Every year it’s the same story: North American fans tune into the League of Legends World Championship with the narratives of their regional analysts still ringing in their ears, only for their faith to be dissolved within just two weeks of play.
Søren “Bjergsen” Bjerg, the apple of every Team SoloMid fan’s eye, is consistently framed as the West’s greatest hope heading into international events.
Since joining the North American heavyweights in 2013, the Danish mid laner has been pushed forward as the poster boy of the NA LCS squad, delivering five NA LCS championships.
Despite his domestic success, however, Bjergsen has consistently struggled to translate his regional dominance onto the international stage.
After four years of the same artificial narrative, it appears that League of Legends eSports fans are ready to reach for the red pill, and question whether the mid laner hides from the spotlight at the moments when his team needs him most.
Bjergsen is undoubtedly a phenomenal talent, to dispute this would be to turn a blind eye to the Dane’s years of dominance in North America, numerous MVP awards, impressive regional statistics and unrivalled number of NA LCS titles.
The Bjergsen that steps foot onto an international stage, however, is not the same player that dominates the NA LCS with such authority.
Aside from the occasional game in which Bjerg steps up to the mark, too often the mid laner will simply hold his own in lane – a well-farmed damage threat – but risk-averse and, poignantly, afraid to pull the trigger.
Throughout his entire career, Bjergsen has been positioned as a blameless victim when it comes to Team SoloMid’s disappointing international performances.
From Marcus “Dyrus” Hill to Jason “Wildturtle” Tran and now, Dennis “Svenskeren” Johnsen, Bjergsen has been consistently sheltered from the heat of the community as his teammates face the flame.
Something has changed in the aftermath of the 2017 World Championship. For the first time, the mid laner’s contributions have been placed under the microscope, scratching the surface of Bjergsen’s bubble of immunity.
Such has been the sheltered nature of North America’s poster boy, his reaction to the criticism was very telling.
Bjergsen quickly deleted his outburst, providing a brief explanation:
Deleted my tweet because I didn't feel it was necessary or helps the situation. Taking a break from social media regardless.
See you soon ❤
— Søren Bjerg (@Bjergsen) October 15, 2017
North America’s star talent doesn’t do enough to lead the region’s best team to international glory and subsequently shirks away from criticism following the TSM’s premature tournament conclusion.
The excuses that have prevailed for Bjergsen in the past won’t work anymore; no longer can he be perceived as the one shining light on an otherwise underwhelming roster.
This iteration of the Team SoloMid roster is the very same lineup that competed in 2016, a lineup in which both the team’s management and fans had complete faith to deliver.
With a team of regional superstars built around him – a roster Bjergsen could rely on – this was the occasion for the Dane to live up to the tag of a ‘Top 10 Player at Worlds’ bestowed upon him by Riot Games analysts ahead of the tournament.
“A few things about Bjergsen, because he’s been so overwhelmingly dominant in the NA LCS, five titles, four MVP’s – that’s proven.
“On the international stage, what I want to see from him, is more aggression and being more of a catalyst for the team’s victories.
“I want to see him dominate his opponents, shut them down in lane and then take over the game.”
Joshua “Jatt” Leesman
Too often, TSM’s mid laner disappeared or was simply out-roamed and outplayed by perceived-to-be-weaker opponents.
Bjergsen once again showed glimpses of his brilliance but went missing when his team needed him most. Misfits’ decisive team fight victory that would eliminate Team SoloMid from the tournament painted a symbolic picture.
As TSM members were routed one by one, Bjergsen opted for self-preservation; running from the heat of battle as his teammates took the fall.
— lolesports (@lolesports) October 14, 2017
As soon as events begin to take a turn for the worse, Bjergsen is nowhere to be seen. Where in North America, the mid laner may be provided with multiple opportunities to steady the ship, the same luxury is not afforded on the international stage.
The truth is that Bjergsen hasn’t ever stepped up to the pedestal left vacant for him at World Championships and after the disappointment of 2017, fans are beginning to doubt if he ever will.