After narrowly missing out on a playoffs spot in the NA LCS 2017 Spring Split, Immortals have invested in their support staff, hiring the talent of former ROX Tigers and Longzhu Gaming coach Kim “SSONG” Sang-soo. The announcement comes six days after IMT traded jungler Joshua “Dardoch” Hartnett for Counter Logic Gaming’s Jake “Xmithie” Puchero.
SSONG was a integral part of the ROX Tigers organisation for around 18 months, head coach for the team during their run to claim the LCK summer crown from SK Telecom T1 and the team’s semi-final finish at the 2016 World Championship. After leaving ROX, SSONG joined Longzhu Gaming for a three month tenure, enjoying remarkable results with the squad. Longzhu were regarded to be the third-best team in South Korea’s LCK under SSONG’s reign.
Unexpectedly, SSONG abruptly left Longzhu in early March with little explanation, leading to an immediate decline in Longzhu’s performance. The team’s macro understanding and ability to adapt notably faltered in the absence of their former coach.
Heading into the 2017 NA LCS Spring Split, Immortals preached to be focussing on forging a strong infrastructure for their League of Legends roster. With the footholds now in place, Immortals are hoping to significantly improve their league standing by employing a coach renowned for his ability to handle player dynamics and impart an in-depth knowledge of the game’s intricacies. As a native Korean speaker, SSONG will also be able to better communicate with both Lee “Flame” Ho-jong and Kim “Olleh” Joo-sung, Immortals two imports.
“When I had my initial conversation with Immortals’ management, I felt very good about the team after the conversation.
“The players are very hardworking and passionate about the game. They are very open towards criticism and they want to improve every day. Also the coaching staff and the players provide very positive environment to work with.
“I am excited to show the improvement that we will have as a team.”
Kim “SSONG” Sang-soo, Immortals Head Coach
With the addition of a new head coach, the experience and temperament of Jake “Xmithie” Puchero in the jungle, and two in-house substitutes to reinforce the starting roster, Immortals are hoping their squad unity will allow them to challenge for a World Championship spot in the summer.
“Ssong is well-respected in Korea for his competence and ability to manage both player relationships and in-game strategy.
“We’re excited to work with him not only on turning IMT’s roster into a contender in the short term, but also on developing our promising rookies for future splits.”
Noah Whinston, Immortals CEO
Having removed Dardoch from the equation, Immortals possess a line-up that is likely to be receptive to SSONG’s new coaching system.
Both Xmithie and Eugene “Pobelter” Park have been part of a team-orientated approach at Counter Logic Gaming, whilst Lee “Flame” Ho-jong and Kim “Olleh” Joo-sung have both been exposed to the methods of Korean coaches with their previous teams. Cody “Cody Sun” Sun is new to the competitive environment, Though the roster may not possess the best talent on paper, Immortals possess a group of players willing to be moulded into a successful unti by coach SSONG.