TSM’s stand-in support Jonathan “Chime” Pomponio has been a stand-out since the first game he played on the LCS stage this season. After leading all supports in player of the game awards despite only playing in half as many games, Chime continued to lead by example in the first round of the 2022 League of Legend Championship Series playoffs. Despite having only around half as many wins as their opponent FlyQuest, TSM managed to secure a thrilling upset victory to move on onto the next round and the player of the series was no other than Chime himself. Despite having to adapt to a wild mid-series bot lane change, Chime continued to be the playmaking machine he has been this split.
In Game 3 with the series tied one a piece, TSM decided to sub out Tony “Instinct” Ng and sub in Edward “Tactical” Ra, who hasn’t played in the LCS since July and has never played on stage with Chime before. But Chime didn’t skip a beat — TSM was already prepared for the switch.
“Yeah they’ve been splitting time [in scrims],” Chime said. “I think each of them has very different playstyles and obvious strengths.”
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TSM believes that having dual threat bot laners is what can give them an advantage against other teams. But that strategy would fall apart if it weren’t for the rest of the team being rocks. Chime and team leader Mingyi “Spica” Lu have been the best performers on the TSM this split but even though Chime picked up the series MVP, he noted that Spica deserves some praise.
“He’s really vocal and it’s easy to follow his calls and make the right plays,” Chime said. “I try and give credit where credit’s due to him, obviously everyone knows he is really good but he does a lot.”
Although humble, Chime has passed the eye test with flying colors but it’s hard to forget that he is still practically a rookie. Before his time on TSM’s main roster, Chime was last seen in the summer of 2021 when he made his LCS debut as Golden Guardian’s starting support player. That team was in a similar situation as TSM; they barely squeaked into the playoffs, then failed to secure the first round. This was actually Chime’s first full best of five. He even said he could have come better prepared, both on and off the rift.
“I think I’m playing well but I can be playing a lot better,” Chime said. “And I realized that I should probably eat, I got really really hungry in the fourth and fifth game.”
At this point, TSM is playing with house money. With no expectations and exceeding even the wildest of ones from delusional fans, Chime said that the reason why TSM is as scary as they are is that there is simply nothing to lose. Because of that, pressure is nonexistent.
“There is just so much freedom I feel personally where I can really go all out without fear and just send it, engages, picks, everything.”
TSM’s next opponent is unclear, but Chime doesn’t really care who they play next. But for him, if he had to pick one team to play against it would not be happening in the next round, which actually adds to Chime’s motivation alongside his fearless playstyle.
“I’d love to play against Golden Guardians,” Chime said. “A lot of my friends are there so I think that would be a really fun matchup.”
That matchup seems unlikely with Golden Guardians needing to make a crazy upset of their own against Counter Logic Gaming and then both teams would have to win their next rounds against Worlds 2022 contenders. However, it’s playoff time and one of the scariest things to do is play against someone who has nothing to lose.