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Top North American League of Legends team Team SoloMid has officially signed Hu “SwordArt” Shuo-Chieh as their starting support for the next two years. The former Suning player agreed to a $6 million contract with TSM a day after Suning announced his departure from the team. This agreement currently makes him the richest active esports player in the United States and Canada.

SwordArt signs with TSM

The deal that was rumored to fall through has finally been made official, putting TSM in a financially unique position. SwordArt will receive a $3 million salary each year for 2021 and 2022, a deal similar to Dignitas’ two-year, $2.3m deal for former player Heo “Huni” Seung-hoon.

The 23-year old Tawainese player has played with League of Legends Pro League team Suning since 2018, helping them reach second place in this year’s League of Legends World Championship.

SwordArt has been a member of multiple prominent teams since 2012, racking up several accolades, such as LMS MVP, LPL 2020 Regional Finals, and LMS 2016-2018 Summer Playoffs. Joining TSM, he will be the first League of Legends Master Series player to professionally play in North America.

Rebuilding the team

SwordArt’s talent and history caught the attention of TSM founder Andy “Reginald” Dinh, who stated that the deal is “a really small investment a decade down the road.” His ideas for the future of TSM include building legacies and investing in the best players, which includes signing SwordArt to help carry the team into next year.

The deal comes just a day after the team’s famed bot laner, Peter “Doublelift” Peng, announced his retirement, leaving some uncertainty around the competitive team. Aside from Doublelift’s retirement, other long-time players have recently departed as well, such as Søren “Bjergsen” Bjerg and Sergen “Broken Blade” Çelik. For the new season, SwordArt will replace TSM’s former support, Vincent “Biofrost” Wang. Additionally, the team’s long-time star, Bjergsen, has moved from the mid lane into a coaching position, placing Tristan “PowerOfEvil” Schrage as the team’s new starting mid laner.

“The reason why I want to join TSM, is because I want to challenge myself and see what I can do in a new region,” SwordArt stated in TSM’s official announcement video.

Dinh signing the six-time regional champion to TSM means high expectations going into the new year, with high hopes of a qualifying spot in the 2021 World Championship.