Coming into this past weekend, no one on Earth (save Cloud9’s Jack Etienne, of course) expected TSM to dominate Team Liquid in the fashion they did. To say that TSM’s victory over the strongest team in the LCS was expected could certainly have been viewed as a stretch. To predict a victory in this manner would have been downright insane.
Not only did the TSM roster secure an enormous win over Team Liquid – they secured it convincingly. Solomid ran through TL in just over 36 minutes, securing the team’s fastest victory since a week 1 drubbing of 100 Thieves. Additionally, TSM’s 9.8k gold differential at the end of the game was good enough for the team’s widest margin of victory since September of last year, when they triumphed over Echo Fox in the North American regional qualifier.
What’s most notable, however, is how TSM’s massive victory could just be the first major turning point in their season. Coming into the matchup with an abnormally destitute record of 3-4, TSM was off to its second 3-4 start to a season in as many years, essentially furthering the point that the team needed some sort of jumpstart to get things turned around in the right direction. Last spring, it was a win over longtime rival Counter Logic Gaming that springboarded the team to an 8-3 run to close out the split. This time around, putting a dent in Team Liquid’s plans of a perfect split could be just the catalyst that Solomid needs.
And with a roster filled to brim with talent and options across the board, perhaps the most obvious and effective key to a successful stretch run could be staring the organization directly in the face.
It’s no secret that Søren “Bjergsen” Bjerg is the face of Team SoloMid. He’s been the team’s foundation for half a decade. Whenever the organization finds itself in a rut, it can count on its franchise player to always find a way out. And now, as TSM sits in a 3-way tie for 4th place, with just a single game separating the team from non-contention and just two games separating them from last place, it’s obvious that every possible option is on the table – and Bjergsen is the best available one.
Against Team Liquid, it became clear that TSM was fully intent on pouring all of its faith into its mid laner, as Bjergsen stepped up in ways we hadn’t seen in 2019. During the contest, his Zoe provided 41.7% of the team’s damage output, easily clearing his previous best in the single-game DMG% department by miles. For reference, he had only eclipsed 30% of TSM’s damage share just once prior this split.
Up until Sunday, TSM had relied on its bottom laner, Jesper “Zven” Svenningsen quite heavily. In fact, Zven had led the way in DMG% in 6 of the team’s 7 earlier matchups to kick off the season. Even after Bjergsen took the reins against Liquid, shifting Zven to a backseat role, the TSM bottom laner still posts a DMG% of 33.4, sitting just 0.8 points behind the number one spot among all bottom laners in the LCS for that particular statistic.
And although it’s been proven time and time again that Zven can carry a game and dominate nearly any opposition, a meandering position near the middle of the standings and the looming threat of a sub-.500 record heading into the split’s halfway point signaled that it was time for TSM to fall back on its most tried and true weapon.
And once the team unleashed that weapon and took the restraints off Bjergsen’s wrists, he took matters into his own hands. With just 10 games left on the slate, TSM needs its golden boy to rise to the occasion yet again. As the proven leader of the roster, Bjergsen needs to step up and run through anything that may stand in TSM’s way. If Sunday’s performance is any indication, the team should have no problem falling back on him in order to turn things around.
It’s become painfully clear that shades of dominance are still residing within him, and if he can continue to play at the level he did against Team Liquid for an extended period of time, the rest of the LCS will have a serious problem on its hands.
Photo Credit: Lolesports, Riot Games, League of Legends