TSM move Shenyi to League academy roster after disastrous LCS start

TSM ShenyiColin Young-Wolff for Riot Games

After the worst start to an LCS split in the org’s history, TSM have announced they’ll be moving support Wei ‘Shenyi’ Zijie to their academy team to allow him more time to acclimatize to North America. 

TSM announced that support Shenyi would be moving down to the org’s academy roster, claiming that he needed “more time to adjust to NA”, and that change would allow him to accumulate “more game time at a more comfortable pace.” The move comes after TSM failed to pick up a win in the first two weeks of the spring split, the worst opening record in the org’s history.

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Shenyi will be replaced by academy support Wang ‘Yursan’ Shenyu, who has played for TSM Academy since the start of 2021.

TSM’s unclear messaging

The initial post garnered confusion from the community, with many wondering whether Shenyi would be playing both Academy and LCS. TSM’s VP of Esports, Dominic Kallas, clarified the decision in a post on the official TSM Discord.

He explained that the LCS team had been facing significant “chemistry issues”, and that the roster swaps aimed to help alleviate some of the “pressure” in the team’s communications. While TSM’s players have shown strong mechanics at times, their clear lack of communication and cohesion has cost them this split.

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Many community members were quick to point out that the benching of Shenyi does not align with TSM’s original messaging regarding player development.

A series of tweets from strategic coach Jack ‘Kayys’ Kayser after the team’s fourth LCS loss had intimated that the org saw Spring as more of a developmental split, and that they were not planning on making ‘bandaid’ changes for a split that has only one international qualification spot.

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Shenyi’s perspective

Shenyi voiced his issues with the North American environment on a Huya livestream after the decision was announced. A summary of his thoughts was posted to Chinese news forum Hupu, and highlights some of his key issues with the culture of the LCS.

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He explained how different North America’s practice is and that he felt “bored from Monday to Friday, just like going to school”, with only two stage games per week. He also expressed frustrations with the ranked ladder in North America, citing high ping and poor game quality making NA ranked “meaningless”.

In another summary of the stream, posted to the TSM Discord, he highlights how he didn’t feel as though the team trusted him to make calls in their LCS games. He explained that shot-calling was one of his strengths but that he wasn’t being facilitated to make calls on TSM.

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One of the talking points surrounding TSM’s roster heading into 2022 was how they would communicate. Neither Shenyi nor mid laner  Zhu ‘Keaiduo’ Xiong are confident English speakers, and it was expected that the role of translation would fall on jungler Mingi ‘Spica’ Lu, who speaks both English and Mandarin.

Only the start of TSM’s issues

It appears that the benching of Shenyi is not the only change the org has made. According to a report by Travis Gafford, an unnamed member of TSM’s coaching staff has also been “dismissed” by the organization, and the players took a scrim break on February 16, the day of the roster swap.

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No official announcement has been made by TSM regarding their coaching staff, but assistant coach James ‘Tonington’ Kandel was removed from the Global Contract Database on February 16, according to Leaguepedia.

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