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To those who have watched the 2022 League Championship Series spring split, it’s no surprise to hear that TSM are in last place with the worst start ever to their competitive season. The team has had multiple roster swaps that have most recently included support Wei “Shenyi” Zi-Jie and mid Ji “Takeover” Cha Hyeun-min.
Shenyi was always the team’s intended starter this split, but he has played most of the season in Academy with Wang “Yursan” Sheng-Yu in his place on the main roster. Takeover, however, just made his LCS debut after TSM announced Zhu “Keaiduo” Xiong needed to take some time to “train in a less stressful environment,” according to their coach Wong “Chawy” Xing Lei.
Takeover won’t be with the team long-term, but he was somewhat expecting an eventual spot on the LCS stage this season. “Honestly, I wasn’t that surprised,” Takeover said, referencing when he first heard the news that he’d have a few games with the main roster.
“I wasn’t nervous at all, actually,” Takeover said about getting on stage for the first time. “I thought I’d be nervous, but [I was actually] pretty calm.” He went on to break down the annoyances of the white noise and other on-stage-specific requirements. But other than those inconveniences, he was focused on playing at his ceiling.
In a lot of ways, the weight of being 1-9 can bear down on the players, but at least for Takeover, all he could do was his best for the team. To him, his performance has less to do with what roster he’s on, and more about the draft and whether or not he is comfortable in his matchup and the game state.
“If I’m comfortable with my playstyle, I’ll really push your limits really far,” he said. “But if I’m not that comfortable in a certain matchup or how I’m playing, I’ll be a bit more reserved.”
Atmosphere, changes and results.#TSM Legends S8 Episode 3, out now.
— TSM FTX (@TSM) February 25, 2022
He didn’t get much practice time with the squad before the weekend, with only a few days of scrims. So instead of having complex duties, Takeover was mostly in charge of performing well in his matchup and assisting where he could with game plan.
“They already know all these concepts and what they’re playing for, but I don’t know a lot of [the specifics],” he said. He carried on, explaining that his mindset and focus on the weekend was to adapt and learn as quickly as possible. “I’m not the main voice obviously, but I tried to say what I need.
If I have all the resources, I try to speak up if I can, but it’s kind of hard to know what to do,” Takeover said. “LCS is kind of different from Academy, right? So I think it’ll just take time to get used to that.”
Takeover spent a season in the Liga de Honor Entel in Chile, his home country, before coming to NA for college and joining TSM Academy. He described his former career in Latin America as a “side hobby,” and even his signing with TSM wasn’t a specific goal of his.
“I just played solo queue and joined some TSM scouting and joined Academy from there,” he said. “So it was just more like, it happened as I lived my life. It wasn’t an actual goal.”
But now that he’s here competing, he’s giving it his all to improve and provide what the team needs from him, no matter which roster he’s on.
Regardless of the new teammates, new match environment and the pressure of the situation, he just focused on himself and how to best assist the team in his LCS debut. Whereas some players come in with a specific goal or desire to pop-off on stage for their first games, Takeover seemed to be a bit more focused on the bigger picture than that.
Despite the tough situation given TSM’s start, Takeover said the team were still doing their best to stay positive, but that it had gotten harder with each additional loss. “Everyone’s positive, outgoing, and have good personalities,” he said. “But once we start losing, it gets kind of hard to show the good sides.”
Nevertheless, he and TSM doubled their win count on Sunday, climbing to 2-9 and staying within the realm of locking a spring playoffs spot.
League of Legends esports reporter and photographer for half a decade. Sometimes I try to touch grass.