Immortals looking to make noise in LCS with an almost full native roster.
In the six splits LCS had after the name change from NA LCS, Immortals only managed to make playoffs once, back in 2021 Summer. The last two splits, they either finished second to last or dead last, while looking like probably the most dysfunctional team in the league. This meant they needed more than a couple of roster changes. Immortals started by bringing in a new general manager, James “Tonington” Kandel who previously worked with Echo Fox and TSM, along with Parth “Parth” Naidu in an advisory role.
The player and coaching rosters were also completely changed. Former Dignitas and TSM head coach Joshua Alan “Mabrey” Mabrey joined the organization with former LCS legend Jake Kevin “Xmithie” Puchero as his assistant. Xmithie spent the last year as the head coach for the TSM Academy team. Immortals also went with a more native player oriented roster for their core, only using one import slot for their rookie support from the TCL. The full LCS roster for Immortals in the LCS 2023 Spring Split is:
- Top laner: Mohamed “Revenge” Kaddoura
- Jungler: Shane Kenneth “Kenvi” Espinoza
- Mid laner: Nicholas Antonio “Ablazeolive” Abbott
- Bot laner: Edward “Tactical” Ra
- Support: Kadir “Fleshy” Kemiksiz
Building around Revenge for two years in a row
Revenge joined Immortals at the start of 2021 without much hype during his Academy tenure. But he was a promising player with very high peaks in solo queue and was known for his hard-working attitude. After some good performances in 2021, it became obvious he was the franchise player for the organization. He was the key player they retained from the previous roster when the 2022 LCS Season started. Unfortunately for Immortals, Revenge struggled to reach that expected potential last season, even though he kept showing flashes of what he can do throughout the year. If Immortals were to break out of the bottom two, playoffs seems very far ahead, they will need their top laner to take the next step.
The rookie jungler Kenvi was the other player who managed to keep his job from last year. One of the most hyped-up prospects in Academy when he was on 100 Thieves, there were a lot of expectations on Kenvi to start performing right away. It is fair to say he struggled a lot in his first LCS Split. This might be due to the team environment or the jungle meta not fitting his playstyle, but I’m expecting a rise in his performance in 2023.
Going the CLG route but not quite the same
After spending years at the bottom of the league, CLG became of the most exciting teams to watch in 2022 purely by bringing relatively young native players and adding a TCL import. Well, it looks like Immortals are doing just that as they signed Ablazeolive and Tactical while bringing over Fleshy from TCL. Although it is wrong to call Ablaze and Tactical new faces to the league as we saw them play for years, they still have a lot of potential for growth.
The worry for me is that potential will just become an alternate reality at some point. Both these players had ample opportunity to show they can become top-tier players in LCS in the last two years. They’ve shown they have the talent, they’ve shown flashes of individual brilliance, but in the end, they both kept repeating the same mistakes that hold them back.
Ablazeolive is a pretty aggressive laner that can hold his own in most 1v1 lanes, and even get leads for himself. But he has a big tendency to overextend at most inconvenient times and give up easy kills to the opponents. There were a lot of situations where he got caught in a side lane while split pushing which led to his team having to concede tempo and objectives on the map. On the other hand, Tactical is infamous at this point for his missteps during crucial moments in teamfights. But he is still a good enough laner that TSM brought him in as a sub after a Game 2 loss, during their Playoff series versus FlyQuest in Summer.
The last piece of the roster is the young support player Fleshy, and it is really hard to get a good read on him. 2022 was Fleshy’s rookie year in TCL, and although he looked really good in Summer, he was on a dominant NASR team. At the very least, he is an aggressive player that prefers to be on engage supports, which fits well with Tactical’s playstyle. Considering the track record of TCL imports in the LCS, there is a lot of hope for Fleshy’s NA career. Unfortunately, I cannot say the same for Immortals as a whole in 2023.
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