TSM’s ticket to the top: Hauntzer

Since the first few weeks of the split, TSM has been improving at an exceptional pace. They’ve looked more confident, won more decisively, and are starting to look like top-tier talent that we haven’t seen since DoubleLift was on the team last year. They had a rocky start to the split, but it looks like they’re pulling ahead of the pack and they have one guy to thank for it: Hauntzer.

Okay, that’s not entirely true. Players like Svenskeren and WildTurtle have also improved greatly since the Spring Split began, but Kevin “Hauntzer” Yarnell has done more than just improve. He’s evolved.

It was Hauntzer who stated in a post-game interview that TSM lost more than just a good player when DoubleLift decided to take a break from the professional scene. They lost their confidence. It was DoubleLift that broke TSM out of their tradional “wait for the enemies to make a mistake” mantra and turned them into an aggressive, punishing boulder, crushing whatever couldn’t get out of the way in time.

Of course, this had its downfall. At first, TSM wasn’t used to the newly aggressive play-style under Double, and they made many mistakes while attempting to go for these hyper-aggressive and showy plays, but after those mistakes were ironed out, their NA LCS competition had a tough time keeping up with them. When Double left TSM for this split, the team began to regress back to their old passive play-style. That is, until Hauntzer stepped up.

At the beginning of this split without DoubleLift, the team went back to having Bjergsen as their shotcaller, but when Hauntzer began growing frustrated with the team’s performance, he began taking control of the matches. In the latest TSM Legends video from TSM’s official Youtube channel, we catch a glimpse of Hauntzer’s rise in confidence.

After claiming a few of Cloud9’s members in a game-changing teamfight, Bjergsen tried to make a call for the team to move on Baron, and Hauntzer raised his voice above all of his team members and yelled for them to keep going to end the game.

This confidence and clear prowess in Hauntzer’s mechanical and shotcalling abilities have turned him into a force to be reckoned with in the NA LCS. As long as this shotcalling competition between Bjerg and Hauntzer doesn’t turn into drama or team discord, this could play out to be a gold mine for TSM’s future.

Making a name for himself as one of the best top laners in North America is one thing, but slinging a team on his back and rising to the role of shotcaller- something he had little experience in- just because it was what the team needed? That’s something extraordinary.

Don’t miss TSM’s first game of the weekend against their long-time rivals, CLG, this Saturday at approximately 6pm EST.

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Editor-in-Chief and Owner of Smite Steal Esports | Follow me on Twitter @aaronmickunas

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