Monday Morning Mid-laner: Team SoloMid’s Dyrus

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If you play enough League of Legends, you come to regard top lane as a strange place.  It’s a kind of brutal fight club, a detached lane ruled only by the strength of the slugfest that takes place between the two champions up there, interrupted only by the occasional gank from the jungle.  Top lane is a home to champions who can handle themselves, bruisers and assassins who don’t need anyone’s help to beat the hell out of each other and get going in the game.  What matters most in top lane, ultimately, is consistency, and the ability to provide an anchor the rest of the team can rely on.

For top lane in North America’s Team Solomid (or “TSM”), Marcus “Dyrus” Hill has long been that anchor.  Joining the team in Spring 2012 after the departure of its original top laner Christian “The Rain Man” Kahmann, Dyrus’s arrival on the team marked the beginning of a season-spanning tour of dominance in NA for TSM during the majority of LoL’s second season, and much of it was a result of Dyrus’s ability to be an unshakable top lane force.

Dyrus’s mastery of all of the staple top lane champions of the age (Shen, Rumble, Malphite, Darius, Jayce, Singed, Yorick, etc.) made him extremely difficult to outpick or ban out, and his ability to keep a game together even when behind prevented many an opposing bruiser or assassin from snowballing out of control.  Anyone who plays top lane knows how important (and rare) this ability is; in a lane so heavily dominated by the 1v1, giving up even one kill to your enemy at the beginning can mean a lost lane and domination the whole game.

Dyrus embodies the essential qualities of top lane in more than just his champion pool and consistency.  As one of the community’s most popular streaming players, it’s clear that there’s a lot to like in Dyrus’s personality as well.  People unfamiliar with him are often perplexed when watching his stream for the first time, as he doesn’t say too much and doesn’t go out of his way to be entertaining.  But that’s what makes his stream work; he’s not obtrusive, he’s reliable, and you can always count on seeing him playing well, listening to music, and being a generally calm and relaxed person.  Top lane personified: reliable, consistent, self-reliant, and always worth taking a took at.

While Team Solomid’s recent performance hasn’t quite lived up to the legendary run they had in Season Two, they have nonetheless managed to remain near the top of the North American leaderboard throughout Season Three, and Dyrus’s play has remained the subject of constant praise from his peers in the competitive scene.  Even among the feared Koreans, Dyrus is seen as an equal, with Season 2 Runner-up CJ Entus Frost’s top laner Shy stating at the 2013 All-star event that “I think Dyrus of the NA All-Star team is really good” as well as considering Dyrus “the most memorable player” he’d faced at the entire All-star event.

Most recently, Team Solomid played in the North American Regional Finals at PAX Prime and secured the second place berth into the Season Three World Championship that begins this week.  Defeating both Counter Logic Gaming and a very dominant looking Vulcun before ultimately falling to the current North American champions Cloud 9, TSM made an impressive showing at the event, and Dyrus’s perfomances stood out as a major factor in TSM’s dominance.

Dyrus’s performance in that tournament largely revolved around playing into the sort of double AP compositions that Team SoloMid has been favoring recently.  Curiously, Dyrus has recently been heavily favoring Karthus, the feared once-main of TSM’s mid-laner and captain, Reginald.  While Reginald’s Karthus was a highly aggressive kill-hungry murder ghost, Dyrus plays a different kind of game with the champion top lane.  Utilizing his high farm capability and generally safe harass from Lay Waste, Dyrus was able to accumulate a high amount of gold at little risk, while still being a global threat across the other lanes with Karthus’s ultimate.  This, once again, showcases Dyrus’s playstyle and consistency; even when playing a champion built as an AP carry, he’s able to enter into the role of anchor, safely getting a large amount of money while still effectively supporting his team.  If Karthus wasn’t a guaranteed ban against TSM before because of Reginald, he should be now with the possibility of Karthus being picked in either top or mid.

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Now, Dyrus and TSM face the world stage for the third time, being one of only four players (the other three being his teammates Reginald, TheOddOne, and Xpecial) to reach Worlds in all three seasons (as part of Epik Gamer in Season One, and then with TSM).  While TSM’s performance against Korean teams has yet to produce any positive results, a renewed level of competitiveness in the North American region combined with TSM’s strong teamfighting and quick adaptability to changes in the meta may give them enough to hold their own on an international level this time around.  Will Dyrus and TSM reclaim their former glory and prove their dominance once and for all, or are they doomed once again to fall to the Koreans without taking so much as a game?  Only time and the duels on the Rift will tell.

Image credit goes to Riot Games at na.lolesports.com

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