To say the 2022 LCS Spring Split has been rough for Immortals Progressive would be an understatement. After going 4-4 in their first eight matches, IMT careened downhill on a seven-game loss streak — which featured many a winnable game — and by throwing away a significant gold lead and map advantage to Counter Logic Gaming in their most recent match for an eighth consecutive loss, became the first team mathematically eliminated from the LCS Spring Playoffs.
After Immortals Progressive's loss to Counter Logic Gaming and subsequent elimination from the post-season, IMT head coach Gabriel "Invert" Zoltan-Johan spoke to Inven Global about the sources of the team's problems this spring, the recent promotions of AD carry Jason "WildTurtle" Tran and support Joseph "Joey" Haslemann to the main roster, and what his squad needs to work on to have better results in the LCS Summer Split.
Immortals Progressive needed to win this game to keep post-season hopes alive, and for a while there, it looked as though you were going to pull it off. What specifically went wrong in this game?
Sometimes it can get hectic in the more tense situations. We've been working on codifying key words and rules associated with those situations. There have been a handful of games where things look unlosable, but we snatch defeat from the jaws of victory. There are a few reasons why these games have looked the way they have.
There is a confidence element, of course — you may not be as confident in your foundation and the play that you're exhibiting when the results don't go your way. This can lead to hesitation and being unsure, which is something that we have to work on as well.
These are players who, at their peak, are definitely above the level they are playing at right now, so restoring that confidence in their sureness of the system in place and the foundation of their understanding of the game is a really important step for us.
I expected that with the experience we had, we would have a good foundation to work off of that we could augment and optimize, but I think the foundation was a little faulty. We've definitely been trying to work on that, especially during this week and last week. We've been trying to create more accountability for people's work ethic and focus, including myself, to be further than we are now when it comes to that stuff.
For this week, IMT brought WildTurtle and Joey up to the LCS roster. Was this a strategic move, or just a simple shakeup after seven straight losses?
I think it's both. We kind of mentioned in the video that when WildTurtle moved to IMT Academy, there were things that we needed from him to get back into the main team. Today was his chance to show his progress and improvement under a great coach like Nightshare.
On IMT Academy, WildTurtle and Joey beat CLG Academy yesterday, which is the top Academy team. We thought this was a good showcase on a bigger stage not just for WildTurtle's progress, but also the strategic diversity of Joey's champion pool. If you noticed today, CLG banned three supports and we still got a good matchup into the Nautilus, so strategic diversity was definitely a point of it.
Rewarding them and giving them opportunity to showcase their progress was also really important. We want to make sure that we are in the best possible to win the game, so being able to utilize all those aspects and their motivation to try really hard in LCS games and make most out of that.
From a pure bot lane perspective, how do you think WildTurtle and Joey did today?
They traded really well in their lane from what I could see via the broadcast, which isn't on their lane all of the time. I thought their reaction to the Rift Herald situations, especially the first one, were really, really good. That could have been a game-ender for CLG if we played it more correctly.
I think they understood those situations very well, though I do think there were times they overplayed or didn't play things out step-by-step in a completely correct way. That just comes with more reps in high-pressure situations to fall back on your foundation and fall back on the ways you understand the game, and based on that, play it out properly.
Has the issue with Immortals been integrating new players into last year's system?
I think it's more holistic than that. It's not just about slotting new pieces into an old system, but recognizing that the old system was a band-aid for certain limitations.
We want to shake things up and make a system that works with this group in terms of map movement, map play, and macro understanding that actually allows these players to play as a unit of five instead of five individual players. That's something we realized that we have to focus on because the old foundation of the three core players returning from last year's roster wasn't working. That system and that understanding of the game wasn't working at all.
Are there silver linings from the Spring Split that you think can help IMT build that new foundation leading up to the Summer Split?
I'm open to evaluating everything and I take data points like this very seriously, especially when we're trying to quantitatively track a lot of this stuff, including our own progress, throughout the split. I'll try to collect as much data as possible, and with our team of management, upper management, and C-level people, I'm hoping to do the right thing and make sure our summer does not look like our spring.
Is there anything you want to say to the Immortals Progressive fanbase?
First off, thank you for supporting us this split. Please continue to do so as we continue to make progress. It's a tough road. There's a lot of pain we're feeling on our side, but out on the other side of that, there is going to be a good team with a good push for success in summer.