SwordArt Signs Two-Year Contract With TSM Worth $6 Million
It’s finally official — former Flash Wolves and Sunning support Hu “SwordArt” Shuo-Chieh has decided to sign a two-year contract with TSM worth a whopping $6 million! This is quite literally the most expensive signing in Western history, with SwordArt set to earn $3 million per year. Writing out such a number makes it all the more mind-blowing.
It’s such a large sum that you don’t even register it consciously — it doesn’t compute. But SwordArt’s ability to empower any team he plays for is downright legendary. After seeing what he’s done with Sunning, it’s easy to understand why TSM decided to break the bank and get him over to North America. Plus, with Team Liquid and Cloud9 making equally impressive moves, they were probably feeling a lot of pressure, and rightfully so.
Is SwordArt the “missing piece of the puzzle?” Well, in short, not exactly. He is, however, a stellar support and an absolute veteran of the game, but he won’t instantly make TSM a threat internationally. Furthermore, bringing in a world-class support doesn’t mean they’ll successfully defend their LCS throne come 2021 either. Still, he’s a proactive player and a strong in-game leader — something TSM so often lacked throughout history.
Unfortunately, he’s just one piece of the puzzle. At the time of this writing, TSM has yet to sign a top laner or marksman, and without any import slots left, they’re going to have to field either two native players or someone who’s been “grandfathered” — like this seasoned veteran.
An Unexpected Twist
One of the more fascinating pieces of gossip from this year’s off-season was the fact that Yiliang “Doublelift” Peng didn’t want to compete in 2021 if TSM couldn’t find a (foreign) top-tier support. That, in part, is why he decided to retire. The fact that TSM succeeded in bringing SwordArt over to NA makes Doublelift’s decision all the more confusing. His ability to hardcarry didn’t diminish — despite playing at the highest of levels for years — and he was adamant that his drive to win was as strong as ever. And now, with such a legendary support by his side, he’d have his best shot yet at leaving a mark internationally.
The fact that TSM lost both of its most prized and revered veterans in just a couple of weeks is a blow many orgs wouldn’t be able to rebound from. Fortunately, TSM has managed to make the best out of a very tricky situation.
But even if we give them our utmost benefit of the doubt, fans need to adjust expectations. Bringing over Sword and Tristan “PowerOfEvil” Schrage is excellent (if not fantastic), but the boys in black and white will have to rebuild from the ground up. And that, as always, is a tricky process filled with trial and error. In other words, TSM probably won’t win an LCS title next year, and the odds of them representing NA at Worlds also seem somewhat remote and unfavorable, barring any unexpected mid-season signing. Losing Søren “Bjegsen” Bjerg and Doublelift is too big of a blow. It’ll affect TSM in more ways than people realize.
Still, they’ll reach their former heights (and perhaps even surpass them) in due time.