The 2021 League of Legends Championship Series season marked the debut of Immortals top laner Mo "Revenge" Kaddoura, and after IMT was mathematically eliminated from qualifying for the 2021 LCS Mid-Season Showdown, Revenge spoke to Inven Global about the first split in his career, IMT's present and future as a team, and the peculiar and controversial nature of the team's remade match against 100 Thieves in week 6 of the LCS Spring Split.
Do you feel Immortals exceeded the community's expectations despite missing the post-season?
We were a really fresh team in terms of time playing together, which was true even after the LCS Lock In since we didn't get to compete together in that tournament. We didn't have the same amount of time to synergize as the teams who played in the Lock In with their full starting rosters and got to build synergy. Because of this, we didn't know what to expect of ourselves when we started the LCS Spring Split.
We had an okay start, though, the split as a whole was a bit rocky with wins and losses back and forth in succession. We were inconsistent on certain weeks, and then, inconsistent on other weeks. However, I think this was pretty expected since we were still finding ourselves as a team, figuring out our style, and learning how to draft towards our best-case scenario. We expected this spring to be rocky, but it wasn't as bad as the community expected.
We're all really hungry to be the best, so we obviously aren't happy with missing the post-season, but we know that there is still a much higher ceiling to reach. We have a long time to prove that we can achieve that in the Summer Split, so we're not beating ourselves up too hard for things right now. We're all pretty hopeful.
What factors led to the underestimation of Immortals coming into the Spring Split?
We were gauged to be around 9th or 10th by most, so everyone expected us to be pretty bad, but I think all of our players have had games where we showed that we can win against any LCS team. In an interview after our win against Team Liquid where I solo killed Alphari, I said that we were all going to show that we were capable of this type of performance throughout the season and prove that we are meant to be here in the LCS. I think we accomplished that this split.
Insanity played consistently throughout the whole split, Raes had popoff games, Destiny has had games where he showed insane engages and Xerxe has also been insanely consistent.
When we're ahead, Xerxe is dictating a majority of the game's pace and showing he's the veteran presence we need. I think that we're beginning to show our potential and our identity. We know what small things we have to work on and we are just continuing to work on them.
There's no question you are LCS caliber individually, but do you think your macro and team-focused plays have improved throughout the Spring Split?
My goal for 2021 was to prove to everyone that I could hold my own in lane. If I could lane against everyone in the LCS and beat them, I could prove that I belonged here and could do just fine. I think I've shown that by doing well in laning against every single other LCS player...aside from our first game against Cloud9.
Still, for me, this is an accomplishment. I've been working on team play a whole lot as well with my coaches, and I'll just have to keep improving on that over time. It does involve synergy with my teammates and the team's identity overall. I'd say we're going at a good pace so far. It will come down to a matter of if we are able to pop top teams by breaking through and improving our consistency in these areas. That's going to be our goal in the Summer Split, as well as my goal.
What are your thoughts on your team's spring record carrying over into summer?
We are playing best-of-ones, so I'd say that it can be a bit unforgiving since the pressure is a lot higher. That being said, there are a lot of games in summer — more than there are in spring — so that makes me a bit more hopeful despite having a bad spring. Regardless, I'm confident that if by the end of the day, your team has had a good summer and you're heading into the Summer Playoffs with a good foundation, you can climb from the bottom of those playoffs to Worlds.
Of course, you have to qualify for the playoffs first, but I think that every team who qualifies for the Summer Playoffs will deserve to be there. For example, Golden Guardians had a bad record in the Spring Split, but if they improve enough and get enough wins in the summer to get into the Summer Playoffs, they deserve to be there.
The 2021 LCS format does seem unforgiving, but it's for a reason. I didn't like that Team Liquid could finish in 9th place last spring and then qualify for Worlds 2020 in the summer with no repercussions for their spring performance. I think that is part of why the format was changed in the way it was, and it's a good thing.
Immortals has been labeled as a team who has struggled to find consistency thus far, but how much of that is due to the best-of-one format and how much of that is actual inconsistency?
I'd say it's a bit of both. Sometimes we don't translate the same style we had in scrims so we look worse. That can be due to nerves, or a matter of drafting, but I think it's normal for every team to experience something like this. As individuals and as a team overall, it's up to us to understand why these inconsistencies are happening, and when we do, tackle those issues rigorously in practice. Eventually, those issues will go away if we keep working on them.
I think we did that for some of the inconsistencies that we had early on in the Spring Split in our early games, and I think our games have looked better even though it sucks that they aren't all wins. We know we are improving on the things we are trying to improve on regardless of the end result, so we are a bit more optimistic because of that.
There are many challenges for teams to overcome throughout a split, but an unexpected one you dealt with against 100 Thieves this weekend was a building evacuation that led to a remake in the middle of your match. Can you explain what was happening and what led to the remake?
There was a lot of stress even before our match because we couldn't have our coach in our building. There were firefighters outside and they were stopping him from coming up to our office floor, and that was a bit frustrating because we've never drafted without our coach being in the same room as our team. We drafted with Guilhoto remotely, and within five minutes of starting the game we had to pause because our entire building was evacuated.
Riot was aware that this was a potential scenario that could occur. We went home and tried to reconnect to the game from our apartments, but we weren't allowed to because the client was bugged. We were then in a situation where we could remake the draft due to a ruling since we were remaking the game. We chose to remake completely including the draft because we're going to be remaking the entire game anyway.
Both teams had seen each other's strategies, and both can choose to draft differently or similarly in a remake. The rules state we could and should remake the game and the draft, and that's what we chose to do. This is where the controversy began.
We were happy with our initial draft, and I think 100 Thieves was happy with theirs, so they wanted to keep the draft the same in the remake. We had to make the decision of whether or not that's fair for us and for the game as a whole, and we decided it was not, so we remade the whole thing.
Do you think you wouldn't have remade draft if Guilhoto was in the building with you guys in that first draft phase?
It wasn't just that he wasn't there and we were drafting remotely, we were all worried about a potential fire in our building. The whole time leading up to the draft was spent talking about a potential fire and whether or not we'll have to evacuate during our game instead of discussing picks and bans as per usual.
There was all this random, unneeded stress on us, and with the randomness of the situation, it put a lot of stress on us in the draft phase. Of course we're going to draft worse or differently, we don't know what's going on — we were still talking about potentially evacuating the building during the draft.
I think the 100 Thieves players who were frustrated with the remake should take all this into account. If they were in our shoes, we would have understood. Not only did a potential fire cause us to relocate in the middle of the match, we had to relocate to our rooms. We had to change everything.
We've been playing our LCS games from our office for the entire Spring Split, so everything was different for us. We were already stressed about this, so it was a bit frustrating to deal with flack about the remake, which just brought extra stress to the situation.
Was there a thought of simply delaying the game upon the firefighters arriving at the building, just to be safe both in terms of your team's well-being and avoiding a remake?
We were speaking with everyone about potentially relocating right away, but given that the firefighters had already been outside for 10 minutes with no occurrences, we thought it probably wasn't going to affect us. We were wrong, and it did. It was unfortunate because we assumed that there wasn't anything wrong, and at the end of the day, nothing was too serious, but there was a fire in the building.
We didn't know the extent of the situation and neither did the firefighters, so eventually, they made up their minds and told the entire building to evacuate. Before that, however, they hadn't said anything, so we didn't know anything. It's very common for firefighters to be called to buildings without the entire building being evacuated, so we took the chance because we didn't want to disrupt everything.
It's hard to fault you there, especially when you guys are focused on preparing for a match.
Yeah, exactly. We're trying to prepare for the game, and it sucked that there was an external factor preventing us from doing that. It's not on Immortals or anyone, it just happened. Things like this happen, and it's unfortunate. It would have been nice for people to understand that rather than looking at us maliciously.
We weren't trying to gain any unfair advantages via remake — if anything, we were the ones at the disadvantage from the beginning. But we're not on Twitter complaining about that. We know there's no point. We sucked it up and we dealt with it, and it sucks we ended up losing, but we at least felt that we were in a more fair position than we were before the remake where we were literally stressing out about a fire.
All images by: Riot Games