Meet Solo, the nomad LCS top laner who brought hope to TSM when they needed it most

TSM Solo LCSRiot Games/TSM

Despite having an incredibly turbulent regular season, TSM almost managed to take down Evil Geniuses and make a miracle run through Playoffs. And Solo was a key part of their relative success.

Colin ‘Solo’ Earnest came onto the team late in the season after Huni’s retirement and S0ul’s short-lived stint on the roster. And, as it would turn out, Solo was the anchor this TSM roster needed.

While he wasn’t able to bring TSM all the way through the Playoffs, they had an unexpectedly strong run through Playoffs and gave EG a real run for their money.

We sat down with this top laner for hire to ask about his time on TSM, his thoughts on their Playoffs run, and his hopes for the future of both himself and TSM’s roster.

TSM Solo is the LCS equivalent of a mercenary for hire

Out of every top laner that’s ever touched pro play, Solo’s journey through the LCS has been fraught with difficulty and heartbreak. He’s been playing professionally since 2014, and has yet to find a real home as a player.

That said, he’s had no lack of highlight moments throughout his career, and he’s done well on most of the teams he’s been on over the years.

When asking Solo about what it was like to come into TSM on such short notice, he was confident in both his individual skill level and his ability to play with the team despite coming in so late in the season.

“I think I obviously play well. I play to the level of any of the top players in the league, right? Be it Impact or Ssumday. I’m never a liability, but I think a lot of the value comes from day-to-day behind-the-scenes things, just being extremely consistent.”

“As you saw with other teams in the league making similar roster moves late in the season, we were the only ones who were successful unless I’m missing someone. I don’t wanna take all the credit cause everyone stepped up, but I think I just add a lot of value to teams and that translates to winning.”

Consistent is right. Solo managed to match every top laner he played against, and always managed to be a powerful force in teamfights during their playoffs run.

“I’m pretty malleable, so I can fit into whatever team. Whenever I join a team, I’m just trying to fill in what needs to be filled in and not dominate and be like, ‘this is what we’re doing now, everything works around me, I’m doing comms now’. It just really varies. For instance, Spica is the voice on this team. It’s his team, give him his voice, you know? If he wants to do stuff, let him do stuff.”

“But when I was on a team like Golden Guardians last year, that team didn’t really have a voice. So I was the one doing the calls and being in charge of what we’re doing as a team in-game. It really depends. I’m capable of both, but I think I really understand how to mesh well with players.”

It’s no surprise that Mingyi ‘Spica‘ Lu leads the way when it comes to comms. His high energy and bright personality has been a saving grace for TSM through their toughest times, and he’ll be sorely missed next year.

Solo isn’t the kind of player that goes for top laners that demand a ton of attention. He plays things like Ornn and Gnar – consistent weaksiders that show up big in teamfights.

Play for him to get a lead? He’ll do well. Leave him alone? He’s just fine.

In our time with Solo, he came across as someone who’s mental fortitude is a real boon for any team he’s on.

Interviews after a loss can be hard for players, but Solo seemed like he was glad to be there regardless. After dealing with near unprecedented technical issues against EG, his spirits were high despite having just lost an 8 hour set.

Finding himself amidst the chaos

Solo has spent a lot of time in (and out) of the LCS over the past decade. And, while he hasn’t found a team to call home just yet, he has found himself.

Solo may have earned his title of top laner for hire through years of doing well on different teams across the LCS, but he’s cemented it with his new look in 2022. Solo certainly looks the part, and it’s something that just came naturally to him.

“A lot of it is just because I’ve found a better balance, I guess? And I’ve just been open to doing things that aren’t League. So now I just have more of a personality— or more, being unafraid to show it.”

He also lent his flair and expertise to the analyst desk once TSM were out of the Playoffs, and even hopped onto the caster’s desk for the game 2 of Team Liquid vs Evil Geniuses.

Through perseverance and dedication, TSM Solo has managed to re-ignite interest in him as a player and bring some much-needed personality to the LCS.

There’s a lot more to succeeding in esports than playing well. Storylines are what make esports interesting, and few players have a story as wild as Solo’s.

A place to call home

Solo’s journey through the LCS is fairly unique in both its nature and its longevity, and he still looks like one of the best top laners in North America. So why has he had such a hard time sticking to one team?

“I mean… I’ll play for any LCS team if they’ll have me. I think that’s always been the case. I’ll try, for sure, to start next Spring. That means a lot to get a whole year in. It’s definitely much harder to come into the split where everyone’s practiced up and try to be as dominating— I mean, yeah I’d love to do that. So we’ll see. It’s only a matter of time.”

His choice to say that it’s “only a matter of time” until he lands a starting LCS spot is certainly encouraging to hear from this standout top laner. Solo claimed there’s a lot of “behind-the-scenes” stuff that we don’t see, which makes sense.

However, it’s clear that Solo’s ready to find a starting spot for next year. But will that spot be on TSM?

“You know, I’ve enjoyed playing with all the players. I certainly wouldn’t mind having more time to hash things out with them. We’ll just see. I know some players are free agents coming up. It’s a big market; people have to do what’s best for them. I hope we can keep it together, but we’ll see.”

Unfortunately, things have changed fast, and TSM’s off-season has started early. Spica’s departure isn’t likely to be the only one we see from this organization.

Solo’s future remains uncertain, but he left a mark on TSM and brought some much-needed personality to the team. He has the potential to be a franchise player if TSM decides to hold onto him.

Despite how long he’s been in the LCS already, it feels like Solo’s career has had a new beginning this year.

Whether TSM decides to hold on to him or not, he’s got a bright future in the league after playing such a large role in what was almost a miracle run. It’s safe to say no one expected TSM to push EG to game 5.

It’s hard to say what TSM will look like without Spica, and whether or not Solo would be able to replicate TSM’s short-lived boost in strength without Spica to lead the charge. However, even if Solo is back on the road as the LCS nomad, you can be sure this isn’t the last we’ll see of him.

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