Interview with TSM Bjergsen: ” I think there is a chance an NA team can win worlds, but to be frank it’s very slim.”
This is your second split with TSM. What has been your favorite moment with the team so far?
Bjergsen: I think some of my favorite moments are when we net a really important victory against top teams like C9/CLG. The atmosphere in the team is great, everyone is happy and feel like we achieved a common goal. Always a great time catching dinner with the team after a hard fought game.
How do you stay focused in the midst of multiple roster changes and periods of less than optimal performance?
Bjergsen: If anything I feel like everyone gets more motivated once there is a roster change. Everyone feels the pressure and want to show they deserve to be on the team and wanna set a good example for the newcomer. For the hard times, again, I think it’s just a big motivation boost for everyone to improve as fast as possible. We all want to be the best, and we all want to win. If we don’t succeed it means we didn’t do a good enough job, and we all work hard to change that.
It seems that when you are on fire, so is the rest of the team. Is this just a result of all the gears working together? Do you feel pressure to carry games, or does it come naturally as the team performs as a unit?
Bjergsen: Mid lane champions usually have a lot of control over the game, especially if ahead. I’m also the primary shotcaller so it’s easy for me to communicate what I need to snowball and carry the game. If we are in a period of losing a lot I tend to return to champions where I’m more independant and feel like I can affect the game more as a single player, but that’s not always the best way to play the game. We just all need to trust each and each others abillities to do their job.
How has it been playing with Amazing in the jungle?
Bjergsen: I really enjoy playing with Amazing, he’s probably the jungler with the most raw skill I have been in a team with. Raw skill mainly being great mechanics and early game desicion making. He loves making aggressive plays and playing strong champions that can impact the game from the get-go. I really admire that style since it’s one I like myself, so we mesh very well.
You lost to LMQ and Cloud 9 in week 11, both teams you will potentially need to beat in the playoffs. What do you feel was most lacking? What do you think has been the biggest issue in facing these teams throughout the split? Do you think you will be ready for them when playoffs roll around?
Bjergsen: I think our biggest issue was working on a lot of problems we had going into the week and then forgetting our basics and just what we were already good at. We lost games the way I haven’t seen TSM lose games in a while, we got outplayed from the early game and laning phase and lost the games from there. It’s hard to say what were our problems vs them during the split. I don’t think they had some kind of great counter to our gameplan, we had issues as a team and LMQ played extremely solid every time we faced them.
Curse. They seem to be doing incredibly well lately, and they are 8-1 in their last 9 matches against top teams. What do you think it is about Curse that causes them to do so well against top teams and suffer a bit against lower ranked teams? How big of a threat are they in playoffs?
Curse is a wildcard team, they have good pick and bans and a lot of pocket picks, you never know what they will play. I think they are a really interesting team that people may have been underestimating some games during the season. I always thought it was just a matter of time before Curse started performing since they had been doing well in scrims since the beginning of the split, they are gonna be a force at playoffs. Their games are definitely gonna be exciting to watch!
Going into playoffs, what do you hope to improve the most individually? As a team?
Bjergsen: Individually I just wanna further improve my shotcalling and plays in high pressure situations such as important teamfights/gamebreaking picks. Both things also come with comfortabillity in champions since it’s a lot easier to focus on everything else if you have 100% control over your champion and you need to put in little thought to actually play your champion. We have a lot of things to work on as a team, I just think we need to be more conscious about every desicion we make in scrims so we can replicate it better in the LCS. We lost very little scrims and felt confident going into superweek, but were unable to replicate the same plays we made in scrims. So personally I would like to work on making every decision conscious and make sure very little things happen out of the blue.
You had a rough time with Dignitas during the regular season and pulled off a close win against them in week 11. Do you expect it to be a close matchup in the quarterfinals?
Bjergsen: Dignitas is an interesting team to play against. We have two games during the season where we either had a bad pick/ban or a bad approach to how to play our teamcomp. I think we are at least better at those things now, and overall better as a team than we were in the middle of the season. It’s definitely gonna be close games vs Dignitas, but if we can get productive practice going into playoffs I’ll feel confident going into the match.
TSM included, do you think an NA team can improve to the point of being title contenders at worlds? Is NA still playing catch up with other regions?
Bjergsen: I think there is a chance an NA team can win worlds, but to be frank it’s very slim. The Korean teams are looking stronger than ever, but I do believe all a team needs is a patch that fits them and good practice going in and even a western team can win worlds. I wouldn’t say NA is behind all the others regions, I think NA/EU are very close right now, and I can’t wait to watch the top teams from each region play each other at worlds. I think the SEA and Chinese teams are wildcards, since they have their own kinda meta and have different priorities.
What are your thoughts on CLG going to Korea to bootcamp? Do you think it will have a noticeable impact on their game? How strong do you expect them to be when they return?
Bjergsen: I think under the circumstances CLG’s choice was smart and probably the best thing they could do. I really don’t know how much it will impact their gameplay. They could come back as the best team in NA, or they could come back still trying to adjust to the way the Korean plays, and not finding their place yet.
You are known for your assassin play, though we haven’t gotten to see much of it lately. Do you expect to see assassins making a comeback with the most recent changes?
Bjergsen: Assassins are definitely a lot better now than they were earlier in the season, and you might see me playing some. I can’t tell you too much but I guess time will tell!
Orianna is a champion who seems to thrive regardless of whatever the meta may be. We have seen you play her a bit, how important is it to have her in your arsenal?
Bjergsen: Orianna is just a great solid pick, it’s a champ you can pick in pretty much every situation and she’ll do great in your team comp. Just a solid pick that’s very versatile which is why she’s so popular. Also a great blind pick champions since she has little to no counters.
Without giving anything away, do you think we’ll see any surprise or pocket picks looking into playoffs and potentially worlds?
Bjergsen: Haha, we might. I see a lot of pros picking up different kinds of champions in soloQ. Could be a lot of surprises with the new patches!
Who would you play if you were allowed to pick anyone for one match?
Bjergsen: If the situation is just right, I think the fans would love to see the return of Zed. Every time I stream I’m constantly getting asked to play him. There’s nothing I love more than making my fans happy, so I would probably go with Zed!
About the author: Tim Kimbirk is an eSports Journalist and writer with Solomid. Stay up to date on the latest interviews and features by following on twitter: @CaymusNoL