After starting the season with an uninspiring record of 4-6, Team SoloMid found themselves scrambling for answers at the split’s midway point. Since then, TSM has torn up the NALCS, winning 5 of their last 6 games, with Jesper “Zven” Svenningsen leading the way.
Throughout the course of the team’s late season surge, Zven has mastered one particular champion, Ezreal, as the Prodigal Explorer has permeated a fiery stretch of wins over the past three weeks. Now, with only two games left to go in the regular season, TSM teeters on the brink of survival, but if the team is going to clinch a spot in the playoffs, Zven’s Ezreal will certainly play an enormous role.
Ezreal has been an enormously effective pocket pick for Zven throughout the course of his career, as he’s selected the champion a total of 26 times. The only champion he’s picked more is Sivir with a total of 41 picks. His all time win rate on the champion sits at a solid 53.8%, but in 2018, Ezreal has been a monumental catalyst for TSM, as the team holds a record of 6-2 when Ezreal is part of their team comp.
Through TSM’s first 10 games, Zven had picked Ezreal only 3 times, amounting to a record of 2-1, while posting a KDA of 12.0. In the other 7 games where TSM didn’t pick Ezreal, the team had a record of 2-5, while Zven’s KDA slipped to a measly 2.6. Among the games where TSM didn’t pick Ezreal, they actually banned him themselves, once against Yiliang “Doublelift” Peng and Team Liquid, and once against while facing Jason “Wildturtle” Tran and FlyQuest.
However, during the past 6 games, Zven has elected to play Ezreal 5 times, amassing a record of 4-1, with the outlier win coming on Varus over Cloud9 last Sunday. Zven’s Ezreal has clearly been a key pick for TSM this split, as his 75% win-rate on the champion this season is good enough for one of the best in the region. In addition to Zven’s Ezreal succeeding at a regional level, it’s important to note that Zven’s numbers on the champion might be good enough to declare him as one of, if not, the best Ezreal players in the world as of right now.
When it comes to finding success on Ezreal, Zven has posted a 19.3 KDA on the champion this season, the single best KDA on Ezreal in the world. This massive number tops the Ezreal KDAs posted by some of the best Ezreal players in the world, including Steven “Hans Sama” Liv, Kim “Deft” Hyuk-kyu , and Kim “PraY” Jong-In. In addition to Zven’s monster KDA, his DPM of 766.625 while on the champion is good enough for 2nd in the world among Ezreal players, only behind Lu “Betty” Yu-Hung of Flash Wolves. Zven averages just under 10.0 CS per minute with 9.95, and although Doublelift believes that achieving 10.0 CS/min is no longer an impressive feat in competitive play, make no mistake that only 2 Ezreal players in the world, PraY and Betty, have been able to eclipse the 10.0 CS/min mark, obviously putting TSM’s AD Carry in quite the elite class.
It’s no secret that Zven’s transfer across the Atlantic was one of the biggest acquisitions for any North American team this Winter, and now, with TSM locked in a battle for survival, their AD Carry will surely play a massive role in the games to come this weekend. Although the entire team must step up and perform in order for TSM to clinch a spot in the playoffs, Zven’s hot streak must remain intact if the team is going to confidently lock up a playoff berth.
With matchups against Golden Guardians and CLG this weekend, TSM’s playoff destiny is entirely in their hands, but in a season that has been filled with shattered expectations and upsets galore, anything can happen. Sunday’s game against CLG could be the most pivotal point of the season for TSM, as the team’s longtime rivals are also seeking a playoff berth. However, the last time the two squads faced off, TSM had the upper hand, with Zven controlling the game on his signature Ezreal. This time around, it’s only appropriate that TSM could punch their ticket to the postseason in the same fashion that got them into this position in the first place: With Zven at the helm, and Ezreal in his pocket.