Cloud9 defeated Evil Geniuses to become the first ever team to qualify for the LCS Grand Finals. Jesper "Zven" Svenningsen spoke with us about the path they took throughout the season to get there. He claims he's glad they already lost all of their random "dreams" like a perfect season, perfect KDA, undying mid tower, 9-0 Playoff run, etc. because those achievements clouded their one goal of winning. He gives huge props to his entire team, especially C9's mid - jungle duo in robert "Blaber" Huang and Yasin "Nisqy" Dinçer.
Lastly, he breaks down how Cloud9 has kept in top shape and helped the team keep focused despite COVID-19 keeping them stuck at home and the VALORANT Clsoed Beta launching in the middle of Playoffs. Watch the interview on our YouTube channel here, or read the transcript below.
Parkes Ousley with Inven Global and I'm here with Zven, the AD Carry for Cloud9. Your team just made it to the Grand Finals of the 2020 LCS Spring Playoffs. A lot of people expected a C9 3-0, but what ended up happening in game 3 for Evil Geniuses to take the win?
I think we had a very early game-centric draft. We had worse teamfighting champions than EG in basically every role. EG had a lot of tanks and bruisers, but we had better laning champions and more early game pressure. We had to snowball better, but they got two kills in a bot lane dive and it set up behind a little bit. We need to play through lane better and get a lot more of an advantage in the early game so we could get four dragons before EG's composition could come online.
We made some mistake in the mid game and got caught her and there, and it the game stays even, we can't win teamfights 5v5 against Evil Geniuses' composition. We also don't outscale them or have any real silent threats, so we ended up making some mistakes early game that made our snowball potential not very reliable, and that's why we lost.
Cloud9 is considered the favorite to win the 2020 LCS Spring Playoffs. Which team do you think would give you the most difficulty in the Finals?
The team I think has the most potential to reach the Finals is TSM, as long as they click at some point. However, we always have positive scrim results against TSM, and that's true for every team we play against, to be fair, but they don't seem that strong right now. TSM could become a strong team over the next couple of weeks. If their players click, they are the best team besides us, but if not, it's Evil Geniuses. I think we'll play one of those teams in the Finals, most likely.
I'm not really afraid of either team, but I think those are the two teams who have the most potential to make it to the Finals. EG is very explosive, but if Jiizuke doesn't carry, no one carries. Sure, Bang had a good game today, but Aphelios is pretty OP and our composition in that game wasn't the greatest. Jiizuke is EG's main carry; if he isn't having a good game, it feels like no one is on their team. Thus, I think TSM is the highest potential threat if they do click and hit their ceiling.
Do you think TSM will beat FlyQuest tomorrow?
I honestly don't know who will win. We kind of stomp both teams in scrims recently, but scrims are only scrims. Sometimes people play better on stage than they do in scrims, even if 'on stage' is online like it is right now. Unless TSM has massively improved since their last best-of-five against 100 Thieves last week, they would still lose to EG even if they were to beat FLY. I think we'll play EG in the Finals unless TSM has a massive step up from its match against 100 Thieves.
100 Thieves and Golden Guardians were clearly the weakest two teams in the post-season, in my opinion. TSM, on the other hand, could be top 4 or top 2 if it plays to its potential. TSM shows brilliance at times, but in the same games, show bottom-tier levels of team play. It's hard to say, but I think the best team besides us right now is EG. TSM could prove a challenge as well if the team finds itself.
If EG was to meet your team again in the Finals, would the team have a better chance of beating you than it did today?
I think EG got more from the series today than we did, but we're pretty good at shadowboxing and improving on our own. I think we know what went wrong in our games today; even the ones that we won. In game 4, for example, we were winning the entire game, but we still made mistakes. At times, we were a bit too greedy and too confident in our teamfighting and skirmishing, so we know what went wrong with us. I think we can take a lot of things away from this series, but I do think EG learned more about us than vice-versa.
If EG can't adapt and win through someone other than Jiizuke, the team will never be great. More threats not named 'Aphelios' are needed on that team. You can't rely on one player or one champion, so, in that case, EG won't be good if the team is unable to play through somewhere else besides mid lane. Jiizuke is the only player who has champions that can 1v9 every game.
Is it weird to not know your opponent until the before the Finals?
I'll watch the last best-of-five before ours no matter who I am playing against. I might watch two series if it's TSM or FlyQuest, so I'll have 3-10 games to watch depending on how things go the weekend before. We'll have a week to prepare for that scenario, and whoever is in that position won't be able to afford to prepare for us because they'll have to prepare for EG, and vice-versa. Knowing this, we will have some type of preparation advantage because either opponent will have to prepare for another team before us. I think we have the advantage because we are already in the Grand Finals.
The #1 seeds in the LCS and LEC have a history of playing other games - like Cloud9 and Martin "Wunder" Nordahl Hansen spamming World of Warcraft and Team Liquid having similar rumors during a few Playoffs - so have you been playing VALORANT at all?
No one here is playing VALORANT so far, but I don't mind if my teammates play other games in queue or in downtime. Also, sometimes you have a meeting 30 minutes away and can't play League, so you might as well play another game. Some people play Minecraft; some play games on Steam like Jump King; whatever it is, I don't mind. I don't like when people play MMOs or game that require a high level of time investment and effort, but if people want to play VALORANT or something every once in a while, I don't mind it.
As long as you can show up on time, perform in scrims, and be a competent player for your team, it's not an issue. However, I don't want to see it in the post-season preferably, where people have to put a lot of effort into other games. So WoW I don't like, but I think our team is disciplined enough to not play VALORANT all the time right now, so I have no fear of that. I'm not playing VALORANT myself because I don't like shooters. I personally play games during queue times, but if I don't want to play anything, I'll just watch a TV series and chill or whatever. I don't mind what my teammates do, but I don't think anyone is going to play VALORANT...at least in playoffs. I think we're fine.
Good to hear that you're taking things seriously despite stomping the opposition. I thought you'd be the best VALORANT player on C9 because you're the AD Carry, but I guess not?
I don't think I'm very good at FPS games. I've never really played any; I've never been big into CS:GO etc. Even if it's VALORANT, I don't think I'll really play an FPS game.
Since we're in lockdown due to the COVID-19 pandemic, have you been doing anything differently?
C9 has three houses in the area: a CS:GO house, a DOTA 2 house, and our house. No one is in the DOTA 2 house right now, so we created a stage in their house for competing on our match days. We walk there with our gear and set up like we're at the LCS Studio, change our settings, and set up everything we have at LCS. We have Red Bull, water, hand warmers, and snacks on a table next to us for after the games for when we do our review sessions.
This all makes it feel like we're walking to the LCS and getting on stage, and it kind of flips the switch and helps everyone our team to take things seriously and get into the mode you want to have for LCS. Because of this, I think we have an advantage. Most teams play from home in their own respective apartments right now, whereas we are relatively closer, so I think that helps a lot.
Besides, I tried getting a beard, but I shaved it a few days ago because I didn't like how it looked so I think the beard dream is crushed and it's not coming back ever. But yeah, I tried it, saw what it looked like after a month and thought, "Ehh, f*** that." And now I'm here.
RIP! Do you get to wear pajama pants and be comfy?
For me, I wear the same pants every day anyway. Err like... Not the same pair, but... Same kind of pants, right? Every day it's just sweatpants and stuff, that's normal anyway. So nothing new. Scrims, food, soloqueue, sleep. Nothing changed for me so far. Cloud9 has kept the schedule relatively the same, so I'm all good.
So the MVP voting just came out and you're in the running. Do you think you'll get it? And if not, who do you think has the best chance?
I'm probably not going to get it even though I had probably the best split I've ever had in the LCS, so that kinda sucks. But I think my teammates, Nisqy and Blaber, are the front runners for this one. I think Blaber probably and Nisqy is also probably a good candidate, but I think if anyone else other than them get it, it's kinda rigged. They are the most important members to our team. Obviously, I think I played the best split I ever played and I think I played the best out of all the ADCs, and I'm happy with that.
But I don't think I deserve it more than Nisqy or Blaber because they're very important for our team and they're truly valuable right? Whereas all the other players on the list - first of all, they haven't performed better than Blaber or Nisqy, they aren't on a better team, and they aren't making their teams that much better than without them. So I think Nisqy or Blaber deserve the MVP, anyone else it would be unfair almost I'd say.
Also, a lot of players on the list had good starts to the split, or good endings, but not both. A lot of times when we look at MVPs we don't look at the whole split. Recency bias is huge for some teams.
And Blaber and Nisqy were also the two Players of the Series from your first against 100 Thieves and today against Evil Geniuses. Do you think you could steal it away from them in the finals?
Yeah, I think it's possible. I don't think I played super well today. I had a good Game 4 and I played fine in Games 1 and 2. But in the first two games, it was mid-jungle that was the strong point, right? And I played fine, I won lane and did all that, but I didn't have a huge impact in those games. But in Game 4 I played well and Philippe "Vulcan" Laflamme and I smashed them really hard. We played great as a duo and I'm happy with that. But I hope in the Finals I can have even more impact on the game.
Does Cloud9 have any sort of internal banter around who is winning all these awards?
I mean we always banter about who did the most damage in the game or who has the best KDA or whatever, but it's nothing serious. No one actually cares about MVPs, Player of the Week, that kinda stuff. I think the MVP awards in the LCS are often silly in a way because I think the people who have votes for LCS MVP aren't actually qualified to vote for this kind of stuff.
Like for coach of the split, even though I think Bok "Reapered" Han-gyu is a great coach and deserves the coach of the split award, the people who voted for him don't know that, right? People have no idea why, they're just creating a narrative in their head, like "best team, new players, sure best coach." But they have no idea what Reapered does on a daily basis. They have no idea how he coaches, what he actually does, and if he does anything at all. He could be a s*** coach and they wouldn't know, right? He's not, of course, but he could be and nobody would know.
As for MVP, I think a lot of people are biased in their voting and a lot aren't even qualified to vote in these sort of things, so I don't care too much about it. If I win, I'll be happy, if not, I won't care too much about it. But I think if anyone other than Nisqy or Blaber get it, it's kinda biased or unfair.
But in general, the record stuff, the 8-0, it's cool and all but it doesn't really matter in the end. Having high KDAs is nice but it's not important for our team. The mid tower thing, I'm glad all that kinda stuff is gone cus you don't want to be in game and be like, "Oh defend mid tower no matter what because it's our first tower of the split!" That doesnt actually matter.
That one game vs Dignitas we lost that tower mid, we got their whole base bot side for that mid tower, it's worth it. You don't want to defend the mid tower just because it's mid tower. So I'm happy that all the undefeated records are gone, the Playoffs 9-0 is gone, the KDA whatever dreams are gone, I'm happy its gone. It doesn't actually matter. What matters is win or lose.
I really like that. So last thing before we go, if we are able to have MSI and you guys qualify, who would you hope to see there?
I'd like to see G2 or Fnatic - which is probably pretty likely anyway - since it's my old teammates. Alfonso "Mithy" Rodríguez is with Fnatic and Luka "PERKZ" Perković on G2 and I like those players in general, they're fun teams. In LCK and LPL I don't really care. FPX I guess, they're the best team in the LPL I suppose, or will be by MSI. And LCK it's always fun to play against T1, they're "The Korean Team" I suppose. People don't really care about the other teams at all. Who really cares about DAMWON, the Western world doesn't really care about those teams as much so I think it'd be more hype to play against T1. So yeah, T1 and FPX and G2 or Fnatic and I'd be happy.
But with that said, I don't think like MSI is going to be happening, it doesn't seem like there's any progress we've made. I don't have high hopes and don't think MSI online would be the same. I feel like LCS online is fine, but having those tournaments like MSI online would be different. I hope it's delayed and maybe we can play it later on in summer or something, but yeah, if anything, I hope it's those teams.
Yeah flying across the world to play from a hotel room would be a little weird, I agree. Well thank you so much, anything you want to say to your fans before we head out?
As always, the support I've had through the split has been amazing. The fans have been nothing but nice to me in general. But yeah, thank you for cheering for me and the team. I'm trying my hardest every day to make sure Cloud9 can reach new heights, finally win a trophy again in the LCS, and go to MSI and Worlds if those still happen. But yeah, being a pro player isn't anything without fans, right? So I appreciate you guys so much.
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