The weeks leading up to the North American League of Legends Championship Series spring finals in Las Vegas were bittersweet for Immortals. Fresh off a 17-1 regular season, Immortals was guaranteed to be playing in Las Vegas after receiving a bye to the semifinals, but the team didn’t expect to be playing for third place.
After a stunning defeat to Team SoloMid in the semifinals, Immortals regrouped before dispatching of Team Liquid 3-0 on Saturday in the Mandalay Bay Events Center in front of more than 7,000 people. It wasn’t the perfect ending to Immortals’ spring, but it was a step back in the right direction after a loss that derailed a near-perfect inaugural split in the LCS.
Slingshot had the chance to talk to AD Carry Jason “WildTurtle” Tran after the match.
Vince Nairn: The semifinal game was obviously tough. How long did you guys take to just process that and put it away before turning your focus to the third place match?
Jason ‘WildTurtle” Tran: It was a really crushing loss. We really didn’t expect to lose that early in the playoffs. But then we kind of just overcame it. We were pretty sad for two, three days. We didn’t want to do anything. But then we decided we needed to get third, at least. It’s gonna be really bad if we weren’t gonna get any circuit points, and we really needed those. So we realized we needed third really bad.
VN: I’ve talked to Robert Yip about psychology and trying to work through losses, treating them the same. You hadn’t had to treat many losses at all to this point in the season. What was the process of getting over it and resetting?
JT: Well I’m a veteran, so I have a lot of experience losing and winning. It’s always the same for me. When it’s a big match and you lose, you’re obviously gonna be really sad about it. But you always want to be positive, even if you just got crushed. You just gotta stay positive forever. That’s how you bounce back.
VN: You had done so well for the entire season, and then all of the sudden you lose, and people wanted to act as if the regular season didn’t mean anything. Did you guys take that personally at all?
JT: We didn’t even know what the community said, honestly. We just focused on ourselves. I felt like the regular season was kind of wasted at the playoffs, but I do feel like we still have a lot to improve. Losing to TSM actually helped us realize that. So I’m really glad we lost this early on.
Joe Cannavino: Do you think it was the meta change?
JT: It was the meta change and also us not being willing to adapt. I think we still should have tried to play tanks in scrims, but we didn’t. We just didn’t have a backup plan.
JC: So were you more planned for today’s games?
JT: Yeah, we were a lot more planned. We were even thinking of running our old comps in the old game.
VN: What has this whole split been like, just bringing this whole team together and coming from a bunch of different, already established teams to create this new one?
JT: It was a pretty easy process. We were all veterans. We had all talked to each other before. I had talked to Adrian. I talked to Pobelter. I’d seen Huni. I’ve had conversations with him. We just all came together because we’re all veterans, and we all knew how to play the game already. We all had went to worlds, except Adrian, I guess. I think it was really easy for us to mesh well together. We’re all talented players, so it should have been easy.
VN: Your guys’ goal has been to showcase what Immortals can do on an international stage. Being able to get third and salvage circuit points, do you feel that will help you guys propel into the summer?
JT: It helps us not get overconfident or complacent because we still have a lot to improve. I think coming into this match, we were too lax. We weren’t really hard on ourselves too much. Now we’re really hard on ourselves and we’re definitely always working to get better. We’re not always aiming to win scrims anymore. That was our goal before, but it’s not our goal now.
VN: What was your favorite moment of the entire split?
JT: There’s not too many I could pinpoint, but I’ve just had a really, all of the moments I’ve had with this team have been great.
JC: Do you watch the other regions?
JT: Yeah, we do watch them sometimes.
JC: How strong do you think Europe is?
JT: Europe is really hard to say. G2 looks like the only really good team in Europe.
JC: How do you think Immortals would go against them?
JT: Well considering we just came off a pretty harsh loss, I would say I think we can still do pretty well against the European teams. It’s really hard to say when you look at other regions. Korea, SKT literally lost to one of the bottom-tier teams before IEM, and then they still stomped everyone.
VN: Do you look forward to or wish there were more chances for international competition?
JT: Yeah. There’s only two tournaments every year, and I feel like that’s too little. Before, there would be a lot more international tournaments, and you’d have more competitions, even more frequent competitions. Now we only have LCS, and they only do two events.
VN: What’s it like just seeing the atmosphere here and what this means for the continued evolution of the game?
JT: Honestly, esports has grown a lot bigger than I thought. When I played, we never had the crazy viewership we had now. We didn’t even have more than 200 people at LAN events. Esports has just come a really long way.
VN: Right. I mean, you had 7,000 people chanting for you when you came out. Did you realize that moment at all?
JT: Yeah, it was a really good moment.
JC: Can you hear anything when you’re on the stage?
JT: Very little. It’s mostly muffled, but I could feel all the energy.
Colin Nimer: What about the shakes of the stadium? Could you feel that at all?
JT: Yeah. It was distracting, but you just gotta stay focused. You’re in the zone, so you don’t really notice it that much.
JC: Last question: Specifically in game, you know that one play when you went in the dragon pit and the dragon picked you up, was that a mis-click to the bard?
JT: No, I went in purposely to bait them, and then dragon knocked me the same time I used my “E.” So I couldn’t dash out of there. I was so sad. Reignover accidentally clicked it that game, though. He was like “What? I didn’t even click that?”
Cover photo courtesy of Riot Games.