How “Hai” can they FLY?

FlyQuest finish week 2 second in the standings

Picture taken from @FlyQuestSports ‘ Twitter

Before opening week, the bar was set extremely low for FlyQuest. Many analysts placed them at the bottom half of the standings. Their performance in the Challenger Series didn’t serve as a clear indicator due to the amount of veteran talent on the roster. The team, known previously as Cloud 9 Challenger,  consisted of ex-Cloud 9 players like Hai Du Lam, Daerek LemonNation Hart, An Balls Le, and Lee Rush Yoonjae. After seamlessly breezing through the NA LCS Qualifiers with a decisive 3-0 victory over NRG esports, the squad was ready to prove themselves in the LCS.

The players were acquired by the Milwaukee Bucks’ co-owner and rebranded to FlyQuest, keeping AD Carry Johnny Altec Ru and adding Team Liquid Academy jungler Galen Moon Holgate a few days before the start of the NA LCS.

Their first opponent in the LCS was Team EnVyUs. Beating EnVy came without difficulty as the team had to sub in a mid laner and role swap their jungler. However the decisiveness with which FlyQuest took the series 2-0 was impressive. In game 1, Moon showed off a new aggressive style of jungling that allowed him to generate a lead for Hai and snowball the game from there. In game 2 however, FlyQuest had a gold deficit for a big part of it. It was thanks to the team’s better macro play and Hai’s shotcalling that they were able to turn the game around.

The hype plane surrounding FlyQuest was only starting to rev up.  Their second series of the week was against Team Liquid. TL looked strong after taking a convincing victory from Counter Logic Gaming the day before. Game 1 started with Moon securing First Blood with his off meta pick, Kindred with Ghost. After what seemed like a back and forth early and mid game, TL’s top laner, Samson Lourlo Jackson secured many key kills on Fiora. This allowed him to become an unstoppable splitpush threat. Off the back of Lourlo, Team Liquid took the first game of the series. The next two game were more straightforward. With early ganks and skirmishes setup by Moon and LemonNation, FlyQuest snowballed and secured the series.

Week 2 of the LCS followed a similar storyline to Week 1. With creative mid lane picks in Twisted Fate and Kassadin, and superior macro play, FlyQuest took down CLG in their first series of the week. However, their next opponent, Echo Fox gave them no quarter. A surprise flex pick in Camille support, a perma banned champion on red side, caught FlyQuest off guard. EF snowballed out of control and crushed FlyQuest in the first game. The second game had Moon popping off on Kha’Zix, going 9/0/8, and Altec putting out over 20k damage to champions on Jhin. After a very clean game, FlyQuest tied the series. Game 3 was the closest so far, but a great Ashe Enchanted Crystal Arrow from Echo Fox’s ADC, Yuri Keith Jew, onto Altec won them a Baron team fight, the game and the series.

At the end of Week 2, FlyQuest holds a 3-1 record and second place in the standings. The real question is, however, how far do they go? Their performance up to this point shows that they have the potential to contend for playoffs. Yet, until they prove themselves against the likes of Team SoloMid, Phoenix1, and their old teammates on Cloud 9 (Blue) it’s hard to say where they’ll place and how “hai” they can fly.

Where Ice and Fire Clash

The LoL All Star Event 2016

“The All Star Event 2016 in Barcelona, Spain” Picture taken from the League of Legends Website.

The All Star event isn’t like any other international tournament. While the likes of Worlds, MSI and IEM focus solely on the glory of winning and worldwide recognition; the ASE is centered on having fun. After all, that’s what video games are about. But who ever said you can’t have fun AND win?

The format is rather simple for the ASE. For the five premier regions (NA, EU, Korea, Taiwan, China), players are chosen via fan votes. Whoever the fans think is the best in their role, or whoever is the most popular player, will represent their region at All Stars. For the International WIld Card, a separate event is held. Participant are also chosen through popular vote yet only the winner of the IWC All Stars gets to participate in the main event.

Each team is made up of three regional squads. ICE consists of the European LCS, the Chinese LPL and the LMS from Taiwan. The North American LCS, the Korean LCK and the IWC winner (in this case the GPL from South East Asia) constitute team FIRE. The teams fight for points in specific game modes and normal 5v5s. The first team to accumulate 1000 points, wins the event.

The fun matches include modes like All Marksmen, All Assassins, All for One (the team uses the same champion), The Legend of the Poro King, and a personal favorite, Tandem mode. In this last mode two players take control of a single champion, one uses the keyboard and the other the mouse. The Duos are also assigned silly names, like Bebelove (BebeClearlove) and Baker (BjergsenFaker), to add to the fun factor. Players have to try their best to win, even when there might be a language barrier.

The traditional 5v5 matches are an interesting way to settle old rivalries. This year, the NA LCS All Stars triumphed over the EU LCS All Stars, making it clear which region is better. The LCK All Stars went undefeated in these matches, further showing that they still win everything even when it’s for fun.

The most exciting competition has to be the 1v1 tournament. Since the beginning of gaming, 1v1s have been the true test of a player’s individual skill. The map is Howling Abyss and special rules apply. The first player to get a kill, get 100 creep score (kill 100 minions) or destroy a tower is victorious. The announcers and casters make it their number one priority to hype up matches before they go down. Team ICE’s players advanced very far in the 1v1 tournament, securing a lot of points for the team. In the end, Jian Uzi Zi-Hao from the LPL emerged as the 1v1 champion, further increasing his team’s lead.

With their overall domination in the 1v1 tournament, ICE was able to achieve 1000 points before FIRE. ICE took their revenge on FIRE, which had last year taken the event. However, there were still games to play. Three matches of All Star All Stars remained. This mode mixed up all the regions within the teams and, since there was nothing on the line, we got to see some very fun picks (like Shaco, Zed and Blitzcrank).

If anything, the ASE is a good change of pace from the grueling competition of Worlds, meant to remind us, and the players, that having fun from time to time isn’t that bad.