Jesper "Zven" Svenningsen was not the intended starter in the bot lane for Cloud9 in the 2022 LCS Lock In, but he's certainly making his appearance count. Cloud9 went 2-0 on the first day of the Lock In, highlighted by a game-winning Pentakill on Ziggs for Zven against FlyQuest. It was the sixth Pentakill Zven has recorded in the LCS since making his debut in North America in the 2018 NA LCS Spring Split on TSM.
After the first day of the 2022 LCS Lock In, Zven spoke to Inven Global about the inner workings of Cloud9's new system, his position within that system, and his thoughts on the other top teams in the LCS.
When did you know you had the chance at a Pentakill to win the game against FlyQuest?
We killed three people, and then, I had the thought in my head for a second. However, I then realized that the fight wasn't over yet. Their Apheilos was still alive, so we shouldn't be thinking about Pentakills, we should be thinking about winning the game.
Then, Aphelios used Stopwatch, and that's when I knew that if I killed Aphelios, then Ornn would die to me eventually. *laughs* Once Aphelios went into stasis, I said in comms, 'Let me! Let me!' because I knew I could get the Pentakill. I don't think my teammates let me kill Aphelios, it just happened. Then, Ornn was ripe for the taking. It feels good to add another Pentakill to the collection.
C9 secured the Chemtech Soul in this game, which has been brought up as a huge balance issue in season 12. What are your thoughts on the Chemtch Drake?
It's not that broken. However, I think the Chemtech map changes are the most powerful of any dragon, by far. Its changes to Summoner's Rift are the most impactful and it's not even close. However, the Chemtech Soul is not that overpowered, actually. It all depends on team comps; that's how all dragons work.
Chemtech Soul is really strong when the other team has to kill one person. For example, let's say you're playing a Diana/Yasuo composition, and you kill the carry, but they respawn as a zombie after you combo your ultimates. That guy just kills you now because he's a zombie. It's often hard to win a teamfight against a team with Chemtech Soul, but right now, you're seeing Corki in every game and even some poke-centric compositions with long range.
The game is a lot more of a standoff with champions like Caitlyn, Corki, Viktor, Ezreal, Karma, Lux etc. A lot of the time, the game right now isn't about fighting a full teamfight down to zero health, it's more about standoffs and poke compositions. Against poke comps, Chemtech soul doesn't give you anything. It doesn't give you any stats at all, and the passive is less useful against poke comps.
However, I do think the Chemtech map is way more overpowered than the other dragon maps. No one cares about the Ocean map, or the Cloud map, or the Infernal map. Sure, Rengar doesn't like to play on Infernal because there are less bushes, but it doesn't change the game outcome completely, whereas the Chemtech map can make the game completely unplayable for some team comps. If they can't facecheck the shrouded area, assassins can thrive there.
It's great to see you back in the LCS, but how we got here was quite unexpected. What can you tell us about the off-season and how we got to this point?
I can't talk too much about how we got here, but the idea is to sort-of have a 10-man roster. Obviously, there will be five starting players initially, which would not be me in this case, but we will have in-house scrims once everyone arrives, including our coach. The idea is to have the best players play, regardless of nationality or role.
I believe in the project. It's something I think could be good for the team and for the region. I've had a lot of faith in this since LS and Max told me about it, and I think that it could work. Eventually, like in summer, C9 will reach a higher level.
Have you had a chance to work with LS at all while he's still in South Korea?
I haven't interacted too much with him or the players who are still stuck in South Korea. Obviously, I was in South Korea in a bootcamp with them and I got to know them a little bit more. I've also spoken to LS online about the project and what he gave up to come here. I really believe in this team and him to choose what is best for everyone, which is why I said I believed in the project earlier.
So far, I haven't had too many interactions with LS, since he's not here yet. Max Waldo is currently the coach for the team. I think Fudge is the one who interacts with LS the most right now since he is playing a new role, and I think LS knows more about the other roles than he does about bot lane, so I haven't talked with him much yet. I mostly work with Veigarv2 and talk about bot lane builds and laning stuff.
Was there anything from 2021 that led to Cloud9's direction and approach for this season?
No, I wouldn't say that last year had much to do with the choice this season to make a 10-man roster and have internal scrims. I think it's just something that Max and LS believe in, and that's why we're doing it. I also think it's a good idea, so I'm on board.
What are your thoughts on Bjergsen's return to pro play? Do you think he's going to need some time to shake the rust off?
We've scrimmed TL with their full roster for a couple of games, but they mostly scrim with one TL Academy player in AD or support. I think Bjergsen is good and he will be good again. He had a good work ethic and a good mindset for improvement, so I think when CoreJJ finishes his green card process, I think Team Liquid be superb. Until then, they'll just be a good team.
I think Bjergsen might be a little rusty and may need some time to return to his final form, but I think once he gets there he will be fine. I don't think he will be too far ahead of the other mid laners.
I think this is probably the weakest NA mids have ever been. I don't think that Bjergsen is at his peak, Jensen isn't here anymore, and Fudge will need time to transition. TL, TSM and C9 don't have as high level of mid lane play as they used to, and I think while Abbedagge is good, he isn't someone who is impossible to lane against.
I think NA mids are looking kind of weak right now, although, they will be good soon, for sure. They just need time in Fudge and Bjergsen's cases, and I think the LCS will miss Jensen. Also, mid laners like Perkz and Jiizuke, even though Jiizuke wasn't the greatest player, had a lot of good qualities that gave a lot of good practice to people and opportunities to improve.
The general consensus is that 100 Thieves and Evil Geniuses round out the top 5 LCS organizations with Cloud9, TSM, and Team Liquid. How would you evaluate the relative strength of these teams' full rosters?
EG has their full roster and has been practicing with it, so they will be good. They also didn't change too much — they kept Danny and Impact, and jojopyun was on EG Academy. It's easier for a roster to get used to each other in a sense when your roster has kept players and some people know each other. I think EG will be good, and I think that TL is top 3-5 right now. However, I think when CoreJJ gets his green card, they will be a title contender.
100 Thieves should obviously be a title contender because they have the same roster, they bootcamped with that roster, and they only added Tenacity, but Ssumday is stil the starter it seems. 100 Thieves didn't lose anything, they just got better. Every other team had changes that will take time to adjust to properly, whereas 100 Thieves can pick up where they left off at Worlds 2021. Right now, I think 100 Thieves and Team Liquid are the two best teams.
I don't know anything about TSM's new players, so I can't say anything about TSM, but I know that Spica and Tactical are both fine players.
In my head, I imagine these five teams will be the best teams in both spring and summer, although some teams may need more time than others. Team Liquid is relying on a green card to play their full roster, and C9 have had problems with visas for players and coaches. All of these things should be fixed by the end of the Lock In, though.
Thanks for your time, Zven. Is there anything you want to say to the C9 fans after a 2-0 first day of the season?
I'm only playing because of unfortunate circumstances — fortunate circumstances in my case, perhaps. I'm playing because Berserker, Winsome, Malice, LS, and Summit can't get here yet, but I'm obviously grateful for the opportunity to prove myself. I still think I've got it. I know that I'm still an LCS level player.
Thank you to those who believe in me. I'm not on Twitter or Reddit much these days, but I really appreciate that there are some nice people out there who support me and look out for me, so thank you. I hope that, even if I'm not playing, I will help make C9 better this year as a whole.
I think C9 can reach new heights. I really believe in this organization, this team, and this project. I think it's very exciting, so thank you for cheering. Like I've said before, trust the process. This year, the process might be better than ever. *laughs* Thank you everyone.
All images by: Colin Young-Wolff/Riot Games