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I humbly retract my previous comments on FlyQuest sucking

I humbly retract my previous comments on FlyQuest sucking

When the players and LCS spot of Cloud9’s Challenger team were scooped up by Milwaukee Bucks co-owner Wesley Edens for a record-setting $2.5 million, I’ll admit that I said some hasty things. The new roster, dubbed “FlyQuest,” seemed to me a classic case: a traditional sports figure, drawn to the rapid growth of the esports world but not really understanding it, throws record amounts of money at a team that looks good on paper but will never actually get anywhere. We’ve seen it before with Echo Fox. We’ve seen it with NRG.

I submit to you, reader, that it was not an unreasonable position to take. Despite being a top-level player, team centerpiece Hai “Hai” Lam hasn’t played in the LCS for two years, and has retired on two separate occasions due to wrist injuries. Most of the team’s recent success has been in Challenger, womping on the minor leagues, and for them to suddenly get thrown up against top level LCS teams seemed like a recipe for disaster.

So far, though, FlyQuest has made me eat my words. In their first game of the Spring Split, FlyQuest absolutely destroyed Team Envy, winning the best of three without dropping a single game. Hai, in particular, had a stellar performance, going 6-0 in the first game—if there were any signs of that old wrist injury, I didn’t see them.

Their real test came later, though, when FlyQuest went up against Team Liquid. While they haven’t been particularly dominant in the North American League scene for some time, Liquid is sporting a stronger lineup than they’ve had in years. That roster includes Yeu-jin “Reignover” Kim, who might very well be the best jungler in North America. It was obvious, from the early minutes of game one, that FlyQuest couldn’t style on Liquid like they had in their earlier games. While some smart rotations netted them early kills, Liquid was quicker to respond than Envy, and offered ferocious counterpunches to every aggressive move made by FlyQuest. Eventually, a split-pushing strategy centering around top laner Samson “Lourlo” Jackson won Liquid the first game.

Okay, I remember thinking. Here’s where they fall apartHere’s where I’m right.

FlyQuest did anything but collapse, though; instead, they recalibrated, banning the champion that was their downfall in the previous game and changing up their own picks. It paid off; Hai, whose performance in lane was reminiscent of a schoolyard bully, secured an early lead over Greyson “Goldenglue” Gilmer, and spilled that advantage into every other lane with generous roams. Ultimately, FlyQuest’s ability to adjust won them the second game.

In their tiebreaker, an entirely different component of FlyQuest’s team proved himself. ADC Johnny “Altec” Ru, who I tactfully described as having “yet to see success on almost any quantifiable level” in my previous article, came out as the star of the third round by improbably winning his lane against one of the best ADCs in North America, Gwang-jin “Piglet” Chae. Ultimately, the final game wasn’t even close—FlyQuest was the clearly better team.

In conclusion, FlyQuest came out of their first week in the LCS undefeated, and I know fuck all what I’m talking about. Are they worth a 2.5 million dollar investment? I’m not sure about that. But FlyQuest is proving to be a talented, coordinated and adaptable team. I said that FlyQuest would suck, and goddammit, I was wrong.

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