The question has been asked multiple times this split by the North American League of Legends Championship Series casters: Is Jensen the new best NA mid laner? Has he dethroned Bjergsen?
When discussing the best players in their respective regions, Søren “Bjergsen” Bjerg’s name has been thrown around since his move to North America in 2013. Riot Games caster Trevor “Quickshot” Henry even went on record saying he believes that Bjergsen is better than Lee “Faker” Sang-hyeok for the best player in the world (garnering great ridicule).
This year’s conversation is different, though, with Team SoloMid sitting in fourth place in the NA LCS, and Bjergsen not making the overwhelming impact many expected on the revamped TSM roster.
On the other side is Nicolaj “Jensen” Jensen of Cloud9, who has been finding tons of success this so far this year. Cloud 9 is only one spot higher than TSM in the standings but looks like the better team. Alongside his jungler, Lee “Rush” Yoon-jae, Jenson has been carrying pretty damn hard with 66 total kills and a 73 percent kill participation.
So has Bjergsen really finally been dethroned? Let’s take a look.
Let’s start with the stats. Bjergsen has basically the same kill participation as Jensen with 72 percent, though his kills (48) are 20 fewer than Jenson. Their CS per minute is almost identical, with Jenson having 8.6 and Bjergsen having 8.5. Their deaths are nearly the same too, with Jenson with 31 and Bjergsen 28.
Verdict: About the same.
Cloud9 and TSM have played both their matches this split, so a head-to-head look is worthwhile. In the first game they played, in Week 3, mid was pretty much an island, with not much intervening from the other players. The CS went back and forth, slightly in Jenson’s favor throughout the game. Jenson was on Corki (before the nerfs). The slight CS advantage can also be attributed to Rush having much more pressure, making Bjergsen leave lane sometimes.
Once the kills started happening later in the game, Bjergsen had much better positioning in team fights, where Jensen was actually caught out in a critical one 25 minutes into the game. Jensen was also caught out in the game-ending team fight after C9 secured Baron. Overall Bjergsen had a better game, even though it wasn’t in super dominating fashion. TSM also earned the win.
The second time they squared off was in Week 6. Jensen was on Twisted Fate, his winningest champion all season. It was a lane matchup mismatch, while Bjergsen was on the favorable Leblanc. Jensen had a much better early game, as Rush was able to help him out, getting a gank on Bjergsen by baiting himself out. Later in the game, Jensen actually had a small outplay on Bjergsen during a fight that broke out in mid game. After dodging the Kalista ultimate, Bjergsen went aggressive, but he was caught out with a gold card resulting in Bjergsen’s death.
Jensen had a lot of pressure coming from TF, but ultimately the win came from stupid mistakes from TSM. The lane should have been dominated by Bjergsen, but C9 as a whole played much better around the global presence of TF, not allowing the mid lane champion mismatch to get going.
Verdict: Bjergsen, if only slightly.
What can we take from these games? Really not much. C9 has played better as a unit than TSM all year. Not to take anything away from Jensen, but the reason Bjergsen hasn’t been able to showcase his skill as the best laner in NA has likely been because of internal problems of the team, which is very much still trying to come together.
Bjergsen has looked good in every game this season, but his side laners have not. Another reason can be the fact that TSM has been putting Bjergsen mostly on control mages such as Viktor, Orianna, Lulu, and Syndra, who aren’t the best for hard carrying in this current metagame. Despite that, and despite the troubles his teammates have been having, Bjergsen is still in the upper tier in stats among all players, and TSM is still in fourth. TSM has underachieved, but it hasn’t been a failure.
Jensen is on the rise, but I’m not ready to say he’s surpassed Bjergsen. The real test will come once the teams compete in a series.
Being under the pressure of playoffs is going to show us who the real best mid laners are going to be, and Bjergsen should step up — as he always has.
All photos courtesy of Riot Games.