It's a great time to be Team SoloMid.
Week 5 of the 2017 NA LCS Spring Split saw them defeat both Cloud9 and FlyQuest to ascend to the league's top position, which they now share with Cloud9 at 8-2.
TSM won't have to play them for the rest of the split, and they only play the third and fourth-place teams, FlyQuest and Phoenix1, once more. The season has seen the team come together with returning AD carry Jason "WildTurtle" Tran back in the bot lane following Yiliang "Doublelift" Peng's decision to take a break for the spring split.
But the split is far from over, and a strong Week 5 performance isn't enough for TSM to rest on their laurels, WildTurtle and support Vincent "Biofrost" Wang told theScore esports. Read on for the bot lane's view on their Week 5 performance, the bot lane meta and how shotcalling is working out following Doublelift's departure.
Based on your Week 5 results, how does the team feel about its overall place in North America?
Biofrost: After Week 5, we definitely feel more confident in comparison to Week 1. We've made a lot of improvements, but there are still consistency issues that we're looking to address. We hope that with the second half of the split, we solidify ourselves as a top team going into playoffs.
WildTurtle: We are happy with our results but we have to strive for more than first place in North America and continue to improve.
Who is shotcalling for the team now, and how is that arrangement working out?
Biofrost: In terms of shotcalling, instead of a single shotcaller we have a system where each person contributes in an area that they're specialized in. However, both Hauntzer and Bjergsen have stepped up in the amount of responsibilities that they each have to carry the load that Doublelift once had.
WildTurtle: Bjergsen and Hauntzer are doing the majority of the shotcalling and the rest of us usually just update with information. The arrangement is currently working out fine but we are trying to have players specialize in different areas of the game.
It feels like both of your previous lane partners had very different playstyles — what sort of adjustments have you had to make to come together in this new TSM bottom lane?
Biofrost: Both Doublelift and Turtle play aggressively, but the champions that are being played now are massively different from the ones that were played in summer. ADC is now more of a utility carry that provides engage and allows for either Mid/Jungle to carry. I didn't necessarily make any major adjustments and am just trying to focus on setting up around botlane.
WildTurtle: I think Bio and [Adrian "Adrian" Ma] are really similar bot lane players, they both have good mechanics and play ranged supports really well, so I didn't have to make any big adjustments to play with Bio.
The bot lane meta has become a hot topic of discussion — how do you both feel about the champions that are currently considered viable for your respective positions? Are there any heroes that people are sleeping on?
Biofrost: The champions being played in the support meta have a lot more damage like Malzahar and Zyra, but at the same time, champions like Karma/Nami/Thresh are still played because of the pick/ban system. Due to the amount of bans, support players have to have a larger champion pool and it also opens up to more picks. Personally I enjoy this meta since at any given time, you need at least a handful of champions at your disposal.
WildTurtle: The champions that are being played currently aren't really auto based ADCs, you're mostly just playing champions that have long range and can deal damage safely from afar. Supports are basically ranged supports that can lane well and deal damage late game.
What’s been your biggest surprise so far in this NA LCS split?
Biofrost: Biggest surprise thus far in the NA LCS has certainly been FlyQuest. At the start of the season, most people were dismissing FlyQuest since they were a team that just qualified through Challenger. Instead, they had a roaring start and were able to quickly garner the respect of the league.
WildTurtle: I'm really surprised with Liquid's performance this split, I at least expected them to be higher than last place.
This interview has been edited and condensed for clarity.
Josh "Gauntlet" Bury is a news editor for theScore esports. You can find him on Twitter.