It is no secret that Team SoloMid has had its eyes set on Overwatch, looking for an opportunity to perhaps enter the scene and challenge the ranks of North America. While their goal was certainly evident, their determination to enter was not—TSM has by all means pussyfooted around creating an Overwatch team. Their first attempt was well-documented: TSM signed then-Code7 in July of 2016. The team was promising, defeating fan-favorite Cloud9 in consecutive tournaments to earn mostly second-place finishes behind the behemoths of Team EnVyUs. Despite the success, TSM released the team a mere two weeks later.
TSM released a statement regarding the release, noting that additional cheating allegations against the TJO brothers were made clear only after signing. The excuse is a bit dubious given TSM's willingness to sign the team despite knowing about the CS:GO cheating history (and the near-unanimous cries of dissent from fans), but perhaps there was truth to their statement given the repeated nature of the violations. Whatever the case may be, Team SoloMid left Overwatch for the first time.
TSM would re-emerge from the shadows towards the end of the year, reportedly shopping around MLG Las Vegas to chat with teams and look for potential fits. PVPLive reported two separate reports on TSM, but the more immediate (and more likely) report of SoloMid's reaching an agreement with upcoming amateur squad Kungarna made waves around the scene. The news, however, was again greeted with disgust by fans—given their star babybay's cheating past, it's not hard to see why. Team SoloMid had repeated a former mistake in dealing with a "cheater," and the organization backtracked as soon as the information was reported. Many corroborated TSM's report, especially since they were also seen in talks with Rise Nation.
During their spree at the NGE Winter Premiere, Kungarna shocked the world by announcing that they would be splitting into two groups after the event and pursuing different things. One group—mykL, babybay, and MOETORIOUS—would presumably remain with the current brand they were representing at the time: Ghost Gaming. Of course, that half left Ghost Gaming after an alleged bidding war of sorts to end up on Splyce, though they have not played in top tier competition since.
The other half received offers from an unnamed team at the time, though many in the scene speculated that they would join Team SoloMid. Ajax, b1am, and ConnorJ essentially dropped out of the competitive scene until an untimely announcement came to light. According to Ajax, TSM had signed all three players immediately and had plans to move them into a team house. The three were all clearly excited to work with an organization of TSM's stature, and conducted tryouts to determine the entire roster.
Gods of Cloud9 and Northern Gaming's CEO both reportedly sent a screenshot of a then-deleted tweet that Ajax posted in early December to TSM's management—specifically to Derrick Truong. The tweet was a quote taken from a drunk reaver's stream, though Ajax was advised by friends to take it down within the hour it was posted. While the quote itself contained slurs, the tweet removed the expletives and replaced them with asterisks and underscores. Strangely, Derrick Truong cut Ajax almost immediately after hearing about the tweet, despite signing him only two weeks prior.
To all the TSM fans out there, I apologize because I let the fans down and they didn't even know it yet. All the puzzle pieces now are unlikely to fit together, who knows I could be wrong.
Ajax's words were prophetic.
Simply put, Team SoloMid's trials and tribulations in piecing together a new team have been well-documented. Players often left the team incredibly frustrated with management and the atmosphere, promising that it would almost certainly fall through. Numerous high profile free agents have reportedly worked with the signed core of b1am and ConnorJ—Pookz, enigma, skipjack, Linepro, Bischu, and many more have all trialled or plan to trial alongside the squad. There is no fundamental wrong in examining all possible options presented, but the overwhelming response to the tryouts has been incredibly negative according to many involved.
Perhaps most head-scratching was the report of Team SoloMid testing out rosters with Korean import players. Korean imports are standard fare in League of Legends, where the dominant region has been Korea for several years. However, players within League of Legends play in a LAN environment, and Koreans have speech lessons and bonding time available to them.
Team SoloMid reportedly approached Korean aWesomeGuy, a player renowned for his Winston play previously on LuxuryWatch Red. Despite his skill, scrims with aWesomeGuy frustrated everybody playing with him according to some involved, notably due to his inability to communicate with the team from a communication-based role. Many found the issue to be a lack of foresight on TSM's part—after all, communication is easily one of the biggest factors when it comes to competitive play in Overwatch.
Perhaps the most frustrating issue with Team SoloMid's ventures in Overwatch is their tendency to pass on so many free opportunities. A wealth of talented teams exist in Europe with no organization to play for, but the brand has insisted on maintaining a roster with at least several players from North America. Now-LG Evil was clearly available for buyout from Hammers Esports, but that opportunity was ignored as well. Instead, Team SoloMid has insisted on doing things their own way, ignoring the Overwatch culture and communicating poorly the entire time.
While Team SoloMid has displayed a penchant for stumbling around with these rosters, they are certainly a big brand within esports and likely to participate within Overwatch in the future. However, before they do, they will need to patch up on their previous mistakes within the scene and gain the community's trust.