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There’s no way to label Dignitas’ performance in the 2023 League Championship Series Spring Split as anything but a disappointment. Despite fielding arguably the best on-paper League of Legends esports roster in the organization’s history, DIG limped to a last-place finish in the Spring Split, only managing to win three of their 18 games along the way.

Among the few silver linings for Dignitas this spring, though, was the promotion of Frank “Tomo” Lam. After DIG went 0-9 in the first half, Tomo was promoted from DIG Challengers to the LCS roster in place of Trevor “Spawn” Kerr-Taylor. DIG still struggled in the second half, only winning one-third of their matches, but 3-6 is a sizeable improvement from 0-9, and Tomo was a big part of that.

Not everything was DIG’s fault, of course – outside circumstances put them at a disadvantage before the season even started. Due to visa issues, top laner İrfan Berk “Armut” Tükek did not start practicing with the team until a few days before the Spring Split, and support Lee “IgNar” Dong-geun did not arrive until three weeks later. That being said, an 0-9 start to the season cannot be blamed solely on visa issues hamstringing preparation time, which prompted DIG to make a change to the roster going into week 5 of the LCS Spring Split.

Tomo was, quite literally, an immediate upgrade – DIG scratched out a narrow win against Evil Geniuses in his first game on stage with the LCS squad. While it was far from a clean victory for DIG, the team looked more in sync than they had all spring with Tomo slotting into the lineup. “It felt really natural because everyone on the team has so much experience. I just need to do my own thing and call for resources when I need to,” Tomo told Upcomer after the win over EG.

Even in DIG’s losses with Tomo, the matches were far more competitive than they ever looked in the first half, especially on the bottom side of the map. “I think I’m much more aggressive with how I want to play the game, especially in terms of calling for resources when I need them. I think that’s something that Spawn kind of lacked,” Tomo explained. “I think I’m a much more aggressive player and I know what I want to do.”

This was echoed by DIG mid laner Nicolaj “Jensen” Jensen on the following day. “I think he’s more developed than Spawn was as a player,” Jensen told Dot Esports. “He understands more of what he needs in a game and has a better understanding of how to play with the team.”

Tomo wasn’t enough of an upgrade to push DIG into the LCS Spring Playoffs, but the team now has footing to build a foundation it was not able to establish until the tail end of the Spring Split. If nothing else, the last nine games of the split were valuable stage time for Tomo to get accustomed to his new teammates so that the team can scale into summer and turn the season around.