No NA LCS team has seen more changes in the off-season than Immortals. After a generous 2-4 start, IMT look like a team struggling to find any form of cohesion or consistency. At the centre of this struggle is Jungler Joshua “Dardoch” Hartnett, who has been unable to carry the poor play of his teammates around him. If this trend continues, we could very well see this roster completely implode sooner rather than later.
When the camera switches to the players after a loss, there are few who elicit an emotional response like Dardoch. The star player on a completely revamped roster, there is one emotion that is very clearly conveyed after their latest series loss – pain. With his team struggling around him, you can’t help but wonder if this is a changed Dardoch, or a time-bomb ready to explode once again.
One of the most promising talents in NA, when Immortals signed Dardoch after leaving Team Liquid in the off-season, they committed to building a roster around him, signing him to a three year deal and only keeping their mid lane Eugene “Pobelter” Park. They brought in a legendary top laner from Korea Lee “Flame” Ho-jong, hoping to recreate the jungle/top synergy displayed by former members Kim “Reignover” Ui-jinr and Seong “Huni” Hoon Heo.
“Three year contracts in eSports aren’t common, but in Dardoch we see a special kind of player.
“There are obvious areas of improvement for him, but Josh has the potential to be a generational North American talent.
“Few players have a better work ethic, more passion for the game, or a greater desire to win. With the support of the Immortals staff and organization, we look forward to helping Dardoch reach new heights.”
Noah Whinston, Immortals CEO
Though in their first games as a new roster, the weaknesses were clearly visible. A bot lane consisting of LCS rookie Li “Cody” Sun and former Hong Kong Esports support Kim “Olleh” Joo-sung struggled to hold their own at IEM Gyeonngi, and have continued to struggle since. After a season where he played with what he called a “diamond five bot lane”, Dardoch seems to be once again surrounded by a bot lane who can not keep their head above water.
The “diamond five bot lane” quote is not the only takeaway from Team Liquid’s documentary “Breaking Point”. His inability to control his emotions helped contribute to a toxic atmosphere that tore the team apart. As the season progressed, Dardoch’s passion and frustration overwhelmed him and he became destructive force that smashed Team Liquid apart.
This season has been a very rough start to the 2017 NA LCS for all of Dardoch’s new teammates. Outside of Dardoch, Immortals have amassed only 115 kills to their 209 deaths, with Pobelter having both the lowest KDA and most deaths of any player in the LCS. Their bot lane has been miserable, and even Flame has not come close to matching the hype that surrounded his arrival.
To his credit, since his departure from Team Liquid Dardoch has definitely talked the part of someone who has wrestled control over his emotions, saying all of the right things and carrying a positive and upbeat attitude even after their rough first few weeks.
But after a loss, take a quick look at Dardoch’s face.
You can still see the clock ticking underneath, a fuse burning in his eyes ready to explode once again. It’s still early in the season, but the potential for another Breaking Point meltdown is there if Immortals continue to struggle.