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WildTurtle on NA region: “I think the gap has definitely closed a lot, and I think NA has a really good chance to win worlds this year.”

Immortals is off to another good start in its second split of the North American League Championship Series. A 3-1 record through two weeks is different than the long undefeated run of the spring split, but Immortals is still toward the top of the standings, even after a 2-1 loss to first place Team SoloMid on Sunday.

As one of only a few teams (Counter Logic Gaming, Team Liquid) to return its entire roster from the spring split, Immortals is betting on consistency and synergy helping the team advance farther than a third place finish in the spring. After missing out on the Mid-Season Invitational, Immortals is hoping to perform better in the playoffs this time around and clinch a berth in the League of Legends World Championship.

Slingshot’s Vince Nairn and Joe Cannavino talked to AD Carry Jason “WildTurtle” Tran after Friday’s 2-1 win against NRG to talk about the start of the split, the game’s direction and North America’s chances on the international stage.

Slingshot: What did you guys feel was the turning point (against) NRG where you felt you started to play well?

Jason ‘WildTurtle” Tran: Even in the first game, I thought we were gonna slowly come back because we were playing Sivir, and Sivir’s a super skilled AD Carry. She has a lot of utility and a lot of Waveclear, and she scales like a beast if you get like four items. So we thought we could stall until that point, but obviously I think we made way too many mistakes to come back at that point. I think they had 15 kills on us “or something like that. It was looking kind of grim because we kind of gave them early leads by accident.

Coming back for this split, how do you feel overall about the change in scheduling, just moving to the best-of-threes but also the night games mixed in with afternoons?

JT: Personally, I think it helps the pro players a lot. Maybe not for viewers who can see the games and see other teams play, but it just helps playing more games on stage. If you have more experience on stage, you can get over your stage jitters and you can always play a lot better. So having more games is definitely more beneficial for players. Best of three games are really cool when there’s a lot more on the line. There’s not much on the line right now except for standings, but it definitely still feels really good.

Kind of along the same lines, is there any personal adjustment you personally have to make when you’re used to playing in the afternoon and now here you are at either 5 or 8 at night?

JT: I think personally we need to change our schedule a little more because generally around this time, our scrim matches are the late set and we usually play not 100 percent. We’re not usually used to playing this late, especially on stage. Definitely, we need to make some more adjustments, maybe change our sleeping schedule like that, because we all usually wake up around 9:30, and I think it kind of takes a toll on you when you have to play at 8 p.m.

Do you like the new times?

JT: Not the evening times. The evening times kind of suck for us, but I think we just have to adjust to it.

In general, it’s kind of interesting. League is unique in that you don’t play the same game for an entire season. Obviously, last season the meta kind of shifted right before you guys lost in the playoffs, but how do you feel overall about always trying to adapt to a game that’s not going to be the same a month from now?

JT: You can’t be stubborn about the game because the game can change just like that. You really want to just be on top of it. So you really have to practice the patch and figure out what’s strong. When we played TSM (in the playoffs), we didn’t realize Maokai was that OP, and then we kind of just lost the game because of that pick alone, I think. Obviously, TSM played well, but we could have also adjusted to the meta and played the meta correctly.


Do you practice differently based on who you’re playing against on the weekend?

JT: No, we just practice the comps we’re gonna play and be good at the comps we’re gonna play. So right now,  we’re trying to practice multiple comps, not just one. Because last season we kind of played one style. We played strong lanes and tried to win 1-3-1, and that’s all we did last split. So now we have to work well as a team, we have to get our team fighting down, and all that. So there’s definitely a lot more to practice now.

You guys and CLG are really the only two teams (with Liquid) to bring back your entire roster, for the most part (from spring split). Do you feel like that gives you an advantage?

JT: I think it definitely helps you in the sense that you already know how to communicate with your teammates, and you don’t have to go back and work on communication with your teammates. You just have to focus on gameplay mechanics and how to play the game correctly. So I feel like we do have small benefits there, but I think they’re huge.

What would you say about the gap between NA and the other regions now?

JT: I think the gap has definitely closed a lot, and I think NA has a really good chance to win worlds this year. I think every team here just has to work really hard. When every team is working hard in NA, it just makes for more competition, and I think it just makes every team (better).

People always say Immortals isn’t that dominant this season, but I just think the meta shifted and every team is always constantly getting better. I’m pretty sure we’re still just as good, but we still have a lot to work on, too. And the same goes for other teams.

What was it like seeing CLG do well at MSI? It was good for the region, but you guys were right there with them.

JT: It was pretty bad because we felt like we could have been at MSI, and we feel we could have done really well at MSI too. But obviously CLG played really well and you can’t take anything away from them, but I wish we were there.

Photos courtesy of Riot Games.