It looks like Team Solo Mid is picking up another jungler for the next year. Matthew “Akaadian” Higginbotham may have leaked that he is joining the organization on his stream earlier today. Additionally, TSM owner Andy “Reginald” Dinh would explain why the team did not pick up Joshua “Dardoch” Hartnett.
It wasn’t clear whether or not TSM would find a new jungler, or if they would stick with current jungler, Jonathan “Grig” Armao. Grig would come in for the 2018 Summer Split, where he would replace Michael “MikeYeung” Yeung. However, Grig would have a pretty lackluster performance for TSM in his first stint with the team. He would become a bit of a liability, especially against some of the top junglers in the NA LCS. His good performances were far and few between as well, making him a prime position to find a replacement for.
On December 6, Akaadian would be streaming on Twitch when a few viewers would catch something peculiar in his browser. At the bottom of the page was a file that the jungler downloaded, that was named, “TSM Academy Contract”. Akaadian wouldn’t address the file, but it would cause a big stir up amongst the TSM fans. Additionally, Akaadian would state on stream that he was no longer a free agent.
Also, the differences between Søren “Bjergsen” Bjerg and Tristan “PowerOfEvil” Schrage would be brought up in his stream. The two would end up playing with each other in the NA LCS in-house matches. Along with Bjergsen and Akaadian, TSM’s newest support, Andy “Smoothie” Ta, was also playing on their team. Akaadian would praise Bjergsen’s shotcalling ability, saying that he would be very clear and consise with his calls. He would say some similar thoughts about Smoothie, who he says helps keep everyone “in-line” during the in-house matches. It will be interesting to see if Akaadian will get any playing time with the main roster this upcoming season.
Meanwhile, team owner Reginald would make some statements on why the team did not pick up Dardoch. The star jungler was a free agent this past offseason, and was rumored to join TSM after their lackluster season. The jungle was a pretty big weakness for Solo Mid in 2018, and replacing him with one of the most mechanically talented junglers made some sense. However, Regi had other ideas, as Dardoch would end up joining OpTic Gaming only a few days ago.
When asked about the Dardoch situation, Reginald would respond with, “Didn’t think Dardoch was a good culture fit for us this year. Maybe in the future.” On Reddit, he would also mention that he “didn’t think he would be the best player for competitive success”. It is clear that Reginald, like many owners and fans, know about Dardoch’s attitude problems. They have been plaguing his career for some time now. Granted, he is still one of the best junglers in the region. However, when a player cannot build proper cohesiveness with the group, it’ll be just as bad as bringing in a mechanically subpar jungler.
As a counterpoint, many fans are also saying that TSM should have taken a chance with Dardoch. He hasn’t been too bad with his attitude ever since he left Team Liquid, and so he would be worth the risk. Additionally, having an vocal jungler who isn’t scared to voice his opinion could be great for TSM. The meme that Team Solo Mid makes wards out of their junglers would probably die with Dardoch, as he doesn’t seem like the type of person to be dictated.
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