"I think we are feeling motivated. Every time a team goes through a roster change, everyone is motivated and wants to work harder to win. It's an effect that I saw every time we got a new teammate. We've all been working hard, but we've just started scrimming recently, so we might not be as consistent in the beginning and it kind of showed today. Still, I think we are all pretty hopeful going into this split, because we feel that we are going to be even better with the addition of Doublelift."
Even after their defeat against Immortals, Team SoloMid's Søren "Bjergsen" Bjerg fluently answered what the team needs to learn from defeat and how they will improve soon. Whether it was because he was born a smooth talker or because he was well-experienced with interviews, his answer seemed prepared yet natural and sincere. A perfect answer, we might say.
However, we don't like perfect answers.
We've waited for months to interview Bjergsen. His answers might have been perfect, but honestly it sounded like what analysts would say. We wanted to know more about Søren, his thoughts on his teammates, or even his personal goal that he never had a chance to share. With that in mind, we continued the interview.
Do you feel any pressure as the long-reigning champion of NA region?
I don't think there's too much pressure. I guess I'm kinda used to it at this point. Ever since I joined TSM, everyone expected us to win and be in first place, and everyone expected me to perform well and be the best player. I've always had to deal with pressure. Also, I feel like we haven't proven ourselves to be that good of a team. We've not done well internationally yet, so I don't feel like we are a 'monster team' that dominates NA. We have so many things to improve on.
What team do you think will be the most threatening to you in this split of NA LCS?
There have always been threats. It's not like we've crushed the finals against C9 for last two times. It has always been pretty close, and I feel like we are just tiny above everyone else. I think C9 will be the most threatening once they get back in shape, and CLG is looking good with the addition of Dardoch. As for P1, they have subbed Meteos and are starting with Inori, so I don't think they'll be as strong as they were last split.
How do you feel about the return of Doublelift to TSM?
He still has a little bit of solo queue playstyle left because he was on break from playing competitively for a while, but he learns really fast, still has super good laning and mechanics, and he is really vocal. Even if he has different opinions, it helps the team to be so much better because he is actually he is voicing his opinions that can spawn conversations and help our team improve a lot.
Last split, I had a lot of opinions on how we should play, and then Hauntzer stepped up being another voice, but we were only "big voices" that had active discussions. Now, with Doublelift, we can have round-table discussions with the team and it will improve our team faster with more and stronger opinions.
Doublelift is a veteran player, so shouldn't he already be adjusted to competitive games... Unless it's just his natural playstyle?
Well, it's not like he has a "solo queue playstyle", it's just that he'll sometimes prioritize kills over objectives. Even when we'd get a free turret, he'll try to flash in and get a kill. That's something you do in solo queues to get more kills and golds and snowball yourself. In competitive gaming, you need to play for what's going to win you the game, not what will help you get most fed.
It's just small things like that though. I know it won't be a problem in future once we talk it over enough, but in the meantime we'll be like, "Dude, just get the tower, get the dragon, you don't need to get those kills." It's only just because he played so much solo queue.
He sounded a bit thrown off by our question about Doublelift's "solo queue playstyle", but we had to admit: He sincerely thinks that Doublelift needs just a bit more time. We've interviewed a lot of players and learned to see through their toned-down expressions. However, it seemed that Bjergsen sounded sincere because that's just the way he is.
Jangsik "Lustboy" Ham worked well for TSM, but now TSM is one of few teams in NA LCS that does not have any Korean players. Can you tell us why that's the case?
If we were to get a Korean player, we'd need two Korean players and possibly a translator who can help the players to adjust to USA. We've heard stories from other teams where they'd bring in a single Korean player and he'd feel pretty lonely.
If we were to get a Korean player, I want him to be ongoing and willing to speak English regardless of how good his English is. Since Sven takes up an import spot, we haven't been able to figure out how to do it properly with just one player.
I don't have issues playing with Korean players though. Every time I interacted with a Korean player, he seemed really humble. When I played with Impact at the All-stars, his mentality seemed really good. He doesn't care about pride, winning against his lane opponent or being the 'superstar' of the team. He just wants to win.
That's something I think NA players need to adopt more if we want to do well internationally: Not caring about being a superstar and making plays that only care about winning.
How far do you think you will go in the Worlds this year?
I was asked this question last year, and people gave us a lot of flak for it. I said "I won't be satisfied unless we get to Top 4 of the Worlds." I still feel the same way, but I think people misunderstood it a bit. I didn't mean that we were going to place Top 4 no matter what, it was just how I won't think that we did good enough unless we placed Top 4. It's a personal goal too; I can't speak for Reginald or anyone else in the team. I don't want anyone else to receive backlash from this; it's just that I can't personally feel satisfied unless we get that far.
How likely is this to happen? I don't really know. The biggest thing for us is to focus on the long term and deep rooted issues instead of just trying to win every LCS game. If we 'mask' our weaknesses to not show them in LCS games, those weaknesses really show in the international stage. That's what happened in the past, so we have to focus on bringing up these issues even if they aren't being exposed today.
MSI was a big chance for us to see our weaknesses and work on them. When weaknesses are not being abused, players might feel like it's not really important to communicate those issues. When we got to the international stage and got crushed for not doing those small things, so it was a big wakeup call for us, and it should make our summer split better than MSI.
Can you tell us what you've exactly learned after the MSI?
We saw two big weaknesses. The first thing was how we were disrespecting Baron a lot, and instead going for other objectives like Dragon or recalling to regroup that cost us Baron. I think we gave up at least 3 free Barons when we were ahead in gold. Teams in MSI was really good at exploiting those: "TSM is getting Dragon and recalling, so we are rushing Baron now." In NA, we weren't really being abused for those, so we could pick up their buffs or get Dragon before recalling [without consequences]. The teams in the world stage was really good at rushing Baron.
The second thing was how quick they were to 'split' the map. They always forced a trade. If we were trying to gank top, they'd get Dragon in return or deny us of something. We had to find out what we were going to lose for making plays, and figure out whether they would be worth doing. It was something that we worked on, but it was worse on MSI because the teams were so much better forcing trades, so we had to react better too.
You often come to mind when we think of possible players who'd be competitive in LCK as an import. If you were to play in the LCK, how well do you think will do and what team would you like to play for?
I think it will come down to communication. You don't really see mid laners destroying the other laner and carry the game anymore. Now, it's about how much you can communicate and work with your teammates. If I went to Korea without being able to speak Korean, then I'll be at the bottom among mid laners. Mid laner is all about communicating with teammates, especially the jungler.
If I were to choose a team, it'll obviously be SKT T1 because that's where I'll be able to learn and improve the most as a player.
Again, I want to say that mid laners nowadays are very team-based. Even when you are a really good player, you can't shine as a player if you have no synergy and bad communication.
Last question. Feel free to say anything that you want to share with your fans.
Thank you supporting us even when we have bad performances. I'm personally working hard to fix all the problems in our teams and figuring out how I can improve myself and my teammates. I'm trying everyday to make sure that everyone on the team has enough game knowledge to make decisions and plays.
Often there are perceptions of how a team has a single shotcaller and that person gets the blame for calling bad shots. If you'd look at teams like SKT, all the players have really good game knowledge - not just with their champions but the entire team as a whole.
That's what I'm working towards on: I shouldn't be the only one who knows what the team should be doing. Everyone should know how our team composition works and how it works against the enemy composition. That's my big goal right now. Obviously, my game knowledge isn't perfect, so I have to work on my game knowledge too, but I'll try to put that onto my teammates as well.
Even until the very last question, he put his teammates and his fans above himself. We had to admit our defeat: He really was a sincere person who really cares for his team and his fans. However, we still wanted to know something else about him, so we asked him a question what we thought would be answered with something related only to him.
Alright, the last question for real. When you eventually retire from being a player, what would you like to do?
After I retire? ...I don't know. Right now, it would be related to streaming for my fans. I'd want to stay with the esports community because I feel like I've built up a brand of myself and have a really big fanbase. While I have been a pro, it's been really hard to give back to the fans and be active on social media. I'm practicing all day, and I don't have time to really interact with my fans through streaming or Twitter.
Once I retire, that's when I can start give back to my fans. A kind of big thing as a pro is how I always have to hide my thoughts because talking too much about the game would be giving away free information for my enemies. When I retire, I can finally tell my thoughts on the game to everyone who follows me and I think the fans will appreciate them.
Foiled again! Well, here goes nothing:
Okay, now that we've heard Bjergsen's answer, tell us Søren's answer. You can even say something like opening up a cafe.
Well... when I was a kid, I wanted to work in a zoo because I really liked animals. I had a dog, hamsters... I really loved animals while I was growing up, and I like them even now. Without League of Legends, I would have been doing something related to animals.
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