LCS 2021: TSM is the Epitome of a High Risk Roster

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

TSM has scheduled a risky roster for the 2021 season, but it could pay off massively.

With the confirmation, today, that TSM will be acquiring Heo “Huni” Seung-hoon from Evil Geniuses to become their starting top laner, the team’s roster for 2021 is set. Joining Huni will be mid laner Tristan “PowerOfEvil” Schrage, support Hu “SwordArt” Shuo-Chieh, returning jungler Mingyi “Spica” Lu.

While the ADC position is still not technically confirmed by TSM, following the recent retirement of Yiliang “Doublelift” Peng, the heavy speculation is that TSM will promote their academy ADC Lawrence “Lost” Sze Yuy Hui to take his place.

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So, TSM’s roster returns only one player from last year’s team that won LCS and made Worlds (and then all tragically got sick and couldn’t play, according to TSM fans), Spica. The roster includes on player, SwordArt, who will be playing in the west for the first time. His bot lane partner, Lost, has played only 14 games in the LCS during his career. The other two players have questions of champion pool diversity and declining talent.

None of these players, except for Spica, have won an LCS split. None of these players have ever played on a team with each other. The team will be led by a rookie head coach and a brand new coaching staff. In a time when COVID is going to make travel, congregating, and practicing together very difficult.

From that perspective, this team is facing a lot of challenges.

Despite those challenges, though, there are a lot of positives to look at on this roster. All of these players, except for the young Lost, have been to Worlds. Two of them – SwordArt and Huni – made the World Finals.

Stylistically, this team fits together like a jigsaw puzzle. You have an aggressive top laner, an aggressive jungler paired with a roaming support, and a mid laner and bottom laner who are able to play stable without a lot of assistance. That is a team that, not only works together, but works in a way that they could square up against some of the best teams in LCS.

And, despite the questions, there is no doubt that this roster has the talent to be competitive in the LCS. Huni was once hailed as not just one of the best top laners in the west, but perhaps in the world. SwordArt is as accomplished a professional player as you can get, and appears hungry to make TSM and North America competitive with his macro play.

Spica and Lost are both young and have shown enough glimpses during their brief LCS tenures that it’s not an insane bet for TSM to bank on their talent and continued development. Finally, you have perhaps the most underrated player in the entire LCS, PowerofEvil, in the mid lane. Talent-wise, there is reason to say that TSM could stack up against the top teams in the LCS, Cloud9 and Team Liquid.

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Unfortunately, all of this talent, all of this synergy, all of this optimism for TSM fans comes couched in questions. Will you be getting Fnatic/Immortals Huni, or the inconsistent Clutch/SKT Huni? Was Spica’s sudden improvement last split just a temporary jolt, or will he continue to improve? Will Lost make the transition to LCS? Will SwordArt make the transition to NA? Can PowerofEvil be enough to hold this whole ship together.

There are a lot more questions than answers on this squad, but one thing is for sure: this team is going to be interesting to watch. This roster possesses the potential to either challenge for a Worlds spot, or maybe an NA title, or they will flame out in spectacular fashion. The only thing left to do is sit back and wait to see which one it will be.