Without doubt the biggest surprise package of the NA LCS, FlyQuest eSports have stormed out of the gates this season, boasting an impressive 5-1 record and a second place position. A major element of the team’s success has been the creative drafting phase devised by Thomas “Thinkcard” Slotkin and Derek “LemonNation” Hart, with FlyQuest coming out of picks and bans on top almost every time.
When FlyQuest played Team Dignitas this past week, it was obvious that Dignitas had a plan coming into the series. By immediately changing up the traditional bans, they hoped to throw FlyQuest off and come out with an advantageous draft. Instead, an unfazed FlyQuest team once again proved their draft skill by formulating a composition that would lead them to a dominant game one victory.
An important factor to keep in mind when assessing this week’s drafts is the changes to lethality in Patch 7.2. Buffing the early game effectiveness of lethality pushed many lethality users higher up the tier list for many teams, and led to picks we had not seen in the LCS up to this point. This patch also brought buffs to specific items such as Edge of Night and Duskblade.
Here’s how the geniuses behind the FlyQuest eSports draft manipulated Team Dignitas:
Dignitas Don’t Ban The OP Trinity
Dignitas threw the first curveball of the draft when they chose not to ban any of the red side trinity of Camille/LeBlanc/Rengar. This could be seen as a test of FlyQuest’s champion pools or (as we will find out later) Dignitas had a planned first rotation of picks dependant upon FlyQuest’s last ban.
FlyQuest Ban Camille
When FlyQuest realize Dignitas is not banning any of the trinity, they decide to ban one of the three to prevent Dignitas receiving two in their first rotation. They made the correct choice in banning Camille. FlyQuest would likely not first pick Camille for Balls, and allowing Ssumday to play Camille could have a disastrous impact for FlyQuest.
FlyQuest Pick Rengar
With both Rengar and Leblanc available, FlyQuest decide to first pick Rengar for Moon. Moon had previously expressed he is extremely confident on Rengar, and he has shown previously this season to be strong on carry junglers. Although this leaves Leblanc open, Hai has shown he can play many different mid champions and FlyQuest would rather allow Keane to play Leblanc than allow Chaser to pick up Rengar.
Dignitas Pick Varus & Leblanc
With Jhin banned, Dignitas grab the other top tier ADC after patch 7.2 in Varus. This is the execution of a great early draft strategy that not only allows Dignitas at least one of the trinity but also the highest priority ADC left available. Varus has especially benefitted from the buffs to lethality in 7.2, after already being a top 2 ADC pick.
Dignitas Pick Varus & Leblanc
The other part of Dignitas’s strategy is to grab a piece of the trinity for themselves, and that comes in the form of Leblanc. Arguably the strongest mid laner, this gives Keane a strong champion he can carry with and that has very few poor match-ups. Picking Varus and Leblanc in the first rotation seems like a great trade for giving up Rengar.
FlyQuest Pick Miss Fortune
FlyQuest counters the first rotation with a Miss Fortune pick. Miss Fortune is currently one of the highest priority support picks, but also benefitted as an ADC from the lethality changes in 7.2. This gives her additional value as a flex pick that we see FlyQuest which take advantage of later in their draft.
FlyQuest Pick Shen
The second piece to the dive composition puzzle, FlyQuest choose Shen to pair with their first pick Rengar. A top tier tank as well, this is an excellent pick by FlyQuest that gives Balls a safe laning phase that not only will give them split push potential late in the game, but also can be used to support any dives from Rengar when paired with Rengar’s ultimate.
FlyQuest Ban Nautilus & Maokai
When Dignitas prioritize Kha’zix as their last pick of the first phase, FlyQuest punish them by banning Maokai and Nautilus with their second phase bans. This removes the two top tanks left available and creates a predictable Poppy pick for Ssumday, information that FlyQuest can use to help draft their next two picks.
Dignitas Pick Braum
Expecting a Miss Fortune support pick, Dignitas choose Braum as their support. With his passive and ultimate, Braum provides the crowd control the Dignitas composition is severely lacking, but also can shield his team from much of the Miss Fortune ultimate if positioned and timed correctly in team fights.
FlyQuest Pick Morgana
After seeing the Braum pick, FlyQuest decide to flex Miss Fortune to the ADC position and grab Morgana as their support. Morgana adds another dimension to an already strong dive composition, providing a black shield that can be placed on Rengar or the Zed that they choose with their next pick. Morgana is also a strong pick against Braum in lane, and one that plays out heavily in FlyQuest’s favour.
FlyQuest Pick Zed
The final piece of the FlyQuest composition is another champion who benefitted from patch 7.1, Zed. A strong dive champion who can survive a laning phase against Leblanc without terrible difficulty, Hai is able to utilize Zed throughout the game in a dominant fashion. This unexpected pick creates problems especially for LOD on Varus, who has very few tools or compositional help to escape from Zed’s assassination. he Zed pick will also allow FlyQuest to execute a 1-3-1 split pushing strategy late in the game.