After a year foray into the world of coaching, Søren “Bjergsen” Bjerg is rejoining the League of Legends Championship Series (LCS) as a player and personally, I don’t really get the hype.
Sure, Bjergsen was the definition of dominant in North America during his first stint as a player, winning six LCS titles and qualifying for Worlds five times, but unfortunately that’s where the buck stops.
How successful Bjergsen’s return will be comes down to how one defines success. If whatever team he joins goes out and wins the LCS in 2022, but then bombs out at MSI and/or Worlds, the LCS’ most storied mid-laner would have added to his trophy case. However, it’s pretty obvious that domestic trophies aren’t what Bjergsen’s chasing anymore. In 2020, after pulling off a late summer run and winning the LCS, his initial retirement came after a dismal 0-6 finish at the World Championship group stage. In 2021, he’s now given up coaching after this venture failed to qualify him for Worlds at all, keeping him significantly farther from the Summoner’s Cup.
Now that Bjerg has stated he’s rejoining the LCS, but not with TSM, the team he’d been with since 2014, the question that’s been one every NA League fan’s mind is which of the other nine teams will pick him up. My challenge is this: Is he really worth it?
As I said before, if a team simply wants domestic success, he might be the guy for the job. The problem is, the likelihood that a team with low Worlds aspirations would be willing to shell out Bjergsen-level money for a mid-laner is low. That leaves us with teams hoping to show up on the international stage.
Recent rumors have mentioned Team Liquid as a possible landing spot, but I genuinely don’t see why replacing Jensen with Bjergsen would be a good idea. Not only has Jensen experienced domestic success (albeit less than Bjergsen, almost solely due to losing to him in the LCS finals multiple times), he’s also set or tied records for North America at international tournaments. While Bjergsen has never made it out of a group stage at either the Mid-season Invitational or the World Championship, Jensen took Team Liquid to the finals of MSI and went to the semifinals of Worlds with Cloud9.
Jensen isn’t the only mid-laner with a better international resume than Bjergsen still playing in the LCS. You really don’t have to look far, as the mid-laner Bjergsen coached all of this year, PowerOfEvil, took Faker and SKT T1 to five games with Misfits at 2017 Worlds.
Bjergsen is a legend of the North American league scene, and he deserves to be remembered as such, but the truth is that name power shouldn’t dictate everything. The reason Faker is still given the credit he gets is that despite T1 not being as strong as they were when they won back-to-back championships, he can still bring his team within a game of the Worlds finals. If all he still did was win the LCK occasionally, the narrative would be very different. If Bjergsen wants to keep playing, he should probably take a cheaper deal with a team looking for a veteran to build around with some new, exciting talent, because I honestly believe that if a team tries to fit him into a roster with big Worlds hopes, they’re going to be disappointed.