Soren “Bjergsen” Bjerg finished the final LCS season of 2014 at the top of the heap in North America. On Sep. 1, Team SoloMid upset longtime rivals, and two-time defending champions Cloud9, in the NA LCS summer finals. But the team’s year ended on a much more sour note. In December, SoloMid crashed out of IEM San Jose, giving up a shocking loss to European newcomers Unicorns of Love.
A month later, and Bjerg has already put the loss to Unicorns of Love behind him. On the first day of the North American Spring Split, he came out swinging with Ahri in SoloMid’s first match—against Cloud9 .
Immediately following his impressive 8/0/8 performance, Bjerg sat down with the Daily Dot to discuss playing with Santorin, what’s he’s doing differently this split, and his thoughts on the new meta.
You just won the first match of the season against Cloud9. How do you feel?
Of course I feel really good. We actually had some pretty rough scrims. We just moved and we had a lot of internet problems so we had to go to Riot to scrim. Honestly there were just a lot of things that weren’t going our way and somehow we managed to pick up the win. So I’m super happy about that.
What prep did you do for your rivals Cloud9?
It was really hard to know what they were going to play because there’s been such a long offseason and the meta has changed a lot even since IEM San Jose so we had to go off what they were playing in solo queue, what we could think they might play. We know them as players, we know what they like to play. We just went for a long shot and just try to think of things they would play and counter it. It’s mostly up to Loco and our two analysts who made the pick ban happen. We tried a bunch of different things in scrims.
Did you have Rek’Sai planned out?
We had definitely been playing Rek’Sai a lot in scrims. It’s just a really powerful pick. Rek’Sai and Jarvan are definitely the best two junglers. They have different kinds of strengths. Rek’Sai has a lot of early game power and duelling power. We thought against Cloud9 that’s something we can really use.
Santorin, your Danish compatriot, joined the team. What’s that been like?
It’s actually been really easy. We pretty much plug and play him. There wasn’t really any major problems. He kind of has a similar style to Amazing. He communicates about the same way and just as much. It was very easy to plug and play him and he gets along with the team very well, especially me, because he speaks some Danish, we have similarities like stuff we miss from home. There’s a lot of things we can talk about and relate to. It’s been really easy to become good friends with him.
What’s an example of something you miss from home that you share with him?
It’s just like—food. There’s this special kind of bread called rugbrød. It’s something that every Danish person loves and every Danish person that lives here misses. It’s just stuff like that, family. Speaking the native tongue is nice, too.
You plug and play him, but there must be some style differences with Amazing?
Amazing had these moments where he just went big. He made these big game changing plays. I feel like Santorin is a lot more consistent. He’s that consistent force that you always know will back you up. He will easily give up a camp to come help the team. Amazing can really make those big players and make that big difference. Santorin is not a passive player, but he consistently plays well and does what he needs to do for the team.
You’re starting off on a new season, new you. Anything you’re trying to change personally?
I want to be able to play as much as I can without being stressed. Last season I just played, played, played, 12 to 14 hours a day, and it would really get to my mind. I’m trying to have more of a release outside the game, something I can do to get the game off my mind, maybe just for an hour, half an hour every single day. That can really go a long way, because when you have your mentality in place that can make a huge difference on stage. As a team, we just want to optimize our practice as much as possible. It’s what every team wants to do at this point—make their practice efficient—but its something we really want to focus on. Loco and our analysts are doing a great job to help us do that.
How do you release?
It’s simple things like going out, eating with the team, working out, watching a movie. Relaxing, maybe playing something else. You can do the simplest things as long as it gets your mind off the game, its something you enjoy, and it’s something that relaxes you and calms your mind.
Any new teams you find interesting or difficult?
There’s a lot of teams I don’t know what to expect out of [Team Impulse], Winterfox, they’re all teams that have had a lot of roster changes. They have a lot of new faces, faces from other regions, we’ll see how they do. We’ve seen people come to NA, EU and adapt really fast, but some can’t really click well the team so I think those kind of teams that made big roster changes, especially coming from outside regions, can definitely go really well, but it can also be their downfall.
Is there any player or team who has really impressed you?
Unfortunately, we haven’t been able to scrim the new teams in the league because they’ve all been getting visas. They haven’t got back maybe like a week ago, some haven’t even gotten back, Piglet wasn’t here this first week. We haven’t been able to scrim any of those teams that had major changes. We’ve just been scrimming CLG, Gravity.
What’s different about this season than last season?
Every season just gets more and more competitive. Every team is going to have more coaches, more analysts, overall smarter. The biggest thing, coaches can be on stage and help with picks and bans. It’s going to make every game a lot better. We’re going to see a lot better comps. The coaches did a perfectly good job last season, but everything changes in champion select with the picks and the bans. Having the coach there, it’s going to make the overall quality of the games a lot higher and a lot more competitive.
You guys made a roster change that’s kind of a sidegrade. What do you guys need to do to challenge on the world stage and do better at Worlds this year?
Teams often give cliched answers—we’ll be better prepared, practice more. Is that all you can do?
I don’t think it’s really practicing more, it’s practicing better. The Koreans have a lot better infrastructure, especially for practice. They optimize every single hour they use, they use well. They have goals set weekly, daily goals, what do they need to achieve today, what do they need to achieve by the end of the week. That’s really what we’re trying to do. We’re looking to get multiple play styles, instead of just having one or two. That makes a team very predictable. I feel like we personally were very predictable around Worlds. But that’s something we’re looking to change for this season. We’re looking to expand this strategy.
If you guys do that optimization, are you skilled enough to challenge those teams at Worlds?
I actually do think that the top NA and EU teams can definitely rival the Korean teams, if you don’t look at Samsung White—I think they were just a level above everyone else at Worlds. NA and EU teams, they’re fine against pretty much every other team. Cloud9 took games off Samsung Blue, the series was pretty close overall. There’s just a lot of things we’re learning every single year. Of course they’re learning too, but I think we can definitely catch up.
What about the Chinese teams with the Koreans on their roster?
The LPL is definitely going to look stronger this year than last year. They obviously did well, it’s just looking like more and more competition. It’s another region you have to look out for.
What are your thoughts on the new meta?
For me personally, it’s shot calling in the new meta. Sometimes you can give up Dragon really easily, especially the second Dragon. It gives more turret damage, that’s not always useful. If the game is very even, it’s not going to make a huge difference unless they have a siege comp, so you can make a lot of trade offs, trade off vision on one side, a turret, and give up the Dragon. There’s a lot of trade-offs in objective and different teams are going to have different objective priorities. So that’s really something I’m personally going to have learn, and it’s something we just keep adapting to.
How is shot calling going?
Around worlds, we were scrimming eight to 10 hours a day, then we had the big break. It’s just coming back up. I feel like on stage I did a lot better shot calling than in scrims. When you’re on stage you’re in the spotlight. When you feel the pressure it’s a lot easier to really navigate the team and tell them what they do. I’m definitely trying my hardest. It’s a hard job but I’m trying my best.
How did Locodoco contribute to the champion select?
It’s not as much that he gives us ideas. He pretty much leads the entire champion select. So Loco is pretty much the leading force and we come up with ideas. He is the coach. He studies the game more than us. We play it more, we have better in-game knowledge about our lanes, but he has really good overall knowledge of the game. He leads the champion select, he tells us what he thinks we should play, pretty much every pick he said we ended up picking because we agreed. He did a great job today.