*This interview was conducted and provided by a guest contributor
FlyQuest was a team heralded as stronger than the sum of their parts. With a roster that was thought to be middle of the pack, they surpassed expectations in the 2019 LCS Spring Split. Now, FLY is struggling to find wins, losing both games last weekend as well as its first game in Week 4 and in search of closing out games.
Inven Global spoke with FlyQuest Head Coach Gabriel "Invert" Zoltan-Johan after their loss against Clutch Gaming about their priority on the Elise pick, problems with the team, Support Kim "Wadid" Bae-In joining the team and splitting scrim time Juan "JayJ" Guibert, and using Academy teams for practice.
This game you guys chose Elise in the first part of the draft phase, and previously it was banned against you. What makes Elise so strong in the current meta?
Elise scales pretty well and has a lot of early pressure. She has a lot of good matchups into the other meta picks, such as Rek’Sai, and is actually an ok pick into Skarner. It's something that we’re comfortable playing, especially with Irelia because they pair well together.
Elise is generally strong into these picks and with a solo lane and our bot lane plan, which you saw we had CC in the bot lane and were able to generate a lead in that lane. The Elise did what it was supposed to do; it pushed out Skarner early, got us a jungle advantage and bot lane advantage.
I want to touch on the idea that FlyQuest was thought to be this team that was supposed to come into the Summer Split pretty solid. You guys didn’t change up anything too much as far as the roster. So, bluntly, why is the team not performing up to fan or analyst expectations in being a consistent team, which FlyQuest is known for?
As you can see, we hold it close with a lot of the teams we play against but then the end of the game doesn’t work out. For us, our system for the mid and late game is not as good as we want it to be obviously. We gave up a Mountain Drake today that we absolutely shouldn’t have and we gave up the control for that.
A lot of the system failure is due to a communication breakdown and right now. I don’t think we are listening to each other as well as we should. We aren’t understanding each player’s purpose on the map when we’re going for a particular plan. When you set a plan, normally each individual knows what they need to do to a tee, but for us that’s now quite there yet.
Making sure that we’re able to do that will then see us return to form, but we have to do that, or we won’t be the team we want to be, the team that fans want us to be and the team the league was expecting of us.
How was it integrating Wadid into the team? People were expecting him to start over JayJ when the news was announced about his addition to the roster. Is JayJ starting because he has more solid communication? Not in the aspect of speaking English, but that he’s just used to playing with the team.
Part of it is administrative and part splitting scrims. We did split scrims in the preseason to see how they work together and work with the rest of the team. They both are present for review with the rest of the team and they work very well together.
Wadid had to leave for a bit to get his visa, so he wasn’t fully present for a large portion of time, so in the interest of creating a strong starting roster and as well as letting JayJ improve with the challenge of Wadid behind him, we elected to start with JayJ through both actors of getting the visa process completed for Wadid and JayJ taking a large majority of scrim time and actually improving vis-à-vis the challenge of Wadid behind him.
We saw notable improvements from JayJ in scrims, but on stage, it hasn’t translated fully. With Wadid and JayJ we have this great duo that can challenge each other and we feel really comfortable with that situation.
Speaking of that aspect, there’s been some criticism of JayJ from the community. Do you think he’s feeling the pressure from Wadid and therefore performing a little bit more poorly given the extra pressure behind him?
I wouldn’t say that is specifically the case. I mentioned before that the pressure from Wadid has actually helped him improve. He shot up the solo queue ladder, he worked a bit more diligently with Jason "WildTurtle" Tran and on himself, readily used ProView, and reached out to other pro players.
Players talk about the meta and what’s going on, but Wadid was never one to do that. Now, he’s actively taken a step forward to do that, so in a lot of ways JayJ has opened up and kind of taken up the challenge. I don’t want to speak to the personal situation that he has, but just generally, the challenge of Wadid isn’t causing his underperformance. It’s actually helped him a lot and has helped our team advance to the next level of the team that we want to be.
One thing I’m curious on when it comes to pro teams is the whole theory of splitting scrim time. In one instance, you’re trying to find the best player and combination, but in another, they obviously both get less practice than a normal starter. Do you think that trade-off is well worth it, or do you think there are some downsides to splitting scrims?
We had the preseason, so that was a full month where we were able to split scrims without the pressure of a match every week. would say that, going into the week, it’s not like the other person isn’t doing anything. They’re still playing with the Academy team and are able to scrim in that environment and they’re able to lend a hand and contribute to the review.
On both accounts, it’s not like they both aren’t doing anything, but I do understand the concern that, if you’re splitting scrims, the LCS scrims aren’t as high quality as they could be, but I think we have four very capable players, outside from the supports, that can make the scrim quality stay at a high level.
There are other teams that split scrims, like TSM and Cloud9 that do them pretty consistently, so it’s not like it ruins your team quality, as you can see those two teams are really good *laughs*. I don’t think that’s a valid argument at all.
In that regard, you guys scrim your Academy team, as does every LCS team…
Some more than others, to be frank. Some teams might not scrim their Academy team at all in a given Split, so…
That’s...interesting. *laughs* Do you think there’s this inherent advantage that some teams get based upon the quality or high performance of their Academy team in comparison to other Academy teams? Do you believe some teams get more of an advantage through this system?
Sure! I think that’s well documented. You have TSMA or C9A, both are very high quality rosters. You see TSM performing very well by virtue of that system, compared to last season where TSMA weren’t in Academy playoffs. I think that type of situation can help both sides and your entire organization.
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