League of Legends organization Immortals is announcing today its expansion into Counter-Strike: Global Offensive with the purchase of Tempo Storm's CS:GO lineup. The team will immediately switch to representing the Immortals brand in its future events.
Tempo Storms's lineup just recently joined the organisation on February 10 of this year. The team was previously known as Games Academy, a sponsor owned by Luminosity Gaming's Brazilian captain and AWPer Gabriel "FalleN" Toledo.
"Immortals doesn't just stand for competitive excellence, but for the work ethic and selflessness that leads to it," Immortals CEO Noah Whinston tells ESPN. "There is no team more suited to play under the Immortals banner than this group of young, talented, hungry, and passionate players."
The team currently consists of five players from Brazil who have since moved to North America: twin brothers Henrique "HEN1" Teles and Lucas "LUCAS1" Teles, Gustavo "SHOOWTIME" Gonçalves, João "felps" Vasconcellos, and Ricardo "boltz" Prass. It recently picked up coach Rafael "zakk" Fernandes in place of former coach Luis "peacemaker" Tadeu, who left to join North American squad Team Liquid.
"It's incredible the support [Immortals] have given us since the first day," HEN1 tells ESPN. "We have never been so motivated to reach our goals and be the best. We would like to thank Immortals for this opportunity and we will not take this for granted. We are going to keep doing our work and representing Immortals in the best way we can."
The Immortals organization has been looking to expand into the Counter-Strike space for quite some time, privately approaching North American team Splyce, European lineup GODSENT (previously known as Team Ancient), and Australian squad Renegades within the past few months. The deal with GODSENT did not work out due to the team not being able to move to North America -- something Immortals was interested in doing -- as a whole. In terms of Splyce, the team wanted to stick with its current organization. And in the case of Renegades, Immortals management dropped that deal after deciding otherwise.
The opportunity to purchase Tempo Storm came after the team went up for sale following a declined entrance into Turner and WME|IMG's ELEAGUE, sources close to the tournament tell ESPN. Shortly after, Tempo Storm's owner Andrey "Reynad" Yanyuk began to seek out buyers in hopes to not hinder the team's chance of participating, with Immortals quickly entering the picture. It only took a matter of a few days for the deal to be finalized between the two parties.
The team recently moved to North America after winning a Games Academy tournament called the "Golden Chance." The tournament, consisting only of Brazilian teams, was ran by FalleN and company with the winner receiving assistance to move to the United States for six months from Games Academy, akin to what FalleN's Keyd Stars (now Luminosity Gaming) did last year.
Since moving to North America, the team has seen massive improvement both domestically and internationally. Although it's not qualified or been invited to ELEAGUE or FACEIT and Twitch's Esports Championship Series, the team dominated ESEA Season 21's Premiere Division, earning a spot in the upcoming season of the ESL Pro League. Internationally, the team took first at the CEVO Gfinity Pro League finals over the likes Virtus.Pro and SK Gaming, as well as ninth-twelfth at DreamHack Masters Malmö.
As for Immortals, the team has made an impact in League of Legends. Buying in with backing from an elite investor group consisting of the likes of alternative rock band Linkin Park, Peter Levin of Lionsgate, and Memphis Grizzlies co-owner Steve Kaplan, the team quickly brought in top talent from South Korea, mixing it with North American veterans. The team took first place in the spring split after only losing one game, but fell in playoffs to third after a loss to Team SoloMid in the semifinals.
Now it will expand its horizon to esports second biggest game, which has been rapidly growing in terms of viewership and financial backing. The recent major, MLG Columbus, which is determined by Valve status and contribution, saw 1.6 million uniques tuning in to watch the event online, while more than 10,000 watched from the stands at the Nationwide Arena.
ELEAGUE, Reynad, and Tempo Storm all declined to comment on this report.