Should we call out TSM’s carries?

TSM’s 2017 World Championship run came to an end, and we look back at the performance of Bjergsen and Doublelift.

Every time Worlds rolls around and TSM inevitably don’t make it out of the group stage, fans start looking for a reason. Is it the coaching staff that couldn’t set up the players for success with a good draft? Is it the jungler that couldn’t find the right ganks in the early game? Or is it the person that held Flash in the final 5v5 that’s to blame for the loss?

Yet people who are supposed to propel this team to victory tend to get away scot-free. Despite the fact that TSM’s carries continuously underperform at the international stage. This year, in particular, Bjergsen and Doublelift were in a prime spot to make a deep Worlds run. 

They’ve already proven their worth in the NA LCS, and now, with the meta shifting towards the bottom lane, both of them had the tools they needed to carry. In theory, Bjergsen could break open the game by translating his strong laning phase into roams while Doublelift could act as the foundation of TSM’s teamfighting.  

But that wasn’t what happened.

Instead, Bjergsen seemed to be content with getting small CS leads, and Doublelift could pop off in one game only to become practically invisible in the other. Worst of all, neither of them seemed to be willing to pull the trigger. To echo our previous sentiment, a part of it was definitely on the pick/ban phase. When you’re constantly drafting scaling team compositions, it’s easy to fall into a trap of sitting back and stalling for the late game. 

But passive play doesn’t make champions. Waiting for your enemies to commit mistakes can work when you’re miles ahead of the competition and don’t want to risk getting dragged into hectic skirmishes. But the first week of the tournament revealed glaring issues in TSM’s early game, and that alone should have been their wake-up call.

They weren’t the overwhelming favorites that everyone made them out to be. And it wouldn’t take other teams much to catch up.  Of course, hindsight is 20/20. Now that their run is over, it’s easy to get caught up in an endless string of what ifs and conclude that TSM should’ve done something differently. And it’s up to the two biggest voices on the team to kick-start the much-needed shift in direction. 

Bjergsen and Doublelift should’ve been the driving force behind TSM’s victories. 

But again, that didn’t happen. Doublelift’s play fell apart under the burden of mechanical missteps and decision-making mistakes. As for Bjergsen, he just couldn’t seem to commit to a play even if it stared right into his face. In a way, it’s unfair for TSM’s captain to be criticized for the moves he didn’t make when there were many more errors that actually happened. But when push comes to shove, someone has to step up and pull the trigger. 

And on TSM, no one did. 

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Daniil Volkov

I craft League of Legends narratives and cover LCK, NA & EU LCS.