Immortals entered the final week of the 2020 League of Legends Championship Series Spring Split needing only one win to qualify for the 2020 LCS Spring Playoffs, but in its two final matches, the team was unable to secure a victory. Immortals lost a Tiebreaker to Golden Guardians after going 0-2 in week 9 and was eliminated from post-season contention.
Immortals is looking to run it back in the 2020 LCS Summer Split with the same 10 players signed to its LCS roster and Immortals Academy as in spring. IMT Jungler Jake "Xmithie" Puchero spoke to Inven Global's Nick Geracie on LCS Media Day ahead of the Summer Split to discuss his team's off-season adjustments, how COVID-19 has changed competitive atmosphere in the LCS, and being called the most underrated player in the LCS.
Thanks for taking the time to speak with me, Xmithie. How has your off-season been going?
It's been pretty uneventful, I guess. That's about all I can say. There's not really much happening because we can't really go out.
Right, there's not much to do during a pandemic lockdown. How do you feel that you adjusted to playing online in the middle of the Spring Split due to the COVID-19 outbreak?
Yeah, it's pretty different. It's like back in the first season of League of Legends where everything is online and you're always playing at a desk at home. There hasn't been much human contact for a while. In terms of LCS, I feel like things are different performance-wise than when playing on stage at the arena. Obviously, there is less pressure, but I feel like teams right now are much more lenient and open to things. I guess the environment is what causes it.
Can you elaborate on what you mean by teams being more open?
Teams are more willing to experiment strategically. I guess it's a less confrontational atmosphere, too, because no one can talk to each other in person. Also, there are more roster swaps and lineup changes being tried out. It creates a much more chill environment where people can try new things.
How do the changes in the environment affect conversations like post-game meetings, vod review, etc?
The environment just makes everything much less confrontational; it's not like that all the time, but there is a difference in how people communicate with one another. It's also hard for us to have any one-on-one conversations because we're all just in a Discord call. Sometimes you want to listen to someone while you review a vod with them, but that is difficult in this environment. It's pretty hard to improve in this type of situation.
Halfway through the Spring Split, Immortals subbed Apollo "Apollo" Price in from IMT Academy in place of Johnny "Altec" Ru in the AD Carry position. What did Apollo bring to the team that was different than what Altec brought as a starter, and also, did the team end up improving because of the swap?
I think we improved in different ways. Both players have different abilities that they can bring to the team. Apollo is a veteran, so he's really good at communicating what he wants, needs, and how things go through the win condition. Altec is really good mechanically and can sometimes carry teamfights by himself; he is pretty much the opposite of the player that Apollo in a way.
Immortals missed the Spring Playoffs by a single win, but no adjustments have been made to the roster ahead of summer. How has the roster improved to give the organization the confidence to not make any other changes?
Spring Split was definitely a blower. It would have been a disappointment for pretty much any team, but it was especially for me because I've been playing at a high level. Having things turn out the way they did was pretty much the worst way I could possibly think of it happening.
We have started scrimming two or three weeks before anyone else to get a grasp on the meta is and how we expect it to progress in the Summer Split. We did internal scrims with Immortals Academy and swapped the rosters around a lot to figure out what champions are better and what synergies are better amongst players. We might have a lot of different roster changes this upcoming week.
During the Spring Split, it was mentioned on broadcast that a poll was taken on who players thought the most underrated LCS pro was, and you were the overwhelming favorite. Do you think your individual play in the Spring Split is worthy of this praise despite Immortals falling short as a team?
I think that's been a meme for years. Everyone was saying I was the most underrated player for the longest time even though I was winning titles with Counter Logic Gaming and Team Liquid. Even when I was playing well in Immortals, it was thought that I was only doing well because my team was doing well.
Me being the most underrated LCS player might have held truth years ago during my first time on Immortals, or before that in CLG, but I feel like now it's just more of a funny way of looking back at things.
You have more LCS games in your career than nearly any other active player. Are there any specific goals you'd like to accomplish this split?
I think my goal has always been the same, but my plan of approaching how to reach it is different every year. Primarily, the bare minimum is going to Worlds. Regardless of what team I'm a part of, I've never missed Worlds except for the 2014 NA LCS Summer Split when I wasn't competing. I'm hoping to make it a tradition for me to try my hardest and get to Worlds in whatever team I'm in and hopefully go from there.
Is there anything you want to say to the Immortals fanbase before the start of the 2020 LCS Summer Split?
It's been a really rough road for us and for the Immortals fans. We didn't really do so hot this spring, and I apologize for that. All of us are definitely working towards trying to get Immortals back on the radar screen — not just with a spot in the Summer Playoffs, but hopefully, as the best team in North America. We'll be working our hardest for that this split.
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