Immortals are looking to contend with the top heading into 2022. [Image Credit: Tina Jo/Riot Games via ESPAT]
Immortals entered the LCS Lock In Tournament with two new players in Jason “Wildturtle” Tran and Tristan “PowerofEvil” Schrage as the team is looking to improve upon their 2021 performance. For IMT’s new players, it is an opportunity to bounce back from their underwhelming 2021 season, but for IMT jungler Andrei “Xerxe” Dragomir, it is an opportunity to continue his development as the team’s leader.
IMT Xerxe joined Immortals at the end of 2020 following his 10th place finish with Origen during the 2020 LEC Summer Split. In his first LCS split, VISA issues throughout LCS 2021 Spring prevented Xerxe from being able to impact the team as much as he wanted to.
In the short break before Summer, he made the decision to end his offseason early and practice with his team for Summer. With extra practice and no VISA issues, Xerxe became one of the league’s top-performing junglers.
Then in LCS Summer, Xerxe became an integral part of Immortals’ core line-up and was responsible for a lot of the team’s success. He was involved in 74.4% of his team’s total kills, leading all junglers in that category while being second in statistics like wards placed per minute and total assists for a jungle with 186. And while IMT was unable to make the run to Worlds 2021, they entered 2022 knowing that Xerxe was a must-have for 2022.
With a bolstered lineup, IMT entered the LCS Lock In Tournament with expectations that they would be a favorite to qualify for the knockouts. Instead, they find themselves as the first team out of the preseason tournament. With just one game left to play later this week, we speak to IMT Xerxe to talk about the offseason, his goals for 2022, and how the team is starting from scratch with two new players.
IMT Xerxe: "There are times I even consider myself a rookie, I do not feel like a veteran."
Immortals jungler Xerxe talks about his drive to continue improvement as a pro LoL player.
We last saw Immortals in the playoffs against TSM in 2021 summer. Since that point, what have you been up to during the offseason?
IMT Xerxe: I’ve been focusing on my outside-of-the-game life just in stuff for my mental health. I just had to take a full break from League and from Africa in a compact light from the competitive scene to come to be fresh in 2022. Obviously, something I was able to show much today. But there has just begun, the split still hasn’t started. So obviously. I’m gonna I want to be able to show more individually and as a team as the year goes on.
Was that the first break you took?
IMT Xerxe: I took the full break without playing any solo here. Now that I’m back in the season, it kind of switches like when I’m in the offseason, I try to take a break without thinking of playing the league. And when I’m in the offseason I want to play League and there is nothing else in my mind.
Last year, Immortals had visa issues which prevented you guys from being able to get a proper start on the year, how relieving was it to not have those issues this time around?
IMT Xerxe: It’s definitely an improvement, being able to be with the team. As the season starts and like everyone, this charity game, should the moments that we’re going to run are going to be really helpful for the long run. So even though it does feel really shitty right now, I do think having these moments it’s going to help us.
In the offseason, you guys picked up two new players in Poe and Wildturtle while also acquiring Invert as the new coach of the team. What has it been like implementing them into the existing culture of Immortals?
IMT Xerxe: It’s really different from last year, even though we kept the core there are still a lot of changes. We have a lot to work on as a group and need to figure out how we want to play with each other. And I think that’s fine. Even last year in Spring Split, I think we were really bad as a team and we started performing way better in Summer.
I don’t want that to be the same case, but it didn’t take us a long time to be on the same page last year. It could be the same case, but I’m going to do my best and I know everyone on the team is going to make sure that we can become a better team.
Right now, we are just very disconnected and do not know how to work together as a team. Even though we have three returning players from last year, it is a fresh start once again.
After your first day back in the LCS, what do you feel were the biggest takeaways from today that will help this team become a lot better once the Spring Split begins?
IMT Xerxe: We have to discuss the issues as a team because we have not had the chance to really go through them. There are some individual and team decisions we need to work on. The biggest weakness I notice off the top of my head is our mid-game rotations are very clunky.
I think there are lots of small things that we can improve on. It’s going to take a bit of time. It is okay if we do not perform well at LCS Lock In. I just want to use this time to figure out what does not work on stage so that we do not repeat these same mistakes during the regular season.
Closing this out, do you have any overarching goals for the 2022 season with this team?
IMT Xerxe: For me, I have always been motivated by my own performance and how I am impacting a team. At the end of the year, I want to say that I truly gave it my all to help Immortals be at the top of LCS in 2022. That’s what I aim for. I aim to just work my ass off every day and have no regrets at the end of the year.
IMT Xerxe on team synergy: “It is a fresh start once again […] I aim to just work my ass off every day and have no regrets at the end of the year.”