Nicolaj "Jensen" Jensen has started the new chapter of his career on a pronounced note. The Mid Laner's first game on Team Liquid was against Cloud9, and Jensen did not show mercy to his old team.
Drafting Cassiopeia, arguably the strongest champion in the game, as the first pick, Team Liquid put its trust in Jensen to carry the game on the Serpent's Embrace. He did not disappoint. Jensen finished the game on Cassiopeia with a 10/2/7 scoreline, spearheading Team Liquid's dismantling of C9.
Jensen always hasn't had the finest finesse in the big moments, but his first game on Team Liquid has shown that he's ready to rise to the occasion. Jensen sat down with InvenGlobal following TL's win to talk about his new team, his mental growth, and the LCS trophy that has eluded him for his entire career.
Jensen, you had a great performance in your first match as Team Liquid's Mid Laner. How important is it for you to have gotten this with a statement game?
I'd say it's pretty important to make sure we play well together as a team on stage. Most important, though, was not losing to Cloud9. I would not have had regrets if we had lost to C9, but I think a lot of people would have been really upset with me if we were to lose, or if I hadn't performed well. It's a burden, but it's something I had to do, so I was really happy we were able to pull out the win.
When there are those type of "big moment" situations, it's sometimes better to just embrace the moment instead of trying to play it off. How have you grown in your comfort in those big moments?
This was definitely something I thought about before we went into the game, but once I'm in the game and in the zone, I don't really think much about the outside factors. But once we got the second Baron, I was like, 'Holy sh*t, we're going to win this game.' That's when it kicked in that it was our game and I think about all of the other stuff.
The biggest thing on my mind beforehand was the consequences of losing. I think so many people would have been upset with me and I think it would have put a lot of pressure on us as a team if we were to lose, so I'm really happy we were able to take the win.
Were your teammates aware of the gravity of the situation for you personally?
We weren't talking about it much, honestly. Impact told me that he understood my situation because his was the same from last year. He said, "Feels good right?"
That was really all there was to it. I don't think they should feel any of the pressure because it's really just my situation, in my opinion. It was something that I had to overcome and I was happy that we got the win.
Were you surprised Cloud9 allowed you to have Cassiopeia, given its strength in the meta and your history on the champion?
We did preparation for over an hour and went through many scenarios, but we didn't go through a single scenario where C9 gave us Cassiopeia. When Cloud9 left it open, I was just like, "What the hell? First pick that for me, let's take the free win." I thought it was kind of disrespectful. It was super unexpected to me.
Doublelift solokilled Sneaky in your game today. What were the comms like when that happened?
I didn't even see what happened, honestly. Doublelift just said he was going for the solo kill and I was like, "Oh, ok. Good sh*t Peter!" I don't remember much being said by anyone really.
How vocal is CoreJJ in-game?
CoreJJ is pretty vocal about everything in the game. He's always looking for things other Supports aren't. He's super smart about the game and talks a lot as well. He's definitely one of the more vocal guys along with Impact.
How does Team Liquid's flow of communications compare to Cloud9's?
Right now, it feels a bit hectic because we are a new team. That was our first time on stage, so things were a little cluttered. Since we are a full team of veterans; everyone is talking. We need to smoothen things out a bit, but we all have really good calls. Everyone knows their role and is always in a good position to set up a fight.
I think that was the biggest difference to me. We were able to create a lot of fights just through flanks or unexpected maneuvers I don't think we ever would have done on Cloud9.
Down the stretch last year on Cloud9, the roster consisted of two veterans in yourself and Sneaky, and then younger players around you formed to the playstyle of the team. As a veteran in a team of veterans, have you had any changed perspectives on the game since joining TL?
When compared to Cloud9 at the 2018 World Championship, our playstyles are similar. We focused Bot Lane more when playing with Svenskeren at Worlds when compared to our Mid-centric style with Blaber as the Jungler. Since I already made that adjustment for Worlds, I didn't really have to do much adaptation.
It's my responsibility to offer my view on how I think Mid Lane should be played. I think when the team played with Pobelter, the Mid Lane wasn't involved in a lot of the stuff the team did regarding vision; pressure; etc. I have to tell my teammates how that should be done so we are playing more together as a team.
You've talked about wanting an LCS title that has eluded you so far. What about Team Liquid as an organization puts you in the best situation to succeed domestically and win a title this year?
One thing that I didn't expect is how much we focus on the mental approach in TL. It's more about the mindset than just showing up on stage and playing well. Our preparation is a lot more centered around our mental state. It's upping the performance during practice a lot more here than on Cloud9. Obviously, we focused on practice in Cloud9 as well, but we have a completely different approach and I think that's something that's really helping us.
In addition, we are a full team of veteran players, so everyone knows what to do. Our coaching staff is helping us a lot as well.
You alluded earlier to following in Impact's footsteps in transferring from Cloud9 to Team Liquid. Has he changed as a player since you last played with him?
No, not really. He's a super selfless player. In today's game, he gave up a wave in the Top Lane to roam opportunity Mid. That's something that's super rare for top laners to do; he does what's best for the team. I think a lot of players have the mindset that they need to carry, or always be up in CS and pressuring the lane. I think Impact understands the vision game a lot and how to affect the entire map. It's always a good time playing with him.
TL's Head Coach, Cain, was originally a coach on C9 under Reapered. Has he changed in style since you last worked with him?
I wasn't sure what to expect from Cain when I first joined. On Cloud9, he was a bit more quiet and working under Reapered, so he was helping Reapered a lot more than helping us directly. Now that he's stepped up into his role, he's been super good. He's really easy to work with and gives criticism in a really positive way.
Obviously, he will be harsh if he has to, but his approach to everything is super genuine. It's been a pleasure working with Cain so far.
What do you think is the main difference between Cain and Reapered as coaches?
I think Reapered is a lot tougher on his players, and will look a lot more into the small mistakes and make you feel bad about it in a way. Cain will mention a mistake, but will tell you that you can do better. It's a nicer approach, whereas I think Reapered's more strict in his coaching style.
Other teams have focused on acquiring more roster depth, but Team Liquid re-loaded with only five players. Why is TL's approach to roster construction different from what other teams are doing?
I think it's just because we're all veterans. I've mentioned this multiple times, but I don't think we have any weaknesses. I think the point of having a sub system is good for when someone is feeling down mentally, or caving to pressure, or just has a stylistic disadvantage in the situation. But I think we're all pretty versatile on TL, so it's not needed, at least as of right now.
In our interview with Cain, he praised your on-stage performance but joked about your scrim performances. What are your thoughts?
I think what he said was accurate; like I said, we tend to work more on the mental side of things now. To me, everyone is going to play better on stage because they are in the zone, and I'm very bad at
staying focused in-game during a scrim. A lot of the times I will end up running it down and feeding my ass off. It won't even be out of bad intentions, I'll just be out of focus and make a dumb mistake.
I don't always do this; we've gone many days without losing a scrim. But sometimes when I feel
extra tired I will inadvertently end up ruining some games, but we're working on it.
Now that you've triumphed over Cloud9, are there any other teams you're looking forward to playing against?
I thought Cloud9 would be the hardest opponent, so I don't think there will be any teams that give us too much trouble. I think it's more about fixing the mistakes that we make. Even in our win today, we made a lot of mistakes, so we definitely need to review and fix those mistakes to become the best team.
Thanks for the interview, Jensen. Is there anything you'd like to say to your fans?
Thank you guys for supporting me. I'm sorry that I had to beat C9, and I hope that you guys will join me now.