Team SoloMid has become the punching bag of North American League of Legends, with Soren ‘Bjergsen’ Bjerg being there through the highs and lows. With the prospect of leaving presented to him, he decided to stay on, ready to return TSM to its former glory.
Team SoloMid’s 2019 ended in heartbreak. They were one game away from qualifying for MSI, and then the same for Worlds. In the Spring Split final, Team Liquid reverse swept the historic organization to claim their third LCS title in a row. Then, they fell tantalizing close against Clutch Gaming in the regional finals in another 3-2 nailbiter to miss out on Worlds for the second year running.
For veteran mid laner Bjergsen, it felt like all eyes were on him. He’d been with TSM through thick and thin, and was the only constant over the team’s last six years of flux. Season after season, the team looked to make changes around him, and fans were starting to wonder if the Danish wonderkid had lost his touch.
As the results turned sour, he looked to change up his methodology. One more game of solo queue, or an hour of sleep. Hanging out with friends outside of the game, or scrutinizing another VOD. He made sacrifices, threw out balance in the pursuit of perfection, and tried to forcibly make himself the best in his so-called “experiment.”
It didn’t work, and things didn’t appear to be changing. Heading into 2020, Bjergsen wanted to take a fresh perspective to the game he’d been a professional in for seven years, and turn himself not into a great player, but into a great leader that could rectify TSM’s issues slowly but surely.
“Of course I thought about leaving and I thought about what other options I had,” he said on his Drive feature about weighing up his options for 2020. “TSM had put another offer on the table, or put another contract on the table, and I pretty much told Regi that I don’t want to sign this before I talk to you and that we really figure out what’s going to be different.”
Before any pen was put to paper, Bjergsen and TSM’s long-reigning owner Andy ‘Reginald’ Dinh worked through the issues to figure out if he was still the right fit.
“We laid out all the things and issues that we had, and we came up with a plan as to how we wanted to tackle it,” Regi said. “That includes more of my time being involved, that includes Bjergsen stepping up as a leader. We did a lot last year, but it wasn’t effective.”
The talk ended up being positive for Bjergsen, who came out of it with a new mindset as not just TSM’s star player, but their leader.
“We came to really similar conclusions which kind of solidified me staying because - if I thought these are the problems, and he thinks these are the problems, and we can work together to fix them, why would I leave now?
“TSM has been around for a really long time and we know the recipe to success, but I think that we’ve given newcomers that have had success from other teams too much control in the team to lead the team their way, and that just hasn’t been working, so we are taking it into our own hands this year.”
With Reginald’s approval, and one of the most dedicated fan bases in all of esports behind him, Bjergsen is ready to take up the fatherly role of the new team.
Picking up three new players for 2019 in Joshua ‘Dardoch’ Hartnett, Kasper ‘Kobbe’ Kobberup, and Vincent ‘Biofrost’ Wang, he believes success is on the way, even if it takes time.
“2020 is really the year where I truly feel like I’m filling into Regi’s shoes and I am truly leading the team in many aspects, not just the aspects that come naturally to me. Of course there’s an urgency to get some kind of success, but I don’t feel rushed.”
“A lot of players have that mindset [on rushing to success], but that’s when they fall from their former glory and they aren’t able to come back because they think this is where they need to be and they put too much pressure on themselves to perform. I see that in myself and how it can really hold people back."
As for the lessons he learned from his heartbreak over the last few years, they are fuelling his desire to bring glory back to his home region — not Europe, but North America.
“Having played in NA for as long as I have and really spent a lot of my growing up here, being in America with the support of TSM and the fans at heart, I really do want to see an NA team truly succeeding internationally and winning something."
“I was happy to see TL go to the finals at MSI, and a selfish part of me wants that to be me. I really want to be the kind of person to bring that glory to NA.”
Team SoloMid take on Immortals and Team Liquid to start their 2020 LCS campaign on January 26 and 27 respectively.