Cloud9 defeated the Golden Guardians in convincing fashion Saturday afternoon to move to a record of 2-1 on Week 2, Day 1 of the 2019 LCS Spring Split. GGS Jungler Juan "Contractz" Garcia managed to secure first blood against his former team, but Dennis "Svenskeren" Johnsen played masterfully towards the talents of Eric "Licorice" Ritchie on Urgot. Cloud9's superior solo lanes ended up being the difference in Cloud9's 30 minute victory.
Since Svenskeren returned to the starting Cloud9 roster full time, he's been in sync with Cloud9's young top laner, as well as his new Mid Laner Yasin "Nisqy" Dincer. Cloud9's Jungler sat down with Inven Global following his triumph over Golden Guardians to discuss the game, his new teammates, and the development of leadership.
We're joined by Cloud9 Jungler Svenskeren. How did your game today go when compared to your expectations?
I think the game against Golden Guardians was pretty easy. I attempted a bad invade in the early game and gave up First Blood, but it ended up not really mattering at all. Contractz' Lee Sin got the early kill on me, but we were still able to snowball the game pretty well. I was ganking top a lot for Licorice and we got a pretty big lead through that. Once we got to the mid game, they didn't do anything at all, and we got Baron for free. It was pretty easy.
Your vision control as a team was on another level when compared to your opponent's. To what do you attribute to Cloud9's superior vision control?
I'm not really sure. We don't really talk too much about vision control or make it much of a focus in our team. It's just something that comes pretty naturally for us, so we just try to buy as many Control Wards as possible. At least, Zeyzal and I do, and this game, I noticed we got some pretty good early game Control Wards that Golden Guardians wasn't able to track. We were able to track the Lee Sin in the early game because we had two deep Conrol Wards and they didn't clear them as fast as they could have.
Last time you interviewed with Inven Global, you were still splitting time with Blaber, but you've been the starter since the 2018 World Championship. Was there something that clicked for you where you were able to unlock another level in your play?
Blaber has a hunger to win games and take every fight, which was something I didn't have at the time. I was more laid back and relaxed about how the game should be played. I was too calm, and I think in the team you need someone to be loud.
Blaber taught me that you need someone to have a strong voice in the team. If the other four guys are quiet, and I'm also quiet, we're not going to snowball the game if we're not going to be aggressive. He made me realize I had to be more loud, which is something I need to work on and have been trying to improve on ever since Worlds. I really peaked at Worlds last year, so I'm trying to keep building on that this year.
You were very aggressive early in your career on SK Gaming. Do you feel like this has been a return to form, or an adjustment because of how long it has been?
Back then, the was different because the jungle camps spawned faster, so there was a lot more to fight around. But I think right now the game is in a pretty good state. They didn't change too much from the worlds patch, so the game is still kind of similar to how the meta was at Worlds, which I really like. There's a lot of early game aggression; you don't just farm up and wait for late game. You can actually snowball the game.
They made dragons spawn a lot faster as well so there is more to fight around. I really like the state of the game currenly. It's very different when compared to long ago though because back then people weren't as good. You were able to take a lot of fights back then that objectively shouldn't be won.
I remember I used to take random fights all of the time and it would work because I was a little bit better than the enemy Jungler, so I would just win the skirmish. People are a lot more aware of collapsing on the enemy jungler, so it's always dangerous when you go for an invade, as you saw in my game today. There's a whole level of coordination in competitive play that didn't exist before.
How was it decided who was going to be the starting to jungler for Cloud9 in the 2019 LCS Spring Split?
I wasn't really part of the conversations too much, it's just up to Reapered or Jack to make the decision. I think my performance at Worlds showed Cloud9 that I'm pretty valuable to the team, as long as I keep improving, of course. Nobody on our roster has a spot secured, so that's a pretty good factor for motivation that a lot of other teams don't have. It's definitely a positive for me.
Have you noticed that Licorice and Zeyzal have grown since Worlds?
The biggest change in my opinion is in Licorice. When Licorice joined C9, he had no clue about macro, he just played lane and did what he was told. He's on a whole other level now. I think Zeyzal is kind of the same as when he first joined the team, which is what I like about him. He's calm and never stressing anyone out, so he's really helpful in terms of keeping the game going in a good direction.
You don't stress and do tilt plays because some guy is yelling 'we're losing we're losing' That just stresses out everone in the situatioe. Zeyzal is calm, and he is always saying things like, 'we can still win, guys.' He hasn't changed much since worlds or become cocky or anything. Not to say that Licorice has become cocky, but he's...pretty good. laughs
You also have a new solo laner on the team with Nisqy in the Mid Lane, and he told us that he knew you from when you both played in Europe. Did you originally meet him in Europe?
I've known about Nisqy for a long time, because he was playing in EU solo queue. I've known who he is, but I never talked to him or met him.
As a European player who has now spent a good amount of his career in North America, were you able to impart any wisdom upon Nisqy who is making the same jump as a younger player?
I think he's doing a pretty good job. He's not shy about socializing at all, and I think the only hard thing about moving from Europe to NA is that you really don't know anybody. When I first moved to NA to join TSM, I only knew Bjergsen because we played on Copenhagen Wolves together a few years prior. But I think Nisqy's doing a really good job of socializing with people.
His rookie split in the 2017 NA LCS Summer Split on Team NV was probably harder than things are now, because he didn't know anybody, but he made a lot of friends then that he knows here now. He's friends with LirA on CG and alot of the former NV coaches still work in the LCS. I think it's a lot easier for him in Cloud9 when compared to Team NV, in large part because he's not stressing about not knowing anybody or being social.
Looking at your 2018 as a whole, you started off strong and then after struggling, re-invented yourself on Cloud9 Academy for a strong Worlds performance. Do you have any personal goals for the 2019 season?
I definitely have some goals, and one of them is to keep improving my leadership skills. When I first joined Cloud9, I didn't really have any leadership skills . It's also why I got benched on TSM, because they wanted someone with leadership skills. Coming into Cloud9, what I've been trying to do is be a strong voice on the team and have the guys trust me in my leadership skills. Ideally, whenever I call something, thye're going to all-in and fight with me, so I think that's the biggest goal.
Cloud9 has a unique approach to leadership. Has Reapered every said anything to you about "using your brain" like he did to Nisqy?
Yeah, he still asks if we're going to use our brains a lot. *laughs* I think he just means we have to think about the game I guess if we're not really awake for our first scrim block, for example. You're really just autopilioting and not playing the game to the maximum of your potential, so i think he just doesn't want those games on stage you know?
Where does Cloud9 sit in relative strength to the rest of NA?
I think right now we are a top 2 team. It should be TL only that should be able to beat us, and coming into playoffs, we are going to be the number one team.
Thanks so much for the interview, Svenskeren, we appreciate your time. Is there anyting you'd like to say to your fans?
Thank you for supporting us. I hope you guys keep suppporting us throughout 2019!