TSM has released jungler Mingyi “Spica” Lu, shortly after wiping out in the 2022 LCS Summer Playoffs, bringing a strange and sudden end to his time with the organization.
Spica himself announced the termination of his contract on Twitter, making him an early free agent who will now be able to negotiate with teams ahead of November’s free agency period. The release of a player before the free agency period is unusual as many teams will simply grant their outgoing players freedom to speak with other sides before the official end date of their contract.
It is unclear what led to TSM’s decision to split with Spica ahead of schedule. Regardless, this signals an intent from TSM to look for a new jungler in 2023 and all but rules out the possibility of a contract renewal. TSM vice president of esports Dominic Kallas added further clarification to the situation, citing an inability to “come to financial terms” as the reason for the termination.
Spica first joined TSM’s academy in 2019 but soon found himself the unlikely answer to the Akaadian vs Grig debate ongoing at the time. He was then replaced in the starting roster by the infamous Joshua “Dardoch” Hartnett before once again being called up to the main roster for the 2020 LCS Summer Split, which TSM won.
2021 brought mixed results for the organization before 2022 saw a downturn. Spica is unlikely to be the only change TSM makes to its roster.
The move indicates the beginning of sweeping changes within TSM after a tumultuous season, arguably the worst since the organization’s inception. The year saw TSM finish in its lowest-ever position in spring before being eliminated early on in the summer playoffs.
Troubles also popped up outside the game as owner and founder Andy “Reginald” Dinh was the focus of investigations into potential abuse and bullying within the organization. Previous head coach Peter Zhang was released and subsequently banned permanently by Riot for “alarming and unethical behavior.”