The green machine known as the Immortals might be the story of the season so far with their spotless 6-0 record and sub-20 minutes matches. Another organization new to the League Championship Series is right behind in the standings, though, looking to surpass Immortals by season's end. NRG Esports entered North America's premier League of Legends competition by acquiring the spot from Team Coast, bringing in a fusion of NA-born and South Korean natives to play in their debut season.
Things might not be perfect so far, but NRG is moving in the right direction as the playoffs loom in the distance. They're 4-2, and their star overseas import, Lee "GBM" Chang-seok, fits in well with his NRG teammates; his bright personality and energetic play places him in the elite ranks of mid laners in the Western region. With a mixture of veterans and rookies, NRG shouldn't be expected to be at the same level as their Immortals counterparts yet. But three months from now, with more practice to get the communication in check and time for the players to synergize? That's an entirely different story.
"I'd say I'm the secondary shot caller," said Kevin "KonKwon" Kwon following his team's victory over Team SoloMid on Sunday. "Impact talks the most. I mean, everyone [communicates] on the team, but Impact is the main shot caller. We [follow] whatever he does."
As the only player on the team who is fluent in both Korean and English, the multilingual rookie Konkwon (who also knows Japanese) acts as a linchpin of sorts for the team. Jung "Impact" Eon-yeong is the captain, and Konkwon is able to translate the instructions from his Korean leader to the two English speakers in the starting five, Johnny "Altec" Ru and Galen "Moon" Holgate. While the communication isn't as seamless as the team would like, it's gotten the job done through three weeks, as NRG has only dropped games to Immortals (6-0) and Team Liquid (won their last three games).
"I want us to be methodical," answered KonKwon. "[I want us] always on top of our game and knowing what we're doing."
Sunday was a glimpse of that methodical style. In a one-sided beatdown, NRG took out offseason favorites Team SoloMid. They won by a scoreline of 19 kills to zero in 31 minutes, and KonKwon assisted in 17 of the 19 kills. Altec put up eight kills to go along with eight assists in his best game of the season.
"Definitely Immortals," NRG's support said when asked about what teams in the NA LCS were the biggest competitors for the championship. "They beat us once, and hopefully we'll beat them the next time we meet."
Only having played a handful of games with Team Coast a year ago in the LCS, KonKwon can be still be considered a rookie. A dynamic support, he's already building a strong rapport with Altec in the bottom lane, hoping to become the best duo that the region has to offer.
On what sets him apart from the rest of his peers in NA, the linchpin of NRG believes he has the wits to take him and his team to the top of the standings. "I think I'm the smartest [of the support players] in NA. I don't know if it's a good thing, but I ward a lot more than other supports."
KonKwon and the rest of NRG will attempt to improve to 6-2 next weekend as they face off against Team Impulse (3-3) on Saturday before meeting Cloud9 (3-3) on Sunday to close out the fourth week of NA LCS.