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Svenskeren: “I’m just gonna keep working hard so people will respect me”

Dan Smyth-Temple

Evil Geniuses beat Flyquest in a close game halfway through the first weekend of the 2021 LCS Spring Split, bouncing back from their loss to 100 Thieves the day prior. Dennis “Svenskeren” Johnsen is feeling good about the win, but admits that EG still has a lot of work to put in before they can confidently say they’re better than C9 or TL.

svenskeren EG

Svenskeren is feeling happy, motivated, and ready to keep improving. (Photo via Riot Games)

We sat down with Svenskeren after the game to chat about playing with Impact, gaming houses, and the stigma against older players in the esports scene.

Hotspawn: I just have to address the elephant in the room after that game— Impact’s Shen. What’s it like playing with that guy as your toplaner?

Svenskeren: Well, Impact is obviously a good player [laughs]. Solokilling his laner level two, the game should be pretty straightforward after that. But we as a team, we still have some things to work on. So obviously, we’re just gonna have to keep improving. I like playing with Impact, he’s a great shotcaller and he always kinda wins lane by himself, so he’s pretty easy to play with.

Hotspawn: How do you shift your thinking around going in with a toplaner like him, versus ones you’ve played with in the past? It seemed like you were playing a weakside top this game, but obviously Impact is gonna do Impact things.

Svenskeren: We usually just do a gameplan level one. We choose a lane that we play around, and obviously the jungler is gonna path towards that lane. Whichever lane there’s gonna be the most fighting in usually, I wanna be around that lane. That’s usually just how we decide which lane we’re gonna play around.

Hotspawn: You mentioned having things to improve on— what’re some of the main takeaways from this game?

Svenskeren: Just our midgame macro, how we can snowball the game faster if we do have a lead. Putting pressure on the map and making sure the enemy team isn’t clearing waves for free, and [that] we’re pressuring the waves on time. That’s the big thing we need to improve on.

Hotspawn: After today and yesterday’s game, how do you feel Evil Geniuses matches up against the other top teams?

Svenskeren: We’re a top four team I think. TL, obviously they 3-0’ed us in the Lock-In tournament [laughs] so I would say they’re better than us for sure. I think C9 gave TL a really hard time in the finals, so I’d say they’re probably better than us too. I think after those two teams it’s up for grabs who’s the better teams. That’s how I view us.

Hotspawn: How much more work do you have before you could more confidently say that EG is the best team in the league?

Svenskeren: That’s hard to say. We just need to improve on our mid game macro, like I said before. We’re just pretty slow at punishing enemies, and we’re not really on time on waves. Stuff like that we need to work on to beat TL, who are very confident in [their] play.

Hotspawn: Shifting away from team discussion, how are you feeling about the jungle meta right now? Do you think your playstyle is well suited to it?  

Svenskeren: I think the jungle meta right now is pretty fun. There’s a lot of viable junglers, and [you] kinda just try to counterpick unless you can pick something like Olaf or Udyr. Those champs aren’t counterable, but a lot of champs are counterable. I have a lot of fun right now.

Hotspawn: Would you say the meta is well suited towards jungle carry at the moment?

Svenskeren: Definitely. You don’t really see any tanks, except for Udyr. Yeah, it’s jungle carry meta for sure.

Hotspawn: Shifting back a little bit, you’ve played on a lot of different teams at this point in your career. Is the atmosphere on Evil Geniuses any different from other teams you’ve played on? Both in terms of roster and the organization itself.

Svenskeren: Not too sure. This is my first team that we don’t have a gaming house, so that’s a difference. Not living with your teammates. Other than that, there’s not much difference.

Svenskeren TSM Bjergsen

Svenskeren won the 2017 LCS Summer Split on TSM (Photo via Riot Games)

Hotspawn: How do you feel about not having a gaming house?

Svenskeren: I like not having a gaming house. Our office is really close anyways, so it’s not a hassle to go to the office. You get alone time, it’s more relaxing— I can go home, and I don’t have to see anybody [laughs]. I can just be myself and chill, do whatever I want by myself.

Hotspawn: Totally, that work/life balance. Obviously this year has been very different, since everyone is playing remotely— do you like playing remotely better? As one of the more veteran players, you have a ton of stage experience.

Svenskeren: I think playing on stage is a lot more fun. You get really hype after you win, cause there’s a crowd there. You don’t really get the same feeling from playing remote. It feels kinda off, cause this is where I scrim every day. I play soloqeue here. [Games are] like another scrim, is what it feels like. Playing in the same setup, the same setting. But we just gotta endure it. Hopefully we can play on stage again soon.*

Hotspawn: Yeah, definitely. An article came out today where Faker was talking about the atmosphere and general attitude towards players that are on the older side of the scene— you, at the ripe old age of 25, how do you feel when you see stuff like that?

Svenskeren: [laughs] I dunno. I don’t really care too much about age. It’s all gonna depend on how much work you put in. So if I put in the same amount of work as someone who’s 18 years old, I’m probably gonna be better cause I also have a lot of experience. As long as they don’t put in a lot more work than me, I’m gonna be able to match their skill. That’s all I care about. I could definitely see myself playing a lot worse when I’m not putting in a lot of work. I think a lot of the rookies and stuff, they’re just really motivated— they do put in a lot more extra work, so that’s why some of them are gonna pop off. That’s just my opinion on it.

Hotspawn: Do you think you’ve maintained that same level of motivation throughout your career?

Svenskeren: Definitely some years, or just some weeks, I lack motivation. I think I always just grind my ass off. I know that one day I’m not gonna be able to keep playing professionally, so I just wanna be able to do it as long as possible. In order for me to do that, I just need to put in the work.

Hotspawn: In those instances that you realize that you’re lacking motivation, do you have any specific ways of getting back in that groove? Personal rituals, pep talks?

Svenskeren: [laughs] Not really, I just kinda re-focus myself. A day off is nice. We have days off— I just kinda re-focus myself after that. Taking a day off, getting in the mindset like I said before. I won’t be able to do this forever, and I really like what I’m doing right now, and in order to keep doing it, I have to put in the work.

Hotspawn: And what would you say your long-term hopes for the split are? Winning LCS of course, but in terms of personal goals.

Svenskeren: Obviously I wanna win the split. I just wanna be looking like a good player. I wanna look like a respected player. Yeah, I’m just gonna keep working hard so people will respect me. I wanna be feeling confident in the games, making a lot of plays. 

Hotspawn: Of course. I think that’s all I’ve got for you! Thanks for taking the time to chat with me, and good luck tomorrow!

Svenskeren: Thank you!