TSM: Benching Biofrost for Treatz Can Only Hinder TSM

League of Legends. Photo Courtesy of Riot Games.
League of Legends. Photo Courtesy of Riot Games. /

TSM announced they will be subbing out starting support Biofrost for Academy support Treatz, but that change won’t fix TSM’s woes.

Of all the news and roster moves we’ve seen recently, today’s announcement by TSM that they will be swapping supports going into next week might be the most surprising. In a tweet today, TSM announced that Academy support Erik “Treatz” Wessén will be starting for the LCS team in place of Vincent “Biofrost” Wang, who will be playing for Academy this week.

On the year, Treatz has been one of the strongest supports in Academy with many observers suggesting that the 24-year-old Swede deserves a shot in the LCS. Having seen some of Treatz’s games as well as tracking his statistics in Academy, I cannot deny that he appears to have all the tools that would make him a capable LCS player.

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That said, despite all the talent that Treatz has and despite some of the struggles Biofrost has had so far this split (we’ll get to that in a minute), I think this substitution is a massive mistake for TSM.

To be clear, Biofrost has not looked good in the LCS this split. He currently leads all supports in unforced deaths (16), one of the lowest kill participations among supports (65.1%), and is graded as the second-worst laning support ahead of only Immortals’s Gate.

Treatz, on the other hand, leads all Academy supports in KDA, fewest deaths per game, and is second in kill participation to only Hakuho, the man who eventually replaced Gate. On performance alone, Treatz has outperformed Biofrost and earned this shot in the LCS.

The problem that I have with this substitution is that it is a band-aid solution to a much bigger problems. TSM’s struggles are due in large part to their very poor drafts, which is not an issue that can be easily thrown at Biofrost’s feet considering he has played nine unique champions in ten games this split. The team’s poor pick and ban does not appear to be that limited by Biofrost’s champion pool.

This summer, he has a KDA of 2.00 or better on all but three champions he has played: Nautilus, Tahm Kench, and Taric (and he only played one game on each). In fact, in his career Nautilus is the only champion that he has a KDA below 2.00 and has played at least 10 games.

If the argument is that Treatz is a better Nautilus and the team needs to prioritize that pick to improve their pick and ban phase, well I have bad news. Treatz is only a slightly-better Nautilus player than Biofrost, with a 2.87 career KDA on the champion and it’s the champion with the second-most deaths per game in his career. In addition, during this split Nautilus is only the fourth-highest support by pick/ban presence at 36%.

In short, the only argument that can be made that Treatz widens TSM’s champion pool is that he is slightly better on a support that gets picked or banned in just over 1/3 of LCS games this split. To me, that’s not a trade-off that helps solve TSM’s biggest issue.

In addition, this substitution can actually cause more problems to TSM’s faltering drafts because now Treatz and new ADC Yiliang “Doublelift” Peng will need time to adapt to each other’s playstyles. In bot lane especially, creating synergy takes time and that will make it more difficult to see whether issues in pick and ban can be fixed with time and more games together or if the team as a whole has issues with the picks and comp.

The existing synergy between Biofrost and Doublelift was one of the biggest selling points for Doublelift’s return between splits. I don’t necessarily see anything to indicate that the synergy is gone, but rather the team is not properly utilizing their bot lane. This failure of macro strategy, along with improvements to the pick and ban, will be easier to improve if you keep the existing duo together while bringing in a substitute for one will simply delay improvements in those areas.

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If you want to make the argument that, in a vacuum, Treatz has been the better player this split and deserves an LCS spot over Biofrost right now, I won’t deny that the point has a lot of merit. On production and performance, Treatz deserves a spot in the LCS.

But if you are TSM, on a week after you just lost to Immortals in an embarassing fashion and now face a surging 100 Thieves team along with a faltering FlyQuest, this is not the time to experiment. This is the time to take a serious look at why your drafts and mid-game macro have been so poor this summer, work to fix those problems, and try to pick up two crucial wins before your schedule starts to get harder. Adding a new variable is too high a risk with too low a reward.