LCS Summer 2020: How to Fix the Immortals Mess

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

Immortals made a big change to their management and coaching, but there is still more to be done to improve the roster.

Last night, Immortals, who have been floundering in the standings thusfar in the Summer Split, pulled the trigger on the first major shakeup to their season. They fired coach Tomas “Zaboutine” Si-Hassen and General Manager Keaton Cryer.

After an 0-4 start, some change at the top of the organization was inevitable, but now that the first domino has fallen people are already speculating if roster changes could be on the way. Certainly, I do believe that the Immortals roster is fundamentally flawed, but not necessarily in the way that most people speculating do.

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Many are pointing to mid laner Jérémy “Eika” Valdenaire as the likely first victim of any roster changes. That said, I believe that some other roster changes are more likely and will be more helpful in propelling the organization in a positive direction going forward.

First, the team has to undo their decision to run with the bot lane duo of Johnny “Altec” Ru and Austin “Gate” Yu, over their bot lane from spring, Apollo “Apollo” Price and Nickolas “Hakuho” Surgent. While Hakuho and Apollo weren’t stars by any means, they were at least average compared to the rest of the field.

Altec and Gate, however, have been an unmitigated disaster. Both of them graded out as the worst players in their position through two weeks of play, and both have been bottom-five players overall among all LCS players. This isn’t a matter of a new, rookie duo showing promise but having nerves; the two played together in Academy, where they were not spectacular, and look completely outmatched in the LCS.

Beyond that, I think Immortals need to start to invest in acquiring younger, cheaper players to build a team around. The best way to do this is by trading the one actual asset they posses. Funnily enough, the one positive of the first two weeks of the Summer Split is that it has shown Immortals that they can afford to lose this asset.

That would be jungler Jake “Xmithie” Puchero, who has been replaced to start the season with rookie Joseph “Potluck” Pollock. Potluck has, by my estimations, held his own in these games, grading out as the eighth-best jungler in the LCS and showing enough glimpses of solid play that I would consider giving him more to grow into a starting LCS spot.

Xmithie, as a resident, North American jungler, would be an attractive trade piece to a few LCS teams and could net Immortals significant assets.

First, there’s the obvious in TSM. Though Mingyi “Spica” Lu has improved his play of late, we know that coach Parth Naidu is a fan of running 6-man rosters. TSM would be open to bringing in the veteran jungler to push for a starting spot with Spica. In addition, Xmithie and Yiliang “Doublelift” Peng have a long relationship playing together on Team Liquid, with Doublelift lobbying for the team to keep Xmithie over signing Mads “Broxah” Brock-Pedersen.

In exchange, Immortals could acquire either ADC Lawrence “Lost” Sze Yuy Hui or mid laner Lawrence “Lost” Sze Yuy Hui from TSM. Both are very promising prospects who are currently behind incumbents on TSM they are likely to unseat but could develop into the long-term solution for Immortals.

Another option for a trade would be 100 Thieves, whose own jungler William “Meteos” Hartman has been something of a disappointment so far this split. While it’s arguable that Xmithie is an upgrade over Meteos, 100 Thieves have always been an incredibly aggressive team and they might take a swing with their shot at a trip to Worlds quickly fading.

In exchange, Immortals should target Academy bot laner Jacob “Prismal” Feinstein, who I’ve felt for a while is deserving of a shot in the LCS. Prismal is one of the best resource-friendly bot laners in Academy, posting the highest damage-to-gold ratio of any player in his position.

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The final possible trade partner would be Dignitas, who are still looking to solidify the jungle position despite having Matthew “Akaadian” Higginbotham and Joshua “Dardoch” Hartnett already on the roster. While DIG doesn’t have the same young talent in Academy that other teams do, I think acquiring a player like mid laner Kim “Fenix” Jae-hun or ADC Toàn “Asta” Trần would be solid moves.

Using Xmithie as a trade chip to improve their sizeable holes in the bot and top lanes, as well as looking for young Academy players that could grow into starting LCS roles is the path that Immortals should take. Their roster is too weak and with the changes to the coaching and management, it’s nearly impossible that this team will make a deep run in LCS playoffs or make Worlds. If Immortals focuses on building towards the future, they can set themselves up for success in 2021.