After nearly making it to the playoffs in Split 2 last year before falling just short in a tiebreaker, Tainted Minds started off the season with a great win over Exile 5.
However, it was a gauntlets row in week 2 and 3 for Tainted Minds, having to face both Chiefs eSports Club and Dire Wolves. While TM couldn’t pull off an upset in either match, they played fairly well against the two teams that competed in the OPL Grand Finals last split.
The addition of Nicholas “Inero” Smith as head coach has helped Tainted Minds play more strategically, but there are still clear weaknesses. We saw the anticipated difficulty TM would face early in the season as this team looks to go through the reps and develop their synergy.
This week won’t get any easier for TM, who must now rebound quickly and face a 2-1 Sin Gaming. Now is the chance for TM to gain some momentum as they get accustomed to their new team dynamic.
One player to specifically look at this week is AD Carry Tristan “Cake” Côté-Lalumière. Cake is no stranger to going deep into his champion pool, pulling out Ziggs against Chiefs eSports Club. The unorthodox pick has been a popular choice internationally, but it was the first time we’ve seen it in the OPL.
While TM may have lost both games to Chiefs, Cake did prove that Ziggs has what it takes to shine in the OPL. In the first game he managed to get first blood on Bryce “EGym” Paule’s Malzahar with a well-placed Bounce Bomb after being locked down by Chain of Corruption.
A few minutes later Cake spotted Spookz in his jungle and quickly sent Rek’Sai back to the void. After that, Cake teamed up with Aaron “ChuChuZ” Bland’s Jayce and made short work of the mid-lane turret. They both then roamed top to converge on Brandon “Swip3rR” Holland’s Maokai, with Ziggs making short work of the tree before securing another tower.
Another fight would break out in the bottom lane jungle, with Cake using his lead to poke the Chiefs before launching his explosive ultimate to secure a kill on Simon “Swiffer” Papamarkos.
While Tainted Minds lost, Cake looked great on Ziggs, even against the first place Chiefs.
Ryan “ShorterACE” Nget has been feast or famine this split as well. He has the ability to carry from the jungle position, as we saw in game two against Exile 5, with his Rengar pouncing his way to 11 solo kills. If he can replicate that performance consistently, TM can find the wins they need.