Coming into the last week of the League Championship Series Summer Split, FlyQuest is one of the teams locked in a top-six spot, guaranteeing them a spot in the winner's bracket and some insurance with the double elimination. Jason "WildTurtle" Tran has found himself back on the team after spending the majority of the Split playing for FlyQuest Academy, which sent Brandon "MasH" Phan to the main roster.
With WildTurtle's incredibly long career, he struggled to find the motivation to push through the boredom side effects of the quarantine through the beginning of the summer, but through some self-reflection, he kicked back into gear and refound his passion for the game and competition. Read below as he details the strength of the league as we near playoffs and how he recovered to find himself back on the main squad.
With the recent slump from Cloud9 but the continued performance from Liquid and TSM, where do you think FlyQuest stands amidst the top four teams?
We're definitely contending for first or second best. Obviously we have the head to head against TSM, but they're ramping up really well lately. We played them two weeks ago, and that game can't say much because we had a pretty easy time winning the game from our early game. So I'd definitely say we're in the top two, but Golden Guardians have been looking a lot better too, so they're definitely a threat as well.
The overall strength of NA has been in question the entire year, partially because Cloud9 was unmatched in the Spring Split. But now, with them falling so much recently, people are wondering, "Is Cloud9 getting worse, or are other teams getting better? Is this a sign that NA is getting better, or that we really are that far behind?"
For me, from an outside perspective, I think C9 got a little bit complacent and they didn't adapt to the last two patches very well. I think there have been a lot of changes. Another really big factor is the AD Carry meta shifted a tremendous amount, and I think esper "Zven" Svenningsen was a strong carry point for C9. If he got certain champions, like Ezreal, Aphelios, Kalista - things like this - he'd be able to 1v9 the games for the most part. But I think because the meta shifted away from those a little bit, it affected C9 to a bit higher degree, and on top of that, their team play has been a bit lacking, surprisingly.
What happens for FlyQuest in Playoffs? In the best of five format, how will you be stronger there and take advantage of that format?
We're just going to try and bring it back to the Spring Split. We just have to channel that energy we had in Spring. I'm sure we'll be able to go to Worlds if we bring that same energy.
Who do you expect to make it with you? Who would the other two be?
I really don't know. It could be Cloud9 if they figure their s*** out. TSM or TL... It's all pretty close. I think even Golden Guardians has a chance as well, and Evil Geniuses too. So honestly, I think between the top six teams, it's anyone's game, it just depends on who shows up on the day. There's a lot of talented players across the board.
You mentioned the meta earlier, and we have one more patch before Playoffs. Are you excited about the bot lane meta and where it will be for the best of five series?
I don't know yet. The meta has definitely been shifting to an area I am not very familiar with - other than Ashe. Ashe has been one of my best picks, I think I have a 70% win rate in over 20 games or something like that. And that was a pick I was always pretty good on. Oh, and my Caitlyn is pretty crazy.
I want to ask a bit about your season. You played in Week 1 of the LCS and then these last couple weeks, but you spent the middle part of the season playing for FLY Academy. So what was your time like in Academy, and what was the intention from the team, starting MasH for a while and now switching back to you?
I don't know what was going on internally with the team. I mean for me, I just did things I've always done: self reflect and focus on individual things I had issues with and I slowly incorporated myself back into the team and it's been looking up ever since.
Was that a motivator for you, being in Academy? Or was it more difficult to kind of refocus there at first?
To be honest, since I've been in the scene for a pretty long time, it's harder to find motivation in my opinion. Inspiration has been more on the lower side. But I guess, I don't know, I kind of self-motivated. But it was pretty hard, you know? Finding motivation is kind of hard.
I agree with you, for sure. But what did you do then? How do you work up the energy, knowing you have to get back to LCS?
It was mostly just internal. I just talked to myself a lot, did a lot of deep thinking, I guess you could call it meditation. I just tried to find ways to regain my passion for the game and it's been working pretty well. I didn't feel like my heart was in the game in the first half of summer. It was pretty hard to get my heart into the game considering we were always playing at home, not playing at LCS. I didn't really feel the urge to perform well, it didn't really feel as rewarding. And I don't know, something clicked in me after I got benched. So I did a bit more self-reflection, did some internal debates, and the motivation just came back.
It's good to have you back and see FlyQuest performing better. Lucas "Santorin" Larsen talked about it some on broadcast, that FLY had a bit of a slump in the middle there. What do you think was going on with the team and how confident are you that you're solidly back on the top now?
Prior to me coming back, I think our team had a lot of issues finding the team identity. We weren't a well-oiled machine, we were just kind of like pieces hammering at a wall at different times, not hammering together. And I think when I came back on the team, I was doing my best to be on the same page as everyone, be really engaged, recognized the objective we're playing for, the vision we're getting, everything. And it really helps that everyone on our team is strong as an individual as well, so it makes all those things a lot easier.
I feel like you have had better performances as well recently. Was that just finding the motivation again, or did you learn some things in Academy that you hadn't been doing in LCS?
The thing I picked up from Academy - because it was a different team environment - was that I just felt happy a bit more. Being in a different team environment made me realize League of Legends is a team game, you can't really do anything on your own, so just try to be a really good teammate is what I learned in Academy.
And as far as your Support duo is concerned, Lee "IgNar" Dong-geun has the least duo proximity out of all Supports, so he's just never in the lane. How is that communicated and how do you handle that as the one left behind?
Haha, it was pretty hard for me to adjust to that initially because I wasn't used to my Support roaming so often, but I've really adapted to that style now as well. I have my own playbook now of what to do when IgNar is roaming, and that's been working out pretty well for me. You can see me swerving around, doing really weird things when he's roaming. And in the first roam in that last game, I was level two and he went all the way to top scuttle. But I actually maximized my time too. I managed to get a reset off and get a cull. So I'm just working on my play, and it's been going pretty well.
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