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Battle of the Danes: Bjergsen vs. Jensen

It was the opening of the 2015 North American LCS Summer Split, and it was starting with what had quickly become the classic NA matchup: Cloud9 vs Team SoloMid. Team SoloMid had just come off a disappointing Mid Season Invitational, and was looking to pick up the pieces back at home, while rival Cloud9 had finally weaned itself off of longtime shotcaller Hai, looking toward solo queue sensation Incarnati0n (Jensen) as his replacement. Bjergsen and Incarnati0n, both hailing from the land of mid laners, Denmark, finally met each other in professional play on North American soil.

Bjergsen had once again been mired in Team SoloMid’s shaky international performance and continued to receive criticism for not showing up as the superstar he was supposed to be. Meanwhile, Incarnati0n had undergone years of scrutiny in the wake of his competitive ban, and would now be starting his professional career by trying to fill the shoes of Cloud9's beloved heart and soul: Hai.

It was the well-established, foreign superstar of North America versus the new solo queue stud, and fireworks were expected. Instead, fans got a damp squib: Incarnati0n struggled mightily adapting to a LAN setting, often mistiming CS, and was comprehensively picked apart by Bjergsen in a Team SoloMid landslide victory.

Times have changed. Now Incarnati0n is Jensen, and might be the second best mid in North America. Now, he and Bjergsen face off in the NA LCS finals, leading their respective teams in hopes of earning the first North American seed for the League of Legends World Championship.

Bjergsen

Bjergsen has been the best mid laner in North America for as long as he’s been stateside and has shown no signs of slowing down. He has been the star of TSM since his arrival and continues to deliver on that today, but often was the only threat in fairly one-dimensional lineups. That hasn’t stopped Bjergsen from regularly dominating North American competition and bringing TSM a few LCS titles, but has always stung him internationally where it seems like he just isn’t doing quite enough.

Nowadays, Team Solomid has been retooled and Bjergsen has more than few carries at his side, with longtime Counter Logic Gaming AD carry Doublelift now in the bottom lane. In the current iteration of TSM, with some of the stronger side lanes in North America, Bjergsen has finally been a position to excel without all the focus of the enemy team. For the second split in a row, not only does he finally have a damage threat alongside him, but Doublelift has actually been the main damage output.

Bjergsen has been allowed to play typical non-hard carry champions, such as Lissandra, Zilean and Karma, and instead of being the all-being damage source of his team, he can be an absolute teamfight menace. Regardless, he has still been the same pressure mid laner, averaging a 4.4 CS lead at ten minutes in the regular season and 9 CS lead at ten minutes over Huhi in the playoffs. Bjergsen is no longer just superman, but is part of his own NA superteam and has truly been unlocked for the finals and his upcoming matchup against Jensen.

Jensen

Jensen hails from Denmark, the same as Bjergsen, and certainly looks to be cut from the same cloth. Early competitive play definitely stymied Jensen, as solo queue is well known to be a very different game from competitive, and he was thrown into a lineup playing its first split without Hai. However, once Hai returned, Jensen’s skill began to shine as he made it to Worlds and had quite a few strong performances against international competition. Since then, he has been the hard-carry of C9 and hasn’t really relinquished the post.

Similar to Bjergsen, Jensen has received new tools to work around with former world champion Impact holding down top lane and former superstar Meteos slotting back into the jungle. Jensen has been surrounded by a stable of players that look to prop up a star and he has delivered nicely for C9. Meteos’ reintroduction to professional play has been pivotal, as he has adjusted to Jensen and become the partner in crime Jensen needed.

Jensen, unlike Bjergsen, has been the main damage source for C9, but not without plenty of backup as well. Sneaky and Impact’s teamfight pressure are both notable enough that Jensen shouldn’t worry about being the be-all and end-all of C9, not necessarily drawing the amount of attention Bjergsen did earlier in his career.

It’s a battle of the tried-and-true veteran and the upstart superstar, with TSM being the juggernaut and C9 its final challenge. Bjergsen is still the face of his team and is definitely still as threatening, but isn’t the heavy artillery that Jensen represents for C9. However, it seems that the mid laners are evenly matched. Both mid-laners seemingly have no champion pool issues as neither has particularly shied away from meta champions. Jensen has shown to be more aggressive in the laning phase and depending on jungle involvement, which may make or break his performance.

Pressure is surely something else to take into account. Bjergsen and co. are guaranteed to play at the League of Legends World Championship regardless of the outcome of the match, while Jensen and C9 will have to play through the regional gauntlet in the event of a loss. Bjergsen is also in much less of a pressure role compared to Jensen, as being the main carry always means being the focal point of a team’s play.

Regardless of the pressure and the logistics, the matchup is as close as it has ever been, having come so far from their initial matchup. Bjergsen is looking to bring his Team Solomid to Worlds as the first seed and show the naysayers that he and TSM can indeed perform internationally. Jensen aims to win his first LCS title and C9’s first without Hai. While there is a slew of factors, one thing is for sure: only one mid laner will be king.

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