Hu "SwordArt" Shuo-Chieh will not be returning as TSM's LCS League of Legends support player next split, the North American organization announced Friday.
The move was announced on Twitter less than 24 hours removed from the news that Søren "Bjergsen" Bjerg has decided to pursue his return to pro play elsewhere.
SwordArt, whose two-year, $6 million contract was the highest-paying in LCS history, will be walking away from his deal early. His decision to leave TSM was first reported by Dot Esports.
Despite finishing with the best LCS Summer 2021 regular-season record, TSM fell just short of a Worlds spot to Cloud9 in the Playoffs. Prior to that, SwordArt and TSM finished second in the LCS Spring 2021 regular season standings, and third in the Mid-Season Showdown behind Team Liquid and C9.
Before joining TSM, SwordArt was part of the Suning roster that fell in the grand finals against DAMWON Gaming at Worlds 2020, the event in which TSM notoriously went 0-6 in Bjergsen and Yiliang "Doublelift" Peng's final run with the org as players.
SwordArt's departure falls in line with the video that TSM put out Thursday for the Bjergsen announcement, in which CEO and Founder Andy “Reginald” Dinh and League of Legends General Manager Parth "Parth" Naidu discussed their plans for the roster moving forward.
As they're currently looking at a variety of options for TSM's LCS roster, they intend to focus on up-and-coming players to build their culture around long-term, but not necessarily field an all-rookie development team.
With Bjergsen and SwordArt already out of the picture, and PowerOfEvil perhaps remaining in discussions with TSM but not requiring a buyout to go elsewhere, it appears the LCS offseason is just starting to heat up. The free agency period starts Nov. 15.