Worlds 2020 Group Stage: Conglaturations to TSM

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

With their run at Worlds 2020 now over, we need to have a talk with the biggest disappointment of the tournament, North America’s TSM.

You know, it didn’t have to be this way TSM. I was fully prepared to write a “conglaturations” to the entire LCS for their performance at Worlds 2020. All that talk in the offseason, the super teams of Cloud9 and Team Liquid, TSM’s late-season run, only for no teams to make it out of groups again.

It was going to be right there, an equal blasting for everyone. And then you had to go and foul it up.

So, actually, congratulations to Team Liquid and FlyQuest, for avoiding this fate. By managing the tall task of actually winning games you’ve managed to not be the biggest embarrassment to our region this year. TL you actually had a shot to make it out of groups (which of course you choked away) and FlyQuest got doomed by the group draw, so you’re getting a pass. Just duck your heads on your way to the airport (assuming FlyQuest doesn’t make it out of groups tomorrow, which is very likely) as the fans throw tomatoes at these losers.

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That’s right, TSM. The number one representing North America’s LCS. The first number one seed from a major region and the first pool one seed in Worlds history to go winless in the group stage.

Honestly, it’s impressive how bad they were. I mean, I predicted them to finish last but I at least thought they could maybe take a game off LGD and another random win. I thought Group C was actually the strongest group, top to bottom, but to not win once??

It took a collective underperformance by all of TSM to accomplish history and now they are going to get some (deserved) mockery and some (undeserved) vitriol for this performance. Compound that with their obnoxiously loud fanbase and you have a recipe for a level of flame that could raze entire continents. Naturally, I have to throw my ring into the hat.

Let’s start, though, with the two people who I think deserve the least amount of flame. The first is the coaches who, yes, had some questionable drafts, but were clearly improved from the garbage that they had been putting out during the early part of the LCS Summer Split. I don’t think there was a single draft where TSM was just instantly doomed, even if there were some drafts that were sort of suboptimal.

The second player who deserves less flame is going to have universal agreement and that’s Spica. In his first Worlds appearance, the rookie jungler played about as well as you could ask for and, frankly, above his level of play this summer. He wasn’t 1v9ing games or anything and there are still holes in his game, but he was not costing TSM games like the rest of his teammates were. Spica still has a long way to go to be a top-tier jungler in NA, let alone Worlds, but his performance was good enough relative to expectations.

But the rest of them? I’ve never played a game of Among Us where there is one crew member and four imposters because that’s how it looked.

Broken Blade, aka Broken Brain, was also not a primary reason that his team collapsed like a house of cards. He had some very bad games (hell, just today his 0/4/2 game on Camille into Volibear was sad) and he deserves flame for that. The team finally gave him the chance to carry the team and he just couldn’t. I won’t be too hard on BB since this is also his first Worlds, but expectations were much higher for him than for Spica and he failed to meet them.

But BB’s performance wasn’t nearly as bad as Biofrost’s. Holy hell man what happened? You were one of the best supports in the LCS last year and even in the Spring Split, but TSM brought Doublelift back and somehow you got worse?

I thought these two were supposed to have a close relationship. For a lot of Worlds 2020 it looked like they were speaking two different languages! At least when one of them inted in lane, the other was right there to follow them to the grey screen.

Also, it’s become very apparent that Biofrost cannot play tanks. I mean, look at Hylissang’s Leona game today and Biofrost’s Leona. It’s like watching a one-trick versus an auto-filled support. Just keep him on Rakan, man, as it’s apparently the only champion you can count on him to engage with properly. Oh, that’s right, every other team figured that out and banned Rakan away from him.

Of course, all the blame can’t just go onto Biofrost for the bot lane being permanently behind even in winning matchups. Next, we have TSM’s “big” acquisition this season with the return of Doublelift! A man who tanked his reputation in the Spring Split by openly not caring about his performance before getting shipped out under suspicious circumstances to his girlfriend’s team, he somehow managed to damage his rep even more based on his Worlds 2020 performance.

Not only did he look completely outclassed by the other ADCs in the group, he had multiple instances were he prioritized farm over fighting or objectives like Baron. He used to be saving Flash for the next Worlds, but now he’s just saving CS for the next Worlds since he chose not to teamfight unless absolutely necessary.

I’m not even a Team Liquid fan, but I gotta admit it was quite satisfying watching Doublelift’s old team actually be competitive and beat G2 without him. And their best player, unquestionably, was the guy who replaced Doublelift, Tactical. God, it’s beautiful to watch.

A lot of people are speculating Doublelift will retire after this performance, but I have my doubts. He’s stubborn enough and competitive enough that he will stick around for another year to prove he’s not past his prime, probably fail at that, and keep another promising young ADC out of a starting job they probably deserve.

Finally, we come to the man who is a part-owner of TSM and apparently badly in debt to Boris, Bjergsen. The face of TSM for half a decade, who recently forewent free agency to re-sign with the team, at Worlds 2020 he looked more washed than a three-year-old’s overalls.

I’m not even mad that his Zilean got hard-exposed on the Worlds stage, that’s on other LCS mids for letting him get away with that pick for a whole season. I’m not even mad that he got clapped by Nemesis who underperformed all year and a past-his-prime-looking Bdd, I thought they were both better mid laners than him.

What I am disappointed in is that he continues to look more and more like a shell of his past self every year. That five-man sleep that Spica hit against Gen.G, which could have let TSM push for the end if they took it? Bjerg had Flash up on Lucian and didn’t pull the trigger. With multiple low-health targets.

That was a triple kill he passed up on and TSM ended up eventually losing that game. Those are the types of plays I want to see a star-caliber mid laner go for and it’s the type of play we saw from him constantly in the past. We never saw him getting dumpstered in lane like he did against Nemesis or miss all his skillshots like he did in that tower dive on Leblanc.

Bjergsen has an impeccable resume, but the dude hasn’t looked like a top-tier mid laner in two years. In NA, he was good, steady, and had some games where he could pop off, but at Worlds he was middle-of-the-pack. And on a team with no reliable firepower, I really wanted to see him step up and put on an old-school Bjerg performance to help lead an NA team back to the “glory” of quarterfinals.

Next. Ranking the Best Top Laners at Worlds 2020. dark

Instead, we got two mediocre games of Zilean, an 0/5/2 Galio that he never comboed effectively with his top lane Camille, and his most uninspiring Syndra game maybe ever on Day 1 against Fnatic. Instead, we got NA’s “best” team failing spectacularly on the biggest stage and choking in a historic manner.

So here’s to you, TSM, the biggest failures of Worlds 2020. Conglaturations.