FLY Santorin: "I was 2nd All-Pro Jungler, and I honestly thought I deserved 1st All-Pro Jungler."

▲ Image Source: FlyQuest


2020 has been the most successful season in history for FlyQuest. The 2020 League of Legends Championship Spring Playoffs finalist has gone undefeated in the LCS Summer Playoffs against Evil Geniuses, Cloud9, and Team Liquid to qualify for its second straight post-season final. FlyQuest is guaranteed for a top 2 seed at the 2020 World Championship, and will face the winner of Team Liquid and TSM this weekend in the finals. 


FlyQuest jungler Lucas "Santorin" Tao Kilmer Larsen spoke to Inven Global's Parkes Ousley about his team's success this season, the LCS Summer Playoffs as a whole, and the general underrating of FLY and its players. 



How important is it to actually get first seed, do you think?


I think it's really important going into Worlds. I mean, I'm definitely taking it one step at a time, but first seed equals winning NA and that would be f****** amazing. I really hope we actually are able to win NA. But going to Worlds... I think it's probably going to be a huge difference because I feel like there's just a certain amount of teams that really stand out from other regions right now.


To me, I think Europe, the four teams going all seem strong on different levels, like different parts of the game, stuff like that, where it's like for example in LCK, I would definitely not want to face DAMWON Gaming. And in LPL, I'd prefer not to face Top Esports. So I definitely like getting first just kind of makes Groups a lot easier because there are certain teams you just really do not want to face.


Yeah, that's for sure. Although, you know, unfortunately, our first seed has a pretty bad history.


*laughs*  But I mean it's the first time FlyQuest goes to Worlds and you got to change one expectation at a time, you know. So I guess we will somehow get out of groups.


So you've obviously been to Worlds before. What's your thought about the bubble? I don't know how much has already been decided for structure, but it's going to definitely be a different experience. Do you feel like that's going to have any sort of effect on, how you play, and how people view the Worlds run?


Yeah. I mean, it's definitely weird. At least like right now I'm playing from my bedroom. It's like let's say we win NA - yeah I won NA in my bedroom. Like that's not really the experience you want to look back on and be like, "Yeah, this is how I won." But heading into Worlds, I assume we're going to be playing on a stage with no fans.


I'm not sure. I don't have info though, so I don't know if it's set in stone yet or whatever, but it's definitely gonna be weird because normally like when you get to the big stage, the coolest part of it is that so many fans - that's why there's a big stage, you know - but if you just kind of chilling with another team, I guess that puts slightly less pressure on you.


Usually when you're playing on stage, like if you hear people cheering and screaming, you just get that adrenaline. So I think it's gonna be slightly easier to play on stage, but then on the other hand, we've been playing from our bedrooms for over a full split, whereas for example in the LPL, they're still playing on stage, like with no fans. So I feel like they definitely have an advantage going into Worlds just because of that. 


Well, I was going to say, if you guys end up not having a stage and it's like just playing from a hotel room, then NA actually has the advantage.


Oh! We would just crush them! *laughs* 


▲ Photo by Parkes Ousley for Inven Global


We talked to Solo last week when you guys beat Team Liquid to go straight to the Finals, and he said that he thinks the perception of NA would be weaker if FlyQuest won.


 Oh definitely! *laughs* 


Okay, so you agree! What do you think it will take to change that? When and where do you think people will start giving you guys the respect that you feel like maybe you deserve?


Honestly, I just did like the whole playoffs hype video, and my quote was basically saying, "I think when we go to the finals, we're probably still gonna be the underdogs even though we're coming from the upper bracket." I don't know. The people are just hyping up TSM and TL, and then sometimes are like, "Yeah, FlyQuest good."


It's always just like that, "Eh, FlyQuest is good." Like that's all they say, you know. They're never thinking we're the best team in NA, and that we're going to crush it. Just, "Yeah, FlyQuest is good." And then let's say we win NA, I'm still not sure if that means they'll actually think we're the best team in NA, but at least we'll have the title, so you can't argue against it. Like we are the best team in NA.


But I think just in general, for the perception of fans, if it's not TL, TSM, or C9, the teams just don't get the hype they deserve. It's kind of the same with the Golden Guardians. I feel like they're actually a pretty good team, And I felt like they had a lot of good players. And yet, people weren't really like talking about them contesting at all [before playoffs]. And suddenly they 3-0 TSM.


So I just feel like if you're not a part of that trio - TSM, C9, or TL - then I feel like you'll probably never the hype you deserve unless you consistently show that you are the best. And the only way we can do that is by winning NA and going to Worlds and doing well and making it out of groups. And then maybe people will actually put respect on our team.


Maybe next spring then people will finally figure it out.


Hopefully, or else it's just another year of "AHHH! Let's go TSM!!!!" Hahaha.


You just have to outperform TSM at Worlds! I talked to you last spring; you were talking about TSM and going to Worlds how you wanted to go back because you didn't feel like you were ready the first time you went to Worlds. You said you weren't ready.  What are you going to prove to people as far as your growth since last time you were there?


I think I'm a new player. If people remember me from 2015, they'll instantly see the difference. I did not feel very confident going into Worlds 2015, and I think people always forget that in the regular season, we [TSM] were like top six, and we only made it to the finals just to get 3-0ed. And we weren't like even a good team. But then we made it to Worlds. Right?


Like, what people remember is that TSM in spring just smashed everyone. Went to Katowice, smashed everyone. Like basically World Champions, but a different title. And if we went to Worlds right after spring, I would have felt pretty good.


But in summer we weren't a good team and it felt like we honestly didn't really deserve being there - especially me. Whereas now, on FlyQuest, in spring we made its finals. Now we're in the finals again, and if we manage to win NA, I feel like I have a lot of confidence in both myself and my team, and I definitely feel ready this time. Whereas last time, I didn't feel like I was ready or my team was ready. 


So it's kind of like a 2020 Cloud9 situation. If they had made it to Worlds.


Yeah, basically. Honestly, I feel really bad for C9, that they had the slump at that time. I could still see if they made it to Worlds that they would pull themselves back together and become a really strong team again because I honestly really wish we would have them represent us, because at their peak, they are definitely a really, really good team and I think everyone should be afraid of them.


▲ Image Source: FlyQuest


Yeah, it is a bummer. It just feels really awkward more than anything. OK, I'm going to be slightly troll, but who do you predict will be your opponent in the finals? 


Honestly, I will probably go with TSM, and I think most people won't. But to me, I think TL is a really, really solid team, and I think if TSM makes mistakes - too many mistakes - they will beat TSM. But the way TSM plays is really aggressive and explosive and sometimes really risky, and I think that could catch TL off guard. TL is a really slow early game team.


But I could also see it being like, TSM gets a small lead and doesn't do too much for the next ten minutes and then suddenly TL's rolling over them. So I'll predict 3-2 TSM, and I might be completely wrong and TL just 3-0's them hahaha! But I could definitely see their win condition to just play through top, jungle, mid.


I feel like TSM is really good at playing through Broken Blade, so maybe BB can carry with Bjergsen. Bjerg is playing amazingly, and honestly, he deserves a lot of praise. Especially if you look at their entire roster and team.


I feel like it doesn't look like they're five really great players that came together. It looks like Bjerg kind of carrying almost all of it. And then, Broken Blade has been stepping up too, and now Spica is also playing better. So it just feels like the pieces are slowly coming together, but there's still one man hard carrying this team!



Yeah, there are definitely a couple of Bjerg-v-9 games dragging them through the playoffs. I feel like you have been the one player on the team throughout this year that people have respected a lot based on your performance last year. When people generally talk about you, it's like, "very solid player," but they're not always sure about the rest of your team. What does that make you think?


Yeah but the funny thing to all that is if this is how you perceive FlyQuest, shouldn't I be on the same pedestal as someone like Bjergsen, you know? Like, right now, Bjerg is already locked in for top-three MVP candidate. And I barely scratched up ten, apparently. Like I thought I was for sure gonna be like in that voting.


I was 2nd All-Pro Jungler, and I honestly thought I deserved 1st All-Pro Jungler. So if people really think that I'm 1v9ing on this team, like, why am I not getting the proper credit? But for me, it's completely different. I think my team is f****** amazing and I feel like every single player on this team should be top three All-Pro.


For example, if you look at IgNar, I think IgNar is probably the best support in NA right now. I know people are saying, CoreJJ, but I truly believe that IgNar has been smurfing. And when we beat TL IgNar was definitely outperforming CoreJJ.


Then it comes to WildTurtle. I mean people are underrating him now because in spring he had like a somewhat lackluster performance, but then in summer he's been playing amazing. He's actually playing really, really well, and I think people are not giving him enough credit.


Then you have PowerOfEvil. People are hyping up Bjerg and Jensen, but in our TL series it definitely looked like POE who was pretty much destroying Jensen. So I don't really understand why there's not more hype about this player as well.


And then Solo! Solo is the last piece of the puzzle, and how can you not hype this guy up? This man literally did not even get on an academy team this year and suddenly he's rolling over World Champions. I don't really understand how this guy can't hit top three All-Pro as well. First of all, he's playing really well, but also his improvement!


Solo's actually a really solid player now, and I feel like this entire FlyQuest, every single player deserves to get praise because we're all working really, really hard and doing really well, and there's a lot behind the scenes that people obviously don't see. And it kind of saddens me that after we made it to the Finals in both spring and summer, people are still underrating every single player and the organization. Sorry for that rant, but...


No, no! I love it. Okay last thing, I'm going to throw IgNar under the bus because I asked him a bit ago who he would give MVP to out of you and POE back when you were both still in the running?


Must be PowerOfEvil, right?


Yeah, he chose PowerOfEvil, hahaha! So do you have any defense for yourself?


Well, I mean, I don't want to defend myself because I think POE is a really great player and he'd deserve it just as much as I would. We both bring different things to the table and I think we work really well as a duo.


I would say we are the best mid-jungle in the LCS right now. And obviously that means like both parts are playing well, and we're definitely supplementing each other well. If he wants to play his carries, I'll play my tanks, and when I bust out a carry, he'll try to get a prio lane in the mid lane. So we're working really well together, and I could definitely see why you would argue for either of us. That being said, I would like that MVP. *laughs* 



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