Xerxe: “I’m working right now on some spicy picks”
The inevitable offseason exodus of LEC talent to the LCS is always a tragic loss for the European community. However, North American fans are happy to welcome veteran jungler Andrei “Xerxe” Dragomir to the region. Immortals, Xerxe’s new team, shocked viewers when they beat Team Liquid on the opening day of the LCS. Tthey have had growing pains since then, closing out the second weekend at 2-4 after a loss to TSM.
We sat down with Xerxe afterward to talk about what the team has to work on, his transition to NA, and how he’s enjoyed playing for Immortals so far.
Hotspawn: Welcome Xerxe! I wanted to hear how you’re feeling after the loss to TSM, and maybe get your thoughts on what you think went wrong.
Xerxe: It’s hard to say, cause we just lost five minutes ago. I haven’t been able to process everything that happened. I’ll need to rewatch the game, but we just gave them too many kills in the early game. I think we just made a lot of silly mistakes in the early game which made it really hard for us to fight them in the midgame. That’s what I can think of right now.
Hotspawn: How are you feeling in general? I know Immortals is in a weird spot, you having just arrived during the Lock-In and it being pretty early in the season. I’m interested in how confident you’re feeling going into next weekend.
Xerxe: We haven’t practiced too much, [or] as much as the other teams. We’ve been barely practicing now for two weeks as a team, compared to the other teams that played together in the Lock In, so we have a lot of catching up to do. So far I’m not happy. I hoped for a 3-3, but I think the level we’re at right now is much better than what I was expecting, considering we had so little time playing together. I think we just need more time to get the basics right.
Hotspawn: It’s impressive how well you guys have performed with only two weeks of practice. What are some of the things Immortals has to improve on before you can more confidently play tougher LCS teams?
Xerxe: I think we have to work on our early game. It’s really inconsistent right now, either we get really far ahead in the early game and then win in 30 minutes, like we did against EG, or we give so many random kills and make it really difficult for us. I think if we can work on our early game and have it a bit more consistent, we’ll have better results.
Hotspawn: How’s the transition to NA been for you so far? Have you been liking it?
Xerxe: So far I really enjoy it here. I haven’t been able to go out much, since I’m pretty much staying in my apartment. I’m just playing solo queue, playing these games. I haven’t been able to explore much. But it’s been great so far. It’s been really easy for me to transition here, since I had Destiny and Guilhoto. Lots of familiar faces around me.
Hotspawn: In Europe, you were famously a player that isn’t afraid to break the meta. Doublelift and Treatz were discussing on stream that they think NA players are less open to off-meta picks than other regions— have you found that to be true? I know you haven’t been here for long, but you’ve competed against the region for some time now.
Xerxe: I could say, at least for my team, we aren’t afraid to play weird champions that we haven’t played before if the matchup is right for it. I can’t say anything for other players [laughs]. Yeah, I can’t say anything more than that.
Hotspawn: Without leaking anything, can we expect any spicy or exciting jungle picks from you in the coming weeks?
Xerxe: I’m working right now on some spicy picks. Hopefully, I can pull them out by next week. That’s all I can say.
Hotspawn: I want to hear your thoughts on the general atmosphere at Immortals. Are you feeling confident as a team?
Xerxe: I’m feeling confident, just because our team’s atmosphere is one of the greatest I’ve had in all the teams I’ve been in so far. I’m confident because the team atmosphere is eventually gonna carry us in a way that we’ll be good at some point. As long as we keep a positive attitude and an open mindset, and so far I’ve been really impressed with everyone. That’s why I think we just need a bit more time.
Hotspawn: You said that playing for Immortals has been better than other organizations— what’s different? In terms of the support staff, and the organization itself.
Xerxe: Because of Covid, we have an office but we haven’t been able to practice from [it] until this week. I’m really impressed with how quickly they were able to set up everything and make it easy for us to transition from playing at home to being in an actual office and giving us a better experience [than] playing from home. They tried to make the experience similar to what you’d have on stage, so that’s what I’m really impressed with. How fast they worked on it, and how well they did it.
Hotspawn: Do you miss playing on stage? You said they try to simulate it, but of course, it’s gonna be different from the real thing.
Xerxe: Yeah. Nothing can match playing from the stage, of course, I miss it. I feel like that was the best part of being a pro player, being in front of a crowd and hearing them cheer when an insane play happens. I’ve been looking forward for such a long time to going back on stage and I hope that soon we’ll be able to play on stage again.
Hotspawn: I think we all are at this point. But that’s all I have for you! To close us out, do you have any parting words for the Immortals fans out there? Maybe your old EU fans that are still supporting you?
Xerxe: I’m just really thankful to all the Immortal fans, and all my EU fans as well. I really hope we can show better performances than what we did today.