Jesper “Niels” Svenningsen is the 17 year old AD Carry for Origen. The Dane received the 2015 EU LCS Summer Split Outstanding Rookie Award, and has now helped his team reach the semifinals of the World Championships. Last year he was just watching and dreaming of things to come. This year he’s got a chance at taking it all.
For a 17 year old rookie who has just helped his team to the semifinals of the League of Legends World Championships, Jesper “Niels” Svenningsen is remarkably calm. Thanks to some skilled and fearless AD carry play, Niels’ team Origen can now count themselves among the four best teams in the world. He’s cool and collected as I chat to him after the game, but that shouldn’t be mistaken for arrogance.
“We got lucky,” Niels tells me. Origen beat out the Taiwanese team Flash Wolves 3-1 in a best of five game at Wembley Arena in front of a packed crowd. The European team was clearly a fan favourite for the London audience, but the games were painfully close in places.
“We played well ourselves I think, and myself, I played good, but we got a bit lucky in the games, but I’m happy about the performance and the victory,” says Niels. “I’m happy that we’re ‘in theory’ the fourth best team in the world.”
To make the feat more impressive, Origen didn’t exist this time last year. It was formed by League veteran Enrique “xPeke” Cedeño Martínez late in 2014, and quickly took the European scene by storm, rampaging through the LCS and reaching Worlds soon after. xPeke filled the team with other experienced players, but for the AD Carry role, Origen went with a rookie - Niels.
“Last year around this time I knew I wanted to go pro. I had offers from teams, and I was between one team and Origen. It was a hard choice for me, but eventually I thought going to Origen was better.” I asked Niels how he felt to be the new guy on a team of veterans. “Experience matters for some people, but I never felt there was pressure from the team or anyone else. I don’t give a shit about Reddit or Twitter, I just laugh at it. I’m just happy that they chose me over someone else, because look where we are now.”
In terms of damage, kills, and sheer fearlessness in the games against Flash Wolves, it certainly looked like Niels carried the team, but he’s not so sure. “ I think I played well. I played my lane in the first game really well and we got so much out of that. But in terms of getting the kills, I had a Lulu, Morgana, and an Anivia to back me up. I had a team around me, and in that last game all we did was run down mid lane with speed and shields, Jinx [the champion he was playing] did what she can do at that point… I definitely don’t think I solo carried anything.”
Origen stormed out of the gate in game one, picking up several kills in the opening few minutes. From there, however, that game and most of the games after were drawn out into slow paced, methodical affairs until a final moment of chaos broke one team or the other. Some were saying that Origen should have been able to finish off the first game more quickly, and Niels agrees. “Yeah, we definitely screwed up in that game. Maple [Flash Wolves’ midlaner] had LeBlanc and he was basically 1 vs. 5-ing the game. He killed our jungler 1 vs. 1, then he killed someone else, then he killed me 1 vs. 2 in the bot lane because I screwed up.”
Thankfully for Origen they were able to take that game despite a comeback from Flash Wolves. Most of the games after followed a similar pattern: Origen take an early lead, Flash Wolves slowly get themselves into a better position, only for Origen to push them back and ultimately get the win thanks to great plays and poor positioning from Flash Wolves. In game three however Flash Wolves came out on top, and stayed on top for the entire game, picking up their only victory of the series. What went wrong in that game for Origen? Some were blaming the champions that were selected. xPeke in the mid lane had had two good games on Anivia, but switched to Orianna for Game 3. Why fix what wasn’t broken?
Niels didn’t see it that way. “I think our champions were good. We had a different idea for why we wanted to pick Orianna in that game. She’s not really a Lulu, but she has a shield and a speed boost. She still fit into the team composition.”
As for the game itself, Origen had trouble breaking through Flash Wolves’ defenses. “They were hugging their towers in mid. We had our third dragon coming up, but before that xPeke ended up dying to a Caitlyn ultimate, and then we lost a lot of pressure. Then we lost the drake, and the towers. When you have a poke/kite back comp versus another kite comp, the first time you lose a big fight, you just lose vision and you can never go into bushes or do anything for the rest of the game.”
However Niels was happy with the rest of the games, particularly games two and four. Has he been thinking ahead to the semifinals? Next week, Origen will be playing the winners of today’s match between tournament favourite SKTelecom T1 and the only remaining Taiwanese team ahq e-Sports Club. “Tomorrow we will see. I think that SKT will most likely win 3-0 against AHQ. We will watch tomorrow’s series, and we will try to make sure our mistakes today don’t happen again. We’ll try our hardest.”
Dare he dream of the final? “If we do get through I think we will play the winner between Fnatic and Edward Gaming” - tomorrow’s third quarter final. Niels thinks that KT Rolster will beat Koo Tigers on Sunday, and that the following semifinal will be a close match.
Of course, an all-European final between Origen and Fnatic would get a European crowd excited, especially as it would feature xPeke taking on his former team. There’s a long way to go before we get to that point, however, and a lot of good teams left in contention. “I don’t think that both us and Fnatic will get to the final, but if it did happen it would be sick.”
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