It was a Spring to forget for Immortals in the LCS. However, with a complete squad revamp, veteran mid laner Tristan ‘PowerOfEvil’ Schrage has renewed hope for the new-look side — even if they’re starting on the backfoot.
Immortals made a big play for firepower in the LCS 2022 off-season bringing in big-name signing PowerOfEvil, fresh off a year stint at TSM, for David ‘Insanity’ Challe.
The German mid laner has been around the top of the LCS for years now, and while he’s found mixed success, it was humiliating to find himself at the bottom of the LCS with a line-up that looked much better on paper.
PowerOfEvil had faced some rough splits in the past — he was on the ninth-placed OpTic Gaming in Spring 2018 and went through a playoffs drought for over a year. However, nothing was going right for Immortals in Spring. In his words, it was a total “disaster”.
“There’s nothing else to say about it,” he told Dexerto.
“In Spring we had a lot of different issues. We didn’t figure out a team identity, and at one point we didn’t know how to win the games anymore. It’s really hard to pinpoint one mistake or problem.”
However, there’s a decidedly more positive outlook on things come Summer. The LCS side has made three changes to try and kickstart things. Lawrence ‘Lost’ Hui rejoined PowerOfEvil after being split at the start of the year. Lee ‘IgNar’ Dong-geun is back in the LCS after a split off, and 19-year-old jungler Shane ‘Kenvi’ Espinoza is getting his first shot on stage.
It’s a big gamble given mid-season roster shuffles can drastically impact a team’s dynamic. But when you’ve got nothing to lose and everything to gain, it doesn’t hurt, right?
“Summer is our chance to redeem [ourselves] and turn it around,” Schrage stated. “We don’t have the easiest start but we have really capable players and a strong roster with a good attitude so hopefully we can have a good couple of weeks, turn it around, and make it to the playoffs.”
It shouldn’t be a lofty goal for Immortals to make the top eight, but given their starting point it’s like learning how to walk again. They did manage to get off the mark in the first week of LCS Summer 2022 with a comeback win over FlyQuest on Saturday.
Either side of that though, they were demolished by Liquid in a ‘perfect game’ to open their campaign while an equally-as-refreshed TSM bullied Immortals around on Sunday.
By PowerOfEvil’s standards, the performances were lackluster and exposed the team’s weaknesses. However, the potential room for improvement is immense due to a number of factors — notwithstanding the fact Schrage only returned to the US just before Friday’s game.
“We’re not really on the same page in a lot of aspects of the game. We still have a lot of different thoughts because we haven’t scrimmed together for long — I flew back in on Friday so we need to figure that out,” he said.
“It hasn’t been easy but it’s definitely helpful that I’ve played with a lot of the players already — Lost, IgNar, and Revenge — so the only new piece to adjust to was Kenvi. Now after three days of stage games where it’s high pressure and a lot of energy, you can feel the jetlag a little bit and we need more time to adjust to each other in these situations.”
There are some positives to take away. PowerOfEvil highlighted Immortals’ teamfight as the key reason as to why they were able to nab a win against FlyQuest. More coordinated moves around the map weren’t as well-oiled though.
With little preparation heading into Week 1, those weaknesses were exposed. But there’s plenty of time to figure things out.
“In these situations, it helps when the players have a chosen leader or you know which voice you can rely on, but we haven’t established that yet because we haven’t played that much so everyone is trying to trust their own opinion the most,” he admitted.
“These games, win or loss, show our weaknesses and until you play stage games you don’t see them. You see them when an enemy exposes them in a high-pressure situation. Getting that early on definitely helps and I hope we can use this information to smooth things out — we won’t be there next week but if we can keep working on it, then we will improve enough to get to the playoffs.”
And, in his words, it really “can’t get worse” from here for Immortals.
Their Summer moves were a hail mary in trying to salvage the year, putting faith in some fresh talent and veterans alike. Immortals didn’t have the luxuries of a Korean bootcamp over MSI 2022 like other rosters either to start building that synergy. They’re coming in as cold as they come, but they can still get wins.
If this is Immortals at their lowest, there’s potential for them to cause some upsets across Summer, and that’s what PowerOfEvil is banking on to try and rebuild the organization’s reputation.
“I feel like my goal, even though we don’t have the best start, is to make the playoffs. You don’t work to be a bottom-tier team, it’s about working for that next step. We have that chance, we have the player power, so it’s up to us to give 200% in our work ethic to make it happen.”