Flawed FlyQuest Are Plummeting Back Towards The Challenger Scene

Christopher Bilski

After a blazing start to the season, FlyQuest eSports has lost six of their last seven games, plummeting down the ranks of the NA LCS. A post-season berth looked all but assured, but the playoff race has tightened to a point where FlyQuest are no longer guaranteed a spot. As the rest of the NA LCS continues to develop synergy and team cohesion, creative drafting and excellent shot-calling are no longer enough to overcome the lack of individual talent on FlyQuest. 

Coming into the season, little was expected of FlyQuest eSports. Led by team captain Hai “Hai” Lam, the former Cloud9 Challenger squad were an experienced group of LCS veterans who over time had been replaced by more talented players on their former teams.

Their roster is composed of three pieces of the original Cloud9 roster: Mid laner Hai, Support Daerek “LemonNation” Hart, Top laner An “Balls” Le,  along with LCS veteran AD Carry Johnny “Altec” Ru and underwhelming former Team Liquid Jungler Galen “Moon” Holgate. With limited firepower and multiple members considered to be past their prime, most analysts predicted FlyQuest to finish near the bottom of the NA LCS standings.

Source: Riot Games Flickr

FlyQuest shocked the North American scene by exploding into the NA LCS Spring Split, racing out to a 6-1 record to start the season. They showed excellent understanding of the draft phase and creative picks that caught multiple opponents off-guard to FlyQuest’s advantage.

While they failed to gain individual CS or lane leads, their map movements and decision making frequently lead to early and mid advantages that FlyQuest was able to ride to victories. For a time, Hai could easily have been considered to be the league’s MVP; FlyQuest looked to be a top tier team in NA.

ANALYSIS: How FlyQuest Outwitted Team Dignitas In The Draft Phase

Then it began to fall apart for FlyQuest, starting with a series loss to their former parent organisation, Cloud9.  They proceeded to go 1-6 in a dramatic freefall from their perch at the top; FlyQuest now find themselves with a 7-7 record and in a precarious position for reaching the playoffs as we approach the final weeks. While very little has changed in their playstyle or skill, flaws that were less apparent have finally been exposed.

Individually, FlyQuest fails to create lane advantages in almost every lane. They do not have the star power or talent to compete one-vs-one with the other teams of the NA LCS, and as those other teams have gradually built synergy and cohesion over the course of the split, FlyQuest’s weaknesses in lane have become increasingly apparent and exploitable.

Outside of Hai, FlyQuest has no individual player on their roster considered to be in the top tier for their position in the NA LCS. This lack of talent collectively puts them at a disadvantage in almost every match up.

Source: Riot Games Flickr

To overcome these weaknesses in recent weeks, FlyQuest have often overreached in their picks, in an attempt to surprise their opponents. With unconventional picks including multiple Shaco picks, Mordekaiser bot, Blitzcrank, and a support Maokai, FlyQuest hoped to throw their opponents off guard and create an advantage that would be able to overcome the talent disparity. As reflected in their recent record, these drafts have found mixed success at best and is not a sustainable strategy that will allow them to compete with the top teams in NA.

The issues with FlyQuest appear to go deeper than just their recent drafting and poor play on the rift. In a recent interview, Immortals Jungler Joshua “Dardoch” Hartnett was questioned about FlyQuest’s recent struggles.

“It seems like they don’t take things seriously, they’re not really here to be the best.

“They’re just here to play in LCS, most of their players have had extensive and fulfilling careers in League of Legends, so it looks like they’re just having fun.

“When we scrim them, they lose in 15 minutes or they win in 15 minutes by playing really risky, random stuff.”

Joshua “Dardoch” Hartnett

Source: Riot Games Flickr

Dardoch’s comments give a deeper look into possible attitude or practice issues that are contributing to FlyQuest’s fall from grace. It’s true that most of their members have had very impressive careers, but the lack of a will to improve or dominate could result in a very short LCS stay for the newly promoted squad. Playing  “risky, random stuff” in practice is also a very poor method for improvement that will not lead to long term success for FlyQuest.

With their remaining schedule and given their current run of form,  it would not be surprising to see FlyQuest fail to win a single series and shockingly miss the playoffs. The lack of focus and desire to improve has already shown in FlyQuest’s recent results, and there is nothing to suggest the trend will not continue. Once placed upon the NA LCS pedestal, within months FlyQuest could find themselves right back where they started… the trapdoor to the Challenger scene is gaping.


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