With Riot Games revealing their latest LCS Summer Split 2016 awards — for MVP — theScore esports sat down to break down our votes.
Emily Rand — Søren "Bjergsen" Bjerg
Team SoloMid is one of the few teams that can re-shift their resources or rebuild in a variety of ways and as long as they have Søren “Bjergsen” they’ll come out near or at the top of North America. When TSM struggled last split, it was Bjergsen who visibly made the difference, turning teamfights in their favor. As other pieces change around him, he is always reliable, holding down mid lane and facilitating TSM’s other moving parts.
This past split, Bjergsen’s numbers have been fantastic. He had the highest KDA (7.1), third-highest kill participation (72.9 percent), and highest gold differential at 10 minutes (189) among many other impressive statistics. Yet, what makes him the split MVP is his consistent play and irreplaceable awareness.
Bjergsen allows Dennis “Svenskeren” Johnsen to focus elsewhere in the jungle when needed, and immediately follows up on his initiations when starting teamfights with extra crowd control. More than Svenskeren, Bjergsen participates in a larger percentage of TSM’s kills, sometimes acting as a second jungler with crucial roams to affect the side lanes. Bjergsen elevates TSM’s individual parts, binds them together, and makes them a more cohesive team.
Honorable mention: Reignover, Jensen
Tim "Magic" Sevenhuysen — Søren "Bjergsen" Bjerg
All of the arguments for and against Bjergsen as summer MVP have been discussed in detail. Some give the award to Yiliang "Doublelift" Peng over him, often because of hard-to-pinpoint invisible qualifications like shot calling or the desire to avoid role bias.
For me, it comes down to questions like replaceability ("What would the team have looked like without them?") and role excellence ("How well did they do their own job?"). While Doublelift very much stands out on the latter point, he was also much more replaceable than Bjergsen, without whom I doubt TSM would have looked nearly as good.
This split, Bjergsen did far more than his own job. He used his superior command of the mid lane to push out onto the rest of the map and make the rest of his team look good. Bjergsen's constant roaming was one of the most identifiable parts of TSM's strength all season: he frequently headed to the top lane to gank for Kevin "Hauntzer" Yarnell to help set him up as a carry or a split pusher, and did similar for Doublelift and Vincent "Biofrost" Wang. His Teleports into bot lane to save Doublelift with last-second Zilean ultimates were a perfect microcosm of the relationship between Bjergsen and the rest of his team: "Don't worry; I've got you."
Yes, TSM repaid the favor by roaming into mid lane to help Bjergsen, as well. That reciprocation is part of why TSM has been so good as a five-man unit. Ultimately, though, I believe Bjergsen deserves more credit than anyone else for making his team successful.
At second, I voted for Reignover. The Immortals put in another very strong regular season, despite some regression from Huni. Reignover held his team together and manufactured wins by his own strength of will, once again demonstrating just how much better he is than every other jungler in North America.
Doublelift came in at third, for me, because his accomplishments this split deserve to be celebrated. I just don’t think he was as important for TSM as Bjergsen was.
Honorable mentions: Reignover, Doublelift