After roleswapping to support last summer, Jesper “Zven” Svenningsen has spent the last eight month re-establishing himself as a star in the League Championship Series. Zven, alongside rookie phenom AD carry Kim “Berserker” Min-cheol, were vital in Cloud9 winning the 2022 LCS Championship last summer, and in 2023, Zven has continued to impress alongside his bot lane partner.
An AD carry for most of his career, the current competitive meta has been kind to Zven — ranged supports are all the rage in a way like never before, with champions traditionally defined as carries like Ashe and Heimerdinger serving as the staples of the role at the top level. This has led to a myriad of marksman champions Zven has played as an ADC competitively like Jhin, Kalista, Twitch, and even Caitlyn become viable meta support picks for the first time due to the importance of winning the 2v2 lane in the bot lane the current meta has placed upon the competitive landscape.
“The TLDR is that tank supports just aren’t good enough in scraps and brawl-type of team comps,” Zven explained after C9’s first win of the 2023 LCS Spring Split. “It’s a byproduct of how important laning phase is in the early game; how much you can get out of it and how OP dragons are, as well as getting the first move to Herald…It goes to show just how important laning phase really is. All that matters right now is bot lane having priority push and having control of dragons and Rift Heralds.”
Zven’s approach to the off-season
The meta won’t stay the same forever, but the marksman heavy support pool isn’t what kept Zven away from returning to the role of AD carry in 2023. That being said, he did consider it.
“I thought in summer when I changed that I could easily go back to ADC at the end of the year for this season, but I thought that if I played support for a full year in 2023, I probably can’t go back,” Zven explained. “At that point, most orgnizations wouldn’t want me anymore. They’d rather have some younger talent and flip on them, hoping they become the next prodigy. Not everyone wants an old-school player like Doublelift back just because of history. I also have some history, sure, but not enough after a year and a half of support gameplay.
Zven was open to continue playing support upon consideration, but under one condition: “The first thing I said to myself was, ‘I’m not playing support unless I have Berserker.”‘
Fortunately for Zven, the feeling between he and Berserker was mutual.
“He said the same thing — he would only play if he had me as his support. That gave me a lot of confidence and trust in him. I also have a good relationship with him both in the game and outside of the game.”
It wasn’t just Berserker that helped Zven make his decision, though – this will be his fourth straight season on Cloud9. Of all players competing in the 2023 LCS Spring Split, only Team Liquid support Jo “CoreJJ” Yong-in and Zven’s jungler and teammate Robert “Blaber” Huang have been with their current organizations longer than Zven, and his familiarity with the organization and the people within it were factored into his decisions during the off-season.
“I feel really comfortable on C9,” Zven continued. “They gave me a chance in 2020 when no one else would after two bad years on TSM. I don’t think I owe them anything because I don’t think anyone owes anyone anything. Esports is a rough business. It really is a rough business. At the end of the day, people are ruthless. But I like C9, and I really do want to keep stacking trophies with them.”
— Cloud9 League of Legends (@C9LoL) February 19, 2023
Halfway through the 2023 LCS Spring Split, Cloud9 is currently tied with Evil Geniuses for 2nd place at a 7-2 record – only one game back from 1st place FlyQuest. This coming week, Cloud9 Challengers mid laner Jang “EMENES” Min-soo will make his LCS debut in place of starting mid laner Dimitri “Diplex” Ponomarev as Cloud9 continues to look for whatever angles will give them the best possible chance of defending their LCS title.