Interview by: Bleghfarec
The interview has been slightly edited for brevity.
While the current iteration of the Immortals roster has only existed for shy of two months, the team’s firepower and teamplay have allowed them to continue the form.
Of the Immortals’ most recent additions is Andrew “ShoT_UP” Orlowski, who became the star player of the roster following his explosive debut in the Renegades x Nerd Street Gamers Invitational, placing top 3.
After going out in the semifinals of the UMG Closed Qualifier, Immortals were seeded against Team Envy in the opening match of First Strike: North America. A tricky map pick from Immortals brought Icebox into play for the first game of the series, but the lack of extensive strategies for the map and ill preparation from the Immortals gave Envy the upper hand, closing the first map in a convincing 13-5 fashion.
Envy’s map pick of Ascent allowed them to continue riding their wave of dominance for the first half. After the short half-time break at 9-3, the Immortals began their reverse sweep, tying the score 11-11. However, ShoT_UP’s squad was unable to close out the game, with Envy stealing the last two rounds to close the series 2-0 with a 13-11 win secured.
Even with both maps lost, ShoT_UP’s strong duelist performance shines through, with the second-highest ACS and ADR in the whole series. But to him, that performance just isn’t enough for himself.
How’s it been?
It has been going, that is something that has been. You know, maybe not going well, and I've changed that response. Everyone comes in and says, “How are you?” and I've said, “It's been going,” you know, not going well... but it's been going.
How’s your journey with Immortals been, considering you’ve only recently joined the squad and qualified for First Strike?
It's weird saying this, but a lot of people see me and I see myself as a very mechanical player, more than anything else. And that's why I'm in the Duelist role. I think that's the best fit for me. But it's kind of weird because before I got onto immortals, I didn't really think I was that good. And, it's kind of weird saying this, I still don't think I'm that good.
Having the opportunity to see what I can do, what I did in the qualifiers, what I did in tournaments, and seeing that thing where I actually am because when I looked at pros, you know...
"There wasn't really faith in Immortals, and then we came out really strong, and I think proved a lot of people wrong."
I had people messaging me like, “Dude, you should go pro, you'd be the best player in NA” — and I'm not just saying this to sound like an asshole like arrogant, blah, blah, blah, but I'm just, you know, saying what I've been told — and I was telling them like, “No, no, I'm shit, I'm shit. There's people way better than me.” And then they would name some people and I'm like, “Yeah, but those people aren't gonna cut it in a year, people are gonna get better.”
Seeing where I actually am, playing fairly well against teams that aren't bad, I think it's kind of proof to myself [and] other people how good I am. When I got into Immortals, people were like, “Who is this guy? Complete random.” And, you know, there wasn't really faith in Immortals, and then we came out really strong, and I think proved a lot of people wrong.
Even when I was following you back in CS:GO, I thought you were a great player. How has your mindset changed from playing CS:GO to playing now in Valorant?
It's largely the same. When I was 14 or 13, playing Counter Strike — like, I actually played Counter Strike back in 2012 so I was like 11. And I was a CoD player, console guy. I was like, “Dude, you can scope in on these fucking guns? This game sucks,” and then I uninstalled it for like two years, and then I don't even remember how I got back into it.
But anyways, my mindset was like, “I really want to go pro in this game.” And I, I just want to be the best player mechanically. And I think that's still what my mindset is today.
"I was sitting on the toilet surfing Reddit when neptune messages me and is just like 'You want to play for Immortals?' and I was just like, 'What the fuck, dude?'"
My colleague interviewed the Immortals’ manager Packing10 a few weeks back and he mentioned how you’d always wanted to go pro but never had the opportunity due to personal obligations and school. Is this the first time that you’ve felt you had the opportunity to go pro?
Yeah, definitely. Definitely.
I think I did have one time in CS where I could have made pro and I just shat the bed. I think there was one time where I could say that was true. But after that, I feel like I really brought it back and was just like shitting on everyone. But I was just never given the ability to actually prove myself and prove that I've gotten better and that I've come a long way from that time where I shit the bed.
And I think my stats prove that back in the day. And then eventually you try for a while and you don't go anywhere, you don't get anything. And it’s just like playing the game starts becoming a chore. And I think that's why I quit Counter-Strike because I was proving myself and just nothing ever came. And so I was, “Why am I even playing?” So that's why I quit Counter-Strike.
And even with Valorant, this entire thing is just out of nowhere. I've said it on stream, but I was sitting on the toilet surfing Reddit when neptune messages me and is just like “You want to play for Immortals?” and I was just like, “What the fuck, dude, you can't just Snapchat somebody that.” And I tried to call him and he doesn’t pick up and it was really funny.
But I feel like that's the first time that I've ever gotten a really fair shake in a five year period that I could prove myself and show that I am what I am.
"I felt like it was just a repeat of what happened to me in Counter-Strike where nobody was gonna give me a chance and that ended up with me quitting"
Taking that into consideration, what were your thoughts going into Morning Light, especially reuniting with Ghost Academy players?
Yeah, I think morning Light was another… like, I was super hesitant to go for it. Because like I said at the beginning, it was a really big issue for me. I didn't think I was good enough, right? I was thinking like, “If I made it, I'd be just a bottom barrel, really shit, maybe recycled out.” And I think what's happening shows that that's not the player that I am. But that's like the mindset that I had in the beginning. Morning Light was kind of an opportunity to prove that that wasn't the case.
I think when I was on Morning Light, there were a lot of players that I was looking at that were pro and I was like, “I know I'm better than this guy. I know that that team would be better with me.” And it just felt like a repeat of what happened in Counter-Strike. I was playing on Morning Light for a couple of months, I was doing pretty well, and nothing [big] ever came of it really.
I felt like it was just a repeat of what happened to me in Counter-Strike where nobody was gonna give me a chance and that ended up with me quitting until I got that snapshot from neptune.
[pause] I’m still trying to process that toilet story.
[laughs] Yeah, tends to get people. I read Reddit a lot and when people talk about Immortals’ success when the roster initially came out, there was a lot of negativity, not very optimistic. There were some people like, “Let's just see, you know, let's not write them out right away” and those people ended up being correct.
A lot of our successes are ascribed to Packing10 and Gunba, being these super talented scouts. That's true for the first iteration, but where we are at now, I know jmoh was referred by jcStani, I was referred by neptune, and I'm pretty sure that neptune was referred by somebody as well.
So it's always kind of funny to hear that Packing10 and Gunba are these mastermind scouts. I'm not saying they're not but this current iteration, maybe not ascribable to that.
You mentioned that your confidence was something that really brought you down in the CS days. What’s your mindset now with you and your team going forward, especially with the Valorant Champions Tour coming up?
I think the one thing that we need to work on the most is just being confident. And that's really annoying to say because it feels I'm saying some dumb shit. You just lost versus this person and you think you lost because of confidence, you know that? Aren't they just better than you? And I really don't believe that.
"I need to work on just playing how I know I can play. I think these tournaments are super important for that"
Honestly, I think that it really actually is the issue that we don't play in these important matches the way that we do in scrims a lot of the time. And I think we would have won against Envy if we did and it's mostly me, I would say. You might look at the scoreboard and say, “Oh, ShoT_UP did pretty well,” but don't want to do pretty well, I shouldn't be doing pretty well, I should be doing really fucking good.
And I know that I have that. I know that I have the ability to do that. And I need to work on just playing how I know I can play. I think these tournaments are super important for that, because I think that it proves to me that that's what my issue is.
And if I can clear that issue, it doesn't matter how good my team is doing because I will be able to do what needs to be done then. I think the reason that I'm not doing that is because I'm not confident in it. And I think every time I play in these tournaments, it proves that fact and that helps me get past that.