Already blessed with one of the most experienced lineups in the NA LCS, during the split break FlyQuest eSports announced that they would be upgrading the lineup, with the addition of former Team SoloMid AD Carry Jason “WildTurtle” Tran. Despite WildTurtle’s arrival, FlyQuest failed to win a game in the first week as they went 0-4 against Team Dignitas and Echo Fox.
Expectations were understandably high for FlyQuest eSports after their fourth place finish in the 2017 Spring Split of the North American League Championship Series.
The newly promoted side was easily the biggest surprise of the Spring Split who, despite being captained by one of NA’s greatest all-time players in mid laner Hai “Hai” Du Lam, were seen as little more than a team of back-ups destined for a bottom two place in the LCS.
Analysts did not mince their words when describing their thoughts on FlyQuest’s chances for success:
FlyQuest currently on the table for worst eSports investment of all time. Let's see if they can escape relegation.
— MonteCristo (@MonteCristo) January 8, 2017
Despite their critics, FlyQuest roared into the NA LCS and immediately announced themselves as a playoffs contender. Shooting to the top of the standings in the first few weeks, they used an aggressive playstyle and crisp map rotations to secure victories over their less coordinated competition.
Still, as individual players, multiple team members lagged behind their counterparts in terms of mechanical skill. This became more apparent as the season progressed, while other teams began to improve their team synergy and map play, individual weaknesses became more exposed.
As the season came to a close, FlyQuest began to slide down the standings, salvaging their season by reverse sweeping Counter Logic Gaming in the first round of the playoffs.
With the start of the new split, FlyQuest are expected to be a contender once again after improving their roster with the arrival of WildTurtle. These expectations may need to be tempered however after a rough first week showed multiple issues still exist within the roster.
Team captain Hai struggled greatly in his first two series back on stage and was thoroughly dominated in both games by Echo Fox mid laner Henrik “Froggen” Hansen.
For FlyQuest to be successful, they should draft lanes that allow Hai to gain advantages and apply pressure to the other lanes since, when he is behind, he is in dramatically inhibited as FlyQuest’s main playmaker.
The Kassadin pick in Game 2 against Echo Fox was a clear example of what not to do, as Froggen’s Lucian pick was able to open up a 50 CS lead at fifteen minutes and Hai was never able to find his feet and become a significant factor in the game. For FlyQuest, better drafting and returning to in-game strategies that unlock Hai should help them regain some of their lost form.
While FlyQuest and Hai will likely be able to fix many of their issues around mid that were displayed against Echo Fox (Hai had a better series against Team Dignitas, especially Game 2), the more worrying trend may have been the play of oft-criticised top laner An “Balls” Le. In their series against Dignitas, Balls finished the two games against top laner Kim “Ssumday” Chan-ho with a CS deficit of 150 CS and 117 CS respectively.
This is a staggering differential that shows how exploitable Balls can be against the best top laners in NA, an issue that is not easily fixed without replacing Balls entirely (a move that should have been made between splits). With the lowest KDA and kill participation of all top laners after week one, Balls is once again proving a liability that will limit how good FlyQuest can be.
While some of FlyQuest’s issues are easier to fix than others, do not expect them to remain winless for long. Though perhaps no-longer a top team in the NA LCS, they should be able to remain competitive in the region.
CLICKON eSports 2017 NA LCS Summer Split Power Rankings