Immortals had the most dominant regular season in the history of the NA LCS, but they'll be watching from home during this year's World Championship.
If one were to look at IMT's regular season record across the two splits of 2016, one would find a dominant 33-3 scoresheet that goes unmatched among the records of the North American LCS. Immortals dominance goes deeper than their thirty-three-win season, though.
Average Game Length
In those 33 wins, IMT ended their on-average games at 32 minutes. Immortals averaged a 1,948 gold advantage by 15 minutes, and used that gold lead to ultimately snowball the game out of control.
Immortals’ dominant early-game leads came from embracing one of their strengths; playing in chaos. They were able to create a chaotic environment over the course of 2016 in meta's oftentimes dominated by passive lane swaps. They thrived on that chaos, a chaos that they created by making decisions that other NA LCS teams would sometimes second guess.
Kills vs Deaths
IMT constantly looked for fights, amassing 971 kills over the course of both regular-season splits, passing second-most Cloud 9 by 111 kills. A team playing IMT would often be surprised by the bloodbath Immortals preferred, and would constantly make poor decisions that would give advantages over to Immortals.
Under-performing when it mattered the most
A team with such a commanding regular season would surely be a shoe-in for a world's ticket, right?
That wasn't the case, however, as Immortals failed to perform up to expectations during both playoff splits.
Immortals struggled greatly in both the Spring and Summer playoffs; losing 3-0 to 6th seed Team Solomid in the Spring Semifinals and dropping in 5 games to 3rd seed Cloud 9 in the Summer. Both series had disappointing outcomes, but were not unforseen.
When Immortals entered the scene, their constant skirmishing put pressure on teams to make the necessary moves to win in a chaotic environment. Most teams were unable to fully prepare for this during the course of the regular-season splits because on any-given week an LCS team must prepare for two separate opponents.
During the playoffs, however, teams get a minimum of one week to prepare for their opponent and their style of play; namely the fast-paced style of Immortals.
Even though they were able to stockpile 33 victories, Immortals only ever developed one real style of play. They constantly put Huni on carry-tops and let Reignover snowball him, and the team, to victory. That style of play worked well in games decided by on-the-spot calls, but suffered when other teams had their full attention on IMT, and IMT never seemed to take a chance at learning any other types of team compositions, and they're staying home because of it.
It's not because their players are weaker than the three-other teams. In fact, you could make an argument that they might have a top-3 player in every position. The biggest difference between them, and the three organizations going to worlds, is their coaching staff.
In the same time that other team's had a week to entirely focus on them, IMT had the same time to focus on their opponents. Their poor preparation and lack of strategic diversity were ultimately their downfall, and that rests entirely on the coaching staff.
The Immortals organization would be good to learn from the achievements of both TSM and C9. Both teams put heavy emphasis on coaching during the summer split with TSM hiring Weldon Green and Cloud 9 inking Reapered to a deal. Those investments paid off in the long-run, and Immortal's would be smart to follow suit.