FlyQuest have had quite the year, finishing 2nd in the League Championship Series Spring Split Playoffs, and starting off the Summer Split strong. Through all of it, they've made numerous changes to the roster and staff. They added two coaches during the Spring Season, Lim "David" "DLim" Joo-sung and Colin "Solo" Earnest, and then transitioned Solo into a backup Top Laner for Omran "V1per" Shoura before Solo eventually took the spot full time by the end of Playoffs.
In the Summer, the team started scrimming with Brandon "MasH" Phan in place of Jason "WildTurtle" Tran, and have since been playing with MasH for the last few weeks of official games. Additionally, DLim moved into the head coach position, switching with Anand "Curry" Agarwal who took up a strategic coach role. Despite so many small changes, the team has continued to function well, and - depending on the game - looks like the best team behind Cloud9.
Part of this success is thanks to some leftover synergy from 2018, where DLim, Curry, and Solo were all on Clutch Gaming together. We spoke with DLim about the breakdown of FlyQuest's coaching roles, their roster changes, what to expect from Turtle and MasH, and his relationship with Curry and Solo after Clutch.
You were recently named head coach for FlyQuest. How did that change come up, and how does that change your job and your dynamic with Curry?
So Curry and I are really good friends first and foremost. We went through Clutch together - I was the head coach then, he was my assistant coach - and to put it lightly, getting through Clutch together kind of bonds you. So we have really good chemistry together. And honestly, just the way it worked out, even from Spring, not to take any credit away from Curry, I think he did a really good job, but we just fit these roles better. He was a really good strategic coach, and I was always good at big picture, project management, and staff management.
How we tackle growth from certain players in a certain way, how we tackle the way we practice, and it just kind of made more sense that the roles were aligned this way. In terms of what it changes, there's not that much change internally other than maybe a little more direction from me and more final say rather than discussion, but we still have a really good working relationship, and this is fitting in nicely. This just made sense for us to make things official with how we're running things.
Yeah, noting that Clutch synergy which goes for Solo as well! And how is it working with him, do you think you're performing better since you all worked together previously?
For Solo, honestly, I knew what strengths he brought and what weaknesses he had from Clutch, and it felt like he worked a lot on his weaknesses and he still had the same strength. I was a big advocate of picking him up. In Spring we had a few issues in top lane in terms of performance. V1per is a really good player, and he performed really well in practice. And some of those things didn't apply perfectly in his stage games.
And having a veteran in the top lane - especially during playoffs - helped out a lot. It helped V1per, and it helped Solo too having V1per since they have very different styles. And I think it was just a good pickup. Obviously it helped because I worked with him on Clutch before, so I already knew how to coach him and how he responds best and what helps him perform his best. So I think that all aligned well.
Have you noticed much change in either him or Curry since you last worked with them?
Well, Solo I think has worked really hard and become a more complete player, compared to when he was on Clutch, I think he's a lot more confident about how he wants to play mid game, his communication has gotten better, and he's a solid veteran. As for Curry, he's just come more into his own and he's more able to tackle projects by himself and problem solve by himself compared to when he was basically like a second year assistant coach there. On Clutch, it was basically his first year of being a fully fledged strategic coach, so I think he's come a long way from then too.
And what about you? I know you were in Europe for a bit, and from what I've heard, coaching/culture there is much different. Plus the meta is different and the level of play is arguably much higher. So what did you learn over there and what are you trying to bring to FlyQuest?
I think in Europe, the culture and the players are a lot more about winning, as sad as that is to say as someone from NA. I think they're a lot more blunt, they want to find out what is best more than making excuses for why they make a mistake or trying to keep someone from feeling bad about making mistakes. Honestly, if it's a mistake, it's a mistake. They're very black and white about improving, and I think that puts them ahead.
I think the European players skill level in the league is already at a higher base, and it's just much easier to get better as a player. So better players get even better. If they already know the basics, it's much better to optimize than to need to learn the fundamentals and key concepts you're missing in your gameplay. So working with European players is a lot different, it involves a lot more mediation, management, and being really smart about pick/ban.
Whereas in NA, I still think a lot of the fundamentals need to be taught to a bunch of these players. Fortunately for me, I have a lot of veterans on my team, so it's kind of very similar to when I was in Europe. They're players that know the basics and we're building upon it, unlike some of the other teams in North America that have to kind of drill in the basics still.
So right now, you're starting MasH, last year you subbed in Solo like you were talking about. What is your mindset around starting him? Is it similar to last year, or is it a permanent change? How is it unfolding?
As of right now, it's not a permanent thing. Both MasH and WildTurtle were performing pretty well, and we decided to give MasH a shot because he was playing really well in Academy. We thought they had different strengths and we wanted to see how the team would operate with MasH compared to how they operate with Turtle. And he's still working really hard in Academy and still getting some scrim time for the LCS, so whatever fits best for the opponents we play that weekend will be the one playing for us.
All the players and us are of the mentality that the highest chance of winning comes first for each weekend. So all the players are along with it. It was very seamless, we made sure all the players knew what was happening and agreed with it. The process was all fluid, so there's no drama or anything there.
Haha thats good! So is the hope for a six man roster like by Playoffs or whatever, or just to have enough information by then to have the strongest possible roster?
For that I'm pretty open minded, whether it's a six man or if we just have a solid five that we're want to continue with. I'm open minded, it's just going to depend on how events play out and what we think is going to be best for winning.
I was expecting MasH to play more mages too, is that something he is still doing to maybe give you more options?
Yeah MasH has a pretty wide champion pool, that's one of the strengths that he has. So right now, we have two or three drafts that can incorporate that large champion pool. But the situations for it haven't occurred yet, but when they do, we're more than ready to pull those out.
The other really big conversation right now is who should be second place. Where do you think FlyQuest fits into that?
Honestly, I think Cloud9 is the best team, of course, no surprise there. But I think a lot of the teams between 2-4 are close, meaning us, EG, and TL. And this kind of sounds like what a sore loser would say, but just objectively, at the first Baron against TL, that's a Baron that should go to us 9 out of 10 times and then we'd probably snowball the game out of there and win that game. But yeah, we just faced EG, TL, which were two teams that were tied for second with us, and I personally think we're better than both of those teams. But we're all up in the mix for now, and TSM is somewhere up there too.
Anything you want to highlight before we go?
Honestly, I'm just excited to play with such a good team and a team that has players and staff willing to work so hard. I'm happy for the fans who continue to cheer us on.
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