FlyQuest: The wildcard
FlyQuest might not have the most stacked lineup on paper, but it’s the way they’re using their players that turns them into the sleeper OP of the 2019 LCS Spring Split.
FlyQuest aren’t the kind of team that naturally draws attention. After going 0-2 in week 5 of the 2019 LCS Spring Split, they find themselves with an unremarkable 5-5 record, putting them right in the middle of the standings. Such results rarely—if ever—provoke excitement in the ranks of League of Legends fans. But there’s something different about FlyQuest.
Something about them suggests there’s more to this team than meets the eye.
A part of it stems from the manner in which they’ve lost. Even when they’re facing the strongest LCS lineups, FlyQuest never look completely outclassed. They introduce new picks, make the first moves, initiate river skirmishes and fight for turrets and neutral objectives. FlyQuest aren’t just sitting back and waiting for their opponents to make mistakes. They’re actually trying to win.
Of course, trying to win doesn’t equal winning, and it still remains to be seen whether FlyQuest have what it takes to keep up with the LCS’ best. Santorin, Pobelter, and WildTurtle have achieved a lot throughout their careers, but they’ve also been frequently overshadowed by their teammates. They built up an image of serviceable role players that have the experience to act as secondary pieces to the actual carries, but don’t have the talent to carry games on their own. At least, that’s their reputation, but each of these players has already started fighting this reputation on the Rift.
Santorin turned into the driving force behind FlyQuest’s early game, and his ability to be in the right place at the right time is the main reason why his team has a 70% first blood rate in the LCS. Pobelter branched out from his role of a token utility mid laner to someone who’s actively looking for openings and outplays. Meanwhile, WildTurtle went back to his roots of making AD carries look like playmakers by dashing in and out of fights to put a dent in the enemy backline.
The transformation isn’t perfect. Pobelter could put a stronger emphasis on laning phase, and WildTurtle could give more consideration to picking his battles. But it’s hard to deny that FlyQuest’s veterans are performing much, much better than expected.
Then, there are the rookies.
JayJ might not be lighting the world ablaze, but he does a good job of keeping up with WildTurtle in lane, and his Ornn gives FlyQuest a sizeable edge in extreme late game scenarios. But it’s really V1per that’s the star of this show. Despite having a rough time in his first LCS games, FlyQuest’s top laner redeemed himself with a string of dominant performances on carries, including two showings on his trademark Riven pick. He’s not an ideal player, of course, and his wave management and late game decision-making could definitely use some work, but considering he’s only played ten LCS games so far, he still has plenty of room to grow and overcome these weaknesses.
Perhaps the biggest strength of FlyQuest is that they’re more than the sum of their parts.
This roster might have only existed for a couple of months, but it’s already displaying the synergy and coordination of a team that’s been playing together for several splits in a row. On top of that, FlyQuest don’t have to tackle the ego problem. Their veterans are level-headed, and their rookies are eager to learn. Conflicts and personality clashes will be reduced to a minimum, so even though they’re not winning every single game they play, they’re still cultivating a winning environment.
For now, the LCS belongs to the likes of TSM, Cloud9, and Team Liquid. However, FlyQuest have all the tools they need to upset this balance of power and break into the top-3. It’s just a matter of getting it right.