With the retirement of Team SoloMid’s Søren "Bjergsen" Bjerg, League of Legends has lost one of its most iconic players. A dominant and accomplished talent, the TSM mid laner was one of the most important players in North America. Spanning almost a full decade, he has left behind a rich career full of both struggle and success.
I worked alongside Izento to take a comprehensive look at Bjergsen’s history. What we’re doing is comparing each year of Bjergsen’s career, ranking them accordingly. This is determined primarily by three factors:
- Individual Statistics - Taking a look at his KDA, CS averages, and champion diversity
- Tournament Success - What he actually accomplished that year with his team
- Context - Mostly based around what the meta was like, how good his team was, and how strong the competition was.
Bjergsen was a gem for League of Legends. He left behind and interesting legacy that not many players can compare to. Hopefully by the end of this article, we’ll have a better understanding of how fascinating Bjergsen’s career was.
Oddball Rank: 9th - Little baby Bjergsen. Besides adorable-ness, he was easily his weakest in every aspect. His champion pool was growing, his mechanics were raw, and he was in no sense a team leader. None of that should be expected though. He was extremely young, and the fact he was able to compete at such a high level was pretty impressive. Definitely a year of seasoning as he trained for bigger things.
Izento Rank: 9th - This is just the beginning. You can’t really hold it against him and there isn’t much to go on from this year. This is also more of an indication of the symptom of the LoL scene not being as big during this time either, so there isn’t much for him to win or infrastructure to support players. Along with this, you have to remember Bjergsen didn’t even have to face much international competition and most of his tournaments were strictly against EU teams. One should actually consider this beginning as being ranked last a testament to how strong of a player Bjergsen would later become.
Champion Diversity: N/A
- 3rd/4th at DreamHack Winter 2012
- 2nd at THOR Open 2012
- 1st at NorthCon eSports Arena 2012
Oddball Rank: 4th - I really like this year for Bjergsen, and it’s a shame we never got to see more like it. With the 1v1 assassin-centered mid lane meta, it was a dream for him to show off his skill. Additionally, we got to see him go head-to-head with the likes of xPeke, Froggen, Alex Ich, Nukeduck, and Ocelote (I know it’s excessive, but I just wanted to illustrate how friggin’ legendary the competition was). He did pretty well to boot. His results weren’t the most impressive, but that’s to be expected. Europe was an absolute blood bath - especially in the Summer. The end of the Split had six total tiebreakers. The fact they placed 5th is more impressive than it looks.
Izento Rank: 5th - This was the year which really put Bjergsen on the map, but without much knowledge about the game macro wise, and considering the competition, he often couldn’t snowball leads into victories. He really showed up on assassin picks like his signature Zed at the time, which probably is the reason why TSM were looking across the ocean at him. Certainly not a weak year by any means for Bjergsen, but he’s had so many good ones that it’s hard to rank this much higher, especially considering he didn’t play internationally to challenge the mighty Korean and Chinese teams.
Champion Diversity: 20 Champions in 67 games
- 5th at EU LCS 2013 Spring
- 5th-6th at LCS 2013 Spring Playoffs
- 5th at EU LCS 2013 Summer
- 6th at EU LCS 2013 Summer Playoffs
Oddball Rank: 2nd - Bjergsen was ruthless this year. Honestly, I think his performance this year was what convinced teams of the value of foreign imports. He wasn’t just better than the competition. He was miles better. Every facet of his game - whether laning, playmaking, or team fighting, was an example for the rest of NA. The other mid laners almost seemed to hope on going even or just slightly behind. Getting ahead wasn’t even a consideration.
Just watching him play I’d say this is his best year. A couple things prevent me from doing that. The smack down from Cloud9 in the Spring finals, as well as the razor edge win in Summer, show Bjergsen was still a bit raw. He could dominate individual games, but couldn’t dominate finals in the same way. Additionally, although his Worlds performance was impressive, the question remains on if they’d have done as well without Svenskeren getting suspended for three games. A phenomenal year. But one stands out more.
Izento Rank: 1st - This is what I would consider his breakout year, while also being his strongest. He took over the league and became the best mid laner in North America. This was during the time where he was transitioning into TSM and fit in seamlessly. Considering that, along with this being his first time away from home, and having to replace the face of the biggest organization in NA, I’d say that plays a lot into how good this year was for him. The fact that he would need to develop leadership skills, social growth, while also proving instantly that he was the best player on the continent is absolutely bonkers.
With Cloud9 completely smashing NA in the 2013 Summer Split and Hai looking like the best mid laner, Bjergsen comes out of nowhere for 2014 and challenges all the staple names, getting advantages in the 1v1 and often carrying his team just from his own plays. This was also at a time where the meta still allowed for assassins, so the pressure from winning the 1v1 was incredibly high, and with his knowledge from playing assassins in Copenhagen Wolves, he was well versed in the common matchups, and was coming from a region with many stronger mid laners. If you also include his international performance, where he made it out of groups, and also took a game off of Samsung White, and were the only team to do so (albeit because of a good level one invade), this was a year filled with preposterous highlights.
Champion Diversity: 19 champions in 80 games
- 2nd at NA LCS 2014 Spring
- 2014 NA LCS Spring Split MVP
- 2nd at NA LCS 2014 Spring Playoffs
- 3rd at NA LCS 2014 Summer
- 1st at NA LCS 2014 Summer Playoff
- 5th-8th at 2014 World Championship
- 3rd-4th at IEM Season 9 San Jose
Oddball Rank: 1st - This year has everything. His first (and only) major international competition win. His first dominant finals victory. His first (of many) hard-carry performances. That’s why I like this year more than 2014, I find it more impressive domestically and internationally. His first-place finish in the Spring is more impressive than in 2014’s Summer. The previous year they barely edged Cloud9 out. This year’s their finals win was much more convincing. Additionally, the second place finish in 2015 is more impressive than that of 2014. It was a hard carry job like no other. WildTurtle was in a slump, Dyrus was ready to retire, Lustboy was dealing with injuries, and Santorin seemed to be going through an existential crisis from his MSI performance. Bjergsen 1v5’d the entire Summer Split, and somehow got them to the finals. That’s carrying. Internationally was overall more impressive than 2014. They sucked at MSI, but considering the level of talent, it was expected. They sucked at Worlds, but after being put in the hardest group, it was expected. What wasn’t was their IEM win. Yes, they didn’t even face the most threatening team in the tournament. But they had to defeat some tough teams to get to the finals, and Team WE still had some fearsome players. This year stands out for many happenings that never again occurred.
Izento Rank: 4th - Bjergsen won the IEM championship, had good domestic success and proved that 2014 wasn’t a fluke. This was also when his teammates were all declining around him, which should add to the viability that this year was one of his better ones overall. The only reason I discount IEM to a degree is because of the volatility of the tournament, which IEM was often during awkward patch timings, during the middle of the Spring Split, and Team WE being a last place team in the LPL yet still getting to play at IEM because their organization won 2014 IEM Shenzhen. The run was still a win, but just less impressive than what it could potentially have been. Unfortunately, in the annals of history, competition better sweetens the results of getting a victory.
Champion Diversity:22 champions in 79 games
- 1st at IEM Season 9 World Championship
- 1st at NA LCS 2015 Spring
- NA LCS 2015 Spring Split MVP
- 1st at NA LCS 2015 Spring Playoffs
- 5th at 2015 Mid-Season Invitational
- 5th at NA LCS 2015 Summer
- 2nd at NA LCS 2015 Summer Playoffs
- 14th-16th at 2015 World Championship
Oddball Rank: 3rd - Absolutely great year for Bjergsen. They just barely lost the finals of Spring and were a tour de force in Spring. What’s really interesting about this year was how Bjergsen was given full reign to carry the game, even with his team being talented in their own right. He played very selfishly, especially in the early game, and used small advantages to take control of the game. Plus, the carrying he pulled off in Spring was almost as impressive as 2015. There were lowlights to the year, though, particularly their international performance. Despite a star-studded roster, they failed to make it out of groups at Worlds. Their IEM performances were similarly disappointing. Strong domestically, but weak on the international stage.
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Izento Rank: 2nd - Bjergsen’s second best year and what some might have considered the strongest NA team ever to head into Worlds. Along this journey, Bjergsen would have to carry a floundering YellOwStaR during Spring Split, but also, this was against the ridiculous Immortals going 17-1, yet Bjergsen still managed to post good individual numbers.
For Summer, Bjergsen had the strongest split ever for TSM as an organization, going 17-1. I’d wager this 2016 Summer Split was the strongest individual performance of any mid laner ever in the history of the LCS. What more do you want from the man? The only reason why this year is not ranked higher is because of the gap of competition around him was catching up, but he was still largely quite ahead of his peers.
Champion Diversity: 20 Champions in 99 games
- 3rd-4th at IEM Season 10 World Championship
- 6th at NA LCS 2016 Spring
- 2nd at NA LCS 2016 Spring Playoffs
- 1st at NA LCS 2016 Summer
- NA LCS 2016 Summer Split MVP
- 1st at NA LCS 2016 Summer Playoffs
- 9th-12th at 2016 World Championship
- 3rd-4th at IEM Season 11 Oakland
Oddball Rank: 5th - This year was filled to the brim with success, but in my opinion a few factors make it not as rosy. Jensen I think definitively passed Bjergsen, marking the first time he wasn’t the league’s best player. Second, he wasn’t carrying the same way he had in other seasons. Finally, his international record again was mediocre, showing an especially criticized performance at Worlds. Very successful season, but not the strongest reflection of his skill as a player.
Izento Rank: 3th One could consider this season the most exciting time to be a Bjergsen fan. He got all the trophies, had phenomenal splits, and also had the storyline of beating Jensen in the race to MVP while also having the final playoffs match against C9, where Bjergsen just does so much more for his team than Jensen, and cemented that he was the more clutch player. This was the year where both mid laners were at peak levels at about the same time. The major flaw of this year would be his international play, where he was berated by the community for his lack of roams, in a meta where multiple mid laners had this style. Added to this, their Worlds group was also fortuitous, but they failed to capitalize on the weakness of the other teams.
Champion Diversity: 25 champions in 142 games
- 1st at NA LCS 2017 Spring
- 1st at NA LCS 2017 Spring All-Pro Mid Laner
- 1st at NA LCS 2017 Spring Playoffs
- 5th at 2017 Mid-Season Invitational
- 1st at NA LCS 2017 Summer
- NA LCS 2017 Summer Split MVP
- 1st at NA LCS 2017 Summer Playoffs
- 9th-11th at 2017 World Championship
Oddball Rank: 7th - Context: Although still a superstar, it was clear Bjergsen passed his peak. Still had a really solid performance overall from an individual perspective, but not to the same degree as past seasons. The main problem here was he was still viewed as the number-one option of the team, but no longer had the skill to carry so hard. Add on not even taking TSM to Worlds for the first time in his career, it’s easily one of Bjergsen’s biggest disappointments.
Izento Rank: 6th This is the year where Bjergsen began his decline. Of course there was misfortune around him, with an amateur jungler and a bot lane that was supposed to be the best in the entire western region, but this was the first time you could say that Bjergsen didn’t have his normal clutch factor that was present in all those years prior. Although Bjergsen did have a feared Akali during the time, which was often banned against him (even when TSM were on red side) that was his only very dangerous pick, along with a flex pick in Irelia with Brokenblade. This season was when the entirety of TSM began giving poor results, and one cannot entirely blame Bjergsen, but even with his strong performance in the Spring Split of the regular season, this is offset by his lackluster play in Summer Split.
Champion Diversity: 22 Champions for 62 games
- 3rd at NA LCS 2018 Spring
- 1st NA LCS 2018 Spring Split All-Pro Mid Laner
- 5th-6th at NA LCS 2018 Spring Playoffs
- 5th at NA LCS 2018 Summer
- 6th at NA LCS 2018 Summer Playoffs
- 2nd at NA Regional Finals 2018
Oddball Rank: 8th -
Same as 2018, just worse. Flush it down the toilet.
Izento Rank: 8th - The excuses for Bjergsen are starting to run out at this point. While it wasn’t a dismal split from Bjergsen when you think holistically in the context of all mid laners in the LCS, or even just pro players, but holding his own career in contrast against itself, this one is terrible. This is the first year that Bjergsen was not a top 3 mid laner by the end of the year, and along with that, he failed for the second time ever not making it to Worlds.
Champion Diversity: 20 Champions in 64 games
- 3rd at LCS 2019 Spring
- 1st All-Pro LCS 2019 Spring Split Mid Laner
- 2nd at LCS 2019 Spring Playoffs
- 4th at LCS 2019 Summer
- 5-6th at LCS 2019 Summer Playoffs
- 2nd at LCS 2019 Regional Finals
Oddball Rank: 6th -
To me this is the most interesting year, and it’s a shame in many ways we didn’t get to see more (also that he never returned to Europe). This year, Bjergsen took on a role similar to Tim Duncan in the Spurs last Championship. Still the leader, not the best. We got to see Bjergsen in a far more supportive role, something that showed reasonable success, albeit only domestically. Sad we saw he career end here, but at the very least he stood atop North America one last time.
Izento Rank: 7th - The most recent season, and unfortunately, Bjergsen’s last one as a player. As the years go on, you have to consider that the expectations are just so much more for a player that has a legendary status like Bjergsen’s. He is expected to carry and get his team a victory, and he certainly didn’t do it this year. What should be said though, is that he did at least carry his team to a playoffs win, single-handedly at first, but then backed by his old buddy Doublelift. This would be a new chance to make a statement at Worlds to prove he’s still world class, but sadly, that did not happen. Individually, this was one of his worst years internationally, especially considering he had chances to secure victories while being massively ahead on his champion. Although this year doesn’t allow people to write off his entire history, it’s a sad note to see with his sendoff as a pro player.
Champion Diversity: 22 champions in 77 games
- 5th at LCS 2020 Spring4th at LCS 2020 Spring Playoffs
- 4th at LCS 2020 Summer
- 1st at LCS 2020 Summer Playoffs
- 13th-16th at 2020 World Championship
- 1st All-Pro 2020 Summer Split Mid Laner
If you enjoyed this interview, follow the authors on Twitter at @OddballCreator and @ggIzento.
Photo credits: Copenhagen Wolves, Team SoloMid, HyperX, and Riot Games respectively.