TSM announced via twitter on Saturday afternoon that Jonathan "Grig" Armao would miss the 2019 LCS Spring Split with wrist problems. TSM Academy Jungler Matt "Akaadian" Higginbottham will be assuming the starting role on the LCS squad.
Grig originally slotted into the TSM roster during the 2018 NA LCS Summer Split to replace a struggling Mike "MikeYeung" Yeung. He ended up starting the rest of the year in the Jungle and also hit rank 1 on the North American Solo Queue ladder during the 2018 World Championship.
Grig, while not flashy, has been a stalwart, dependable jungler who has only improved since joining TSM. He is also familiar with both carry players that remained on the roster in Soren "Bjergsen" Bjerg and Jesper "Zven" Svenningsen.
Taking over jungling duties for TSM Academy in place of Akaadian is Gabriel "Fanatiik" Saucier. Fanatiik worked with TSM during the 2017 NA Scouting Grounds, and the 17-year old will have a chance to prove his value for an entire split.
Akaadian and Fanatiik's new positions, according to TSM's announcement on twitter, look to be the moves for spring as Grig focuses on recovery. Grig tweeted about wrist issues plaguing him since for the entirety of December, but mentioned at the turn of the new year that things had been feeling much better. However, the road to recover could be one of complexity, and TSM have contracted Fanatiik for a full year.
Akaadian was signed late in the off-season by TSM Academy following a mediocre 2018 with OpTic Gaming. The move was an in intelligent one by TSM and gave them depth at their weakest position with LCS-level upside. The possibility of Akaadian starting for the main roster in 2019 was never out of the question, but the situation is one that TSM and Akaadian must familiarize themselves with quickly.
TSM will hope for Grig to return to full strength in a safe, speedy fashion. However, this unexpected turn may give Akaadian a chance to thrive in a carry meta like the one in his debut two years ago on Echo Fox. If TSM can avoid a repeat year of "The MikeYeung Experiment" and let Akaadian's aggression flow freely, the former kings of NA may just be able to spin straw into gold and reclaim former glory.