Week 6 of the North American League of Legends Championship Series brought fans what was once a marquee matchup: Team SoloMid versus Team Liquid. But while TL are still riding high, TSM have struggled following a host of roster changes over the past couple years. One of the most recent TSM moves involved bringing in a new bot lane: Jonathan “Chime” Pomponio and Tony “Instinct” Ng.
The new TSM bot lane was absolutely dominated over the course of the game. The duo struggled to deal with TL’s stifling pressure as the match became defined by the lead accumulated on the lower half of the map.
“Today’s game showed us on a more intense scale what we need to do,” Chime said in an interview after the match. “Especially versus the top teams. I think today was just a harsh lesson to be taught.”
Chime specifically pointed to the Miss Fortune as a punish pick. TSM thought they had the answer with the Jinx/Braum bot lane, but it wasn’t enough.
“We just need to recognize that Team Liquid thought that was a weakness,” Chime said.
TL take care of business
All TSM were able to get during the early to mid game were some consolation kills on Gabriël “Bwipo” Rau, which ultimately amounted to little as the game concluded in TL’s favor. For his part, Bwipo was unfazed by the missteps that led to his deaths as his team continued their march towards TSM’s nexus.
“It shouldn’t be emotionally frustrating, especially not for a veteran,” Bwipo said. “For a rookie it might be because they care about the outlook and their career and stuff. But for me I ran it down many games and I still came back and managed to contribute to the victory.”
From Level 1, Bwipo was focused on his team rather than his own lane. A foray bot to deny an early invade led to him falling behind in the top lane. He felt that TSM’s new top laner, LCS veteran Colin “Solo” Earnest, didn’t do enough to abuse that lead.
“I was largely unimpressed, since I was coming in with a pretty big disadvantage from the Level 1,” he said. “[Solo] absolutely did nothing. He wasn’t even trying to pressure me at any point and that was somewhat disappointing.”
It was a clean win for TL who are looking like title contenders this Split, just a step behind Evil Geniuses and 100 Thieves. Bwipo said that the only thing separating TL from the top two NA teams is their teamfighting.
“I think we need to improve our 5v5 prowess,” Bwipo said. “Once we’re able to do that, we’ll be a much better team than both of those teams.”
TSM Chime heads into a grudge match on Sunday
Chime might be new to TSM but he’s not new to the LCS stage. Unlike his new ADC Instinct, Chime had a stint on Golden Guardians’ main roster before he was moved back to Academy for development. Now, with TSM poised to face GG on Sunday, Chime has something to prove.
“I thought I improved a lot and [Golden Guardians] thought so too, but they had made it clear I wasn’t going to play LCS this Split,” Chime said. “This is my chance to prove to them that I was an option.”
Chime said that he’s close with many of the GG guys, so he’s “super stoked” to go up against them on a personal level as well. The only wrinkle is that GG are expected to field the newly acquired Kim “River” Dong-woo in place of Milo “Pridestalker” Wehnes.
“I wanna know what happened to be honest because I’m surprised,” Chime said. “Something must have happened, I think, for them to make this change. Probably some hot tea.”
Coby Zucker is Upcomer's resident CS:GO writer. He's also played League of Legends at the collegiate level and is a frequent visitor in TFT Challenger Elo. He's a firm believer that Toronto should be the next big esports hub city.