TSM are now out of MSI 2021 contention with a heavy 3-1 loss to Liquid in the LCS Mid-Season Showdown loser’s final. However, coach Soren ‘Bjergsen’ Bjerg believes his squad can rally together as “underdogs” and surprise everyone in Summer.
Underdogs isn’t exactly a term many have used to describe TSM in the past, but that’s exactly what coach Bjergsen called his squad after their third-place finish in LCS Spring 2021.
TSM were off-the-pace somewhat against Liquid in their LCS Mid-Season Showdown loser’s final matchup, falling 3-1 including an absolute drubbing in Game 4. However, Bjergsen believes the loss can inspire his players to not feel the same pain when Worlds rolls around.
“I don’t think a lot of people expected us to come in and be dominant in this split. I think a lot of people rated us even lower than we thought,” he said in the post-match press conference.
“It’s nice to be an underdog. The eyes are going to be on Cloud9 and Liquid, and I think we can show up and surprise them.”
TSM’s crushing defeat does emphasize the gap between the Top 2 and the rest of the LCS pack.
Liquid were fast out of the gates, with Season MVP runner-up Barney ‘Alphari’ Morris demolishing Heo ‘Huni’ Seung-hoon in the top lane on Gnar, Gangplank, and Sion.
Substitute jungler Jonathan ‘Armao’ Armao didn’t look a pixel out of place either. The Academy star brought in for the ill Lucas ‘Santorin’ Larsen held his ground against Mingyi ‘Spica’ Lu, getting his comfort pick in Hecarim in three of the four games.
Despite the blowout loss in Game 4, Bjergsen said every game came down to the wire, and that Liquid is just a more skillful team than a TSM trying to find their feet with a new squad of five.
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“They were a little bit more clutch in some moments. The games all really came down to certain fights around dragon, or in Game 4 around bottom river. I think they were really close, but they just came out ahead,” he admitted.
“I wouldn’t say that Liquid is a stylistically difficult matchup for us. I think they’re just a top team along with Cloud9, and they’re just the more difficult teams. Nothing really to do with style but the skill of their individual players and as a team. They are really tough opponents.”
It’s been a big learning curve for Bjergsen in his first season as a coach on TSM. Not only has he had to rally an entirely new team together, with Spica being the only returning player, but he had to learn how to work the new power dynamic.
“I think a lot of it is learning how to work with people. When I was a player, I was very straightforward with my teammates, but I didn’t help them learn in a skillful way, so that’s what I’m trying to improve as a coach. I can’t just tell my players what to do, but I have to help them learn it and understand it.”
Bjergsen knows all too well the pain TSM is going through right now. For all the history he’s made in the LCS, winning five titles, he’s also been on the losing end of someone else’s big moment.
Nothing he could say as a coach can change how the five on the Rift feel. However, action speaks louder than words, and he’s confident TSM can engineer themselves into a real threat come Summer.
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“I’ve had many crushing defeats in my career. I’ve lost finals, I’ve lost at international tournaments many times, and I don’t think it really mattered what my coach said at that moment. There aren’t any magic words today that’ll make everyone feel better.
“The harsh reality is that losing sucks and the thing that’s going to make everyone feel better is if we come into Summer Split and start crushing.”