After battling their way to the playoffs in first seed from both round robin stages, Immortals crushed Luminosity Gaming and then took down Ghost Gaming 3-1 to secure the title of Winter Premiere champion. They fought back from an early map loss on Lijiang Tower to win Dorado, Watchpoint: Gibraltar, and Nepal and win themselves $40,000 and their first major title.
Immortals went 6-1 in the first round robin of eight to finish in 1st seed, and then followed that up by going 10-2 in the round robin of six to carry that 1st seed into playoffs. They looked impressive on both patches, carrying across their strong tanks and team-play, augmenting it with excellent dps ability from Agilities and GrimReality.
Coming into the playoffs, Immortals faced LG in the semifinals. There were questions being asked of the team as it came to light that Nomy would miss out on the LAN finals due to visa complications. Chance, usually the Immortals coach, stepped in on tank for the team. They silenced doubters by obliterating Luminosity in three maps, none of them threatening.
Immortals watched as up-and-comers Ghost Gaming (formerly Kungarna) made their way to the finals to face them. The two teams had faced each other twice before in the tournament; the first match went 2-0 to Ghost Gaming, while Immortals took the second 2-1.
Ghost looked like they had a brilliant read on Immortals in the first map of the finals, Lijiang. Ghost burst out with mykL outputting huge damage on Tracer and ConnorJ showing his ability to carry on Roadhog. The first round was a blowout but Immortals answered back, making Garden much harder for Ghost who had moved over to quad tank. Lijiang Tower was ended on Night Market though as Ghost returned to triple tank with Tracer and outplayed Immortals' dive comp.
Dorado provided Immortals with an opportunity to assess their composition options and reset. GrimReality picked up McCree on defense and, despite losing fountain with a sloppy push, Immortals were unassailable on balcony. Grim was never contested properly on the high ground and had enough space to tick minutes off the clock; Ghost eventually took the checkpoint but did not have enough time to take the map.
Ghost showcased their familiar Symmetra defense, pairing her and Ana up with quad tank. Ajax's clutch teleporter allowed them to re-contest fountain and keep defending, but his team over-committed to a bad ultimate combo that got no kills and Ghost were wiped. Immortals plowed forward as Agilities came into his own, hitting some key hooks onto b1am to provide them with momentum to open the foundry. Ghost moved back to quad tank to defend the final area but the lack of manoeuvrability allowed GrimReality to once again rip apart Ghost from the high ground. Slowly Immortals got the advantage in their fights and were able to beat their way through spawners to complete the map and bring the series to 1-1.
Watchpoint: Gibraltar was chosen by mykL and his team and they began on defense. GrimReality sneaked up on babybay and displaced him from the top box to give him free reign in the fight. Once again he was given all the space in the world to place shots from his Peacemaker into Ghostly skulls and Immortals took the first checkpoint easily. They quickly got a taste of their own medicine however as babybay on Soldier: 76 took up vigil on hangar and became a devil to uproot. Immortals cycled through a number of heroes to shake him off, Agilities picking up Genji to engage him in the end. A Dragon Blade found ConnorJ and babybay as GrimReality switched to Tracer and cleaned up the rest on the floor. Ultimates took Immortals to the final stretch as Ghost fell off-balance and again Grim went beast to give them the map capture.
Ghost Gaming showcased a repeating flaw in their playstyle on attack, failing to deal with GrimReality peppering shots from hangar. Despite mykL playing D.Va he left the shutdown role to ConnorJ, who was too distracted by the rest of Immortals to hit a hook onto Grim. Ghost Gaming stayed clumped up around their shield and sat on the low ground, smacking their heads against a brick wall and never making it through the hangar. Their inability to deal with well-positioned and -assisted hitscan dps players was a gaping hole.
The final map was Nepal and we got a real glimpse into how Immortals were playing such a simple style so effectively. GrimReality again sat on top of the Village point, dancing around ConnorJ's hook attempts and beautifully using the lip of the ledge to break contact any time he was Hook 2.0'd. With ConnorJ's carry potential completely negated it opened up room for Agilities to turn into a fragging beast for his team, doing damage more than hitting key hook targets. Immortals also hit a trend of getting more value out of one or two ultimates, wiping Ghost where they would have survived in return.
It almost looked like Ghost could recover on Shrine as they took the point quickly and used the open environment to shut down attempts at a recap. They had a small blip as they went in too aggressively on an ultimate advantage and wiped, but quickly retook. mykL proved himself an excellent Tracer as he zipped about, building his ultimate rapidly, and GrimReality was forced to mirror as Ghost got to 99%. They squeezed back into the round and put Agilities on Genji for an Ana dive comp; babybay hit a great Graviton to set up his team for a route back into the final but Agilities' Dragon Blade went huge to grab counter-picks, wipe Ghost, and go up 2-0 in Nepal.
On Sanctum Ghost look like they had crumbled. Their players were frequently split up post-fight and Immortals picked them apart, playing the timer to ensure they ended with positioning and ultimate advantages. Immortals could smell blood and they knew they were close. As the timer ticked up to 90% Ghost had only just spawned - it was all too easy for Immortals to body-block the trickling team and watch their first major title drop into their laps.
It was a great performance by GrimReality in particular during the series, aided by his team who ensured it was difficult for Ghost to engage him at all times. Spare a thought, as well, for the former Kungarna roster who are set to split up after this tournament and were so close to a crazy Cinderella story win.
Immortals will be looking forward to the return of the 'tier-one' North American teams, currently competing in APEX Season 2, to show how much they've improved.