TSM has rounded out its 2021 Academy roster with three new signings in Kevin “Hauntzer” Yarnell, Cody “Cody Sun” Sun, and Wang “Yursan” Sheng-Yu.
After two years with Golden Guardians, Hauntzer returns to the org as its new Academy top-laner.
While this may be seen as a demotion to many since his time on the 2017 glory-days line-up, Hauntzer’s veteran presence on the developmental team will provide some leadership to the team’s young talents.
Aside from that, TSM has a fairly fluid exchange of players between the main LCS and Academy roster as seen last year with the likes of Mingyi “Spica” Lu and Erik “Treatz” Wessen. If the main roster’s current top-laner Heo “Huni” Seung-hoon doesn’t perform up to standards, there’s a likely chance that he and Hauntzer will switch places throughout the season.
As an already prominent ADC in the LCS, Cody Sun brings a lot of strong offensive flair to the Academy team. The third signing, Yursan, who last played in the LMS will aid Cody Sun as a support with solid potential.
Last month, TSM was also able to pick up Leo “Babip” Romer as the new Academy jungler. The OCE player had a strong showing as part of Legacy Esports during the 2020 Worlds Play-In Stage and could easily transition to a higher caliber of play in the NA region.
While the line-up looks pretty stacked for an Academy team, TSM manager Parth Naidu believed that a mix of fresh rookies and experienced veterans could help foster better improvements in team play.
“Rookies and veterans all have a place in this ecosystem; we believe that a good academy team has a strong balance of the two,” said Parth. “It’s a place for veterans to hone their skills and focus on leadership and other growth areas, and we’ve found that newer players advance much faster under this environment.”
Interestingly enough, Parth also mentioned that a strong Academy team will directly affect the main LCS roster. With a more experienced second team, the main roster can scrim and discuss compositions at a higher level without having to expose their strategies to other teams.
“A strong academy team helps promote healthy intra-team competition as well as allow the teams to scrim each other, practice matchups, and more,” stated Parth. “With both teams training at our facility this year, we will have a lot more to share with everyone in the upcoming months.”
If this new and improved Academy team can perfect their chemistry on the Rift, we might see TSM have a chance at grabbing four domestic championships in 2021.