League of Legends LCS: Breaking Down the 2020 Immortals

League of Legends. Courtesy of Riot Games.
League of Legends. Courtesy of Riot Games. /

Professional North American League of Legends is returning soon with exciting LCS action next weekend. Amongst the teams returning are the Immortals.

The Immortals are a team known to LCS fans after a two-year run back in 2016 and 2017. They were dominant during that time span which included a 17-1 record during their first split in the league. Yet after taking two years off, they return to play League of Legends once more as a rebrand of OpTic Gaming. So what can we expect from this new brand? Let’s find out.

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During the 2019 Spring Split OpTic went 7-11 and finished in 7th place. Then during the Summer Split, they went 8-10 and finished in 6th place. They also won two tiebreaker games to get into the playoffs. However, the playoff run was short-lived as they were swept 3-0 by CLG in round one.

Though 2019 was an improvement for OpTic after they finished 9th and 7th in the 2018 LCS standings. Their playoff spot during the summer was a first for the organization and looks to be something this new Immortals roster can use to build momentum heading into 2020.

The 2020 edition of Immortals is Paul “sOAZ” Boyer in the top lane, Jake Kevin “Xmithie” Puchero in the jungle, Jérémy “Eika” Valdenaire in the mid lane and a bottom lane pairing of Johnny “Altec” Ru and Nickolas “Hakuho” Surgent.

sOAZ is an import slot from Europe formerly of 2019 failed super team Misfits Gaming. He didn’t play well for Misfits, even after being picked up from Fnatic after their 2018 World Championship finals run. He is rated the 10th best top laner in the LCS.

Also coming over from Europe is mid laner Eika, formerly of Team-LDLC. Honestly, I’m not sure what to think of this move. Team-LDLC is a challenger level team that competes in a whole bunch of tournaments in Europe including EU Masters. Though they did prefer pretty well finishing in the 5th-8th place group in both Spring and Summer EU Masters main events.

Eika did play for a couple of seasons in the now LEC, back in 2015 and 2016. So it seems to me like he isn’t exactly a rookie, but hasn’t exactly proven himself in higher-level professional play.

This could be a move that flies under the radar, or a total disaster on a player past their prime and not quite good enough for the LCS. He is rated the ninth-best mid laner in the LCS ahead of only Ryoma of 100 Thieves.

The bottom lane seems to also be one of the weakest in the LCS. Hakuho is the seventh-best rated support, while Altec is the worst-rated ADC out of ten in the LCS. This should hurt Immortals in a season where playing toward bottom lane to get dragons and dragon souls seems to be the most popular meta.

The final player and probably the star of this team is Xmithie. In 2019 Spring Xmithie was the LCS first team all-pro jungler selection. He followed that up in summer by being a second team all pro jungler, but also received 18 points in the MVP voting.

He is the highest-rated Immortals player this season coming in at number four on the preseason LCS ranking list.

That does seem like a step down from his previous performance near the top of the LCS, but I don’t think it’s an indicator of lack of talent on Xmithie’s side. I do feel like having strong laners on Team Liquid did help a bit, but I don’t think any jungler would mind having strong laners to make their job easier.

If nothing else I think with the weaker laners on Immortals Xmithie will finally get to be the main carry as opposed to supporting cast like on Team Liquid.

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I wouldn’t have high expectations for this team. Every player ranks near the bottom of their position, so I wouldn’t be too confident this roster is going to contend for the LCS title like they did in 2017.  I’m thinking this is a team that will finish in ninth, or tenth place.

They seem to be about equal with Golden Guardians has far as talent level goes and they are the popular pick to finish last in the LCS. So it might only take a head to head win, or two in order to keep Immortals out of the very bottom spot in the LCS.