We were all there when it happened, the Immortals took down Counter Logic Gaming in a five game series. It was a close series, ending 3-2 in favor of the Olympian themed team, which, in another season, would have secured their Worlds Spot. However, as a result of changes to the format upon which Worlds Qualification was dictated, they had another gauntlet to go through, against three relatively strong teams, before they could hope to play on the World Stage.
They didn’t make it.
The moment Team Solo Mid lifted North America’s trophy, Counter Logic Gaming was admitted to Worlds, and the Immortals were fated to meet their ends at the hands of Cloud 9, who secured the third Worlds Seed for themselves. This would be fine, if it wasn’t for the fact that they’d defeated CLG, North America’s second seed. Digital flame erupted from Reddit as a result. There was talk of how CLG would preform poorly at Worlds, how The Immortals were clearly the stronger team in every way, and even talk of how CLG had never earned a win, lucking out through a variety of circumstances that conveniently only applied to CLG.
Regardless of the reasoning behind it, Reddit did what Reddit does, and decided that not only did IMT deserve the spot, but that CLG was not a good team at any point in many cases. All that flaming aside, the Immortals are a strong team but not a team ready for international play.
“The team’s erratic and hazardous play that sometimes leaves it in a midgame hole makes you wonder how it’s doing it (Winning) again.”
True to the quote above, the Immortals play fast and loose in the mid game. Specifically the mid game. They gain extremely violent tendencies in this part of the game, taking fights no matter how ahead or behind they might be. They win fighting, they lose fighting and they’re good at fighting. Unfortunately this is a very binary playstyle, it works until it doesn’t, at which point the team just doesn’t win. To their credit, they don’t fall apart, but they don’t win. They go down, just like they would have won: Fighting.
Why is this bad? Some teams are World Class fighters!
It’s bad because it doesn’t always work. Within the meta champion pool, there’s no guarantee that you’re going to pull a teamfighting composition out of every pick and ban phase, and when they can’t fight, they can’t win. This forces teams to adapt to another playstyle, which is something IMT doesn’t do very well, they’ve simply never been a rotation and macro based team, and when they’re faced with such a team that doesn’t play into their heavy fighting playstyle, will punish their ridiculously risky midgame plays, or will see through their teamfight oriented pick/ban phase (See: SKT, Koo, SSG, C9, TSM, G2 and so on).
To the Immortals credit, the way they play is unorthodox and as a result, very effective, but the moment better teams pick up on how they play, how they play goes out the window. However, there is another con following the Immortals. Their players. During the second part of the season, their best playing member was Eugene “Pobelter” Park, Huni was against Impact (Leveraging 3 top lane bans against C9, before still losing) and their bot lane was lackluster and Pobelter in mid still wasn’t half as impactful as Jensen, even pulling a hundred less damage a minute than him, meanwhile Huni, the Immortals star player, spent his time getting outplayed by Impact. Which brings another point to the table, they’re typically reliant on enabling Huni and when they don’t or can’t they end up unable to do what they do best, and what they do best, is the singular thing they CAN do. Enabling a single player hasn’t been a consistently viable strategy for several seasons now, and as C9 showed, a good team can counter that strategy.
The teams at Worlds are good.
The Immortals aren’t a weak team, give them another split or two, and they’ll likely be flexible enough to take a spot at Worlds, but as for right now, they’re too much of a one strategy show that’s based around enabling a single player who isn’t good enough to carry against the consistently better teams present at this tournament.
For today, it’s better for the teams, and the viewers that we leave the combat to the mortals.