For years, the region of North America had been kicked down and stepped on when it came to international play. However, on Sunday, Cloud9 made League of Legends history, becoming the first North American team to to reach the Semifinals of the World Championship in the Modern Era of competitive League. And while the entirety of the Cloud9 roster stepped up to the plate and dominated the Afreeca Freecs in a convincing 3-0 series sweep, the team’s jungler, Dennis “Svenskeren” Johnsen, proved exactly why he is one of the most important pillars of a new age for the organization.
Ten months ago, coming into the 2018 season, Cloud9 looked like the clear-cut losers of the offseason. After losing a world-class top laner in Jung “Impact” Eon-yeong, and letting a young prodigy in Juan “Contractz” Arturo Garcia slip through the organization’s fingers, the team had to settle for an unproven rookie to replace a former world champion, and a slumping, underwhelming veteran to replace the player who fans believed was going to be the future of the franchise.
That questionable veteran was Svenskeren, whose signing was met with plenty of mixed reactions from fans of Cloud9 and competitive League, alike. His inability to perform on the international level was the focal point of his failure during his tenure with Team SoloMid, and plenty of C9 fans worried that those same troubles would follow him across the league. However, on Sunday, Svenskeren silenced every doubter, as the miraculous run that propelled Cloud9 through Group B transitioned into the Knockout Stage. North America’s perennial contenders put a massive dent into the Korean dynasty, at least for now.
And while every single player on the roster showed up in a massive sense during the Best-of-5 against the Freecs, it was Svenskeren who had the best series of his career, posting immaculate numbers in nearly every statistical category, putting on a complete jungling clinic. For Svenskeren, a 19/4/18 scoreline translated to a KDA of 9.25, the highest mark among all ten players in the series. Additionally, his DPM sat at 379, and his KP topped out at 77%, the latter of which also happened to be the highest of the series.
What’s most important, though, is that this win was more than a statistical masterclass for Svenskeren; it was a long-awaited coming-out party. The man who struggled for so long to cross over into the planes of greatness finally rose to the occasion and carried his squad to heights no North American team has ever reached before.
And now, as Cloud9 prepares to square off against their long-time international rivals, Fnatic, Svenskeren will undoubtedly have much more work to do. Although he’s already helped his team achieve greatness, the field of teams left in the tournament is more open than ever. If Svenskeren is able to keep playing at the pace that he did during the series against the Freecs, Fnatic might just have a serious problem on their hands. However, the Cloud9 jungler will certainly face a formidable opponent come next Sunday, as Mads “Broxah” Brock-Pedersen has already emerged as one of, if not the strongest jungler at Worlds.
But before the collective North American head turns towards Fnatic, it’s important to relish in the success of Cloud9. Svenskeren and Co. effectively dismembered one of the LCK’s strongest representatives, dealing the killing blow to the region in the process. No matter what happens in the coming weeks, pages in the League of Legends history books have already been written, with Cloud9 penning the most defining chapters.
Photo Credit: Riot Games, League of Legends, Cloud9