Up next on the chopping block is Flyquest – a team that is hard to analyze, specifically when looking at last year. Coming into last summer, Flyquest were soaring, finishing in the top 4 after the Spring playoffs, but by the end of the second split, they found themselves in 9th place, without making any roster moves between the two seasons. This obviously resulted in a frustrated fan base and organization, looking to make changes headed into 2020, and they eventually did.
Going from top to bottom on the map, let’s start with famous top laner V1per. I was as surprised as anyone by his performance last year, as a rookie. Winning rookie of the split in Spring, V1per’s strong mechanical prowess was super easy to see throughout both that split, and even the next. Despite the horrid performance of the overall team, V1per displayed a lot of carry potential toward the end of the last season. Taking his signature Riven onto the rift, and winning multiple games with it was incredibly impressive on a competitive squad. He also managed to lose 0 games on Aatrox in the regular season, between both splits. In one year on a mediocre team, V1per seemed to shine above a lot of others, which tells me he certainly has the pure talent one would want for any position.
Next is Santorin, who, at this point, I have 0 ideas on how to view him. Santorin has a long history in North America, from all the way back on Team Coast and TSM in 2014. His history throughout those last 5 or 6 years has been spotty, bouncing around several different teams and even different regions, while generally being not so successful. That being said, he’s consistently ranked within the top 5 or 10 of solo queue in North America, and I believe was even rank 1 in Korea at a certain point. So, he has the physical ability to make a huge difference, and be successful, and he also has the experience to go with it. But I don’t think it has translated at all over the past several years. I view Santorin as a high-potential player, but I haven’t seen that potential consistently show, maybe ever. In that case, I don’t think his role in the team will be that great.
Santorin on the old TSM roster.
In mid, we have everyone’s favorite whacky mid-laner, in PowerOfEvil. If we look at pure talent and pure success, PowerOfEvil may be in the top 3 or 4 mid-laners in North America. Through his controlled playstyle of mages such as Viktor, he often sports some of the highest gold share and damage share on his team, and he doesn’t really die much either. PowerOfEvil, to me, is a known quantity similar to Froggen, in that he wants to farm, scale, and carry. Whether or not he’s successful with that seems to depend on the system around him, but his method and performance are pretty solid themselves.
Finally we have the bottom lane duo in WildTurtle and Ignar. WildTurtle is another long-time North American staple, even performing on old, world-contenders like TSM. That being said, the success he used to have, and mechanics I was once scared of as a Cloud9 fan, seem to have both faded away for the most part. I will say in the Spring of last year, when they were seeing a decent amount of success, WildTurtle was playing pretty well, but aside from that split, I probably can’t think of another time period over the past 2-3 years in which I saw a consistent and strong performance from him. After that, we have their new support Ignar, who reminds me a lot of WildTurtle in his story. After large initial success on the team famous for almost-dethroning SKT, Ignar went off – first for Korea, and then back to Europe. The next two years for Ignar would not be particularly strong, in his teams success or his individual performance. Besides the uber-rare, outstanding blitzcrank game, Ignar has not given me anything close to what I saw back in 2017, when people thought he was one of the best supports in Europe.
The main strengths I think this team could have lie in their familiarity with one another, and individual synergies. The main core of V1per, Santorin, and WildTurtle have been playing together for about one calendar year now, and that certainly gives them an advantage over newly constructed teams like Evil Geniuses. That being said, the mid and support roles in the current meta seem to be the most important in effecting the map, and the pace of the game. So even with a trio of well-associated players, the two new fellas are the ones that should theoretically be the biggest in their impact.
Luckily, they do have an old duo in PowerOfEvil and Ignar. As mentioned earlier, Ignar was once on a European squad – Misfits – that almost beat defending world champions (at the time) in SKT. On that squad with him, was mid-laner PowerOfEvil. The continued relations between the two players, I am not entirely aware of, but the past success with the pair is a good sign in itself. Also, if you’re going to replace two players, and they’re two important roles, you probably want a couple of people who are already familiar with each other, like POE and Ignar are.
POE (right) and Ignar (left) on their old Misfits roster.
When looking at not only familiarity, but playstyle, I don’t entirely know what to think. As said before, V1per is a mechanically-intensive top-laner, meaning he is probably going to want to play pretty dang aggressive. Similarly, Ignar and WildTurtle are both incredibly well-known for their raw aggression in their playstyles. Juxtaposing both of these, though, is POE’s desire to stay in his lane, clear waves, and do nothing toward the start of the game. Part of me thinks this is great! One lane will be consistently cleared and chill, allowing Santorin to play to either the bottom or top side, and ram themselves into their opponents. Another part of me thinks this is horrible. First, if WildTurtle and Ignar jump in face-first to the enemy team, I don’t see how a composed Viktor from POE helps accomplish anything in the fight itself, and they probably get wiped. POE needs to be able to follow the decisions his team makes, even if it’s not what he’s typically used to. Also, mid-jungle duo is the most important it has ever been, and if Santorin is constantly playing around the sides of the map, I don’t know how successful POE is going to be, as people like Blaber and Nisqy continuously barrage him.
Flyquest is an incredibly odd beast. If you look at just their past performance, it would be easy to say that they would most likely finish bottom 3. However, I do like the move to pick up a like-minded support for WildTurtle, and an already-established duo with POE as well. And if you look back at the history of most of these players, they found immense success at at least one point in their lives. That makes me want to be hopeful for their performance, but until I see exactly what they’re capable of, and how they mesh, I’m forced to predict them at 8th right now. Their team is mechanically strong with highlights in their solo lanes, but I don’t see a majority of them in the regional top 5 of their role.