It appears that the rumours of an Immortals roster collapse were at least partially true – Support player, Adrian “Adrian” Ma is the first of the roster to conclusively commit his future away from the squad. The former Team Impulse man will join North American squad Phoenix1 for the NA LCS Spring Split in a bid to cement P1 as a top-tier team, as opposed to relegation strugglers.
Throughout Adrian’s career, he has never once failed to make the top four of the regular season. His crowning achievement to date came at the end of the 2016 Spring Split, winning the regular split with a 17-1 Immortals roster. The League of Legends World Championships however, have remained elusive, failing to reach the top three over the course of the year with both Team Impulse and Immortals.
The disappointment of not reaching Worlds with such a dominant roster as Immortals appears to have taken its toll. There were growing rumours that the strain of failure would fracture the team and indeed, with Jason “Wildturtle” Tran playing in Team SoloMid colours once more and Kim “Reignover” Yeu-jin training with Counter Logic Gaming, Adrian’s departure could prove to be the first of many.
“I appreciated my year on Immortals and the opportunities that they provided me. I feel playing for Phoenix 1 will help me grow, both as a player and as a person.”
Adrian “Adrian” Ma
Really excited to be on @Phoenix1gg next year! Expect even more good changes and announcements soon ?
— Adrian Ma (@IMTAdrian) November 22, 2016
Immortals’ management have quickly sought to quell any hysteria of a top-talent fire sale at the organisation, responding to the breaking news of Adrian’s departure with a reassuring statement via Reddit:
The prospect of an Immortals collapse frames Mid laner, Eugene “Pobelter” Park as the most valuable player up for grabs in the off-season. Such is the state of the North American region, Pobelter is in the top 1 of North American Mid laners… every other top-tier alternative is an import.
Pobelter’s position as an NA native will invite teams to engage in a bidding war for the former Counter Logic Gaming man – picking up Pobelter not only assures a reliable talent for the Mid lane slot, but also frees up an invaluable import slots to strengthen elsewhere the squad elsewhere. Pobelter seems destined to leave, and whichever team he moves to will surely be looking to challenge for the LCS title.
All the whispers in the League of Legends community point towards Team Liquid as the front runners for the Americans signature. TL have brought a number of heavyweight sponsors on board in recent months, determined to back up their brand strength with a formidable showing on stage.
Though Team Liquid would likely be the highest bidder, there is a history of bad blood between Pobelter and the organisation. Back when the organisation was branded as Team Curse, Pobelter swore he would never join a team run by Liquid’s current owner Steve “LiQuiD112” Arhancet, after a potential roster swap fell through on the last day of roster lock, leaving both Park and former teammate, Zaqueri “Aphromoo” Black out in the cold. Both players missed out on the start of the competitive split as a result.
The history between the two professionals may be a stumbling block, but with Pobelter’s inherent value rising with every Immortals’ departure, Team Liquid will need to do everything in their power to secure the regions most valuable asset.