Intel Extreme Masters Championships
Although the Oracle Arena may be known as the home of the Golden State Warriors, fans will pack its 20,000 seats this coming weekend not to watch basketball, but to witness the top eSports teams battle against one another at the IEM Oakland Championships. Considered to be one of the top events in eSports, the Intel Extreme Masters (IEM) hosts two tiers of teams that will compete in either Counter Strike: Global Offensive or League of Legends (LoL). While both have a massive following, League of Legends has fans teeming with excitement as news broke last week that Team SoloMid (TSM) had officially joined the LoL lineup.
Founded in 2009, Team SoloMid took the world of eSports by storm as they quickly dominated the competition. TSM has become such a pillar in gaming that they have competed in every North America League of Legends Championship Series (NA LCS) that has been held. Even more impressive, TSM has not only made it to the finals each time, but they have taken first place in the NA LCS playoffs a total of four times.
While TSM continues to perform at the highest caliber, the team has had a turbulent couple of years due to Marcus “Dyrus” Hill, the team’s Top Laner, stepping away from eSports and retiring. To add insult to injury, the team recently received yet another devastating blow when their Top AD Carry, Peter “Doublelift” Peng, decided to take some time off during the Spring Split. With the team practically falling apart at the seams, fans were left wondering if the glory days of TSM were coming to an end as they were nearly eliminated during the 2016 Worlds group stages.
Knowing some essential members needed to be replaced, TSM decided to sit out of the 2016 IEM Oakland while they searched for new members. What appeared to be the beginning of the end for a once great team took a drastic turn Tuesday when TSM made an unprecedented announcement that shocked the LoL world. Not only had TSM retracted their statement and joined the IEM lineup but they also signed their former teammate Jason “WildTurtle” Tran.
Making his professional debut at the age of 17, WildTurtle quickly gained a reputation as he led Team Legion to a semifinal finish. From there, he would go on to play for several other teams until he landed at TSM in 2013 as their top AD Carry. Though having a successful run, Tran was eventually let go and ended up signing with Immortals. While continuing to hone his skills, Tran was able to help his new team take two consecutive third place finishes at the NA LCS. Luckily for TSM, his contract expired in October and Tran decided to rejoin the team he helped build.
With the prodigal son returning to TSM once again, the team appears to be in top position to win the IEM Oakland. But first, they will have to outshine teams like Longzhu Gaming, Chiefs, Flash Wolves, and Unicorns of Love. Do you believe TSM has what it takes to win the $100,000 purse? Be sure to stream it live at the Intel Extreme Masters website beginning November 19th.
Article by Chris Piner