League of Legends

“Best in the West” bot lane splits apart

After almost five years of playing together professionally, the historic duo of Jesper “Zven” Svenningsen and Alfonso “Mithy” Aguirre Rodríguez is finally splitting apart. One of the most successful and strongest bot lanes Western League of Legends has ever seen, the move comes on the heels of another disappointing finish for the duo that has left both players looking for a future elsewhere.

In 2015, one of the most legendary bot lanes in League of Legends history would make their European League Championship Series debut. Zven (or Niels as he used to be known) and Mithy would be founding members of the newly formed Origen, a team who would battle their way through the European Challenger Series to earn a place in the EU LCS, and although mid-laner Enrique “xPeke” Cedeño Martínez was the original star of the lineup it would become clear over time that the synergy and strength of the bot lane was something special.

Transitioning to the reigning EU LCS champions G2 Esports in 2016, Zven and Mithy would continue their ascent as they became the most dominant bot lane in the EU LCS, a status that earned them the title of “best in the west”. While Zven and Mithy continued to flourish domestically, the duo and G2 struggled to find any sort of international success. After multiple disappointing finishes with G2, it was clear the duo needed a fresh start.

Similarly, After their disappointing end at the 2017 World Championships, the North American League Championship Series’ Team SoloMid knew they needed to make a change. Zeroing in on their bot lane as a point of emphasis for improvement, they reached across the pond to the EU LCS and made a deal that would send shockwaves through the Western League of Legends scene.

Expectations for Zven and Mithy were exceedingly high as they followed on the heels of possibly the NA LCS’s best bot laner Yiliang “Doublelift” Peng and Vincent “Biofrost” Wang. It was clear early on the long-developed synergy of the duo would be enough to claim victory over most of the floundering NA LCS bot lanes, but unlike in their years in the EU LCS Zven and Mithy were never able to find the same dominance they had on G2.

Whether a function of poor synergy with the other players of TSM or the clearly slipping play of Mithy as the seasons wore on, the once “best in the west” bot lane would eventually become a point of weakness for TSM as they struggled to secure a playoff berth in the 2018 Summer Split.

Culminating with TSM being eliminated early in the Summer Playoffs and failing to make the World Championships for the first time in the organisation’s history, it was clear the duo’s time on TSM (and possibly together) had come to an end.

As TSM poured over the tape from the last season, they identified that although the duo had struggled for much of the Summer Split, Zven had still shown multiple flashes of his mechanical prowess and ability to carry games. Conversely, Mithy had made multiple mistakes that put the duo at an early disadvantage, and although many had lauded him for his shot-calling ability on G2, that prowess had quickly dissipated after his arrival to the NA LCS with his new organisation and teammates.

Deciding to resign Zven for the 2019 season, TSM would release Mithy to a familiar organisation in Origen. Accepted as one of the permanent partners in the newly formed League of Legends European Championship (formerly the EU LCS), Origen’s new roster features a mix of old talent and is hoping to be a place for Mithy to revitalise his playing career.

As Zven and Mithy search for redemption in 2019, they will be doing it apart for the first time in years. Once the best in the west, both are now chasing the rest of the west as they fight to retain their positions on a professional roster. With new lane partners and rebuilt rosters, only time will tell if the magic they had as a duo can be rekindled apart.

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