Nicolaj “Incarnati0n” Jensen has agreed a deal with North American organization Cloud9, according to sources close to the organization and the player. Jensen, who had been serving an indefinite ban from competitive play, had his suspension lifted on the last day of March and becomes eligible for competitive play on May 11, in time for the next LCS split.
While many organizations have been tracking the highly talented player—who has achieved the number one ranked solo queue account on Europe multiple times—Jensen is said to have something of a rapport with Cloud9. Manager and owner Jack Etienne has been a long time admirer of Jensen’s talents and had already talked with the player about a potential coaching position in January. Jensen made it clear at that time his ambition was to play and Etienne agreed that if he were to ever be unbanned that he would be welcome in Cloud9.
“Jack was understanding when it came to Nicolaj’s situation and his desire to play,” one source said. “He has been basically on standby since that point with both parties waiting on Riot’s decision.”
This move most likely means that current mid-laner and captain Hai “Hai” Lam will be standing down, potentially to take another role within the organisation. That would spell the end for one of League of Legends’ longest unchanged North American rosters, the current five players having played together since May 2013.
For Jensen, however, it will be a new and most welcome chapter in his career. Indefinitely banned in January 2013 for alleged DDOS activity, which he has consistently denied being engaged in, the player has always remained close to the competitive scene. In January 2014 he accepted a coaching role with SK Gaming, helping the team reach first place in the 2014 European LCS regular split, a second place in the subsequent play-offs, and a third place in the Summer split play-offs of the same year.
His direct involvement with the team was effectively, and controversially, cut short after Riot Games decided he wouldn’t be able to act in a coaching capacity at the World Championships. Riot’s League Operations Manager, Nick Allen, explained on Reddit that Jensen had only been “given access to the LCS studio as a team guest, not an official team member.”
The player will surely be more than pleased to put all this behind him now and will be relishing the prospect of his first outing in the LCS.
Image by BryanBarnard/DeviantArt (CC BY ND 3.0)