After weeks of speculation as to who was going to replace Cloud9’ retired mid-laner Hai “Hai” Lam is now over; Cloud9 have officially announced that Nicolaj “Incarnati0n” Jensen will be joining the team for the next competitive League Championship Series split. Jensen fought off competition from other candidates, including the Cloud9 Tempest player David “Yusui” Bloomquist, who will remain with the organisation.
After the Daily Dot originally reported that the Danish player was in line to replace Lam at the start of April, Jensen had been subject to a lengthy try-out period to see if he could fit into the Cloud9 set-up. It didn’t take him long to impress, according to the team’s analyst Charlie Lipsie.
“I think that out of the players that we tried out, Jensen had the most raw talent,” he told the Daily Dot. “And I can see him becoming the best mid laner in NA. One of the things I was impressed with was Jensen’s drive to do whatever the team needs to succeed. He also seems to be fearless… He flew around the world to join us and has been willing to dive into anything we ask for.”
For Jensen, this is the latest chapter in what has proven to be a long story. After being served with an indefinite ban in January 2013, the player has remained steadfast in his efforts to become a professional player. He earned accolades as a coach during his time with SK Gaming, being part of the set-up that saw the team go to the World Championship finals before a rule change meant he wouldn’t be able to attend those finals himself. Since then, he’s never wavered in his belief he would be given another chance, and has consistently passed each of the behavioral checks Riot has conducted.
He’s more than aware this next chapter won’t be easy one, however. Few players will be receiving the level of attention or generating the level of expectation he will. He acknowledged this himself in a conversation with the Daily Dot.
“Given my past mistakes,” he says “I’m looking to be a better teammate and to continue being confident in my own individual performance as well. I’m hoping to carry that confidence into the team without touching the infrastructure of how Cloud9 works.”
He also paid tribute to Hai, who will now be part of the organisation’s management. “In regards to replacing [him], I want to mention that we have very different play styles and serve different roles on the team. We aren’t very comparable as players but I know what he did was special for the team.”
As special as that contribution was, the team’s fans will be hoping for their new foreign import, the first change made to the Cloud9 roster since May 2013, will be able to power them to their first LCS split win in a year. The Summer Split begins in less than a month.