After consecutive losses to 100Thieves and TSM, FlyQuest will be heading into the 2018 NA LCS Summer Playoffs as the 6th seed.
While FlyQuest was unsuccessful in securing a higher placing through tiebreakers, the backdoor-mavens showcased levels of flexibility in their draft and execution not present in the regular season.
One could conclude that FlyQuest thought the playoff prep was for themselves was far more important than their seeding. FlyQuest has secured a playoff berth sticking to their guns and playing their style. They will play 3rd seed 100Thieves on Sunday.
I sat down with Juan “JayJ” Guibert to reflect on his first NA LCS split, get his feelings towards his playoffs debut, and take a trip down memory lane with the University of Toronto.
I’m joined by FlyQuest Support JayJ. You guys are the 6th seed heading into playoffs, is there a specific team you’d prefer to play against?
I think both 100Thieves and Echo Fox have looked at around the same level for most of the split, but both have declined slightly in recent weeks. I’m pretty confident that we’re able to beat either of them.
All of the teams are really close. Even the 1st seed, Team Liquid, is only a few games ahead of you guys. What do you think has caused the NA LCS to be so close?
Initially, I thought it was due to the meta. I thought people were having trouble adapting to the weirdness. But now I think it just took everyone a long time to click. Each team has a moment or a turning point where things just start clicking, and they’re able to play a certain style.
It took teams a while this summer. For us, it took a couple weeks after I joined the team for us to be able to play one style, and then we’ve been working on branching out from there.
When was your “click” moment on FlyQuest?
Honestly, it wasn’t like “one week” for us, it was more about building upon previous progress. The first week, we focused on the basics. The second week, we focused on slightly more complex stuff, then maybe by the third week we’ll be really good at something.
That’s generally how the split has been going. We’ll look at a team comp or a style of play and learn it from the ground up. We have two or three comps that we’re really comfortable on, and then we’re not comfortable at all on the rest. So that’s what we’ve been trying to work on.
You saw in the games today, we played a lot of stuff that we never had before, because we’re trying to branch out and pick new things and evolve our game before playoffs. It’s important to not be predictable and we need to go out of our comfort zones so we aren’t exploited.
You were on the main squad for a few games the last split, but mostly played on FlyQuest Academy. How have you changed as a player from your time in the NA Academy League?
I think I’ve definitely learned a lot from moving to the Academy League to the LCS. Last split, when I played in LCS for a few weeks, I was able to bring a lot of that knowledge back down to academy. Having that knowledge at the academy level helped me prepare for eventually transitioning into the starting role on FlyQuest.
How has Wildturtle helped you develop as a Support?
I’ve been working with him to better a lot of parts in my game. When I first started playing in the NA LCS, I thought that I knew a decent amount about the game. I was wrong, there’s so much more that I need to learn. I also need to be able to apply the concepts I understand in every aspect of the game.
Meshing as a lane with Wildturtle has gone pretty well overall. It’s been difficult at times, but I think we’ve got the hang of it now.
In a previous interview, Wildturtle mentioned that he was the big picture thinker for FlyQuest and sets your game plan. Do you also participate in the game plan and the shotcalling along with him?
I talk with him and Santorin a lot on how we are going to get vision where we want, when to push, and where, etc. That’s been my role as of late.
Does having an important role in the communication put more pressure on you as the only rookie in a squad of decorated veterans?
It doesn’t bother me in game, but out of game, sometimes I’m asked, “Hey why did you do this? You should have done this instead.” And I have to explain that I didn’t know or that there are certain factors that I’m not aware of due to having less experience. There are still situations where I don’t see everything the way that they see it, so I’m trying to catch up to everyone else’s level and learn things as I go.
That’s been the main way I’m trying to improve this split, while of course making sure that I’m able to compete with the other Supports in the NA LCS.
As a Support, what’s the nature of your duo lane with Wildturtle? Is it a back and forth or does one of you lead the lane?
I think he leads the lane for sure. He’s really good at noticing his own mistakes, so there’s not much of a point in me pointing them out. When I mess up, I know most of the time, but if it’s a small thing that I’ve overlooked, he will chime in. Then we’ll tackle the issue together until it’s fixed.
Before we get into playoffs, I want to ask you a bit about yourself. How did you start your career as a professional player?
I grew up in Toronto and started playing in LAN tournaments when I was 14. My parents would let me go to Montreal for tournaments, where LAN Ets and Dreamhack Montreal happened annually. I went to those tournaments throughout high school until I graduated.
I attended University of Toronto and joined the LoL Collegiate Team. During my second year there, we were able to go to the International College Cup. It’s in China, and it’s basically Worlds for college players. We ended up getting 2nd place, which wasn’t ideal but still a pretty good placing.
We ended up playing another collegiate tournament in Taiwan, where we beat the team who had previously defeated us in the International College Cup Finals. Technically, we were the collegiate World Champions.
After that, FlyQuest picked up Aery, Noh, myself, and our coach Invert to form the core of the FlyQuest Academy roster.
Do you think that playing those high-level collegiate tournaments helped you adjust to stage play in the NA LCS?
Yeah, I think that’s something that FlyQuest looked at when picking us up. When we played in China, that tournament was in a stadium in front of thousands of people. It was also broadcast to millions of people through Chinese streams.
I think it was definitely a factor as to why FlyQuest signed us. We don’t get nervous in big game situations at the LCS or the Academy level.
Are you nervous about playing in your first playoffs?
It’s definitely been pretty stressful since I’ve never been here before. Saintvicious told me that every top tier LCS player gets really good around this time of year. Bjergsen, Jensen, Doublelift -- everybody cranks it up a notch. I need to be able to do that.
Obviously, I don’t know if I can, because I’ve never played at this level before, so I’ve been spamming games as much as I can and looking over VoDs as much as I can to match everyone else’s playoffs level.
Is there any specific player you’d like to play against in a big match, like the Finals in Oakland?
Olleh and Aphromoo are the big two. I look up to them because they play similar styles, but they have their own specialties and variations that I try to analyze and adapt into my own play.
Wildturtle told us that he was confident that if you were able to qualify for playoffs, he thought you could win the entire tournament. If that was to happen, is there an international player you’d like to face off against on the Worlds stage?
I’ve been watching a lot of the Griffin games, and Lehends is a really good Support that I’ve been watching throughout the entire split. His Shen play was great at the start of the split, and when I first joined FlyQuest I was playing Shen a lot, so his VoDs were very helpful. It would definitely be cool to play against him.
Thank you so much for your time, JayJ. Is there anything that you’d like to say to the FlyQuest fans before playoffs?
Thanks for supporting us. I know we didn’t have that many fans last split, and this split we’re the 6th seed heading into playoffs. However, I think we have a really good shot at making a run through playoffs, and if not, we still have a good change through the regional gauntlet. Keep cheering for us.
Nick Geracie is a freelance esports journalist currently located in Los Angeles. You can follow him on Twitter here.