NA LCS Summer Week 3: Will Immortals stand the test of time?

Photo: Riot Games

As we speed down the road of the 2017 NA LCS Summer Split, we’ve just passed the first milepost. With week 4 on the horizon, a third of the season is in the rear-view mirror.

Looking at the standings so far, you might think they’re a mirage. Immortals and Team Dignitas tied for first? Your eyes must be playing tricks.

But it’s no hallucination. Thirty-three percent of the season is done, and there’s reason to think these teams are legit. I wrote last week about how Dignitas is winning games through excellent Baron control. Now it’s time to take a look at their counterparts, Immortals, and why I think this team isn’t going anywhere soon.

While Dignitas wins games by focusing Ssumday’s top half of the map, Immortals have found success doing the opposite. Cody Sun and OIleh have been looking like one of the best bot lanes in the NA LCS.

When the duo joined the team late last year, I doubted them. I didn’t think they’d measure up to the best, or even just the good bot lane duos in the NA LCS. So I was pleasantly surprised when they stacked up pretty well in the laning phase.

Their problems came later. Immortals, like most new rosters, struggled with decision-making in the late game. It wasn’t a problem with individual skill, but how they worked together as a team.

Cody Sun, Olleh, Pobelter, Flame, Dardoch. None of these players had problems building leads over their opponents at points throughout games. They had trouble keeping them.

If you ask me, that’s an encouraging sign for the team’s future. Dardoch is gone, but the rest of the team’s laners stuck around. This team showed it had the mechanical foundation to build upon. They just needed an architect.

I wrote a couple of weeks ago about how Xmithie is a great fit for Immortals. But it’s equally important to mention how Immortals is a great fit for Xmithie.

What I mean by that is this: Xmithie makes a great general, but every general needs soldiers. You can’t stick multiple generals into a squad and expect them all to lead. I think it’s clear from team comms and interviews that Xmithie played second fiddle to Aphromoo on CLG.

Now that he’s part of Immortals, though, Xmithie can be the main voice for his team. And at his disposal are some very strong laners for him to command. And it’s not just Cody Sun and Olleh. Flame is such a good laner that building a 100 CS lead over an opponent is named after him. Pobelter, when he isn’t playing on the wrong mouse sensitivity, can lane with the best of them.

There’s another reason to believe in this Immortals team. A third of the season is already over. That’s a pretty big sample size, and you can’t take those wins away from the team. At this point, it would take a catastrophic collapse for the team to miss playoffs.

Photo: Riot Games

Now, it’s possible Immortals aren’t this good. Their match against CLG this week will be another good test of their strength. Stixxay said in a recent interview that he thinks Immortals got “free wins” from teams making mistakes against them.

Maybe that’s true, but isn’t that how you’re supposed to win games of League of Legends? If CLG were better at punishing mistakes of “lesser” teams, maybe they wouldn’t be known as the team who routinely loses to said teams.

Immortals’ current hot streak might not live forever. But this is a roster with strong laners that now has a confident leader in the jungle. They still have to fight their way through the second round robin, but come season’s end, they’re likely to be the ones looking in the rear-view mirror at the rest of the pack as they head into the playoffs.

Random thoughts

  1. Team Envy’s unlikely under-performer. If at the end of last season I told you Lira would be one of the worst junglers in the NA LCS come summer, you’d have called me crazy. But the All-Pro jungler has the second worst KDA among starting junglers at 2.8, only behind Reignover’s 2.1 KDA. With the way NV’s bot lane is performing, if Lira can turn things around the team might be able to make a run at playoffs.
  2. It’s just a phase. TSM is experimenting with different picks and strategies this season, according to a recent interview. It’s good to see them unafraid to fail, but maybe Svenskeren could be just a little more afraid of solo jungle invades?
  3. Phoenix1 shows signs of life. After burning through Inori and Meteos, Phoenix1 turned to third-string jungler MikeYeung last week. They still went 0–2, but it was an encouraging 0–2. MikeYeung looked like rookie of the split, and not just because he’s the only rookie this split.
  4. Impact’s impact. Cloud9’s veteran top laner is back, and the team is already having more success: they’re 1–2 with Ray, and 2–1 with Impact. While the team used Ray on carries and Impact on tanks in the past, those roles have blended together a bit this season, which makes you wonder what the strategy there is exactly. In Reapered they trust.