A week in Immortals’ League of Legends summer camp
The week-long camp runs through July and guest stars some of Immortals' high profile staff
An enemy Rumble invades the jungle of Immortals’ League of Legends gaming camp participant Huynh. He calls for his laners to help as he skirts back to the bot lane on Lee Sin, away from the invading enemy in his blue side jungle.
“Walk through here so he can’t escape,” Huynh says as he pings the path he wants his mid laner to walk.
“He’s on me. He’s on me,” his teammate and fellow camper, Yi, says as the Rumble runs into his Azir in the Dragon side river. The bottom lane also joined the fray, trapping the enemy while he waits for his own bottom laners to rotate over to him.
The team collapses around the Rumble but hesitate, not wanting to fight if the enemy mid laner followed Yi’s Azir.
“Zed’s not here,” Yi says as his team engages the enemy Rumble and his bot lane, rotating over to the fight.
In the ensuing scrap, the Immortals gaming camp team came away with three kills to two deaths as they chased the enemy team toward their own jungle. As the comms cleared and the laners returned to their position, the coach and camp counselor for the summer camp, Luke Maake, explained what he saw from the fight.
“We can go over that whole fight in VOD, too. You guys misplayed it a little bit,” Maake said. “It turned out good for you but you could’ve committed on the Rumble a lot earlier when he was really separated from his team.”
This game was just one part of the free, week-long League of Legends camp put on by Immortals and Nerd Street Gamers. While chatting with other campers in Discord, and participating in daily AMA sessions with Immortals staff and players, campers like Huynh and Yi played with coaches and had their gameplay reviewed in the hopes of improving over the course of the week.
Rise and grind
Each day began with an AMA session with various staff members from the Immortals organization. The first day included Director of Competitve Esports Michael Schwartz and team manager Jake Pedro, followed by their LCS head coach, André “Guilhoto” Pereira Guilhoto. The next sessions included LCS players Mohamed “Revenge” Kaddoura and Andrei “Xerxe” Dragomir, along with some of the creative staff. The final day skipped the regular question format as two Immortals Academy players, Prodromos “Pretty” Kevezitidis and Joseph “Joey” Haslemann, hopped into two quick ARAM games with the campers and coaches.
After the first hour of asking questions, mainly carried by coach inquiries and a few curious campers, the two groups split and begin the rest of their days. The rest of the five-hour session was devoted to improvement in whatever way the campers want or need. Since the participants came from a wide array of League of Legends backgrounds, from level one beginners to high level Diamond and Masters ranked veterans, those needs varied.
The beginners group focused on game fundamentals like last hitting minions and basic macro functions. They also work through concepts not taught in League’s tutorial, like champion abilities, where to start in lane positions and roles in the game. In the advanced group, players hop into the ranked flex queue and either play with the coach or have him watch their perspectives to give tips and go over the games in review.
An unexpected experience
For Huynh, the League of Legends camp was not what he thought it would be, but he still enjoyed his time playing with new people and talking with the Immortals staff.
“I thought there was going to be more people and we could do more in-house type stuff so the coaches could review more,” The high rank player said. “But that’s not possible because of the amount of people we have. But it has been a fun experience.”
Yi reciprocated the sentiment, saying the camp was not like what he had heard about other League of Legends camps, like the one Cloud9 ran, but the week was better than his previous esports summer camp experience.
“The last time it did an esports camp I didn’t have much improvement because the coaches were kind of lackluster,” Yi said.
Both players said the remote aspect of the camp was awkward at times, with stretches of silence during loading screens and for the first hour of questions, but both said there’s not much to combat it. During those quiet times, Huynh would pull up YouTube and watch League of Legends videos or watch content around video game and movie theories.
“When you’re in real life with someone and everyone’s quiet, no one’s saying anything, it’s a bit awkward,” Huynh said. “People tend to talk and do something like a real summer camp.”
Huynh though, was not afraid to break the awkward silence in the Discord voice chat, asking people what’s up before a game or hyping players up in the draft phase. He was also unafraid to ask for one of his favorite junglers, Xerxe, to follow him on Twitter before the AMA segment began.
“Um, We’ll see about that,” the Immortals jungler said to the sudden question.
For Maake, filling in the periods of silence and experiencing the vibe of a Discord-based summer camp is something he has grown used to. The 20 year-old college student has been a camp counselor before and done one-on-one coaching sessions online, for Nerd Street Gamers, in the past.
He said the remote summer camp is a tad strange because he can’t see his campers’ facial expressions and the other small details that could help him mentor them.
“But at the end of the day, we’re kind of just here playing video games, so I think not necessarily that much is lost,” Maake said. “I think it’s still a pretty fun time for everyone involved.”
Ending on a high note
The final day of Immortals’ League of Legends camp was the culmination of the week, starting with the aforementioned ARAMs with Academy players. Joey and Pretty both loaded into the singular lane with campers, ready to carry them to victory and show off their skills.
Pretty did not talk for his two ARAM games, opting to communicate through emotes and the League of Legends ping system. A good play from the team warranted a thumbs up emote while a wild play by an individual camper saw the Greek player ping the camper’s champion in encouragement. Joey was a bit more talkative, answering Yi’s questions and regaling everyone with stories about the time he made Jian “Uzi” Zi-Hao rage quit a scrim.
The next few hours included a more chill gaming session as Maake and the campers played a few flex games and then decided to make a custom lobby for more fun games.
They cracked jokes and experimented with a game of dodgeball in the Baron and Dragon pits. The two vs. two set up saw both sides pick the same champions; the classic set up of Dr. Mundo and Karthus.
The two teams then create a line of wards to divide the pit and start throwing skill shots at their level one opponents. The ensuing battle includes the use of both ghost and flash summoner’s spells, in between laughter and shrieks of excitement after dodging a killing blow.
After a winner was decided, Maake – the creator of the lobby observing the match outside the pit – goes over and kills the victorious team. The campers leave the custom game and load right back into another for a new combination of skill shot champions.
“Yo, I’m teammates with a weirdo,” Huynh said in one of the final dodgeball matches. “Why does he have flash on D?”
“Flash on D is the way to go, man,” Maake said. “That’s my biggest tip for you guys. Put flash on D and you’ll see immediate improvement.”
“What’s wrong with you guys?” Huynh asked.
Huynh and the rest of the campers will move on the next week, taking their lessons and new friends out into the world away from the short camp. Meanwhile, the coaches and counselors will hop back into another camp the following Monday. They’ll start the cycle over again, helping a new set of young players continue their League of Legends journey.