Immortals lead the pack after the opening week of the 2017 NA LCS Summer Split as the team’s new-found synergy works wonders. Renowned as North America’s 200 IQ, ‘middle of the pack’ mid laner, Eugene “Pobelter” Park was at the heart of Immortals’ impressive victories over Phoenix1 and Team SoloMid. After suffering a significant slump during the Spring Split, Pobelter is showing signs of getting back to his best.
Whether he has been representing Immortals or his previous employer Counter Logic Gaming, Pobelter has always been regarded as one of the region’s most-consistent and solid mid laners. Whilst his performances have not typically grabbed the headlines like Cloud9’s Nicolaj “Jensen” Jensen or Søren “Bjergsen” Bjerg, Pobelter has always provided a valuable service to his team, anchoring his position and more than holding his own against the best players in the league.
Following the introduction of Joshua “Dardoch” Hartnett to the Immortals setup however, Pobelter’s jovial status as a ‘top 10 mid laner in NA’ was under threat. Both IMT and the native mid laner were struggling to accommodate to the team’s new addition, slumping towards the foot of the table after a number of ‘feast or famine’ performances from Dardoch.
The former Team Liquid jungler played his own game in disharmony from the rest of the squad, forcing Pobelter out of his comfort zone as his performances began to suffer.
In what could prove to be a stroke of genius from the Immortals organisation, Dardoch left the team after an unsuccessful Spring Split, ushering the reunion of former CLG teammates Jake “Xmithie” Puchero and Pobelter following a trade deal.
It didn’t take long for the pre-established synergy between Pobelter and Xmithie to rediscover the potential of the mid laner. The entire Immortals squad operated as a cohesive unit as they defeated Phoenix1 in their opening fixture of the Summer Split. Following a disappointing Game 1 in which Spring Split MVP No “Arrow” Dong-hyeon snowballed the game in the favour of Spring’s third-placed team, Immortals soon found their footing.
Immortals took no time turning things around in game two. A level one invade by Phoenix1 turned into disaster, handing over a free kill to IMT top laner Lee “Flame” Ho-jong.
An eight minute ace in Game 2 served to snowball proceedings in Immortals favour, leading to a decisive finale in which every Immortals lane shone to bank a victory heading into a showdown with Team SoloMid. Whatever expectations Immortals fans may have had following a promising start were exceeded, as the squad comfortably took down the reigning champions.
Pobelter was influential once again in conducting Immortals to an unbeaten start to their Summer Split campaign. Taking more a back seat in the opening game of the series, Pob held his own against the waveclear of Bjergsen in the mid lane, freeing up both his bot lane duo and top laner to acquire leads.
Crucially, Immortals’ objective control and team fighting presence was significantly superior to Team SoloMid’s, orchestrated primarily by the calming influence of Pobelter, as demonstrated by the in-game communications. One crisp fight in the mid lane would ultimately seal the match. Refusing to lose his life, Pobelter absorbed the TSM focus with the help of his teammates, allowing for Lee “Flame” Ho-jong to dive the opposing backline and clean up the fight.
— lolesports (@lolesports) 4 June 2017
The second and final game of the series would tell a similar tale. Team SoloMid established significant leads in each of their lanes, yet the strategy of Immortals would once again nullify any advantage. Blood-thirsty for revenge, TSM left themselves open to a number of incisive counter-attacks, often led by Pobelter’s Syndra.
One well co-ordinated flank from the 200 IQ mid laner would set up Flame for a triple kill as Immortals marched to the top of the league table:
— lolesports (@lolesports) 4 June 2017
Though it is yet early days in the NA LCS, Immortals are already showing signs that the player and coaching changes they made between splits are paying off, unlocking each member of the roster to play at the best of their potential.
Xmithie has slotted into the line-up alongside his former teammate seamlessly, fulfilling the role of the lane-supporting utility jungler both Pobelter and Immortals needed to thrive.