After losing almost their entire lineup, Immortals head into 2017 with a brand new roster, hoping to win their first NA LCS title.
- Lee “Flame” Ho-jong
- Joshua “Dardoch” Hartnett
- Eugene “Pobelter” Park
- Cody “Cody Sun” Sun
- Kim “Olleh” Joo-sung
Acquiring Team 8’s LCS spot, Immortals entered League of Legends with the sole intention to make an LCS championship winning team. To achieve this goal, Immortals enlisted the help of former Fnatic top laner and jungler, Heo “Huni” Seung-hoon and Kim “Reignover” Yeu-jin. These two had a breakout season in 2015. Winning both EU LCS titles, taking SK Telecom T1 to five games at the Mid-Season Invitational, and making the semifinals of the 2015 World Championship, they were the best top/jungler pair the West had to offer. To compliment this all star duo, Immortals picked up the Eugene “Pobelter” Park , Jason “WildTurtle” Tran and Adrian “Adrian” Ma.
Immortals took the spring regular season by storm, almost going undefeated. Reignover was far and away the best NA LCS jungler, Huni was winning his lane with unconventional champion picks and Wildturtle was demolishing teamfights. From the outside, Immortals looked to be unstoppable.
Heading into the playoffs, it would be an understatement to say that Immortals were the clear favourites. Receiving a playoff bye, Immortals first playoff match was against Team Solomid. Seeing as how TSM finished the regular season in sixth, many expected this series to be an easy victory for Immortals. But unfortunately for Immortals, the exact opposite occurred. Picking extremely abnormal champions such as the infamous Lucian top lane, Immortals looked nothing like their regular season selves in their playoff series. To the surprise of almost everyone, Immortals were swept 3-0 by TSM and knocked out of the playoffs. In the third place match, Immortals seemed to have actually grasped the meta, beating Team Liquid 3-0.
Learning from their playoff mistakes, Immortals rode into the summer split with the same ferocity as spring. Alongside Team Solomid, Immortals dominated summer. Finishing the regular season in second, only losing their two series against TSM. Unlike spring, Immortals playstyle had become uniform with the rest of the league. Huni was now playing more meta top laners, and Adrian diversified his champion pool, playing more tanks like Alistar and Braum.
Heading straight to the semifinals, Immortals first summer split playoff match was against Cloud9. The series was close, but Immortals fell short losing to C9 2-3. Immortals then won their third place against Counter Logic Gaming 3-2. This third place result was extremely disappointing for Immortals. The team that was created for the sole purpose of winning the LCS and attending Worlds could not even make the final.
Immortals last chance at making the World Championship was the North American Regional Finals. Finishing the regular season in second, Immortals were directly seeded into the finals. In what would seem to be an act of fate, Immortals were given a rematch against C9, the team that knocked them out of playoffs. This was Immortals’ chance to redeem themselves for their playoff mistakes and make their first world championship. But, instead of being Immortals redemption, this series was Immortals’ final downfall. On the back Jung “Impact” Eon-yeong, C9 beat Immortals 3-1, thus ending Immortals 2016 season.
This offseason saw many changes for Immortals. Losing Reignover, Wildturtle and Adrian, Immortals were looking to build their new roster around their two remaining members, Huni and Pobelter. After signing Huni to a huge three year contract, a dream offer from world champions, SK Telecom T1 appeared before Huni’s eyes. There was no way Huni could refuse and Immortals, realizing how huge an opportunity this is, allowed Huni to break his contract.
Left with only one player, Immortals had to almost completely rebuild their entire roster. The first player they chose to add was former TL jungler, Dardoch. Entering the NA LCS in the beginning of 2016, Dardoch instantly became the star of TL. Dardoch is one of the most mechanically gifted junglers in the NA LCS. Throughout the summer split, Dardoch was TL’s main carry despite being the jungler. Dardoch’s main problem during this season was his attitude. Dardoch’s attitude issues this season caused him to at one point be suspended, and was the main factor in his departure from TL. It will be interesting to see if Dardoch’s attitude issues persist in 2017.
The second player announced to join Immortals was top lane legend, Flame. Regarded as one of the best top laners to ever play LoL, Flame is highly respected in the West for his lane dominance. The term “Flame Horizon” is used when a player is dominating their opponent so badly that they have a 100 CS lead, a feat Flame accomplished repeatedly throughout his career.
Legendary status aside, Flame’s 2016 season performance was quite scarce. As the substitute top laner for Longzhu Gaming, Flame played only 17 games in the spring split and did not play a single game throughout all of the summer split. IEM Gyeonggi was Flame’s first competitive match in nine months.
Former duo lane partner of now TSM support Vincent “Biofrost” Wang, Cody Sun was the AD carry chosen by Immortals to replace veteran Wildturtle. Cody Sun has been playing in the challenger scene for the past two years under the alias “Massacre.” The upcoming spring split will be Cody Sun’s debut in the LCS.
Rounding out Immortal’s 2017 roster is former Hong Kong Esports support Olleh. A Korean native, Olleh decided to play in foreign regions early in his career. In addition to Korea, Olleh has played in Brazil, and more recently in Taiwan’s LMS under Hong Kong Esports.
Alongside teams like Dignitas and Team Liquid, Immortals’ team has the potential to be a top three or four NA LCS team. Flame and Dardoch both have enough raw talent to be top performers in their role, and throughout his time on CLG and Immortals Pobelter has shown that he can hold his own against almost every other NA LCS mid laner.
The determining factor for this team is the bot lane. This will be Cody Sun’s debut as an LCS AD carry. As an untested Challenger player, there are many question marks surrounding the young AD carry. Is he susceptible to nerves? Can he translate his online play to the front stage of a live studio audience? There are many possible problems that can arise around Cody Sun. As the only rookie AD carry in the LCS, Cody Sun will have to step up if he wants to compete with his peers.
Thankfully Cody Sun has a veteran support in Olleh to help show him the ropes. Despite being Korean born, due to his play in leagues around the world Olleh’s english has become pretty decent. Aside from having better communication in game, Olleh’s ability to speak Korean and English will allow him to help lower the barrier between Flame and the rest of the team. Flame will have a teammate he can speak to in his native dialect as well as someone translate his thoughts both in and out of game.
After an extremely disappointing 2016 season, Immortals definitely have high expectations moving into 2017. This upcoming season will not only be a chance at redemption for the players, but for the team itself.
Do you think Immortals can win the NA LCS? Let us know by commenting below or tweeting us @GAMURScom.
Article by Malcolm Abbas. Follow him on Twitter @SmashhLoL.
Photo via LoL Esports