For the first time since the inaugural Split of the North American League Championship Series, a team other than Team SoloMid, Cloud9, or Counter Logic Gaming will be competing in the Finals. On the heels of a 3-0 sweep of CLG, Immortals has finally broken through and taken their seat at the table of NA’s elite.
The last team other than CLG, C9, or TSM to compete in the NA LCS Finals was the short-lived Good Gaming University, a team who featured players such as Brandon “Mash” Phan and Darshan “Darshan” Upadhyaha (known as DontMashMe and ZionSpartan at the time). Falling to TSM over five games in the series, TSM’s victory would be the first link in their chain of success.
In the 2013 Summer Split, a new organization would join the LCS and immediately emerge as one of NA’s top organizations. Cloud9 would finish first in their inaugural Split and would overcome TSM to win the NA LCS championship as a rookie organization.
From the time Cloud9 entered the NA LCS, the only team outside of TSM and Cloud9 to make an appearance in the Finals has been CLG. While the dominance of this trilogy of organizations has led to large fanbases and lengthy histories for these organizations, it was time for a fresh face in the Finals.
For Immortals, a berth in the NA LCS Finals comes on the heels of a season of missed opportunities and failures. After two dominant splits in 2016, Immortals had failed to reach the finals in both splits and was forced to settle for third place finishes.
These disappointing finishes forced Immortals into the gauntlet, where once again they were denied a spot at Worlds. After the season, Immortals would undergo a dramatic roster overhaul that included the departure of their two star players Heo “Huni” Seung-hoon and Kim “Reignover” Yeu-jin. With a revamped roster and coaching staff, Immortals set out searching for better results in 2017.
The victory over CLG guaranteed Immortals their first appearance at the World Championship, and the display of dominance sent a clear message that they deserve their spot in the Finals.
Going to my 4th worlds on my 3rd team! It's been quite a journey so far!
— IMT Xmithie (@Xmithie) August 27, 2017
Made it to worlds after a long and hard fought series. #IMT
Thanks Regi 💚
— Cody Sun (@Cody_Sun1) August 27, 2017
We made it to worlds 😀
— Eugene Park (@Pobelter) August 27, 2017
While the talent pool in NA has been limited in the past, the successes of TSM, CLG, and Cloud9 has caused talent to gravitate towards these three organizations and tighten the grip they have had on the top of the NA LCS.
Many of the top players on the three organizations have played on other NA LCS teams prior to their arrival or travelled from other regions when they were still promising young talents.
Immortals’ breakthrough into the NA LCS Playoff Finals is a testament to the parity of the league and a closing of the gap between the traditional powers of the NA LCS and the newer organizations. As outside investment continues to pour into the league, these organizations are better equipped and better staffed than ever before.
The biggest signings are no longer limited to just a few organizations, a clear example being the number of former Korean stars spread throughout the league.
With one of the most balanced rosters in the NA LCS, Immortals has a legitimate chance to become the fourth organization to win an NA LCS title.
A victory for Immortals would have significance beyond their organization and could serve as a sign of what could be for the other organizations and their fans.