League of Legends LCS preview Summer 2019

League of Legends. Photo courtesy of Riot Games.
League of Legends. Photo courtesy of Riot Games. /
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Bjergsen of TSM. League of Legends.
League of Legends. Photo courtesy of Riot Games. /

2. TSM

New players: Jonathan “Grig” Armao

TSM has made the decision to move Grig into the starting lineup, substituting him and Matthew “Akaadian” Higginbotham during the Summer Split. This makes sense, given that Akaadian did not have a particularly strong finish to his Spring Split.

However, Grig is not a clear upgrade over Akaadian. He has been known to be incredibly passive in the early game during his previous stint with TSM. This style is going to get punished now that he is on a team that likes to play more aggressively.

Luckily, the rest of the map is fairly solid. Broken Blade was dynamite in his first split of play, Bjergsen was his usual, MVP-caliber self, and Zven was one of the AD Carries in the league, notwithstanding his flub in the finals. TSM is a strong team but they still have weaknesses at two key positions, which makes me wonder if they can make the finals when C9 and TL look so strong.

Player to watch: Andy “Smoothie” Ta

Of all the pieces on TSM, Smoothie is the one that could be the X-factor. He did not play up to the past all-LCS caliber he showed on Cloud9, but instead ended up in the bottom tier of supports. If he can reclaim some of the aggressive magic he showed in the C9 series, hard-carrying on Thresh, TSM could be the best team in North America.

Trending: down

I think there are too many question marks in TSM’s jungle and support to make me feel confident that they are better than Cloud9 or Team Liquid. They could surprise me easily and I think they’re better than the rest of the LCS, but until someone clearly seizes the jungle role and Smoothie proves that he is up to the top billing, I think they’ll slip soundly into the third spot.