Immortals makes radical changes to salvage their LCS Summer Split
Immortals re-entered the League of Legends Championship Series (LCS) in 2020 by purchasing and rebranding the franchise spot from OpTic Gaming. The organization built a team to continue its legacy in the LCS as a top contender for the championship.
Despite these aspirations, Immortals restarted its LCS journey with subpar results. The organization finished eighth in the LCS 2020 Spring split with an 8-10 record. Ahead of the Summer split, Immortals switched starters for three positions: jungle, bot lane, and support.
These roster shuffles did not improve Immortals’ prospects. They ended week two of Summer with an 0-4 record and tied for the last place spot. The Immortals organization responded with drastic changes for week three.
On June 25, Immortals announced that the LCS team was parting ways with general manager Keaton “Keaton” Cryer and head coach Thomas “Zaboutine” Si-Hassen. Immortals gave no official reasons for the departures.
Keaton and Zaboutine were, respectively, the general manager and head coach for OpTic Gaming in the LCS. They joined Immortals after the organization purchased OpTic’s franchise slot.
The duo has been together in the LCS from 2018 Spring to 2020 Summer. Their teams have, in order, finished ninth, seventh, seventh, sixth, and eighth. Their highest achievement was 2019 Summer, wherein they were eliminated in the first round of their only LCS playoffs.
It is likely that Immortals wasn’t satisfied with the current and recent results, and did not see a path to improvement with the current leadership team.
Immortals coaching staff is currently assistant coach Adrien “GotoOne” Picard and analyst Paul “Malaclypse” Decsi. The interim general manager is Mike Schwartz.
— Immortals (@Immortals) June 25, 2020
Immortals Academy Team Starts in LCS
ESPN reported on June 27 that Immortals would start their Academy roster for week three of the LCS. The Academy roster had gone 1-1 for an overall 3-3 record in the North American Academy League. They then played both LCS matches for four matches in one week.
The Immortals Academy roster defeated the currently-seventh Golden Guardians to take Immortals’ first win in the LCS Summer. They then lost in summary fashion to currently-first Cloud9, going 1-1 in LCS to match its Academy week.
In an interview with ESPN, Mike Schwartz emphasized the desire to develop young talent in Immortals and implied that desire played an important role in the many roster changes.
“Our performance overall is unacceptable. 0-4 is not what we wanted as a company or an organization, but within that, looking towards some of those younger pieces we have is a plus for us and something we had planned for.”
In the win against Golden Guardians, rookie mid laner David “Insanity” Challe played admirably in his LCS debut. He had noticeably more impact in the server than previous LCS starting mid-laner Jérémy “Eika” Valdenaire. Veteran jungler and six-time LCS champion Jake Kevin “Xmithie” Puchero also made his return to the starting line-up over rookie Nicholas “Potluck” Pollock.
Moving forward, it is unknown which of the ten available players Immortals will start for its remaining LCS matches. Of the ten, Insanity, Potluck and top laner Kieran “Allorim” Logue are the only three who have not previously played as a regular starter for an LCS team.
Immortals are clearly in need of a shake-up if the organization hopes to have future success in the LCS. Finishing eighth in Spring, and then starting winless in Summer is a strong indicator that something isn’t working. It is not impossible for Immortals to turn things around and finish in the top three to qualify for the League of Legends World Championship, however, it’s extremely unlikely.
The overhaul of leadership implies that Immortals has no faith in whatever vision for which its current ten players were originally chosen. Instead, Immortals must now find a new direction. If the team changes were made with no plan beyond hoping for improvement, then the outlook is grim for Immortals. Change for change’s sake carries an air of desperation. It is better, then, to use the remaining weeks to test the players to see which are LCS caliber, which require more development in Academy, and which should be traded to a different team.
It is important for Immortals to decide which players fit into which categories by finding a new head coach and committing to their vision.
Time will tell if five cohesive players can be wrangled out of Immortals’ available ten.
Read next: Team Liquid’s LCS Summer 2020 Progress