Immortals head coach Guilhoto talks about building this Immortals lineup and why team culture is so important in League of Legends.
Four weeks into the 2021 LCS Summer Split and the Immortals stand at a combined 14-16 record, but 7-5 in summer. But what is the main thing helping this Immortals team perform so well in the second half of 2021?
With a lot of time to catch up in the standings, the Immortals are looking to continue their strong start in Summer Split. In this interview, we speak to IMT Guilhoto to discuss his philosophy on team cohesion and his overall vision for this team.
Hi Guilhoto! I want to talk to you about this team and what this environment is like. In interviews and broadcasts, it looks like this team all get along really well. What is your role in helping to facilitate this environment?
IMT Guilhoto: First, I think it comes from the players you select. I obviously knew Xerxe and Destiny. After talking to Insanity Raes and Revenge, I knew that initially the team should click well even if we were to have adversities here and there.
I think that the team environment is mostly on the players. People who need to step up into a leadership role are doing so. I try to help in what I can, but it is mostly on them. Individual actions that they take to be as close as possible outside of the game. However, it is mostly on them. Obviously, you have to connect without being forced, which is what happened to us. Once that happens, I just need to manage that all and keep it in the right direction. When it comes to the team environment, my role is mostly about guiding it.
On Origen, Xerxe and Destiny got along really well. My philosophy is that, if we want to build something from the ground up, we need some pieces to connect. For me, Xerxe and Destiny would be those pieces and then develop from that starting point.
The coaching role in this environment is about providing tools for it to flourish naturally. Let things naturally develop.
It is something that happens quite a lot in esports. You feel like you are not getting what you deserve and the ego takes over. Culture to me is about how the players interact with each other in a natural setting. Luckily for us, we have a really good group of players.
I want to talk about Destiny. Initially on Origen, many people were surprised to see that he was picked up. What was the process behind discovering him back then?
IMT Guilhoto: The premise behind it all was that we needed to pick up a support with a lower salary because our budget would not allow more than that. On Origen, our budget is not flexible and the salaries were set. When I was helping Giants in EU Master, I found Destiny. His team was scrimmaging against the Giants and I really liked what I saw so it all just felt right.
It seems like you have a good vision and structure for building a roster in League of Legends.
IMT Guilhoto: It is a coinflip. You can control your odds and make them favorable. Still, the chances of something going wrong are always there. Nothing is going to 100 percent work out. So far, things in this team are working out, but we know how esports is. Right now, we are 7-5 in Summer. If we lose the next couple of games and go 7-7, then maybe people will already start viewing us as a failed project. One day you are on top and then the next day you can fall to the bottom.
I want to talk about your record currently of 7-5 in Summer. In 2021, Spring Split games count towards your overall record. What is your stance on having Spring Split games count?
IMT Guilhoto: It is the same for everyone. It is very easy for me to complain. If we were just 7-5, we would be in fourth place. It is the same for everyone though. I think Golden Guardians are really suffering from that the most. I think that statistically, they are already out of contention for getting first place and we aren’t even into week 5. The way that it sounds though, Spring Split matters way more than before.
It matters a bit less than Summer, but it matters way more. My job is about finding the best way to continue moving forward. This benefits a team like Cloud9 or Dignitas who are not playing well right now. It is what it is. They earned those games in Spring Split and I am all for them counting in summer. That is my take.
Makes the road to playoffs more rewarding.
IMT Guilhoto: Our goal is to take each game individually. The team mindset is that we can beat any team in the league, no exception. I think we are becoming more consistent in not dropping games to every team in this league too. Once we go to playoffs, we have the same mindset. No matter the opponent, we will be able to beat them. It does not matter if we finish fourth or we finish 7th. We have a big belief that best of 1 or best of 5, we can win. We just need to focus on each game and series singularly.
Feels like this whole environment at Immortals is natural. Instead of needing to micromanage players you are guiding them to a river instead of forcing them to drink the water.
IMT Guilhoto: Yeah, absolutely. Since you talk about the river, I am the boundaries of the river, but they are the flow of the water. They will decide the direction that it goes. The only thing in my control is trying to guide the path, but it is their water. Hopefully we can show this in the playoffs.
In general, Immortals is not really a team that gets recognition as much and is very underrated. Do you have any words for Immortals fans and LCS viewers?
IMT Guilhoto: That is part of our goal. We want to be a team that is attractive to follow. We don’t want our games to end up like spring split and be super boring. I think we are starting to deliver that. If you are an Immortals fan or are thinking of becoming one, just know that we care. If you take the time to view our content on Youtube and get to know the players, you will find things you have in common with the players. This is a very interesting team, especially behind the scenes. That is a part of our goal and hopefully, the players can gain more love and recognition. Even if this takes slower, this will not move us from our goals of becoming a better team.
Feature photo courtesy of espat.ai.