After four weeks of LCS Spring 2020, Immortals is tied for second place. FlyQuest is alongside them in second, while an undefeated Cloud9 sits in first. Analysts and LCS fans are having a hard time buying into Immortals’ success. They have been inconsistent. Their players have bad statistics. People are questioning the value of their European imports over domestic top and mid laners. They are poking all kinds of holes through this Immortals lineup.
However, Immortals is winning games for a reason. They have strengths that allowed them to pull off wins over Team Liquid, TSM, Golden Guardians, CLG and 100 Thieves. Immortals has won early games and cleanly closed against TL. They won through a chaotic backdoor against CLG. Immortals dragged their TSM game out to 61 minutes and won. While they have shown diverse win conditions in the first few weeks, Immortals has shown some consistencies, which are found in their statistics, which make them better than most LCS teams at some things, and show why they deserve the second place spot right now.
Firstly, check out Immortals statistics surrounding kills and deaths. So far, they have a 0.97 kill-death ratio, which is middle-of-the-pack, and 0.49 combined kills per minute, which is tied for lowest in the LCS. These statistics mean Immortals generally go even in fights (one kill for one death), and they have fewer kills and deaths throughout a game than most teams. The low combined kills could also mean their game times are significantly longer (they are), which dilutes the stat.
For example, if the average game time across the LCS is 34.5 minutes, and the average LCS match ends with 20.8 kills, then the league-wide combined kills per minute would be around 0.60. Therefore, Immortals could stretch out the game time to 42.4 with the same average combined number of kills, or they could lower their combined kills to 16.9 and keep the same average game time to get the lower combined kills per minute. In reality, Immortals has both longer games and fewer average combined kills.
These statistics explain why some Immortals games feel stagnant, hitting a “lull state,” as the LCK broadcast would call it. They only look for the right fights, and they tend to back off fights before things get too bloody. When Immortals does lose members, they generally trade evenly. Cloud9, TSM and FlyQuest are the only teams with higher kill-death ratios, while Team Liquid is the only team with as low combined kills per minute.
Immortals tops almost every vision metric–wards placed per minute, wards cleared per minute, percentage of visible wards cleared, and percentage of invisible wards cleared. Vision control has been Immortals’ greatest strength so far. It does not show on the scoreboard, and it sometimes goes unnoticed because the mini-map is so small. However, Xmithie and Hakuho have been excellent at coordinating and controlling vision. They have the second highest vision scores in their role. Eika is first for mids, Altec is fourth for bots, and sOAZ is fifth for tops.
This strength bleeds over into all other aspects of Immortals’ play that allows them to net wins. The ability to choose when and where to fight lowers the combined kills per minute and balances the kill-death ratio. Objective control and rotations also rely on strong vision setting and clearing. Utilizing 1-3-1 or 1-4 compositions requires strong vision control. Immortals places more wards and clears more wards than anyone else, which gives them an information advantage, even though they have a weaker early game in terms of gold.
Late Game and Baron
Immortals’ greatest strength has been their late game decision-making. Oracles Elixir ranks Immortals second in “Mid/Late Game Rating,” which is a nebulous term, but it tries to “predict a team’s probability of winning the game based on the status of the game at the 15 minute mark.” Immortals currently has a 14.4 rating, which is one point higher than Cloud9, 16 points higher than TSM, and 25 points higher than Team Liquid. For comparison, Immortals’ “Early Game Rating” is 48.1, which is fifth in the LCS, behind Cloud9, TSM, Evil Geniuses and Golden Guardians.
Their S-tier vision control obviously plays into this late game rating. However, Immortals translate this vision control and efficient fighting into 67 percent Baron and Elder Dragon control rates. That means two out of three of these objectives goes Immortals. Cloud9 is the only team with better control. No other team is close to this high control of both objectives. Immortals understands how to set up and execute on neutral objectives in the late game. Xmithie is their greatest asset in this regard.
Immortals’ 38.2-minute average game time is actually good for them. It is second-longest in the LCS behind TSM. The major difference is that TSM has the second-strongest early game, so their long game time indicates an inability to snowball. With Immortals drafting champions like Ornn, Gangplank, Cho’Gath, Azir, Cassio, Ezreal and Xayah, later games are beneficial. Immortals would be in trouble if their early game was worse, or if their late game was poor.
Until teams can pressure Immortals more in the early game or outplay them in the late game, Immortals will continue to earn wins by playing to their strengths. LCS teams will need to get better at snowballing early, controlling vision, and/or securing the late-game neutral objectives in order to take down this Immortals team. While these strengths may not translate into wins over Cloud9 or top teams from other regions, they are currently stronger within North America.
Statistics from OraclesElixir.com