It was a grim, dark world for Immortals flairs everywhere, when they watched Cloud 9’s nexus fall in the finals of the North American League Championship Series. TSM had taken the title of best team in North America, a title well deserved and one that no one (Not named Phoenix 1) could challenge. Unfortunately for the Immortals, that meant the Counter Logic Gaming, the team they’d bested in a close series, had secured the second seed spot to the World Championships, and forced the Immortals to earn theirs in the gauntlet. The congratulations thread for CLG went up, and people flooded in, claiming that CLG wouldn’t be a good representative, and that IMT needed to go, however there were others that claimed that Immortals representation would lead to extreme embarrassment for North America. This writer is inclined to agree, the Immortals would be anything but a good representation of NA, for a myriad of reasons.
You look at the name and you think to yourself, “Isn’t he their star player?”
Well, yes, he is, and that’s both good and bad, but mostly bad. Huni can be a superstar when he’s up against someone he can beat himself, or when his team is good enough to facilitate him getting a lead. However when they can’t the team itself falls flat. For example, we saw them against Cloud 9, When Huni couldn’t get a lead, or they couldn’t get him one, the game became agonizingly C9 sided and Huni exerted even less pressure than a normal top laner. Not to mention the legendary tilt factor that seems to effect him, such as against Smeb, who made him look mid tier in their series against each other. Bare in mind, that this was on the powerful Fnatic Roster that made Semi’s at Worlds, the rest of IMT is undeniably weaker than Fnatic was at that time as well.
Pobelter, the 200 IQ midlaner is a lot of things, but what he isn’t is a carry threat.
This is the team that facilitates Huni’s carry potential, like I said in the earlier section. As a result Pobelter is mostly a utility mid laner. He has only shown serious threat when given Vladimir, on which, to his credit, he boasts an 100% win rate on in both playoffs and the Gauntlet. However off of that champion, he’s less than lackluster, to put this into perspective, he was solo killed by Huhi. Compare that to his performance in both the series against C9 and CLG on Vladimir, where his team never lost a game. Teams at Worlds aren’t going to randomly give him Vladimir in the deciding game of a series, so he won’t be able to flex the very situational muscle he does have. His team will be reliant on Huni. Again.
Immortals as a team is completely reliant on fighting. If they can’t out fight you, they can’t win. Invariably.
This is an issue, not because they’re not strong teamfighters (They are) but because they’re very one dimensional in how they go about winning. Any strong team will look to outrotate them, outtrade them in objectives, outpath them in the jungle, set them so far behind that they can’t defend their own objectives, and make fighting successfully impossible. They’d get choked out in the games they lost, and be very entertaining and likely very sloppy in the games they won. A one dimensional playstyle doesn’t make for a world class team, even if they DO perform well domestically.
So you read this and you think: “Even if their playstyle is a little one dimensional, they beat CLG, wouldn’t that mean that how CLG plays is inferior?”
Reading this, realize that the teams there will be going in at their peaks. They’ll be bootcamping in Korea for four weeks, a little more for some teams. That means 4+ weeks of playing against the best the world has to offer, Koo, SKT, TSM etc. Everyone will be strong going on. The thing about CLG is that their playstyle at their peak is dynamic and far more clean than that of IMT. They revolve around heavy rotations and strong macro play and decision making, which is a far more flexible playstyle than that of a team that can only fight. Not to mention that they boast carry threats in both top and bottom lanes. While CLG’s Darshan probably isn’t as hard a carry as Huni, he also isn’t as tilt prone, and isn’t CLG’s only powerhouse, all while still being a flexible top laner.
In the bottom lane, CLG has Stixxay, a carry threat on his own, and someone with no lack of highlights in his games. He’ll be compared against IMT’s Wildturtle, who, while solid, is known for being overaggressive at times, much like his team as a whole, and isn’t their main carry threat, as they choose to funnel their resources and time into Huni. However, the power behind both of their carry threats isn’t just the fact that they carry, it’s the fact that they can fit into the teams macro heavy plan, and play it perfectly, and that they’re flexible players, who can go from carry to supportive in a flash. Simply put, CLG’s playstyle is better than IMT’s at each teams peak.
Expect to see them do North America proud this October.
Written by Tiras Carr
An E-Sports enthusiast and veteran of many scenes, being an analyst of League of Legends, DoTA 2, Overwatch and a High Ranking player of Hearthstone. He’s been involved in E-Sports since the tournament days of Street Fighter: 3rd Strike and has been enthralled ever since going on to do amateur analysis for games like Guilty Gear, Halo’s 1-5 and Counter Strike: Global Offensive.