FlyQuest Exceed All Expectations Despite Absent Ownership And Management

Enjoying a climatic end to their debut NA LCS split, FlyQuest eSports has reached the semi-finals of the playoffs just eight months after securing promotion from the North American Challenger Series. Rebranded from Cloud9 Challenger, Milwaukee Bucks co-owner Wesley Edens purchased both the roster and the team’s LCS slot. Given the assumed capital associated with eSports’ venture capitalists, fans of the legendary C9 players expected an infrastructure that would provide a foundation for success.

Given the level of investment and competition present for the NA LCS Spring Split, many analysts predicted FlyQuest eSports would be amongst the relegation strugglers. With an ‘ageing’ lineup and a worrying lack of support staff in place, FlyQuest surpassed all expectations by marching towards the summit of the league.

Source: Riot Games Flickr

Despite a slump in form towards the end of the season – free-falling to a 7-7 record after losing six consecutive fixtures – FlyQuest secured their spot in the playoffs, scheduled to face Counter Logic Gaming. A dramatic series saw the seasoned squad fight back from a two game deficit to reverse-sweep the series 3-2.

Few could have anticipated the team’s dramatic revival, not only in their quarter-final match, but over the course of the final weeks of the regular split. Yet what makes FlyQuest’s story even more remarkable is the adversity the team have had to battle behind the scenes…

Source: Riot Games Flickr

Given that the team was compiled in the ‘final hour’ before Riot Games’ deadline closed for the split, the FlyQuest squad were afforded very few of the basic requirements provided by their rivals – computers to practice on, for example. Speaking shortly after the team’s victories in week 1, jungler Galen “Moon” Holgate revealed just how unprepared the team’s management had been for the beginning of the season:

“The lower expectations people have for you, it’s less pressure almost, because people don’t expect anything out of you.

“We were doing pretty poorly in scrims – We didn’t have computers (for practice) or anything, so we weren’t really expecting much this first week.”

Galen “Moon” Holgate

The sense of managerial negligence was compounded by an end of split interview, in which Hai detailed the lack
of support staff available to the team in addition to the team’s sub-standard living conditions:

“We have one coach, not even an analyst and us five players. Other teams have five analysts, positional coaches, we don’t have that so we’re doing what we can with what we have.

“There’s a shortage of quality coaches and analysts in the first place, it’s a big commitment to move someone in to do a trial run.

“Our place isn’t that big anyway – it’s a five bedroom, I don’t even live in there – so we’re already running low on space in the first place.”

Hai “Hai” Du Lam

Source: Riot Games Flickr

Given that the value of the former Cloud9 roster’s contracts combined with the LCS spot totalled at approximately $2.5 million, many fans expected better from FlyQuest eSports’ major stakeholders. Voices within the community have since branded the team’s ownership as being ‘negligent’ – coincidentally this is the only form of branding associated with the organisation, given that the team are yet to boast a single sponsor.

In response to the criticism levied towards the team infrastructure, FlyQuest eSports’ team manager later released a statement expressing the desire to bring in addition support staff and amend the existing issues with the team environment:

“While we’re still ironing out some problems at the team house, we are constantly thinking of ways to help the players feel more comfortable.

“The management and support staff at FlyQuest might be few in numbers but we’re working extra hard to make sure everything that needs to get done is done.

“We look forward to hiring new staff members for next split.”

Source: Riot Games Flickr

It is a testament to the game knowledge of Hai, support Daerek “LemonNation” Hart and Head Coach Thomas “Thinkcard” Slotkin that FlyQuest have achieved such success in their first split. Thinkcard admitted himself grateful to the addition support the team had received from external analysts ahead of the playoffs:

With regards to FlyQuest’s management, for now they should be granted the benefit of the doubt. In line with the team manager’s statement, FLY’s investors were likely waiting until the Spring Split was over before drastically altering the team infrastructure. Considering that the investment was confirmed with little time to put preparations in place, it is feasible to assume that issues such as the gaming house, securing sponsorship and hiring support staff were constrained by time, but will be addressed imminently.

With respect to the adversity the FlyQuest roster have battled with throughout the Spring Split, to have reached the semi-finals of the playoffs is a remarkable achievement. With a more comprehensive support network behind the team, the LCS veterans will be hoping for even greater success in the summer.

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