After a myriad of visa issues, Immortals' complete roster finally played its first game together on opening day of the 2021 League of Legends Championship Series Spring Split. Its opponent Team Liquid, fresh off of winning the LCS Lock In last weekend, is the definitive best team in the league, but that didn't stop IMT from pulling off a miraculous upset. Mo "Revenge" Kaddoura dominated TL top laner Barney "Alphari" Morris, and Immortals rode his advantage all the way to the enemy nexus.
After Immortals' victory over Team Liquid, IMT support Mitchell "Destiny" Shaw spoke to Inven Global about his rollercoaster second half of 2020, defeating former Origen teammate Alphari, and why he wanted to play with jungler Andrei "Xerxe" Dragomir for another year after Origen's collapse.
Congrats on the win today. What was the game plan that led to IMT beating TL?
We knew Team Liquid was coming in hot. They've had plenty of professional games this season already, and they just won the LCS Lock In last weekend, so we came into the game with no expectations. Before the game, our head coach Andre "Guilhoto" Guilhoto said, "Alright guys, with the scrims we've had, give it your best shot. Just do what we've been doing in practice and it will pay off."
We didn't expect TL to draft the way they ended up drafting, so we had to adapt on the fly with the Blitzcrank pick. I think we adapted really well in our first LCS game this season, and I think it paid off.
The draft phase was incredibly quick, especially the second round of picks. Was this a remake draft?
Yeah, it was a remake draft. Team Liquid's mid laner Nicolaj "Jensen" Jensen accidentally dodged when he was doing his runes, so that's why it went pretty quick on broadcast.
Were your visa issues complicated by the fact that you were a resident of Oceania who was competing in Europe prior to joining Immortals?
Aside from Counter Logic Gaming jungler Mads "Broxah" Brock-Pedersen, who is still not here, I was the last LCS starter to arrive in the US.
These past few months have been really rough. I was stuck in Denmark for a long time. I was sleeping on a couch in Guilhoto's apartment for like a month. I was jumping from place to place because Astralis kind of kicked me out. I didn't really have anywhere to stay, so I was jumping between places, but luckily Guilhoto let me stay on his couch, which was very nice of him.
It was a lot of stress. I couldn't get my visa done in Denmark, so I had to fly to Australia and do a 14-day quarantine in a hotel. I was playing a lot of League of Legends on a laptop, but it really sucks to do a 14-day quarantine. I'm actually currently in another one right now since arriving in the US.
The past few months have been a huge rollercoaster. It's been a lot of stress with how the offseason went and everything, but it feels good to finally settle down. I'm in my apartment at the Immortals' apartments right now and it's good to be comfortable and start a routine again. These past six months have been really terrible, to be completely honest. After getting benched and moving from place to place, it feels good to kind of get back into things now.
I appreciate your honesty, it's good to hear things are better now. Speaking of Astralis, were you considering playing for the organization again in 2021, or were you ready for a change of scenery after being benched for Jakub "Jactroll" Skurzyński?
After the 2020 LEC Summer Split, Astralis and I mutually agreed to part ways, but later on the organization came back to me. They said, "Hey, we realize we made a mistake. We want you to stay." However, I turned this offer down because after being benched and after the way I was treated I felt like it was better to move on and try something new.
I really wanted to play with Xerxe this year. I felt like he wasn't given the resources on Origen he needed. I felt like he wasn't being heard when he jungled for us on Origen, so it feels really good to join Immortals with him. We can build something great together with this team. I feel like everyone is very receptive and willing to learn and improve, so I feel like we've created a really good environment here. We want to keep growing and keep developing as a team.
We're kind of the underdogs of this LCS season. A lot of people have put us very low in their personal power rankings. People think that we will play poorly in the LCS because Origen finished 10th in Europe last summer. We want to rebuild ourselves and show that we're not these terrible players that Reddit has made us out to be. We're competitors, and we're here to compete.
So when you refer to how you were treated on Origen, is that solely in reference to your benching last summer, or were there other issues afflicting the team that led to its collapse after what was a solid spring?
I would say it was a mix of the organization and the team. The team had a lot of problems in terms of identity and players' beliefs/views on the game. I think we had a lot of discussions that didn't really come to conclusions that we were all happy with collectively. I think it was clear by the end of the season that benching me was a bad decision, as shown in the team's results.
Being benched for Jactroll kind of damaged my reputation because everyone felt it was a bad thing, but I think everyone is happy to move on. I'm really glad to start playing here in North America. Being a LCS resident now thanks to the rule change really shook up the offseason for me, so I'm really glad to be here with Xerxe, Guilhoto, and my old teammate Quin "Raes" Korebrits.
Yes, in addition to your OG mates, you also have reunited with your former duo from your days in the Oceanic Pro League. How has Raes changed as a player, and since you've both grown from experience, how has the way you play together changed?
I actually have done this in the past with my previous duo. Cloud9 Academy AD carry Calvin "K1ng" Truong and I first played together on Dire Wolves in 2017 and then again on MAMMOTH in 2019. I think after a year apart where people have grown and experienced new environments, people's views on the game expand.
I played with Raes on Chiefs Esports Club in 2018, and as LoL esports has developed year after year, we've both improved a lot. It's really good to see each other after such a long time. I think Raes was one of the best AD Carries in OCE and he could have picked up by a major region team sooner, like I was at the end of 2019 by Origen. I think it's really good that we can come together and re-establish a previous connection. We can work on it further now with how we've both grown and progressed.
Obviously, I don't think our laning phase against Team Liquid was our greatest. We could have played better in that regard, and I think we will show that we can grow in that regard throughout the year. It sounds really cringe to say, but we have a lot of potential. *Laughs*
Well, a great start to showing potential is upsetting the best team in North America like you did today. Was there any banter between Alphari and your squad today? The casters jokingly billed this as somewhat of an Origen grudge match.
We actually didn't banter each other. I think Alphari just expected to beat us. I know it sounds weird to say that, but there was nothing in the pre-game chat outside of a bit of talk. I'll give him **** for it in a couple of days when he feels better.
Well, Destiny, you've certainly given yourself a proper welcome to the LCS. Is there anything you want to say to your fans now that you've arrived?
I don't think many people expect much of us, but I think we have a lot to show people. We want to build something great here at Immortals and we hope you guys can get on board. To the fans who are here: thank you, I hope we can do great things. Lastly, thank you for the interview, Nick.
All images by: Michal Konkol for Riot Games
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