WATCH: Resilient Hauntzer Hard-Carries Team SoloMid To A Reverse Sweep

Coming into their match against the GPL’s Gigabyte Marines, the NA LCS champions Team SoloMid found themselves heavy favorites to advance in the best of five series, with many believing Gigabyte could win one game at most. Of course, TSM would continue the age-old NA tradition of struggling against Wild Card teams and would find themselves down 2-0 after the first two games and in danger of being disastrously swept by the Vietnamese. With the series and their reputation on the line, TSM top laner Kevin “Hauntzer” Yarnell stepped up to carry TSM to a reverse sweep. 

Few players have taken as big a step forward this split as Hauntzer, a player who has asserted himself as likely the best top lane player in NA, a region that has witnessed a huge influx of talent in the off-season. His play did not go unnoticed, as he barely finished second in the Spring Split MVP voting and became a key leader on Team SoloMid.

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When TSM needed a win the most against Gigabyte, two games down and with their backs to the wall, typically it was Hauntzer who answered the call in Game 3. Solo killing Gigabyte top laner Phan “Stark” Công Minh early in the match, the top laner snowballed Team SoloMid into a dominant position.

After establishing an early lead, Hauntzer would continue to press his advantage, establishing dominance once again:

As shoutcaster Clayton “CaptainFlowers” Raines had stated, it is very clear from the clip that Hauntzer ‘has had enough’ and was not going to allow TSM to lose this game, even if that means dragging them to victory. Despite a sizeable CS difference and two solo kills to Hauntzer, Stark would still try to pull himself back into the game by making plays in the lane. Unfortunately for the Vietnamese rookie, he would just dig himself a deeper hole.

In the deciding game 5, Hauntzer would once again come up big for the team, showing off his excellent teleport usage to put himself in an immaculate position to help TSM win a crucial teamfight around dragon 24 minutes into the game. After an impressive dragon steal from TSM jungler Dennis “Svenskeren” Johnsen, you can see Hauntzer has channeled his teleport to a ward behind Gigabyte and is able to blast cone over the wall into the backline. After laying down massive AOE damage, he finishes off Graves before winning a 1v1 duel with Varus.

Once again, Hauntzer would use his early lead to dominate Stark, eventually ‘flame horizoning’ his overwhelmed opponent and forcing Gigabyte to send multiple members to deal with the split push pressure his Renekton was applying. Late in the game, Gigabyte would attempt to create a pick on Hauntzer with Stark’s Rumble and mid laner Cường “Optimus” Trn Văn’s Fizz, but Hauntzer is able to survive long enough to turn the tables and secure a kill on Stark.

TSM would seize their advantage and use it to secure Baron, creating a chain sequence of events that would eventually win them the game and the series.

While Hauntzer was not the only reason TSM emerged victorious in their series against the Gigabyte Marines squad, the top laner proved he will be a force to be reckoned throughout the Mid-Season Invitational. Unfortunately for Team SoloMid, if their bottom lane continues to struggle, or if Svenskeren cannot matchup to his opposing jungler, Hauntzer may be pressured to carry like he did in the final few games if TSM wants any chance to make the top four of the tournament.


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