TSM have finally announced the missing pieces of their 2022 LCS roster. The North American powerhouse have acquired rookie Chinese players in mid laner Zhu ‘Keaiduo’ Xiong and support Wei ‘Shenyi’ Zi-Jie.
TSM’s performance in Summer 2021 left a lot to be desired. They failed to qualify for the World Championship after coming first in the regular season, losing a hotly contested best-of-five series to Cloud9.
For one of North America’s oldest and most renowned organizations, not making Worlds was a clear failure, and it was clear that some kind of roster moves would be on the cards for the team in the offseason.
However, TSM remained secretive about their plans for the mid and support roles, after announcing the signing of AD Carry Edward ‘Tactical’ Ra from Team Liquid on Nov 20.
Looking at the LDL
TSM’s missing pieces come from an unlikely source. Both players hail from the LDL, or League of Legends Developmental League – the LPL’s version of an academy system.
Both players were discovered through the organization’s scouting combine that took place in Korea in October of this year. The combine’s existence wasn’t publicized, but the organization’s Senior Social Media Manager, Duncan Cox, confirmed in a Reddit post in late November that the team had undergone an extensive scouting process in Korea throughout October.
Both players are relatively new to competitive League, even at the developmental level. Shenyi made his debut on FunPlus Phoenix Blaze in 2020, while Keaiduo’s professional debut came at the start of 2020 with Thunder Talk Gaming Young.
Shenyi, the shot caller
In the announcement video of the team’s roster, coach Wong ‘Chawy’ Xing Lei described Shenyi as a player whose strengths ‘are in his communication.’ According to Chawy, that was one of Shenyi’s strongest assets throughout the tryout process.
Welcome Shenyi to TSM as our starting LCS support for 2022! #TSM@TSM_Shenyi was our first choice at support from the moment he entered our scouting combine. He showed us unparalleled proactivity, map control, and team coms, making him a key component of our team. Bring on '22. pic.twitter.com/2dKTVFN7DR
— TSM FTX (@TSM) December 9, 2021
Shenyi also comes to the roster with some major region competitive experience. He substituted for FunPlus Phoenix’s LPL team in Summer 2021, playing five games. He’s an aggressive player most comfortable on engage champions, notably showcasing a dominant performance on Rakan versus Top Esports.
Keaiduo, the aggressive teamfighter
By far the team’s most untested quantity, Keaiduo began his career on Thunder Talk Gaming Young at the start of 2021. That team failed to impress in the LDL, failing to make playoffs in either Spring or Summer.
Welcome Keaiduo to TSM as our starting LCS mid-laner for 2022! #TSM@TSM_Keaiduo dominated our month-long scouting combine in Korea. He stood out as the top-performing mid-laner, bringing an aggressive look and crisp teamfighting. We can't wait for you to see him crush the LCS. pic.twitter.com/CFubFu4SAE
— TSM FTX (@TSM) December 9, 2021
However, Chawy explained that TSM were impressed by Keaiduo’s aggressive playstyle. He showcased a wide champion pool during his time in the LDL, showing proficiency on both aggressive melee champions like Viego and Diana, and ranged mages like Twisted Fate and Viktor.
How will TSM’s communication function in 2022?
One of the core issues with imported players is the language barrier. However, TSM have a unique advantage in importing Chinese talent, with Mingyi ‘Spica’ Lu being fluent in Mandarin. As explained by Chawy, the jungler, who has been with TSM since mid-2020, will be responsible for communication amongst the entire team.
Arguably, communication between jungler and support is the most important line of communication in competitive league. Strong communication allows these two players to set up ganks across the map. If Spica and Shenyi are able to communicate clearly, then TSM will have far fewer issues fitting the new players into their roster.
TSM’s 2022 LCS roster:
- Heo ‘Huni’ Seung-hoon – Top laner
- Mingyi ‘Spica’ Lu – Jungler
- Zhu ‘Keaiduo’ Xiong – Mid laner
- Edward ‘Tactical’ Ra – AD Carry
- Wei ‘Shenyi’ Zi-Jie – Support