TSM’s Resurgence, Improvement or Luck?
Bringing themselves up to 3rd place, TSM is attempting to claw back to their usurped throne. Their win against the first place Team Liquid is surely a tell-tale sign, no? Well it’s hard to tell considering its a best-of-one series. If I had to bet on it, I’d say it’s a mixture of TSM improving and Team Liquid having an off day. Taking a deeper look into what may have catalyzed that win may give us some answers.
Soren “Bjergsen” Bjerg has been the constant for TSM’s highest highs and lowest lows. Bjergsen has certainly proved his prowess as one of the best midlaners and the rock of the internationally chanted for brand. By now it’s hard to argue that Bjergsen has gotten his recognition through dumb luck. As the years have progressed, and as Bjergsen has shuffled through ~20 different players, one can see a slow trend of him not being the only star player in his games. Sharing the spotlight with players of equal caliber such as Lustboy, Hauntzer, Doublelift, KEITH (kappa) etc, and now with players like Zven and BrokenBlade, his burden of carrying has been split amongst his teammates.
It seems that when he is paired with other mechanical powerhouses, and the pressure to be the sole carry is gone, Bjergsen is able to propel his team to great victories. Take for example when TSM lost to Cloud 9 in the 2013 Summer and 2014 Spring play offs and then managed to beat them in 2014 Summer when TheOddOne and Xpecial were switched out for Amazing and Lustboy. When they beat team World Elite in IEM 9 to take their first ever international title. and when they managed to take 2nd place in playoffs in 2016 Spring, despite an abysmal regular season performance.
There isn’t a doubt in my mind that Bjergsen is a product of the quality of his teammates. His performance always seems to be a living avatar of the state the team. This is one of the slower starts that TSM has had, at least in relation to their 2016 Summer – 2017 Summer performance. As the players start to mesh and collaborate better, we will begin to see what could be North America’s strongest team. Their win against the first place Team Liquid and incredibly close game against the second place Cloud9 is definitely a marker of their swift wrath.
With all this being said, it seems to me that TSM’s resurgence is not luck, rather a reflection of the improving state of the team. As the players start to build up more steam, we may see another TSM banner flying in the LCS studio this spring.