In the chaotic NA LCS, FlyQuest is chasing the top teams at third place.
They’re certainly different from the last season where they were wandering about as underdogs. They now have the strength; they overcome unfavorable situations with a single call. There have been two games that went like that in two weeks.
Lee “Flame” Ho-jong said that he’s more confident of the upcoming games and that he can’t wait for the Bo3s and Bo5s. He’s already sure that they’ll reach the playoffs. After defeating TSM, Flame talked about his worries and the problems of TSM.
Can you run us through what happened in that last base run?
During the mid-game, we all agreed that it was hard to start hitting Baron for both teams. TSM isn’t an aggressive team, and it didn’t feel like they were trying to do anything. So we decided to push the side lanes first. At that moment, Hauntzer made a big mistake, so we took advantage of that, and the game became very favorable for us.
When Hauntzer died, TSM started hitting the mid lane. How were the calls?
We told our mid laner to stop them. We thought that if they go for Baron, since we had two TPs, we can stop that, and if they try to go through mid, we’ll end the game.
Since we had two mountain dragon stacks, we were able to bring down the towers really easily. I was sure that we won. When they tried to recall, WildTurtle and I said that if we can interfere their recall, we win, so we told Satorin to just stomp in whether or not he dies.
What do you think would have happened if TSM recalled early to stop you?
Then we would have taken Baron. We may not have been able to take it right away, but we would have been able to take down the inhibitor tower and at least light up the vision around Baron.
We did what we thought is the best, but Hauntzer’s mistake was too big. He shouldn’t have died. He wasn’t able to evade Ashe’s ult with his Flash. If he did, although we may have taken down the tier 2 tower, the game wouldn’t have ended there.
TSM isn’t doing that well again this season. What do you think is different with TSM?
They play similar before and now. They pick a comp that’s good in the late game and cover here and there with their jungler. They don’t lay stress much in the side lanes and try to penetrate through mid slowly but firmly.
TSM still prioritizes the mid lane, but Bjergsen can’t crush the opponent, and the top or bottom lanes don’t try to make aggressive plays. It seems like there’s no player that goes past the river in the Rift, so their game isn’t on track.
In this match too, I think TSM thought that they'd win if they can take it to the late game. Ezreal doesn’t die easily to Kennen, and Ashe isn’t that good in the late game, so they should have thought that way.
What do you think?
TSM could think that way. But our laning went too well, so we started off with an advantage. If we didn’t use our Herald at mid and went through the top, we would have been able to clear out a freeway up there.
You won two wins like this in the past two weeks.
Well, it wasn’t the best decision, it was improvising a bit, but the opponent’s decision was worse than ours. Apparently, they were quite frustrated. I think it’s good to make decisive choices in those kinds of situations.
Is it easy to agree on calls within the team?
Sometimes it’s hard if everyone scaled well, but usually, everyone has a similar thought in mind. In recent games, WildTurtle’s shotcalls are really good.
Why did you pick Kennen? He may be good against Gnar, but risky.
We thought making an aggressive pick is good during the picks & bans. I picked many stable champions this season, but after playing yesterday, I thought picking a champion that’s good to make plays would be better. I thought it would be better for the team within this meta. I’m also confident with these picks that are good at playmaking.
I can play almost all the champions that go to the top lane. If we go on playing this way, we’ll be able to take up more wins. When we prioritize the top lane in scrims, our win rate is really good. I’m good at making calls and have good macro when I scale well.
If I picked an aggressive champion yesterday, it would have been a lot better. Since Dardoch looks after the top lane really well, so we picked a more safe pick.
Many players are complaining that it’s hard to practice champions in the NA.
For me, there are a lot of champions that I’ve played up to now. Since I played many different champions in Korea while I was maintaining around 10th in the ladder, I can pick anything anytime. While I think I can play any champion very well, it’s not like I’m arrogant to think that I’m better than the players who are exceptionally good with specific champions.
You mean, like Khan’s Jayce?
Yes. I’m good at Jayce too, but not as good as Khan. Still, I’m confident enough to be one of the best.
The standings are in chaos. Why do you think it is?
The blue side has a way too high win rate, and the NA players draft seeks too much safety. If all goes easy, the blue team has the advantage, so I think the strong team-weak team gap narrowed because of that.
When I look at the picks & bans in the NA LCS, they blind pick Dr.Mundo, Gangplank, and Gnar, but the opponent doesn’t even think about countering that pick. They usually pick Gangplank and scale together when the opponent blind picked Dr.Mundo.
It seems like they’re afraid of making bold picks, and there are nearly no players that are good at aggressive champions. In my opinion, there are only 2-3 players out of ten that play aggressive champions well. To be good at making aggressive plays, as much as you do well, the jungle or mid laner also has to do well, but there are only a few teams that can do that.
Why did you mainly pick stable champions for a while?
Since our team is new, I tried to go with what my teammates wanted. Now, our team’s performance is pretty good, so I don’t think I need to sacrifice anymore.
I think it’ll be better if we go into Bo3s or Bo5s. We lost a lot of Saturday matches and won most of the Sunday matches. Even last year, I often lost game 1 and won games 2 and 3. When we lose in game 1, I feel everything; which lane is strong or weak, and how it’ll be good in the current matchup.
So it should be bad for you playing Bo1.
Personally, I don’t like it. I think I should just play aggressive even if it’s Bo1. I wasn’t confident enough up to now.
Isn’t it hard to bring up your performance since you don’t have enough games played since it’s Bo1?
I think that’s an issue, yes. There are many matches that are won or lost by luck.
Why weren’t you confident?
I was afraid of the responsibility. Our team hadn’t come up to our full potential yet, and if I always played aggressively, I thought it would seem that I’m a player who always wants to carry. I didn’t want to be that player.
I became popular as a player by playing games with me in the center, but I got criticized that I’m a player that just wants to carry. So I have sort of a trauma. It became important for me to sacrifice.
Recently, I began to think if there’s a player that’s good, backing that player up is the right way to go. Especially, if he’s an import, I think that’s the right thing. The teams that play like that have good results nowadays as well. I remember when I was in Immortals, Xmithie had told me that it was better when I said that I want to play more in the center of the team.
I’m trying to find my original self now. I used to be always confused about which was right.
Do you know the book, ‘The Courage to be Disliked’?
Yes, I think that’s what I’m really lacking. (Laughs) I was really afraid of failing before. I didn’t have the courage to step through all that. As I got older, I become more and more afraid of failing. It could be a characteristic of a Korean, but now, I’m trying to get rid of that.
FlyQuest is at 7-5. The goal must have gotten higher for the team.
Of course, our goal is to get to Worlds. I think we’ll definitely make it to playoffs, but I think my teammates aren’t as confident yet. (Laughs) If this meta continues, I’m really confident. In the current meta, you can counter anything if you have a large champion pool.
How would you evaluate your own prowess?
Thinking of last season’s results, I can’t say that I’m really good yet. I’ll be proving myself in the following matches. I’m really confident.
Any last comments?
I forgot a lot about how joyful and trembling it is to play in the highest stages. I want to get back there so that I can feel that again.