Pojoman: "Joining TSM is a huge deal"

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With the former Excelerate Gaming roster, briefly known as Pojo’s Dojo, having joined Team SoloMid, SiegeGG interviewed their coach, Owen “Pojoman” Mitura to find out more about their recent changes and plans for the future.

Team SoloMid (TSM), over the years, has become one of the premier organisations in esports. Created in 2011 proper, it made its name in League of Legends, and holds the record of being the only team to have qualified to all of the first seven League of Legends World Championships and the first ten North American LCS Finals. As such, the organisation’s name is held in high esteem and its entrances into other esports have been welcomed with lots of fanfare.

With TSM having now signed the ex-Excelerate Gaming roster, it is natural to expect the weight of expectations to grow heavy on the team’s shoulders. With only one season of the Pro League under their belt, and featuring two Pro League debutants this season, the team is very fresh to the top-tier of Rainbow Six competition.

However, the team will take heart from their performances in Season 9 where they had been expected to be relegated back to the Challenger League after having made it through in Season 8 by virtue of a favourable playoffs game. Proving doubters wrong, they had collected 13 points in total, with notable wins against Team Reciprocity (7-2) and Evil Geniuses (7-5), and a draw against Spacestation Gaming.

While they were, of course, fortunate to have had Orgless disbanding midway through the season, they will now be looking to build upon their Season 9 foundations and strive for a higher position in the league table -- perhaps even surprising one of the favourites to make it to the Pro League Finals or the Raleigh Major. 

The statistics from the TSM game against Evil Geniuses earlier this week

TSM’s start to Season 10 hasn’t been the best, however, with losses against Luminosity Gaming (then ‘92 Dream Team) and Evil Geniuses, though their draw against Spacestation Gaming will be a bright point so far. Next up, they face Rogue, who have been having difficulties of their own, and will seek to secure their first win of the season against them.

Prior to the start of the week, SiegeGG spoke to TSM’s coach, Owen “Pojoman” Mitura to find out more about their season so far, and what is to be expected from them:

You've just recently been picked up by Team SoloMid (TSM). How does it feel to represent one of the biggest organisations in esports and does it increase the pressure to deliver good results?

Joining TSM is a huge deal for all of us, being able to represent one of the most prestigious orgs definitely puts a bit of pressure on us but they have been incredibly supportive thus far, so we are just excited to show what we can do.

In the off-season, the team decided to add Beaulo and Merc, replacing Shlongii and having you go back to a coaching role. Why was this decision made and what do Beaulo and Merc bring to the team?

Beaulo with former NORA-Rengo captain, Wokka (via @Wokka_nR)

At the end of the season we knew we needed to make a change so that we could compete with the top teams. The addition of Merc gives us a lot more raw fragging power and Beaulo is a super flexible player, which really rounds out our roster.

In the past we've seen new players coming into the PL struggle to perform in their first couple of games but Beaulo and Merc have performed up to par this past week. How did you, as a coach, prepare them for this experience and how has the team changed from its previous iteration?

The main thing going into their first games I tried to emphasize was to not over-complicate the game and just play off of teammates. Luckily both Beaulo and Merc have a decent amount of comp experience so they have adjusted quite quickly.

This first week of Pro League saw ‘92 Dream Team (now Luminosity Gaming) take down TSM and DarkZero, both in a strong fashion. Why do you think Luminosity has been able to perform these results in their first couple of Pro League games?

The statistics from the TSM game against '92 Dream Team (now Luminosity Gaming) in the first week

For ourselves, we had to play Luminosity with a day of practice with me subbing in, I am also the worst Kaid in North America so that probably didn’t help either. In DZ’s case, their recent losses speak to their roles not being settled yet, combined with DZ’s struggle with Luminosity’s playstyle it was a perfect storm for Luminosity to win. 

How do you prepare the team for each play day and how has the preparation changed with this new format of two play days a week?

The preparation for each individual play day hasn’t changed for the team. I will look at how teams generally like to play and suggest operator bans that can or will make the most impact. The two play days per week just means that I myself need to prepare for two teams at once.

Next week TSM will be facing both Evil Geniuses and Rogue, how are you feeling going into this games?

*This question was asked prior to this week's loss against Evil Geniuses

We are feeling pretty good going into next week, there are no unbeatable teams in North America this season so everything is up in the air.

The North American closed qualifiers for the Raleigh Major are around the corner. Is the preparation any different from Pro League and what's the hardest part of this qualifier format?

Our preparation won’t change that much -- the biggest difficulty will just be fatigue since these qualifiers usually run a long time into some pretty ridiculous hours.

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Team SoloMid will now be playing against Rogue later tonight at 8 PM EST and will be in the hunt for their first win of the season. Catch all the action on the Rainbow6 Twitch and YouTube channels and be sure to check back in here at SiegeGG for more coverage as the season goes on.