Søren “Bjergsen” Bjerg, mid laner for Team SoloMid, is widely regarded as the greatest western player of all time. Despite his acknowledged talents, the Danish star is yet to poignantly make his mark on the international stage. Just as Lionel Messi, one of the greatest football (soccer) players in the history of the game, has enjoyed frequent domestic success yet failed to secure international glory for his national side on four separate occasions, Bjergsen has now endured yet another torrid League of Legends World Championship, ending in bitter disappointment once again.
The entirety of the western scene empathised with the heartbreaking Team SoloMid loss – Season 6 wasn’t supposed to end like this. TSM’s performances were impeccable throughout the NA LCS split, cruising to the summer split title at a canter after a dominant 17-1 split, a testament to the hard work and dedication the team put in throughout the year. Such was their domestic superiority, Team SoloMid were considered favourites for the 2016 World Championship alongside the Korean and Chinese powerhouses.
Following their second defeat to an overwhelming Royal Never Give Up squad firing on all cylinders, coupled with a uncharacteristic slip-up at the hands of Samsung Galaxy – Team SoloMid’s tournament was over. They were one game short of proving their worth in a best of 5 series, exiting the stage before their potential was fully explored.
Such is the cruel fate of the World Championship group stages, the competition will now be a poorer spectacle without the undeniable talents of the west’s brightest talent. It’s the third consecutive championship in which Team SoloMid have underperformed as a team and notably, the third consecutive championship in which the strongest performer, Bjergsen has been unable to carry his team through to the tournament’s later stages.
“Especially for Bjergsen, I feel really sorry that he can not go on from the group stage. He played really good.”
Li “Xiaohu” Yuan-Hao, Royal Never Give Up
Once again, TSM’s mid laner boasted some of the most impressive statistics across the group stage board. Bjergsen tallied the highest number of kills from his six matches with an astonishing 34 kills, surpassing even players who had played an additional tie breaker. His KDA was 6.2, the best of any mid laner and his kill participation was 77%.
The mid laner’s statistics are easily comparable to the equivalent numbers notched by Argentinian superstar Lionel Messi during international tournaments. Similarly, Messi can comfortably tally goals and assists for his side, but upon reaching the final, it pales into insignificance if you walk away empty-handed time and time again.
There’s only so many times a player can give everything to achieve glory, yet fall short on the biggest stage. For Messi, a crushing fourth consecutive final defeat was enough to prompt immediate international retirement, though he later overturned his decision.
From the perspective of a western spectator, with each passing year it appears increasingly futile for our best hopes to attempt to match the Koreans – no matter how many hours Bjergsen puts in, no matter how much he sacrifices – the west as a whole will always be one step behind.
Can’t put in words how disappointed I am. Sorry for letting all of you down.
— Søren Bjerg (@Bjergsen) 9 October 2016
@Bjergsen You are still the greatest western player. Keep your head up high
— Marcin Jankowski (@Jankoslol) 9 October 2016
@Bjergsen understand the frustration but you are the greatest Western player of all time. You did your best
— Martin Lynge (@RiotDeficio) 9 October 2016
“For me, I always deal with a lot of pressure. Everytime I do poorly, I get a lot of criticism, which I’m sure others do as well, but people have really high expectations of me.
“I feel like it’s just an honor to be here, I feel like if I could practice in this environment against these players from all over the world and share information or thoughts about the game with these players all the time, I would be a much better player than I am now.”
Søren “Bjergsen” Bjerg
What separates Lionel Messi and Bjergsen is that where the Argentine was willing to throw in the towel, for now, the thought hasn’t even crossed the mid of the TSM poster boy. Bjerg is already looking ahead to next season’s competition, channeling his disappointing experience in 2016 to better prepare him for the season 7 championship:
“I think one important thing is, the more Worlds you go through, the more years, the more teammates, the faster you can identify these problems and the faster you know how to fix them.
“I think next year will be a better year for me in terms of a leader. I think I’ll know which direction to lead the team and which direction not to.”
Søren “Bjergsen” Bjerg
Bjergsen’s attitude towards self-improvement will continually distinguish him from his rivals, and indeed differentiate him from any parallels drawn from other traditional sports. Whether the Western Faker will ever reap the rewards he deserves remains to be seen, his commitment to achieving those goals however, should not be questioned even for a moment.