Immortals still need to prove themselves to justify making it out of group stages of the 2017 World Championship.
Immortals entered the 2017 World Championship finishing as North America’s second seed, having lost comprehensively to Team SoloMid in the NA LCS Playoffs Final, ending the split with a 3-1 series defeat.
Being placed in a group with Korea’s top seed would never have been on Immortals’ wishlist, especially considering it is the first World Championship for the venture-capital-funded organisation.
Regardless of their draw alongside Longzhu Gaming, IMT will have entered the group stage confident, given that their two rivals for the second qualifying slot were Gigabyte Marines, a wild wildcard team, and the underperforming Fnatic, who looked far from convincing during the play-in stage.
After putting up a valiant fight against Longzhu, Immortals kept a steady mind to prevail over the Gigabyte Marines, focussing on securing victory, no matter what bizarre tactics the Vietnamese squad unveiled.
In hindsight, perhaps the Gigabyte Marines fixture was Immortals’ opportunity to announce themselves on the World Championship stage, yet after week one IMT has stayed under the radar, even with a 2-1 finish.
Inevitably, the majority of Group B’s ‘hype’ will surround the Korean powerhouse and tournament favourites, but Immortals may have hoped to have made more of a lasting impression.
The North American squad has potentially been drowned out by the communities love of the Gigabyte Marines and the European outrage at Fnatic’s abysmal start.
Every team in Group B has people talking about them – whether for good or bad reasons – except for Immortals.
After highlight reels of Eugene “Pobelter” Park’s progress through Korean solo-queue began to emerge during Immortals Korean bootcamp, many fans expected the mid laner to make a statement in the group stages – so far there has been no comment.
Aside from capitalising on a momentary brain freeze from Fnatic’s Martin “Rekkles” Larsson, Pobelter has produced performances expected of an NA LCS regular split, not a World Championship.
Similarly, Kim “Olleh” Joo-sung, renowned for his playmaking in the support role, has only individually shined for a brief moment at the start of IMT’s game against Longzhu Gaming.
After exciting NA fans with confident moments against LZ’s formidable duo of Kim “PraY” Jong-in and Kang “GorillA” Beom-hyeon, Olleh and his lane partner, Cody “Cody Sun” Sun, looked out of sorts against Fnatic.
Making it out of the group stage has to be Immortals first priority, but failing to shine and impress against teams that, on paper, are much weaker than IMT and much weaker than their future competition, is unlikely to fill the North American fan base with much confidence.
After taking time to adapt to their first World Championship as an organisation, the second week of fixtures is Immortals time to make a statement on the international stage.