Reigning LCS champions TSM has signed former Suning support Hu “SwordArt” Shuo-Chieh after all. According to earlier reports, TSM has been eyeballing the player for some time now, but the deal's likelihood at one point was threatened by visa and payment issues.
On Thursday, The Washington Post updated that SwordArt's signing is a "guaranteed deal" and that it's also worth a record sum. SwordArt stands to make $6M over two years with TSM, making him the highest-paid player in the LCS.
"I was really impressed with his play … and finding out that Bjergsen was retiring made this a good time for the investment," TSM CEO Andy "Reginald" Dinh told The Washington Post.
This has been a hard preseason for TSM with two of its biggest stars announcing retirement. Mid laner Soren "Bjergsen" Bjerg was the first, hanging the mouse in October, and was followed just yesterday by Yiliang "Doublelift" Peng's retirement, which left a lot of open questions about TSM's 2021 roster.
SwordArt makes for the second high-profile signing for TSM this season after acquiring mid laner Tristan "PowerOfEvil" Schrage from FlyQuest, but there's still a lot of unknowns about who will fill the other three positions on the team. With Bjergsen now at the helm as head coach and given TSM's Worlds 2020 performance, there are more eyes on the NA's most accomplished team than ever. TSM went 0-6 in the Worlds group stages and returned home as the disappointment of the region, seeing #2 and #3 seeds FlyQuest and Team Liquid outperform them in League of Legends' crown event.
According to Regional, SwordArt's signing is a way to ensure this doesn't happen again this year.
“I think the extremely large stretch goal is Worlds finals. I think it would be a travesty if we don’t get to quarters. The expectations are really clear: our players better work their asses off.”
Esports editor and journalist of 10+ years. Lives on black tea and corgi love.