Brought in to replace long-term mid laner and captain of Cloud 9, Hai “Hai” Lam, Danish mid laner Nicolaj “Incarnati0n” Jensen had a lot of pressure on his shoulders coming into the Summer Split of Season 5 NA LCS. A member of the European side Team Solo Mebdi as VeigodX / WiziX, alongside names like Roccat’s Nukeduck and YamatoCannon, his future in professional gaming seemed bright. That was until Riot banned him indefinitely in 2013 for DDOSing and other violations of the Summoner’s Code.
Despite all this, Incarnati0n never stopped playing the game, ranking up many smurfs. He became known as a mechanical solo queue god all over Europe, holding the number one spot on the ladder multiple times and earning many montages of his skill, particularly on assassins. It was found that he was coaching SK Gaming in Season 4 as well. Sadly, he could not follow his team to Korea for Worlds, due to the ban preventing him from being recognized as a coach. He received a behavior check in the preseason, but remained banned due to still showing toxicity, albeit him improving a bit. Things looked grim for the Dane. However, prior to Summer Split, murmurings of him being unbanned floated around the scene. He was unbanned in March, clearing him to play competitively and starting rumors of the Dane joining C9. These rumors proved true and he joined on May 8th, 2015, beating out Counter Logic Gaming’s Pobelter and former C9 Tempest’s Yusui.
People expected Cloud 9 to easily place top two when Incarnati0n joined them, if not outright win. On paper, it would seem that Jensen would easily shine among the mid laners in NA while Meteos would fulfill Hai’s spot as the shotcaller. However, this did not happen. In fact, the opposite occurred. Incarnation still needed time to grow from his solo queue mentality into that of an LCS player. Incarnati0n started out his professional career with a 100 cs deficit in lane against Bjergsen. Meteos also seemed to regress into heavy farming and not providing support for his new mid. This hurt Incarnati0n due to his style being opposite of Hai’s low-economy, supportive based playstyle, and the new C9 began to head down a sliding slope. While Jensen himself was not the main factor to their seemingly declining form, he did receive criticism for his champion pool and overall micro play.
When C9 hit the climax of their losing streak, Meteos left the team. Hai returned to play jungle in a move that surprised many. With Hai providing Jensen the pressure he needed to clear space, the European mid began reach the potential that was bestowed on him by fans and analysts alike. They were able to win the tiebreaker and make the gauntlet. The Danish mid managed to make it to Worlds, running the whole gauntlet with the team. Even in their losses in games during the gauntlet, it was hard to point fingers and say that Jensen did not perform.
Early on in the season, Cloud 9 tried to force Jensen to play champs that he did not seem comfortable on at the time, like Kog’maw, which did not help with the transition from solo queue to the pro scene. However, Incarnation’s pool is vast, with picks, such as his Fizz, Twisted Fate, Zed, LeBlanc, Orianna, Ahri and Lulu. He has shown abilities to play Azir, Viktor, and recently Yasuo as well. His laning is also quite strong, being up 4.9 CSD@10 on his opponents even while including the first disastrous game vs TSM.. It’s only his rookie split, but the Dane has made it to Worlds and looks to be a top two mid in NA. During Worlds, Incarnati0n, as well as Sneaky, will be looked at as the anchor to guide Cloud 9 through groups and onto potentially holding up the cup in Europe this fall.
Photo credit: Riot Games, LoLeSports