Image credit: LoL Esports
The North American League of Legends Championship Series (LCS)' Immortals have announced that they have hired former Schalke 04 Esports and Origen head coach André Guilhoto as their head coach for 2021. The organization announced the news on social media days after ESPN Esports' Jacob Wolf reported on the eventual roster move.
Guilhoto's hiring comes after the conclusion of two consecutive seasons at Origen where, despite showing promise in the spring split, the team crashed during the summer split and was unable to contend for a World Championship spot. Before that, Guilhoto dominated the Spanish scene in 2017 while developing a young talent core at Giants Gaming: Daniele "Jiizuke" Di Mauro, Amadeu "Attila" Carvalho and Jakub "Jactroll" Skurzynski. Although Guilhoto moved on to coaching Schalke 04 Esports and taking them close to the 2018 World Championship, that young core stunned the world in that competition, eliminating Gen.G and turning their group into a tightly contested one.
"As we look towards a rebuilding and development oriented 2021 season, we're excited to announce André Guilhoto as our new head coach," Immortals director of competitive esports Mike Schwartz said in a statement on social media regarding the move. Guilhoto's contract runs through Oct. 2023, potentially indicating a three-year rebuilding mission on his books.
To further enforce that focus, the organization has promoted former analyst and academy head coach Paul "Malaclypse" Decsi into the LCS full-time to work alongside Guilhoto. Malaclypse's promotion from academy assistant to academy head coach during Immortals' turbulent times allowed him to distinguish himself, managing IMT in the academy and in the LCS, narrowly falling short of the playoffs in both cases.
Malaclypse's replacement at the academy, Goh "Jensen" Quian Sheng, comes with a proven track record, be it in terms of success (EVOS Esports' qualification to the 2018 Mid-Season Invitational, Splyce's qualification at the World Championship in 2019, and Legacy Esports' first place in the 2020 Oceanic Pro League spring split) and failure (Resurgence's crash out of the Pacific Championship Series in the 2020 summer split).
In doing so, the organization has moved further away from their 2020 iteration, which ended eighth in the spring split and 10th in the summer split. The organization previously parted ways with its coaching staff, with former head coach Thomas "Zaboutine" Si-Hassen's departure occurring after a 0:4 start to the summer split, and Adrien "GotoOne" Picard leaving after the season's conclusion. Malaclypse and Jensen have worked on Splyce's coaching staff during 2019 in different roles, reaching Worlds under Peter Dun's leadership.
The organization's rebuilding process is in full effect, as Jake "Xmithie" Puchero's team option was reportedly turned down. Officially, the organization still holds its former academy players on the lineup: top laner Kieran "Allorim" Logue; jungler Nicholas "Potluck" Pollock; mid laner David "Insanity" Challe; AD carry Apollo "Apollo" Price; and support Nickolas "Hakuho" Surgent.