We sat down with former Immortals member João "horvy" Horvath to know more about his time in North America and what he is up to now.
João "horvy" Horvath joined Immortals at a turbulent period for the Brazilian team - who had just benched Henrique "HEN1" Teles and Lucas "LUCAS1" Teles, and parted ways with Vito "kNgV-" Giuseppe -, and remained in the squad until the end, which was announced by the organisation's CEO, Noah Whinston.
The 19-year-old has since returned to Europe and is now weighing up his options as he prepares for his return after an indifferent spell in North America.
Read on as horvy reflects on his brief time with Immortals and discusses the offer he had to represent Ghost Gaming, what he wants to do next, and more.
You are back in Europe after a short period in the US. What is your current situation? From what I have heard, you’re still contracted to Immortals.
Yes, I am still under a contract with Immortals until September.
At the beginning of December, you played for Ghost. Was there a possibility of joining them? Were you interested in playing for a North American team?
Yes, that possibility existed, they asked me to play a bit more for them at the beginning of the year, but I was still in Europe visiting my parents and I would only be able to return after 20-some days for more tryouts, and then there was also my buyout. In the end, they decided to go for free agents and I understand the situation. Yes, I would like to play for a North American team, I think it could be a cool experience.
You were close to joining Immortals for the first time in May, but the transfer fell through due to visa issues. What did you feel when the team picked kNg up? Did you feel that you had wasted a big chance?
I was sad because it was something out of my control and with an outcome that I could not change, but after a week and after talking a lot to my parents, I realised that the only thing to do was to remain focused with my Portuguese teammates.
You ended up joining the team months later, a decision that not everyone agreed with (kNg even publicly criticised it). What were your expectations for this new challenge, in a new country?
My expectations were obviously to acquit myself well and help the team, who were going through a tumultuous period, but I ended up not playing to the best of my abilities and I was somewhat disappointed with my performances. But I knew that the quick transition from tier 2-3 to the top tier in North America would be difficult in the first couple of weeks.
You arrived in the US at a time when the team had lost the twins and kNg. When you were approached, what was your role supposed to be? Were you going to be a substitute or a starting player?
I’d rather not comment on this matter.
The team then added destiny and zqks (and later shz, after boltz’s departure). What was your opinion about the team? How far do you think that you could have gone?
I really liked playing with every player. Everyone had their strengths, zqk was very criticised but he brought a lot to the team, he helped to create a fantastic playing atmosphere, and his skill seemed to be returning when he was with us. Destiny is a very skilled player and we developed a great friendship, while shz is someone I did not play with that long but he is very calm and also very skilled. I think we could have gone far as everyone on the team had the drive to improve and win.
You were close to making your debut at IEM Oakland, but the team ended up withdrawing from the event. Was it a heavy blow for you?
It was very sad, but we already knew that it could happen due to the delays with the visas.
At the end of the year, Noah announced the end of the team. Did you expect that outcome, considering the visa issues that zqkS and destiny were dealing with?
The end of the team was expected, especially after steel left for Liquid. These things happen, and no one is to blame.
Recently, you admitted on Twitter that you let many people down with the way that you played for Immortals. Do you think that the team’s lack of stability prevented you from being at your best?
Absolutely, we had many changes in a short period of time. Boltz left for SK just when we were starting to play well in practice, and then shortly afterwards the team was over. I really like my teams to have stability, so this really got to me, but I learned a lot of things during my short time there thanks to zakk, steel and boltz, who taught me a lot. Overall, I think this was a positive learning experience for my career, and I am a much better than when I joined. I grew during those three-four weeks, and zakk always praised me for me growth. Much of what I learned was because zakk is an excellent coach and a friend for life.
What are your future plans? What regions would you like to play in?
I want to compete again soon, especially in North America or Europe. It does not make much sense to play in Brazil again since my family is living in Europe. Right now, I am playing FPL and studying teams as I wait for my next chance.
Do you feel that Brazilian teams forgot about you? Have you had offers to return there?
I have had some teams interested in me, but, as I said, I really do not want to play in Brazil with my family living in Europe. It would have to be a very good offer, but I think it is really great that Brazilian CS has been growing the way it has.