Former Immortals top laner Huni is headed to Korea to join SKT. In a video titled “Why Huni isn’t on IMT” Immortals CEO Noah Whinston describes exactly what went down with his team and former top laner over the past couple of days.
“…We know that Huni was super important for our team, and that’s why 1 week ago we signed him to a huge 2-year contract to stay with Immortals long-term.”
Despite this “huge 2-year contract,” Huni will be playing for another team when the upcoming spring split begins:
“Three days after that, the best team in the world, and maybe the best esports organization in the world, SKT, approached Huni and made him an offer. And suddenly we were faced with a choice.”
Whinston goes on to explain that the Immortals organization has always made a concentrated effort to prioritize their players interest’s over anything else. This philosophy is ultimately what pushed Whinston and the rest of Immortals management to allow Huni to leave his contract and sign with SKT.
The Good Guys
Immortals are receiving praise all over social media for “doing what’s best for the player” and allowing Huni to be freed from the 2-year contract he signed just 3 days before receiving an offer from SKT.
But what about the die-hard Immortals fans who purchased jerseys, t-shirts, mousepads, and summoner icons? The general consensus leading into this off-season was that there would be changes to Immortals’ roster, but did anyone really expect a complete dismantling of a team that consistently found themselves in the top 3 of the NA LCS?
Immortals have sacrificed their competitive integrity for the sake of being nice. Maybe karma will hit them back with a big break sometime in the future, but based on the information we have to judge this roster move on today, it doesn’t make any sense for Immortals as a competitive League of Legends team.
The goal of any competitive team is to win, and you need great players to win games. You can attract great players by creating a desirable team culture, and ensuring that quality of life for your players is top notch. This is why Google offers their employees gourmet buffets and crazy slides; they want to win at what they do.
What Google doesn’t do is urge their top engineers to go work at Yahoo because they believe it’s in their best interests. They do everything they can to retain top talent because they understand how valuable proven team players are to their business.
The Difference in The Details
What confuses me the most about this Immortals-Huni transaction is the wording in the video. Whinston doesn’t say that Huni came to him and requested out of his contract to sign for his dream team SKT, he says:
“..When Huni let us know that SKT had approached him, and wanted him to play for them, we were faced with a very difficult decision”
Perhaps the “decision” Whinston mentions is his way of beating around the bush and Huni really did request to leave Immortals and join SKT. If this is the case then Immortals really did have a difficult decision on their hands. Do they deny Huni, a player who has allowed his emotions to affect his play in the past, and find a way to make it work?
If Huni didn’t directly request a termination of his contract, this move makes zero sense. Is it really honorable for Immortals to put Huni’s personal interests above that of their organization? What about the interests of the rest of their roster and coaching staff who want to win? This move has to hurt IMT’s chances of signing big name free agents. Huni leaving the team is a major step back for everybody in the Immortals organization not named Huni.
It will be interesting to see how Immortals, as a player-run organization, fares in 2017.