The rookie behemoths Immortals continued their systematic dissection of the North American LCS last week with two victories. Immortals' Sunday win over the shorthanded Echo Fox was their second sub-20-minute conquest of the season, losing only their first member to a kill in the climactic push to the Nexus.
The answer is the same if you ask any player which team is the one to beat this season: Immortals.
At 6-0, Immortals has bathed the NA LCS in its colors of green and black. While the biggest storylines heading into the new split were the creation of Team SoloMid's "super team" and whether reigning champions Counter Logic Gaming could keep up with the loss of ace Yiliang "Doublelift" Peng, those headlines have been ripped apart by this new franchise, composed of veteran players from across the globe.
"[We always say] 'Treat your opponents with respect,'" Immortals' midlaner Eugene "Pobelter" Park told ESPN on how to find the right balance between being confident and arrogant. He explained that he and the rest of his teammates have drilled that saying into their heads so many times it has become part of their conscious. Instead of overlooking a team like Echo Fox, a group that is playing with three substitutes, and treating them like a joke, they played them like they were facing world champions SK Telecom T1 -- composed, aggressive and respectful.
Immortals, albeit with a small sample size of only six games, has walked the line perfectly between playing loose, free-flowing League with confidence and not falling into the trap of being too cocky. There have been times this season in which star top laner Heo "Huni" Seung-hoon has gone too far on a turret dive to get a needless kill,or some similar situation with another member of the team, but Immortals always regrouped after wild moments and reined it in. The style the team plays is fast-paced and sometimes a bit overzealous, but Immortals has been able to get away with it because of the squad's remarkable coordination with one another after being together for only a bit more than two months.
"We really trust each other," support Adrian "Adria" said. "Sometimes WildTurtle will go a little bit crazy, but we know [his tendencies], so we all follow him [into battle]."
Talent is important. It's what gets you scouted in the amateur ranks. It's what can win you a razor-thin match when you overtake your lane opponent with a mechanical outplay. No one can say having technical skill in the game isn't paramount.
But talent isn't everything. There have been more talented teams than Immortals -- on paper, at least -- who've come across the NA LCS stage and fallen flat on their faces. What each of the Immortals players preach, the thing that has set them above the rest of the field so far this season, is their team's trust in one another. The team's ability to coordinate flanks, knowledge of when to back up their teammates and ability to synchronize the perfect timing to teamfight is what makes the group 6-0 and one of the bestlooking teams currently across the five major regions
"We just want to keep doing what we're doing since it's working really well for us," Pobelter said. "Keep making sure that we don't get stagnant and [continue] picking up new things so other teams can't catch up. "
Next up for the undefeated newcomers will be a meeting with Pobelter's former team, CLG (4-2), who he helped win the organization's first and only LCS title last season. Asked if there is anything special or nerve racking about playing his former team, the Immortals mid laner kept the level headed mindset that has taken his new team to a spotless record.
"I don't really hold a grudge," he said. "I'm pretty confident that if we play our game like we've been doing these past three weeks, then we can win."
A perfect season might become the next big headline if Immortals can get past Week 4's difficult schedule of CLG and Team Liquid (4-2), but that is the least of the worries for the Immortals players. All the players are thinking about is one game -- and maybe one extended turret dive -- at a time, and that if they can continue progressing, good things will happen.