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IMT Revenge: “To be honest, I kind of forgot I was a rookie”

Dan Smyth-Temple

Immortals went a disappointing 0-3 in week six of the LCS, showing many of the same issues that have plagued them in previous losses. They struggle to translate their sololaner’s individual leads, many of which they find through rookie toplaner Mo “Revenge” Kaddoura. Their recent slump coupled with FlyQuest and Golden Guardian’s resurgence puts their previously secure playoff spot into contention. With only three weeks left in the regular season, it could turn into a tough fight.

IMT Revenge

It's been a mixed bag for Immortals this year, but Revenge has showed consistent and impressive improvement. (Photo by Riot Games via ESPAT.)

We sat down with Revenge after IMT’s loss to Liquid to discuss the game, preparation for playoffs, and the motivation to play in front of fans for the first time.

Hotspawn: Thanks for joining me, Revenge. It’s been a tough weekend for Immortals so far— how’re you feeling after that loss to Team Liquid?

Revenge: I’ll be honest, it’s really frustrating to lose today. Especially after our loss yesterday in a similar fashion, where some of our lanes, including my lane, would leave the early game with a pretty big lead and we couldn’t transition it as a team into a victory. Losses like this are really frustrating for me. 

Hotspawn: I think anyone who’s played a game of League has been in that position. What was the plan going into this game? Where do you think it went wrong?

Revenge: We knew that we had a stronger topside 3v3 than them, and we knew that their botlane was stronger than ours. We definitely just wanted to minimize bleeding botlane, and try our best to play through our mid and top advantages and use that to snowball into midgame. Our champs scaled pretty well, with Viego, Gwen, and Tristana, so to have the stronger early game edge on them as well as the scaling is pretty good. What went wrong is we went for too many individual plays that didn’t involve the full team, which ended up not allowing us to use our leads that we got to the best of our ability. When that happens it’s pretty much just the enemy team used their leads better than we used ours. 

Hotspawn: It seems that, barring some big upset, Immortals will definitely make playoffs. Has that shifted your focus at all going forward? Best of five is a lot different than best of one. 

Revenge: For me personally I’m making sure that my champion pool is really really big and threatening because in best of five scenarios your champion pool has to hold some threat. Today the first three bans by TL were pretty targeted towards me, and I think that’s an advantage that your team can always bring. Having a player with a big champion pool can always be beneficial in a best of five scenario, so that’s what I’m making sure I have going into playoffs.

In terms of the team focus, we’re taking every game one game at a time still. We’re not too focused on how we’re going to win playoffs. We just wanna take every game and make sure we learn from every game that we play, cause there’s still a lot that we need to improve on and learn. We know that come playoff time, if we stick with that kind of mentality, we’ll be fine.

Hotspawn: Is there anything from the game you just played versus Liquid that you could point to as one of those learning moments? I know that’s a difficult question when you’ve only finished playing a few minutes ago. 

Revenge: It’s more so reaffirming how much more confident I can be in calling the team to play around my advantage in certain points that are critical. Not being worried or scared— not even worried or scared, more so being self-aware that I can dictate the pace of the game with my advantage and that I can call more resources to use my advantage before it’s too late. Especially when the other team has a similar advantage, like their botlane [this game]. I need to know how to carry more, or use that awareness of mine to call for the resources and play the game at a quicker pace around me because the enemy team is doing the same thing with their advantage. Top teams like TL will do that well, and that’s something I can learn to do better. 

Hotspawn: There’s a common perception that toplane is an island. Do you feel it’s harder to make calls from top than it might be from a role like jungle or support? 

Revenge: I don’t necessarily think so. It is a little more difficult when the enemy team’s support, for example, is moving first to a play. As a toplaner you need to be aware that while that’s happening, I still have the agency to go for the play even though they have a support advantage. From a toplaner perspective, when botlane has a really big lead it does get a little harder to play because of the support role. The support role is very influential on the map. It just has the biggest influence on the map, and that can make carrying with your top lead more difficult, from my perspective. You need to have this balance of knowing how strong you are to push the limits with, say, a man disadvantage for example.

IMT Revenge

IMT Revenge is in the recent batch of rookies that have still yet to play in front of fans. (Photo by Riot Games via ESPAT.)

Hotspawn: Let’s shift gears a little. You’re one of the frontrunners for LCS rookie of the year— is that award on your radar, or just something on the backburner?

Revenge: [Laughs] to be honest, I kind of forgot I was a rookie. I don’t think about my role in the team as being a rookie much. Maybe in Spring split, but coming into Summer I assumed a bigger responsibility on the team and I don’t think of myself as a rookie, even though I am. I don’t think about it much at all. I really didn’t think about it until this week until we began promoting it. I find it flattering that I’m being considered as a frontrunner, or even just being considered, because I am very critical of myself and my performances.

I can reflect and agree that I’m performing much better in Summer than in Spring, but I think I’m still far from where I want to be. I know that I’m way better than what I’ve been showing in some of these stage games. In a way, even though I’ve looked good in some of the games, I still believe that I’m not showing my full potential. I’m not fully satisfied with getting awards or even thinking about getting awards, if that makes sense. 

Hotspawn: Definitely. One of the biggest changes for you going into Summer was getting back on stage, even though there isn’t an audience. Has that been a jarring transition for you? 

Revenge: I’ve gotten way more comfortable. I think when I play on stage I get this extra level of focus that comes naturally, and I didn’t know about it until I played on stage. I get this extra level of urgency to perform, and I think that’s beneficial for me. I have way more nerves before the game begins, but once the game actually begins my nerves go away and I’m way more focused. My mechanics are way better, and I’m overall more focused. That’s without fans—  I’ve never experienced fans in the crowd, but that’s something I really hope I can one day experience. I think it would be a really humbling experience.

Hotspawn: What was your reaction when you heard this year’s LCS championship would be held live in New Jersey, in front of fans? 

Revenge: I think it’s given me an even deeper sense of motivation to make it to the finals and have this luxury. In a way, it’s a memory that will never be forgotten. To be able to play on the stage in a different state that’s actually closer to home for me as well, because I grew up in Illinois. Being back out in the midwest with esports is something that I’m super super motivated to do. I’ve been grinding so much harder lately, and that’s definitely the motivation coming from this announcement and the knowledge that finals will be held with fans. It’s something I know I need to work hard to be able to accomplish. It’s something you need to deserve, and I’m aware of that. 

Hotspawn: I think that’s all I’ve got time for! Thanks for joining me, Revenge, and good luck with the rest of the weekend.