Immortals faced off against Counter Logic Gaming in the final match in week 3 of the 2020 League of Legends Championship Series Spring Split. The 40+ minute barnburner's finale was an IMT victory that featured a dramatic back-door finish called by Top Laner Paul "sOAZ" Boyer. At 4-2, Immortals is now tied with TSM for 2nd place behind the 6-0 Cloud9. Immortals AD Carry Johnny "Altec" Ru joined Inven Global's Parkes Ousley for an interview following his team's triumph over CLG.
Altec, you are now tied for 2nd place, and while the majority of the community didn't expect that, I wanted to know if you expected to do this well after re-joining the LCS after a season off.
To be honest, we only had two days of practice with our actual starting five before our first LCS games, so we had low expectations coming into the split. Based on our scrim results, we may not be learning as fast as people would want us to be, so it's kind of surprising.
At the same time, it kind of isn't, because everyone plays better on stage, especially on our team since we have a lot of experienced players. Today, we made the call to give up the Baron to just go mid and end the game, and that's exactly what happened.
Am I correct in saying that your Top Laner, Paul "sOAZ" Boyer was the one who made that call
Yeah, sOAZ is pretty good with late game calls, especially when it comes to finishing the game.
It's a pretty EU thing to do; just winning through a backdoor like that...
Most people know that if you are dancing around Baron Nashor, you have to have your mid lane wave pushed first, but as the game goes on, people start forgetting about things like that. We realized that Counter Logic Gaming was out of position, and we knew that was the play we were going to make to win the game.
How did you spend your time away from competitive League of Legends in 2019, and what prompted your return to pro play?
To be honest, I never really wanted to leave the scene. After Echo Fox dropped me, I couldn't join a team because it was past the deadline. My only goal was to look for a team for next season, which was 2019.
I didn't want to join a team in the LCS Academy League; from my perspective, I'm better than that. Unfortunately, no LCS offers came my way, so I realized I might have to take a step back and play on an Academy team if that's all I was able to field in terms of offers.
I bootcamped in South Korea for two and a half months, and out of the five times I've been to Korea, it was the first time I hit Challenger in solo queue, so I was pretty proud of myself. I had a lot of confidence in my play, and I'm really grateful that Immortals reached out to me during this past off-season to give me this opportunity.
Were you proactively reaching out to teams, or did teams reach out to you?
I have an agent, so we were reaching out to teams to see if they were interested. Immortals was the first team — maybe even the only team — that was interested, and everything went smoothly when we talked. It's nice to be back in the LCS, and it's nice for them to take a big gamble on me, in a way. Hopefully, Immortals and I can continue to do well together in the future.
You mentioned the team development was slower than what everyone wanted. Is that related to the progress being made in scrims, or simply translating that play to on-stage?
It's normal for everyone to want to put 100% into scrims, but sometimes, depending on how games go in scrims, the quality of your LCS games should generally be higher than the quality of your scrim games. Whether it's communication, game knowledge, or map movement, we just perform a lot better on stage. We may be in 2nd place, but we still have a lot more work to do.
How has it been getting to know your teammates and developing synergy as a team now that Jérémy "Eika" Valdenaire and sOAZ are fully settled?
Looking at the past few years of European LoL, the region's play has been a lot more aggressive and fast-paced than our region. They're willing to do a lot more crazy stuff, and you can fight more frequently in general. That's something that I can understand, especially if they're working on reaching for things in scrims instead of just taking the safe, incremental advantage.
It's nice to have a bit more of an aggressive perspective on the game thanks to our European solo laners. Outside of the game, both Eika and sOAZ are pretty funny, so it's kind of easy to get along with them.
Eika was the biggest question mark on the IMT roster before the start of the season. What are your thoughts on him as a player?
To be honest, when I had the initial talks with Immortals, they mentioned who the Mid Laner was most likely going to be and I was like, "Who the **** is that?" I had to google Eika and watch some of his games, but overall, he's a great player. He plays a lot of champions at an above average level compared to other pros, so it's nice to have a lot of different picks and draft diversity.
Is there anything you want to say to your fans who missed you while you were gone?
I don't stream regularly because streaming just isn't my thing, but I hope to make more content with my team or on my own, so hopefully, you guys tune in for that. In regards to my comeback, I like to point to Kim "PraY" Jong-in as an example. PraY came back after a year off and was a top 2 ADC...that's the path I want to pursue.
My competitive drive has never left, even when I wasn't playing in the LCS. Even on my free days I would always be watching LCS and playing League of Legends, so I'm grateful for this opportunity, and I hope I can deliver what you guys want.
Personally, I hope I can become a really strong ADC, but the strongest ADC doesn't win every game, so I hope Nickolas "Hakuho" Surgent and I can form a strong Bot Lane. We're going to work hard and reach for the top. Top 2 in LCS would be a good starting point, and then we can see what's next.