Zven Domestic Career
Zven began his career under the name Stæhr. He first played for Hoang5, but he didn’t have any notable showings until he changed his name to Niels HD and joined Tricked eSports. Together with his new teammates, he attended the 2013 Copenhagen Games. But even though Tricked eSports managed to get out of their group stage with a 3-1 record, they were eliminated after two back-to-back losses to eSuba and Reason Gaming. Tricked eSports also went to SCAN & NVIDIA EUW Invitational where they suffered a narrow 2-1 loss to Eternity Gaming.
Afterward, Niels left Tricked eSports to join CJ Gaming. He didn’t stay there for long, though, as he decided to move over to Intellectual Playground. The team showed up at the WePlay LoL Invitational, going all the way to the finals before losing to SK Gaming. Intellectual Playground also attended 2013 DreamHack Winter. They had a decent showing in the group stage, but their run was cut short with another loss to SK in the Semifinals.
After such a disappointing showing, Niels left the organization to play for Team Kappa Prime. He also changed his handle to Phlow, but a new name didn’t bring him any luck at the SCAN EUW Winter Invitational, as Team Kappa Prime was knocked out in the semifinals by Gamers2. Still, their showing was impressive enough to catch the eye of SK Gaming, and they signed the entire lineup to play for their secondary roster (Prime).
Phlow adopted a new nickname—Zvanillian—and went on to play in a string of amateur tournaments. At first, SK Gaming Prime seemed to be a smash hit, and the team secured a string of second-place finishes at FACEIT Challenger Invitational. But when push came to shove, they couldn’t pull through at the 2014 EU CS, and they failed to exit the group stage at the 2014 Copenhagen Games. At the end of the year, Zvanillian left the organization to join Origen.
On Origen, Zvanillian went back to his previous handle, Niels. Together with his teammates, Niels took over the 2015 EU CS Spring Qualifier, beating Millenium Spirit to break into the Challenger Series. At the same time, Origen secured first-place finishes at high-level tournaments like the 2015 Gamers Assembly and ESL MWC Challenge. In the Challenger Series, Origen breezed through the regular season with a 9-1 record. They capitalized on this success by crushing Reason Gaming and Copenhagen Wolves Academy in the playoffs. With that, Niels was finally in the EU LCS.
In the 2015 Summer Split, Origen quickly rose to the top of the EU LCS ladder. With a 12-6 record, they finished the regular season in second place, right behind the undefeated Fnatic. They kicked off their playoffs run with a confident 3-1 against H2K. However, the finals against Fnatic came down to the wire, and Origen fell short in a close 5-game series. With that, Origen had to go to the Regional Finals where they defeated Team ROCCAT (3-2) and Unicorns of Love (3-0) to qualify for the 2015 World Championship.
At the end of the season, Niels changed his nickname to Zven. During this time, he was celebrated as the best up-and-coming European AD carry, and received the Rookie of the Split award for his stunning showings on Kalista and Corki.
In spite of their previous success, Origen struggled during the 2016 Spring Split. Even so, they managed to produce an 11-7 win/loss ratio, which was more than enough to qualify for the knockout stage. There, Origen picked up the slack and destroyed Unicorns of Love with a 3-0 score. Their semifinals match against H2K was much shakier, but they still found a narrow 3-2 victory. Unfortunately, everything fell apart in the finals, and Origen suffered a 3-1 loss at the hand of the newly-promoted G2 Esports.
Afterward, Zven announced that he and his lane partner (Mithy) will be joining G2. The move became the point of contention among European fans, and they criticized Zven for leaving his old team when it needed him most. But the Danish AD carry didn’t let that phase him. His team took over the 2016 EU LCS Summer Split, securing an impressive 10-8-0 (wins-ties-losses) record over the regular season. G2 then asserted their dominance by dismantling Unicorns of Love and Splyce in the playoffs, thus earning their second trophy. With that, they qualified for the 2016 World Championship.
G2 kept their momentum going in the 2017 EU LCS Spring Split. They only dropped a single series in the regular season and seamlessly made it into the knockout stage. And while Fnatic and Unicorns of Love tried to challenge them in the playoffs, G2 took them down in back-to-back 3-1 series to claim yet another domestic victory. Once again, G2 were set to represent Europe at the Mid-Season Invitational. And this time, they didn’t disappoint.
The summer was much rougher for the reigning EU LCS champions. Because they spent so much time at the MSI, G2 were severely behind other teams in terms of practice. And so, for the first time since their promotion to the EU LCS, they finished the regular season in second place.
Everyone viewed them as underdogs coming into the playoffs. Their first series seemed to strengthen that notion, as G2 barely squeezed out a 3-2 victory against Splyce. But Zven and his teammates put an end to this narrative by 3-0’ing H2K in the semifinals. G2 used this momentum to score a 3-0 victory over Misfits in the finals, effectively earning a ticket to the 2017 World Championship.
During this time, Zven employed a calm and collected playstyle. While he had the mechanics to dominate laning phase, he usually avoided unnecessary risks in favor of making his presence known in teamfights.
Despite his success on G2, Zven left G2 and went overseas to join Team SoloMid. He was accompanied by his support Mithy. The duo was supposed to elevate TSM to a new level, but the team didn’t click for the majority of the 2018 NA LCS Spring Split. TSM struggled for the entire first half of the regular season. And while they picked up the slack and finished third place with a formidable 13-7 record, their playoffs run came to an abrupt end after a 3-1 loss to Clutch Gaming. The bot lane looked especially vulnerable in that series, and Zven’s shaky play was one of the reasons why TSM failed to make the NA LCS finals.
Zven International Tournaments
On Origen, Zven participated in the 2015 World Championship. His team breezed through the group stage with a 4-2 record and scored a 3-1 victory over Flash Wolves in the Quarterfinals. However, they suffered a crushing 3-0 loss in the following round against SKT T1.
Origen also had a strong showing at IEM San Jose where they dismantled TSM and CLG to win the trophy. Unfortunately, they couldn’t keep this momentum going at the IEM Season 10 World Championship, and got knocked out of the tournament after back-to-back losses to RNG and TSM.
On G2, Zven attended the 2016 World Championship. Unfortunately, his team couldn’t translate its domestic success into a strong international showing, and G2 ended up dead-last in a group with ROX Tigers, Albus NoX Luna, and CLG.
In 2017, G2 went to the IEM Season 11 World Championship. They lost their first match against Flash Wolves, but they bounced back in the loser’s bracket by defeating Kongdoo Monster and Unicorns of Love. G2 found a 2-1 victory against ROX Tigers in the semifinals before falling 2-0 to Flash Wolves in the finals.
The 2017 MSI was the turning point for Zven and G2. The European representatives had a very hit-or-miss showing in the group stage, and they barely made it out over Team SoloMid. However, they picked up the slack in the playoffs and crushed Team WE with a 3-1 score. In the finals, G2 went against SKT T1. The series seemed close at first, but the Korean powerhouse gradually pushed the European champions into a corner. G2 lost that match 3-1, but it was still their best international showing to date.
G2 tried to keep this up at the 2017 World Championship. However, they ended up in the same group with Royal Never Give Up (RNG), Samsung Galaxy (SSG), and 1907 Fenerbahçe. And while the last team wasn’t much of a challenge, RNG and SSG proved to be a cut above G2 Esports. Of course, the European representatives tried to fight back, but in the end, their 3-3 record wasn’t enough to qualify for the playoffs.