It’s no secret that TSM have had a rough time in the League of Legends Championship Series this year. They’re 1-8, they’ve released a coach, they’ve swapped their Academy and LCS supports, Wang “Yursan” Sheng-Yu and Wei “Shenyi” Zi-Jie, and there’s a whole lot of drama on the timeline. Meanwhile, Liquid has been temporarily playing Bill “Eyla” Nguyen in the LCS, sending him back to Academy this week.
In a very hypothetical, conjecture-filled world, there’s a way out of this timeline that benefits everyone. TSM could, theoretically anyway, facilitate a buyout for Eyla from Liquid and a sale of Shenyi to FunPlus Phoenix, and all parties would be better off.
Here’s a look at how that move would play out, why it would work and how it helps all the teams get a boost for the rest of 2022.
Step 1: Eyla to TSM to replace Shenyi
While it’s usually rare for teams to make changes in the middle of a season, TSM are in a prime position to look for one.
TSM’s main issue in 2022 has been their synergy in the mid-game. They have often had pretty decent laning phases, barring a few failed rotations with the Smite top strategy. They completely fall apart in the crucial mid-game, macro-heavy phase. There were discussions around the team’s communication struggles, but also grumblings that the narrative wasn’t fully warranted.
Regardless of what is going on behind the scenes, TSM benched their original starting support for their Academy player, and it’s clear from their play and their 1-8 record that the change hasn’t been the most fruitful solution. But luckily for them, there is a pretty decent option they could pursue to benefit themselves, Shenyi and FPX.
Due to delays in his green card approval, support Jo “CoreJJ” Yong-in was unable to start for Team Liquid in the LCS Lock In and the first few weeks of the spring split. In his place was their Academy support, Eyla, who had his own sub for the TL Academy games.
TSM claimed this offseason that they were looking to build a developmental roster, with a mix of promising rookies joining their core of veterans to make their recent MVP, Mingyi “Spica” Lu, shine. While Eyla may not have ever been considered, he’s been climbing through Oceania and now North America over the past few years, and he showed a ton of promise on the LCS stage with Team Liquid.
Needless to say, Eyla still fits in the “developmental” mentality, just a bit differently, and there are plenty of reasons why Eyla would be a good fit for TSM.
Eyla has a focus on good communication, which is a must for TSM. Eyla also played for Team Liquid Academy last year while TSM’s new bot laner, Edward “Tactical” Ra, played on the main team. They may not have played together much, but they likely know each other and have some understanding that could accelerate their synergy, at least faster than with Shenyi or Yursan.
Eyla has also been praised by the community this split, and even by CoreJJ, who called Eyla the second-best support in the league (behind himself). Eyla responded to CoreJJ’s statement with humility, but he also knows he is LCS-ready and is eager for a full-time shot on a starting roster. Replacing Shenyi on TSM might just be Eyla’s perfect opportunity.
TSM founder and CEO Andy “Reginald” Dinh famously said he’d sell his belongings to buy the best team he could if they dropped to CLG’s level, and at 10th place and two games behind CLG in the standings, it’s not entirely out of the picture for him to step in and make some changes.
Step 2: Shenyi to FPX
Shenyi was brought to TSM after he allegedly declined an offer from FPX to be their starting support for this year, the details of which were translated in a Reddit thread that has since been deleted. Shenyi did have another year left on his contract, and FPX only had positive and thankful messages for Shenyi upon his release.
If that were true, it’s likely FPX would be happy to have the support back, given the team is only 4-7 with a four-series losing streak and outside of playoffs as of Wednesday. That would give Shenyi a much better home for 2022 and could potentially get FPX back on track to be a top team in the League of Legends Pro League as they were last few years.
Sure, FunPlus Phoenix are a bit better off than TSM by comparison, but they’re still not the FPX fans know and love.
It’s a lot of shifting things around, and it’s unlikely that TSM would facilitate the whole thing, but if they could, it very well could save their year, as well as Shenyi’s and Eyla’s. The moves would be valuable for each of Eyla, Shenyi, TSM, FPX and Team Liquid.