Looking at Immortals’ roster before the 2016 NA LCS Spring Split, most people expected them to be good. Well, they more than met these expectations while TSM, the team which was supposed to be the ultimate superpower of the split, was having problems. CLG, TSM’s rivals, were also doing very well for themselves. Going into the Spring Playoffs, IMT was turning out to be the almost guaranteed winner, extremely likely to actually go away with the title of Champions. Then, they choked against TSM.
Expectations were high before the Summer Split as well. The team was expected to make necessary changes in order to fix what stopped them from taking the title in the previous split. Everything was looking good, Immortals were winning vs. everyone except for the TSM squad, which was actually performing up to the standard placed upon them before the previous split. Still, coming out of a regular season chock-full of best of threes with only two lost series isn’t something to scoff at.
During the Playoffs, it all went wrong once again, when Immortals lost in the Semi Finals. To Cloud9 this time. TSM’s coach, Weldon Green, stated that Immortals played politics prior to the Grand Final, refusing to scrim TSM to help them prepare, with the intention of making sure that C9 won the title, which would mean that Immortals wouldn’t have to play against that team in the Worlds Qualifier. That’s some hardass calculative stuff right there, however, I can understand it, when I remember what the stakes are.
TSM won against C9, making the team in bright blue face IMT for the chance to compete in the World Championship. IMT lost, missing the train to World Championships. That was a disaster for the organization. Following this disappointment, the team’s CEO made a video, detailing the steps the org is going to take moving forwards.
Basically, Immortals are looking to make some changes, especially among the coaching staff. While they are considering roster changes, the CEO, Noah Whinston, insisted that these changes will come from the players and not the higher-ups. What do players think? Well, the first to talk about his plans was the superstar of Huniover, Huni. In an ESPN interview, he stated that he would like to try his hand at playing in Korea, though he wouldn’t be unhappy if he had to stay in NA. On the other hand, Reignover is going to coach CLG’s jungler, Xmithie, to help him become better at playing the early game to go with the team’s superb late game abilities.
Now, the issue of Huni needs to be talked about. Some people dislike Huni. He is a beastly Top Laner, he might actually be the best Top Laner in the West, definitely better than TSM’s Hauntzer. But. Huni is thought to also be a loose cannon, a hyperactive personality, who seems to play what he wants to play when he wants to play it. Concerns like “the meta” or his team’s odds of success don’t seem to be considered important. When you have Reignover, Pobelter, WildTurtle, and Adrian behind you, you can get away with it against most teams in NA, however, that doesn’t translate into international success, according to some fans. If Immortals want to compete internationally, and it seems that they do, they either need to find a Top laner of Huni’s skill, who is prepared to play what the team actually needs to win against the best teams in the world or Huni needs to step up and grow up. The second option seems to be more easily done, to be honest. Huni IS one of the best Top Laners in the world, that’s what allows him to get away with his shenanigans vs. Western teams, after all.
Finally, concerning Huni’s desire to play in Korea… I am not an expert of Korean culture, however, I get an impression that any individual superstar can be benched if he doesn’t conform to what’s expected of him by the greater whole. In such an environment, the current Huni would not do well. He would be met with more individually skilled opponents, like Smeb, who also work better with their team. The bubble of The Legend of Huni would burst and he would be left crushed. Nobody wants that for him. He should stay in the West. Another option is that Huni would adapt to Korean team dynamics seamlessly, however, that raises the question of why couldn’t he do the same in NA? Is it that Huni treats NA LCS like a joke? Nobody knows,but it bears thinking about.