SoloMid got better in the off-season. After a strong first place finish in the group stage that only really included a few struggles against second place finisher Cloud9, TSM played a fantastic Playoffs winning all but two games — once again against Cloud9.
While the finish was strong, Team SoloMid decided to adjust their roster, moving WildTurtle to a substitute role (and eventually FlyQuest) and bringing back AD Carry Doublelift, with whom they had one of North America’s best and most dominant splits ever back in the Summer of 2016.
Looking to continue the success they had in that split, TSM brought back Doublelift into a league that isn’t significantly different from the one he left. Some of the North American teams have improved, however, TSM is still the strongest and with Doublelift in the roster will be even stronger still.
This is critical to the overall mission of Team SoloMid as they look to move beyond success in the NA LCS and start building success on the international stage. At the Mid-Season Invitational, TSM had some disappointing games and failed to make it out of the group stage of the main tournament.
With the addition of Doublelift Team SoloMid hopes to gain a third carry, but also to have improved in the areas that hurt them in their early exit from the World Championships in Season six where they competed with this same roster.
While Doublelift should provide a marked improved over Wildturtle, it’s likely that the time spent with Turtle has helped TSM learn some valuable lessons about the ability of Hauntzer to make calls in the early and midgame as well as re-establish the value of Bjergsen as a carry player and not just a consistent utility midlaner.
For Doublelift himself, the LCS Summer Split should help bring out his talents in a number of meaningful ways. First of all, he will be eager, after his brief semi-successful time with Team Liquid, to catch back up to speed with a team at the top of the league. Meanwhile, he will enter the split, for the first time in LCS history, definitively disposessed of the title of North America’s best AD Carry, thanks to Phoenix1’s Arrow.
A constant AD Carry arms race between Arrow and Doublelift should be one of the most exciting player versus player competitions the LCS has ever seen far outpacing battles like Jensen versus Bjergsen. Watching both players at their best, constantly pushing each other to get better, all with the added possibility of playing actual offensive carries in the bottom lane should be the perfect treat as these teams compete for a spot at worlds.
The one large uncertainty about Team SoloMid this split is one of their own creation. The team has constantly maintained that they plan to play with a second AD Carry who will share time with Doublelift. Originally planned to be Wildturtle, it has now become completely unclear who this player will be and how exactly the shared role will work out for TSM.
The one thing we can say for sure is that the best team in North America has gotten better, and it’s up to the rest of the league to rise to meet TSM’s challenge.