For the last two years, TSM featured Søren "Bjergsen" Bjerg in the mid lane with Sergen "Broken Blade" Çelik up top. Bjergsen was, of course, the team leader, having been with the org since 2014, and throughout Broken Blade's time with the team, he learned a ton from Bjergsen's resolve. Once a shy top laner in Turkey with no real international experience or domestic titles, Broken Blade is now a much more developed player and personality with an NA championship and a trip to Worlds.
Broken Blade showed great development on TSM, but there's still a long journey ahead of the 21-year-old star. In the 2020 off-season, he left NA and TSM and moved to Berlin to play as FC Schalke 04 Esports' top laner instead. Broken Blade's new home will provide more learning opportunities and yet another chance to prove himself as a legacy player. Schalke nearly completed a miracle run in Summer 2020, but this year, with Broken Blade leading the team, they might not need one.
We spoke with Broken Blade just before the start of the LEC Spring Split. Read the transcript of his time at TSM, his growth in NA, his experience at Worlds, and his goals for his future below:
To start off, I want to reflect on your time with TSM before we get to Schalke 04. You were on TSM for a couple of years, what are your thoughts on being with them? Do you have any final reflections you made in the last couple of months?
For sure. My time with TSM was very, very valuable for me as a player and as a human being. I learned a lot about how to be a good teammate and how to be good, you know? I was with many different iterations of TSM and I learned so much from every single split I played with the team, including how to take accountability as a player.
Obviously, it wasn't all good moments. We had some rather bad splits, but we also had our ups, so overall I don't have any regrets.
What was the environment there in the summer, when you were doing better, then looked kinda shaky, but eventually coming through to get the NA title?
2020 Summer's iteration was one of the most easy-going ones. There was definitely stress, but from a personality perspective, a lot of the players were easy-going and we had a lot of fun. Obviously, COVID kinda messed things up in the end. But I left NA with winning a championship: that was a very fulfilling moment and now I'm taking everything I learned there to help my team here.
What was going through your head after Worlds? You had to make decisions on your next steps, what was the process like?
It was my first Worlds experience and going 0-6, getting shit on by the fans and the haters coming out of their holes, trying to shit-talk us... They kind of had the right to do so, because we were the first seed and we didn't deliver, but on an individual note, it was something I used to grow as a person and a player. I realized the Worlds environment is much different than the LCS. The moment you go into the hotel, you know there are only good teams here. The pressure is different. I feel like I wasn't ready, the team wasn't really ready. And even though I felt our group was very easy to beat — we actually had the best group we could've had to move forward — but our practice was really bad. We started losing scrim and then it's kind of a snowball effect. We couldn't come back from that.
After that, how did you decide to join Schalke?
After I heard Bjergsen was retiring, I had a call with Parth and he was saying that there was a chance I'd not be on the roster next year, since there is no resident player that is on the level of Bjergsen, which I can't disagree with. He was a critical part of the team that made it work to have the import slots that we had.
They decided it was more worthwhile to get an import support and mid and get a resident top, which is their choice, I can't really blame them. My intentions were not to leave TSM, but I'm happy where I am. I have really good teammates here with such a high ceiling and hopefully, we'll be able to prove it. After Parth talked to me, I had to look for other options. I didn't want to stay in NA. There were already talks about Alphari going to Liquid and TSM obviously had another top, and C9 already announced Fudge. So already the top teams had top laners of their own and didn't want to stay in NA just to be there. I want to win and I feel Schalke gave me the best opportunity to win, given the offers I had.
It's going to be a great season. It'll be my first season in EU, so hopefully, I'll deliver. I'm sure, actually, that I will deliver.
"The moment you go into the hotel, you know there are only good teams here. The pressure is different. I feel like I wasn't ready, the team wasn't really ready."
For the most part on TSM, people talked about you as a carry top laner. Is that something you want to be specifically, or is that something you were just fulfilling for TSM? What do you want to accomplish this year individually?
In every new team you're in, you have to find your job, find a way to fit the best. In this team [Schalke], I have to take a role that Bjergsen had on TSM: the role of the leader. Not because no one else can do it, but because I feel I'm the best fit for it. I've learned so much about how to lead a team, how to be accountable to fucking up. I feel my team already trusts me. Even on days that aren't going well, I feel there's trust and the will to compete.
To your other question whether I'll play carries: it really depends. I prefer to play carries but it's not like I can't play tanks. I've learned how to carry games, especially on TSM last year because that was working for us and I had to step it up in comms and gameplay. I'm in a spot that I can do every role, I can teach other people how to use their teammates as well. Every day, I'm trying to introduce all the concepts I've learned to my teammates.
You learning how to be a leader, was that actively taught by your teammates on TSM or was that something you passively learned while playing with them?
I kind of learned it by watching Bjergsen. When we lost the Spring 2019 finals, he wasn't the one who was sad, he brought us together, asked us to stay strong, told us it sucks to lose but there's nothing we can do about it. He kept up the morale of the team, and that's something every team needs. I feel I'm at a point in my career where I have to be [a leader]... which may be wrong, you know? You never know if you're gonna win or lose a game. It depends how it is in the moment. I don't think that I "have to be this".
You made a name of yourself as a funny guy. The content TSM put out... you had your little brand outside your player career. Was that something that was purposeful from yourself, was it something TSM was telling you to do that just started happening?
Honestly, I'm kind of a shy guy, but when I get used to the people around me, and especially to the camera, I feel comfortable doing random stuff. If someone points a camera at me, I can talk for an hour and I wouldn't stop. It's something that can't be forced. If you ask a guy to be funny, he can't do it. I feel like it's funny for me to mess around with the camera and my teammates. It brings joy to them, it's contagious. If someone is happy and funny with someone else, they will also be happy.
That was kind of my role on TSM. Not that I felt forced to do something any time the mood was down, but it's just my personality and how I deal with things.
Any next goals you want for yourself and Schalke?
My goal is always to be the best. Whether I'm in last or first place, I just want to be the best. I want to feel that all I do in my life is trying to be the best at what I do, which is League of Legends at the moment.
And I want my team to be the best. This year, it's very important for us to perform, because it's such a crucial split, for me to show my skill. I don't want to just be a player and be forgotten after I retire. I want to be remembered, I want to have a legacy. I will do everything in my power to achieve that, even if some people are doubting me. I just want it to happen, no matter what. If I do my best every day, I won't have any regrets when I retire.
Images by FC Schalke 04 Esports
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