FlyQuest sits in sole possession of 2nd place with a record of 8-4 in the 2020 League of Legends Championship Series Spring Split. In week 6, FlyQuest bounced back from a loss against C9 Saturday to secure its eighth win over Dignitas on Sunday. FlyQuest put its own spin on the 'fasting Senna' trend, drafting Nautilus for Support Lee "IgNar" Dong-geun instead of the traditional peel-centric picks of Tahm Kench, Galio, or Taric.
Not only did IgNar farm, he also got a triple kill in an early fight near the dragon pit, building like a mid lane Nautilus and prioritizing AP. This only created a healthier damage spread for the team, as Mid Laner Tristan "PowerOfEvil" Schrage's Qiyana proved to be an excellent physical damage-dealing counterpick to Henrik "Froggen" Hansen's Ziggs.
FlyQuest is firing on all cylinders, but PowerOfEvil is the standout. POE has played eight champions across 12 games, and is a contender for the Spring Split MVP with six games to play. PowerOfEvil joined Inven Global's Nick Geracie to discuss winning Player of the Week over Cloud9 Support Philippe "Vulcan" Laflamme, his ever-expanding champion pool, and his current level of play compared to his peak in the European League of Legends Championship Series earlier in his career.
I'm here with FlyQuest Mid Laner PowerOfEvil. Your team is now in 2nd place, and in your win today, we saw you draft a fasting Senna with Nautilus for IgNar. It was nice seeing a more aggressive pick with Senna in this type of composition, and IgNar even built some AP. Was that the plan all along, or was his build due to his early triple kill near the dragon pit?
IgNar is someone who really likes to be strong and engage, so I feel like he was going into the game knowing full well he was going to play AP Nautilus. Getting that triple kill made him really strong, and he ended up buying Hextech Protobelt-01 as his first major item.
The advantage of Nautilus getting AP items is that he will also buy Zhonya's Hourglass, so he acts kind of like an AP Jungler in the way that he is squishy, but can still stall time in teamfights with the status active of Zhonya's.
It's that type of 'innate tankiness' where you're buying seconds of time with the stasis and indirectly mitigating damage.
In terms of your champion picks this split, people have previously pigeonholed you as a control mage player despite your penchant for innovation on Unicorns of Love in 2015. What changed this split to make you play so many more champions than splits prior?
I've been on a lot of different teams in my career, and I think that you need to be able to adapt to your team's strengths and weaknesses as a professional player. The player is never the one solely deciding which champion they pick, it's a team decision.
In my previous teams, we often needed more damage and teamfight control in the form of shotcalling from the mid lane. Normally, that's easier to do as a mage because you have an overhead view of the fight, and you can call what everyone can do, so the team and the coaches on those teams identified mages mid lane as a win condition we could go for in the draft. On FlyQuest, my team is really good, so I feel like I'm more enabled to play different champions and different styles.
I was never someone who was afraid of picking up new champions. As you mentioned before, I played crazy champions like AP Kog'maw on UoL back in 2015, and I was the first player in the world to popularize Varus mid in the meta that season. I really like playing crazy stuff, and today, for example, being a Ziggs player myself, I know how annoying the Qiyana matchup is for Ziggs. That's why I decided to pick Qiyana today.
It's good to see you able to play other styles in addition to what people have come to know you for in the LCS. Congratulations on Player of the Week last week, by the way. Did you expect to win it over Vulcan, or do you agree that #VulcanWasRobbed?
It was definitely a close call between me and Vulcan, but I was really grateful that I won. It's really difficult to get Player of the Week against Cloud9, who was won every game this split, but I felt like I had a really strong week 5. I played Corki and Orianna and I had really strong KDA ratios and very large damage numbers. I felt like I was a big part of our victories that week, so I was really happy when I got Player of the Week.
In a recent interview with Esports Heaven, you spoke about how you felt you were a bigger part of Counter Logic Gaming's success last summer than you were initially given credit for by the community at large. Do you think the team has improved since signing Eugene "Pobelter" Park to start over Lee "Crown" Min-ho in the mid lane?
I'm not too sure, I didn't think CLG would do as poorly with Crown as they did, honestly. I was a little bit surprised. It's really hard to tell if you're not in a team to know what the problems are, and what the team is lacking in terms of communications, teamfight shotcalling, etc.
It's really hard for me to tell right now, but it could definitely be a good change to bring in Pobelter. I assume he's more talkative and communicative than a Korean Mid Laner like Crown, so that change might be good for CLG. In CLG's first weekend with Pobelter, they had to play against the top 2 teams in Cloud9 and us, so I think we'll have to see how the change works out for them.
The coming weeks will show whether their problem was a Crown-related issue, or whether Crown wouldn't have been able to change anything regardless. That will show in the next few weeks when they play some more of the middle-of-the-pack LCS teams, so we'll see if they're the same CLG, or if they can stack up some wins with Pobelter.
Whatever the case, people are now aware that the PowerOfEvil stock is very high given your performance this split, and you're also on a team where you feel empowered to play at your best in multiple styles. Is this the best you've played in North America thus far, and if so, how does it compare to your peaks during your time playing in Europe?
It's pretty hard to say. I felt like my first year here in OpTic Gaming wasn't very successful team-wise, but I got voted 2nd best Mid Laner in the 2018 NA LCS Summer Split. I felt like it wasn't too bad of a season individually, but overall, we just didn't do that well.
When I joined CLG, the 2019 LCS Spring Split was obviously not ideal in that we missed the Spring Playoffs by a game, but we really stepped it up in the Summer Split. Signing Top Laner Kim "Ruin" Hyeong-min definitely helped us enable me more, and we were able to split the resources across the map much better than we could previously. We got 3rd place in the Summer Split and Summer Playoffs, so I feel like CLG was the start of getting back on track.
Now, on FlyQuest, I'm really happy, especially because most LCS fans voted us in as an 8th-9th place team before the split. Now, we're near the top, and I think we just need to keep improving and stay on track. To reach my previous peak from EU, I still have a little bit to go...I qualified for the EU LCS Finals three times, and I haven't done that once yet in North America. That's definitely what my goal is for now, so we just have to hit Playoffs.
In EU, I normally qualified for playoffs as part of a 5th or 6th place team, and then we would make runs to Finals. It doesn't really matter what place you are when you reach playoffs as long as you are able to beat everyone. We lost against Cloud9 this weekend; they're a very strong team and we still have a lot to improve on to be able to beat them. However, I feel like we are getting closer.
The first time we faced C9, we got obliterated, but this time, we were more even during the game before we got destroyed. *laughs* I feel like if we keep improving, we might be able to do something in playoffs against C9.
Thanks for the interview, PowerOfEvil. Usually, I ask the interviewee what they would like to say to the fans, but since you seemed delighted to prove FlyQuest's doubters wrong, is there anything you would like to say to them?
Hmm...I don't know, in my experience, you can't judge teams or its players on paper. It really depends on how the players stack up when they first play together. Some questions have to be answered: Do they want to play with each other? Do they have the right synergy? Do they have the hunger to improve? Is everyone giving 120%, or is one guy just kind of chilling on the sideline?
On FlyQuest, it really works out for us because we are all really hungry, and we all want to be on the top. It's going really great, so we're going to keep doing this.