Friday, December 9, 2022

Another Feather in His Cap

Colin “Solo” Earnest has had a long and tumultuous career in the professional league of legends scene. He now makes that career longer, and most likely more tumultuous, by becoming TSM Solo. Solo first forayed into pro League of Legends in 2014 with Zenith Esports. Since then he has bounced from team to team in both the challenger/academy level and at the mainstage LCS level. Now that he has joined TSM, Solo has represented no fewer than eleven unique organizations. The longest Solo has ever stayed with a team was with Clutch Gaming. He lasted nearly a year spanning between December of 2017 and ending right before the one year mark in November of 2018.

Solo’s best

This shifting of teams does not mean that he is any stranger to success. After initially joining Flyquest as an assistant coach and academy player in March of 2020 Solo was subbed in for Viper. The two split games for the rest of the season the team finished fourth in the standings headed to playoffs. Flyquest dropped the first two games of their series against Evil Geniuses and subbed in Solo. The team didn’t look back. Although they lost that series against EG in game four they managed to make a loser’s bracket run. They eventually beat EG later in the tournament, to make the org’s first finals appearance. The team would continue to thrive with Solo in the top lane as they repeated their success in the summer, falling just short of winning a championship taking TSM to the full five games in the final series.

Despite the heartbreaking loss Solo and the rest of Flyquest punched their ticket to worlds. As the second seed from NA their spot in pools was guaranteed, however, an easy pool was not. The squad saw some success. They took a game against then tournament favorites Top Esports. The big win wasn’t enough. They fell just short of making it out of pool play with a 3-3 record.

Solo was released from Flyquest following the 2020 worlds and after bouncing around a bit finds himself on another struggling roster. TSM has struggled in the rift in 2022, finishing ninth in the spring. That is the first time the team has finished below 6th in the LCS regular season and the first time the team has ever had a losing record in the LCS regular season. The problems have extended into the summer split with the team currently in ninth place with a 3-8 record.

TSM’s position

TSM lineup 2022

Top lane has been a particular point of pressure for TSM this split. After Heo “Huni” Seung-hoon stepped down from the roster due to having issues with his hands, academy top laner Alex “S0ul” Luo stepped up to fill the position. After going 1-3 S0ul elected to return to the academy roster. He posted on the TSM discord that “management fully gave me the option to continue playing, but I want TSM to make playoffs as much as you guys do, and with my current performance we’d have a higher chance without me.”

Top lane isn’t the only role that TSM has made roster swaps in this season. TSM has made midseason changes in both the bot lane positions.

This is the team that Solo is joining: a team used to winning struggling to win. Fan reactions to the pick up are a mix. Some are excited to have an experienced and competent top laner, whereas others deride the pick up and feel as if the future won’t be any brighter with Solo.

TSM solo

If history repeats itself, which often happens, TSM Solo will find his place as a role player. In the past he’s excelled when he has playmakers in other lanes on the rift and is allowed to simply absorb pressure in the top lane. This worked out best of course with flyquest. Solo could rely on teammates Lucas “Santorin” Larsen in the jungle and Tristan “PowerOfEvil” Schrage in the midlane. Each is an excellent player and play maker in their own right. Hopefully for TSM Solo will provide the stability that Mingyi “Spica” Lu and Huang “Maple” Yi-Tang need to unlock their full potential and get some more games back in TSM’s win column. Look for a rocky start this weekend, but some improvement in week 7 and 8.

Cover Photo Via Riot Games

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