Team Solomid was the top team in Season 2, taking home 6 first place wins out of 10 major lans. However, after a disappointing performance at Season 2 World Championships, they dropped from best team in North America, with Cloud 9 giving them a run for their money in the second half of Season 3. With Season 4, they wanted to bring change and so their captain Reginald stepped down to be replaced by European mid laner Bjergsen. The addition of the Danish mid laner has revitalized their team, leading them to a first place standing in the NA 2014 LCS Spring Split.
Rise of Bjergerking
While many hold Reginald in high regards for his play in earlier seasons, others were blaming him for the slipping of TSM. So when Bjergsen joined, he was held to high standards in order to progress the team, which he achieved. Compared to old Reginald, Bjergsen has brought improved numbers in every category, but the biggest thing Bjergsen brings is his consistent dominance, compared to Reginald’s lack of consistency and very high average deaths. However, the most interesting thing about this player swap is how much the team has improved since Bjergsen’s arrival. This has led to Reginald’s 2014 stats, as you can see on the side, being much higher than his previous season. Teammates like Xpecial and Wildturtle have stepped up a ton in Bjergsen’s absence, such as in their last game against EG where they scored multiple kills early without jungler pressure in a perceived counter matchup. While Bjergsen brings a mechanical beast to their play, TSM has changed significantly without Reginald.
Without Regi, TSM forms a new style - Don’t Lose Lane, Don’t Lose Game.
One big concern when Reginald stepped down from TSM was what was going to happen with the shotcalling of TSM, as they lost their “aggressive” shotcaller. While we have seen the team to be much more successful since Regi’s departure, they have adapted a different style. Their early game style comes down to “don’t lose lane, don’t lose game”. They don’t really go for aggressive early plays with Bjergsen, they average very low kills, but they also don’t make mistakes - they average extremely low deaths. This all changed however when looking at the team with Reginald. Reginald brought his signature aggression to TSM, taking them from the lowest kills in the first 10 minutes to the 2nd highest, and the lowest deaths in 10 minutes to the highest by a wide margin.
This visa situation has really shown the difference Bjergsen has made for the overall mindset of TSM. While TSM has lost their “aggressive” early game, they have replaced it with a safe strategy which leads them to defer to their strong mid game teamfighting. This strategy has been wildly successful, because despite their low 10-min gold average (5th in NA LCS), they still get a gold lead in 78% of their games, the most out of NA LCS teams. This is because they rarely make mistakes early. Their low risk playstyle reflects this “don’t lose lane, don’t lose game” motto since they have the skill and experience to outplay teams during the mid game.
Bjergsen, North America’s All-star
In this off season we saw several EU pros move to NA in order to participate in the NA LCS. Of these EU players, Bjergsen has definitely been the most successful, in both revitalizing TSM, as well as in terms of individual performance. As we can see on the right, he has been playing a wide champion pool at a very high level, with his signature champions being Leblanc and Nidalee. Bjergsen leads mid laners in GPM and is the only AP mid in the top 5 GPM leaders (the other 4 are ADCs). Also, on a per-game basis, Bjergsen takes the record for GPM in a single game for a mid laner, as well as the 2nd and 3rd place, with 539 GPM on Leblanc vs Dignitas in week 1, 485.61 GPM on Zed vs Coast, and 475.31 GPM on Nidalee vs Curse. Overall, Bjergsen has been putting up extremely impressive numbers all split, no matter which champion he plays. Many people have praised Mancloud for his record-setting summer split last year, earning 167 kills in one split. However, if Bjergsen played 28 games, he would be projected to get 202 kills. Even with his 6 missing games, he is projected to have 159 kills, and just may be able to reach Mancloud’s record.
Since the move to Bjergsen, TSM still maintains to be a mid focused team though. As we can see, TheOddOne ganks primarily mid, a disproportionate 47.7% goes to mid. However, despite mid being the most frequent gank, it is also the least successful one. Only 33.3% of mid ganks turn into a kill or tower, while 43% of them gain nothing, not even a flash. In comparison, 75% of top ganks convert a kill or tower, and 60% of bot lane ganks convert a kill or tower. Despite the lower success rate, TSM continues to have a mid focused early game without Regi.
TSM is looking to be back at their Season 2 strength with the addition of Bjergsen. A little less of Reginald’s signature aggression has done TSM well, as they have established a consistent pattern of getting a slight early lead and dominating in the mid game teamfights. And while TSM has vowed to bring back that aggression, and there has been a significant change since the return of Reginald, it will be interesting to watch in future weeks whether they return to the successful passive early game with Bjergsen, or bring some of that classic TSM aggression.
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