Immortals: The Korean Overlords in new t-shirts are ready to rock the Pro Circuit
Aegis of the Immortal. Is this the season where Valve’s most coveted trophy will go to whom everybody expects ? Hard question to answer considering how far we are from TI8.
picture courtesy of Immortals
Only two Minors and one Major happened so far and Immortals played in just one of the season’s starting events. Their next appearance will be at AMD SAPPHIRE Dota Pit which is scheduled to start in less than 12 hours. It’s going to be the first LAN event played on the newly released 7.07 Dueling Fates patch and it’s an incredibly stacked event. While most of us were focused on how the new season will begin for teams like Liquid, Newbee, EG, Secret or VP, one group of five amazing players was waiting for their turn to amaze the world. I’m talking about Immortals.
Well-known for their CS:GO division, Immortals just entered the Dota 2 world and they couldn’t find a better team to sign than the five South Korean players that for the past three years have put a stamp on every LAN they’ve attended. Their unique Dota 2 style earned them labels like “the LAN killers” or “the Korean Overlords” and with good reasons. The ping issues that they had to deal with while playing from South Korea and the impossible hours that they had to scrim at for over two years while playing for MVP Phoenix forced them to train sometimes exclusively via pub games. The first time I learnt about MVP’s players struggles to practice against other teams (mainly Chinese one because that was their only strong accessible region) was last year at the fourth season of Dota Pit.
we figured out the meta through ranked matchmaking
Back in March 2016, Noah 'MentalProtector' Pyo told me in an interview “we figured out the meta through ranked matchmaking”. Coming to a LAN with only pub games for practice, the five Koreans won that Dota Pit season 4 trophy by defeating 3-0 Evil Geniuses in the grand finals.
A lot have happened and a lot have changed for the five Koreans who earned a top 8 placement at TI5, top 4 at the Shanghai Major, top 6 at the Manila Major and top 6 at TI6. Right after the TI6, in spite of their stunning run at an International where nobody had an answer to Wings Gaming, MVP Phoenix disbanded. A lot of pages have been written since then about the reasons why MVP Phoenix disbanded, and a whole year their fans had to follow three different teams to see if MP, QO, Forev, Febby and DuBu will qualify with their new teams for TI 7, which they did. However, none of them improved their TI6 top 6 finish and everyone, including them themselves, wished for a great reunion of the Korean Overlords for the long road to TI8.
Sometimes dreams come true and, to everyone’s delight, what all five players hoped for, happened. They reunited, they managed to leave South Korea and now they are playing in an environment that they are the happiest with, a gaming house located in North America.
Immortals first LAN debut already happened, two weeks ago, at the PGL Open Bucharest Minor where they reached the playoffs and secured their first qualifying points. Of course, they are not fully happy with just a top four placement but “it’s a good start nonetheless” as Kim "DuBu" Doo-young told me a few days before they made their departure from Bucharest, Romania to Split, Croatia for Dota Pit.
After the PGL Minor finished, the five Immortals players and their manager, Josh "Shua" Arkin, decided to remain in Bucharest for one more week and train from an internet café for Dota Pit instead of doing the US-Europe trip back and forth and back again. I was extremely happy and lucky at the same time, to be able to be around them during PGL Open Bucharest, and have the chance to talk to them during their short bootcamp in my hometown and the first thing I noticed is the good vibe and the overwhelming joy that surrounds this team.
I think we are the only five Koreans to play competitive Dota right now
After spending one year apart, “we realized how much we miss each other” DuBu told me. Although from outside, for many, their disbandment from August 2016 looked like a master plan that would allow them to learn from other top teams only to regroup when the time was right, the real motives behind that decision were completely different. Lack of a dedicated server for South Korea, which meant that they had to always play with more 100-150 ping in qualifiers, lack of scrim partners, and not so competitive salaries for a team that reached top 6 at an International were the decisive factors. Nobody made a plan back then, things just happened said DuBu who wanted to make clear that “MVP was a great organization but too small to be able to keep us happy, in terms of payment at least”. I asked him if they keep in touch with their former organization and if they know about any youngsters from South Korea that could revive the MVP Phoenix but the answer was blunt. “No, there are no other Korean Dota 2 players to come on anytime soon. I think we are the only five Koreans to play competitive Dota right now”.
In an era when coaches are more and more valued and more and more popular, and some amazing MVP veterans are doing a great job from the coach seat (I’m talking about Lee "Heen" Seung Gon, Team Liquid’s coach and Lee "SunBhie" Jeong- jae, Team Secret’s coach) the five Koreans are still not having one, so I had to find out if the spot is reserved for Park "March" Tae-won who is currently serving his military service. I found out that March will “ MAYBE” join them in March 2018 when he will finish the service. “Every time he has a vacation he comes home and all he does is to play Dota” DuBu said and continued with “maybe the coaching seat will be his, I can’t say anything for sure now. It depends a lot on what he wants to do when he is coming back.” Until then, Immortals are in fact testing and practicing with someone who can possibly be their coach in the near future. However they didn’t bring the person to PGL Open Bucharest and they didn’t want to reveal his identity, all that I could get from them was that the mysterious person belongs to the NA Dota scene.
In theory, the Korean Overlords have now all the weapons needed to take over the entire Dota 2 competitive scene. And although they live far from their home and families now, they are more determined than ever to show what they are made off. In the meantime, DuBu married but his wife lives in Canada and his parents in South Korea while he moved to the Immortals gaming house from San Francisco, US.
I tried to find out how he overcomes all the distance difficulties and how he handles the situation and again I was made to understand that there’s nothing that can stand between him and the team’s wish for the Aegis. “We decided to have a kid maybe after I win an International” DuBu told me and made me realize once more how important for him and his team is to succeed this competitive season.
We reverted to a lot of pubs practice
So, the next discussion topic was about the Pro Circuit, tournaments plans and what or how did they practice for Dota Pit, especially that the new patch was already announced, however, no patch notes were available at that time. While talking about how they hope that all the “green heroes and Lich will disappear after the new patch” I found out that the one week reserved for scrims and practicing as much as possible from Europe didn’t go as planned in fact, exactly because of the Dueling Fates patch which was to be launched a day before the AMD SAPPHIRE Dota Pit would begin. “We reverted to a lot of pubs practice ” DuBu said, “because anything that you scrim or plan now will not be available when the patch comes”. “We will be in Split, Monday (October 30) and we will keep playing a lot of pubs, maybe a few scrims before the day we have our first match, but in general I think one of the best ways to learn all the changes is via pubs”.
Immortals want to play in as many Minors and Majors possible, they are not picky and they don’t care who are they facing first as long as the tournaments are not keeping the elimination group stage format that we’ve seen used until now. The good news is that the Dota Pit Minor has a double elimination bracket format only, but the bad news is that the lower bracket is a best-of-one brawl until the finals. Perhaps, the other not so good news is that Team Liquid is their first opponent in Split. The road to TI 8 has started for Immortals with 90 points secured from PGL Open Bucharest, the question is: will they continue with another batch of points secured via AMD SAPPHIRE Dota Pit? We will find the answer tomorrow, November 2, at 13:00 CEST when the event commences. The Immortals vs Team Liquid bo3 upper bracket series is set to kick off at 16:15 CEST so join us to see how things will unfold at the third Minor of the season.
Will Immortals’ pub practice bring them another Dota Pit trophy?
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