At 7-1, Immortals sits in second place as the North American League Championship Series summer split approaches the halfway point. Immortals has picked up pretty much where it left off in the spring split, when it went 17-1.
But a loss to Team SoloMid in the semifinals of the spring playoffs stunned the team and has resulted in more focused gameplay to this point of the summer. Shifting from best-of-ones to best-of-threes has definitely aided Immortals’ cause, as other players have mentioned their preference for the new format.
Slingshot’s Vince Nairn had the chance to catch up with Immortals support Adrian “Adrian” Ma after Saturday’s 2-0 win against Team Liquid to talk this split, lessons learned from the spring and how the team stays hungry.
Vince Nairn: That was a pretty quick sweep. What are your thoughts on that and going 2-0 on the weekend?
Adrian “Adrian” Ma: I felt like our games today were really decisive and clean. I felt like we had a clear win condition and we stuck to it. We rarely made any mistakes, and they were really fast games.
VN: You picked Soraka in one of the games today. I know it’s one of your pocket picks, but it’s not exactly in the meta. How do you balance when to pull that out?
AM: I’m always confident when I play Soraka. I just have to build around my team’s comp. I feel like if I can get Soraka on stage, I’ll have a huge impact.
VN: How do you think you guys are playing right now?
AM: I feel like we’re learning a lot as a team and we’re getting way better with best-of-threes. We’re playing way more games, so we’re improving and we’re knowing what works and what doesn’t work in best of threes.
VN: You guys have gone to three games a lot of times so far this split. 17-1 was obviously a good thing last split, but did it also create a false kind of sense of security?
AM: Playing best-of-ones, we were only focused on one game. But playing best-of-threes, we can take more risks and explore more options. It’s less punishing if we make mistakes first game.
VN: What about the logistics of the schedule?
AM: It feels really weird because last split we were used to playing one game each day on the weekends. It just takes a lot of time to get used to. It just feels really weird right now.
VN: What are your overall thoughts on the support meta right now?
AM: I actually really like the support meta. It’s really flexible, and you can play anything you want. It’s about carrying the enemy’s comp and building a good comp. You can play whatever you feel like playing.
VN: You, CLG and Liquid (kind of) are the only teams to return their full rosters this split. Do you think that gives you any inherent advantage?
AM: I feel like we’re even stronger. We don’t have to waste time building old synergies. It just feels really easy because we all trust each other, we know what each other wants. We can just mold what we want to be.
VN: Is there an extra element of comfort just knowing and being around the same guys?
AM: Last split we were like way too comfortable. We’re forcing ourselves to be way more uncomfortable this split. We can’t always be nice to each other. Last split we were too nice to each other. We let Huni play whatever we wanted. We let me play whatever I wanted. This split we have to actually think about what we’re doing and play as employees, not just friends. We have to work to win.
VN: Isn’t that a bit of an interesting balance?
AM: You can’t be too friendly because if you’re too friendly we won’t get mad at each other and call out each other’s mistakes. “Oh, he’ll be fine.”
VN: I know the coaching staff has tried to implement a no shot-caller mentality just so everybody feels empowered. But when you get into those moments, who is the one who kind of steps up and sets you guys straight?
AM: Usually when we get too wild, Huni tries to step in. Just calm down guys, play it slow. But everyone has a say. Sometimes Huni goes too crazy. Sometimes I go too crazy. Sometimes Turtle goes too crazy. We just have to calm each other down. But it’s all a team job effort.
VN: You guys are almost at the halfway point of the split. What are the things you’re identifying to continue this forward track?
AM: I think we just have to keep adapting to the meta well and staying on top of what’s strong and being able to be flexible and just play as a team.
VN: Liquid is an interesting team that has fought with consistency so far. What do you think of them overall?
AM: I feel like Team Liquid is a really strong team. All their players are really talented, but I guess they were like us last split. They’re really over-confident right now. They feel like they can play whatever they want and they can stop everyone. They don’t have a good read on the meta right now.
VN: It seems like the experience of going 17-1 and losing in the semifinals has kind of made you guys more wary to letting something like that happen again. Is that fair?
AM: Yeah, that’s fair to say. We have to be really careful now.
Cover photo courtesy of Riot Games.