IMT Destiny on public perception towards himself: “A lot of people consider me to be a weak player, so I feel this is the best opportunity to change that stigma.”
Amidst a cluster of unfavorable expectations, Immortals started their journey in the 2021 LCS Championship in grand style by defeating Dignitas in a three-game sweep in the first round of the lower bracket.
Despite being 2-3 against DIG throughout the 45-game regular season and not being favored to win this series, IMT steamrolled their adversaries with relative ease, for thanks to their fastidious synergy and preparation, they advanced to the next round where they await the loser of the Team SoloMid vs Team Liquid upper bracket series.
For all of the players who earned fitting praise for their individual performance against DIG, a good portion of it was reserved for support Mitchell “Destiny” Shaw, who finished with a KDA of 1/4/37 with Rakan, Thresh, and Nautilus in those three games. It was through the Australian’s contribution that allowed the rest of Immortals to overwhelm Dignitas and send the latter home packing unceremoniously.
Following the series sweep, Destiny spoke with Gamezo for an exclusive one-on-one interview to discuss the result, his team’s two-week preparation for Dignitas, the overarching theme that is surrounding these LCS playoffs, and his individual performance.
Bold font represents Gamezo’s questions and regular font signifies Destiny’s answers.
Thank you for taking the time on this interview, Destiny. I’d like to know how you’re feeling right now?
Destiny: I feel pretty good. I think we had a solid showing today. We showed a wide variety of styles that we played in every game so I’m pretty happy we were able to execute all three compositions. It’s nice to advance.
There were some people that predicted not only a more competitive series but also a Dignitas victory as well, so heading into this series, what did the team, and yourself personally, focus on in preparation?
Destiny: I believe that Dignitas has a clear way of winning the game and it’s something that our team identified really early. We focused on playing a lot of different compositions that deals punishment, such as, in the first game, when we heavily played around mid-lane. Yusui prefers to play melee carries so we put a focus on that.
Then in the second game, we also opted into playing Thresh and Aphelios. I think Neo and Aphromoo are [Dignitas’] best chances of winning. I think they are the strongest part of the team, so we kind of opted into playing a skill matchup and it went really well for us.
For myself, I was focusing on both my own and the team’s performance. I put a big emphasis on communication in the series and trying to make sure everyone was on the same page. Overall, I think it went well.
For how you mentioned communication, it looked as if there were no issues at all. You played pretty well throughout the series and particularly in Game 2 with Thresh. How did you view your performance in this series?
Destiny: I would say that I’m happy but I know there were things that could’ve gone better and it’s something that I will have to focus on for the next series. Overall, I’m quite happy with my performance. Bot lane went pretty smoothly and I feel everyone had a standout game. We just need to work out some small things that we did poorly and I’m pretty confident in continuing to advance.
Earlier in the series, your head coach Guilhoto mentioned how the team spent the two weeks between the regular season and playoffs to solely prepare for Dignitas. What was his central message as you guys prepared for that series?
Destiny: With preparing for the series, we definitely had a lot of conversations on how we wanted to play. Guilhoto presented an idea and everyone in the team agreed with it. We all thought it would work and he did it in a good manner. I think we had a really good preparation coming into this series and that’s why we 3-0’d them.
We were way more prepared than they were. I think they played the exact same way that they did in summer, so I was really happy with how we operated and how Guilhoto put us on the same page.
What does a Bo5 offer that a Bo1 from the regular season can’t in your POV?
Destiny: Best-of-fives shows more of a team’s strengths and weaknesses. A lot more factors come in such as adaptation (seeing what the opponents are playing, what you’re playing, and what you need to ban out) and resilience (the players must be mentally strong, physically fit, can’t get exhausted after one or two games). If you have one bad game, you need to bounce back straight away. You can’t dwell on the loss and let it happen.
When a best-of-one happens, you can lose and you can be tilted all night. You can express how you feel. But in a best-of-five, you need to express yourself differently and identify what went well and what went wrong. Some teams do this better, some teams do this worse, but best-of-fives in my opinion shows which team is the best.
Looking into yourself, you returned to the playoffs for the first time in more than a year since spring 2020 where you played for Origen. How does it feel to be back in the running for one of those Worlds slots this time in NA?
Destiny: It feels really nice to be in playoffs. Last year against G2, it went very poorly so it feels nice to have another chance at redeeming myself. I think a lot of people consider me to be a weak player, so I feel this is the best opportunity to change that stigma. I hope that we can continue to show strong performances and do something good.
I don’t think many teams expected us to 3-0 DIG. I don’t think many teams expected much from this team at all, so I really want to show that we’re a good team. We have good individuals and I’m grateful to have the chance to go to Worlds. Whatever happens happens, you know? I feel everyone in the team has had a good attitude coming into this playoffs so anything can happen.
Throughout the year, IMT has been one of the only squads in the LCS to not change their lineup through summer and spring. As we’re in the thick of this playoff race for Worlds, how can you describe the team’s growth from the start of the year until now?
Destiny: We didn’t come together as a team as early as others in spring. I had some visa problems and the same happened with Raes so we didn’t bootcamp before the season. We were literally rushed in, like four scrim sets then straight away into LCS.
I think the first game of the season was kind of awesome with Revenge and myself beating TL. That was a huge surprise. I think we were incredibly different in spring. It was definitely a testing season for us. We were trying a lot of different picks but we didn’t understand how to execute them nor fundamentally play the game right.
Coming in from spring to summer, we definitely came together on the same page. We had a really big bootcamp between spring and summer and I think that’s why we looked like a much better team. We went through a lot of concepts as a team, identified what were our strengths, what were our weaknesses, and what we needed to improve on. I think having that time between spring and summer to identify those aspects did wonders for us.
We had a much stronger showing in summer. It’s kind of unfortunate that the results didn’t carry over because of our spring results, but it was nice to see our improvement. I think what Guilhoto did in the offseason was really good. I appreciate everyone in the team because we were the first team to start practicing in the offseason. We were playing a month and a half before the season started. That is the big reason why we look so much stronger in summer.
EG head coach Peter Dun stated that this playoffs is a “battle for the soul of the LCS” in which teams with differing playstyles (playing conservatively and scaling for the late-game vs playing aggressively with a proactive early-game) are facing off to represent NA in Worlds. Is such a battle currently happening in your eyes?
Destiny: I think a lot of the LCS teams play differently so I do somewhat agree that everyone has different win conditions, priorities, and the way they see the game. For example, TL definitely shifted the way they played from regular season to playoffs. Now that they have Alphari, they heavily play around him and looked really good in their series [against Cloud9]. They play through their solo laners really well.
Dignitas, as an example, played through Yusui for pretty much the entirety of summer. That’s kind of why we thwarted them today because they probably tried to do the same. For ourselves, I think we–actually, I’m not going to talk about ourselves because I don’t want to spill the beans. *laughs*
I think TSM, control mage mid, they just play scaling and teamfighting. EG, they play through Jiizuke. He’s kind of a beast right now. I just think every LCS team is different. Everyone has their own win condition, right? I think that’s why Peter Dun said that and I can definitely see it.