FlyQuest saw a 2-0 during Week 4 as the standings in the LCS have started to stabilize. FlyQuest had an electrifying game against 100 Thieves on Saturday which resulted in two pocket picks of V1per’s Riven and Huhi’s Aurelion Sol.
Esports Heaven spoke with FlyQuest head coach Invert on the Sylas pick, V1per’s Riven pocket pick, split push, comeback mechanics, differences of coaching Academy and LCS, and also coaching veteran players.
Were you shocked about the enemy Sylas pick?
We weren’t shocked at all. Our most likely draft scenario was Sylas. We prepped 8 or 9 scenarios and the Sylas one we marked as the most likely. There were others that I can’t talk about that were marked even less likely. Sylas is unique in that he’s a flex pick on this patch and this patch has very few of those flex picks that are viable in NA.
You guys picked Riven, which is V1per’s signature champion. When it comes to V1per who has such a strong off-meta pick, how does that incorporate into your entire draft ideology? Is that a big strength for you?
It’s always a strength to have pocket picks. Since V1per is a rookie, it’s very interesting because we have a lot of talks about this with him and I say, “when you play Riven, you remember how to play Riven but sometimes you forget how to be a top laner” (laughs). “You lose your fundamentals in favor of the comfort of how you play this champion”. Riven did fit incredibly well with what we were trying to do and we had a strong core of four champions where they could utilize to get mid priority, start poking their team out while they had little to no engage options. While Riven is able to pull Sylas, Aurelion Sol, Tahm Kench on the other side of the map, she’s mobile enough to escape those ganks. So, Riven just fit really well with the style of composition we were trying to execute against 100 Thieves. I’m just glad that we have someone as talented as V1per to command that champion.
Talking about the entire meta and how Riven was able to split push effectively, it seems like teams aren’t heavily relying on split push. Why do you think the NARAM is so prevalent?
I think part of it is that teams are less coordinated and split push is a much harder thing to coordinate than teamfighting. Teams will gravitate towards things that are a little easier to execute in the form of teamfighting, which normally results in slower games, especially on a patch like this where there aren’t as many engage options available to teams as there normally would be. Things like Aatrox are a little out of the meta, utility carries are a little out of the meta, Lissandra just got nerfed, things that just kind of change the landscape such that engage is less prevalent, so when you do have engage you want to teamfight and group together and a lot of teams, since split push requires coordination. A majority of teams have completely new rosters and we just started Spring Split, so teams need to build up coordination to execute that type of stuff. Split push is a viable strategy and we see it in other regions, like LCK where they play Fiora into Sylas, they’re just picking what they can to stretch the map. Obviously NARAM is a thing, you kind of saw it in our game to be honest (laughs), but that doesn’t mean it doesn’t exist in other regions. In other regions I think you’ll see less coordinated teams not just gravitate towards teamfight compositions but also towards each other and pulling themselves together. I think another part of that too is that people don’t want to be the one to make the mistake that costs them the game, and split pushing kind of creates that situation.
As far as trends in the game, Doublelift had made a tweet talking about the bounty system and how he doesn’t like it when you get a bounty for CS but it makes some sense that you get it for a kill streak. What are your thoughts about comeback mechanics in the game and the bounty system in general?
I love comeback mechanics generally. I think they’re good for the audience and also for teams in terms of giving hope and confidence, allowing them to create an advantageous situation while behind. It’s also good for the viewer because after the first 10 minutes we don’t automatically know the outcome of the game. I think comeback mechanics in competitive esports are a good thing. You see it in fighting games a lot, where some of the best fighting games have comeback mechanics, Street Fighter 3rd Strike, we wouldn’t have gotten even moment 37 without the parry system in 3rd Strike, and like X Factor, the barrier system in BlazBlue, there’s so many different ways to implement comeback mechanics that are a soft reset on the potential to comeback in the game. I think that LoL in Season 9 has done a pretty good job with comeback mechanics, but I do agree with Doublelift that CS bounties, but they aren’t just bad inherently, they come too quickly. If I accrue a 15 CS lead, then I get a 300 gold bounty, I think that’s ridiculous. I think the CS bounties can be good for the game but the fact that they happen on such small CS leads is kind of ridiculous. The fact that they happen based on CS over time, so like if your gold grows faster comparatively to the enemy over a certain amount of time, you could still be down CS but receive a bounty but still get a bounty because of that change over time. I think the other thing that’s frustrating about bounties right now is that it’s really unclear to the player and spectator why a person has a bounty in the first place. I think that’s where most of the frustration stems from. I see this number but I can’t hover over this number and see what it means, or see how the breakdown is such that I’ve created this bounty for myself; I think that’s where the frustration lies, there isn’t clarity in how I’ve received that bounty.
You were an assistant coach previously. What are some of the big differences in your responsibilities and how you’ve had to adapt to this new position?
The transition was a little difficult at first but luckily I have a really supportive staff and supportive players that helped me go through this role. I’m not coming in completely unexperienced either. In Spring Split I got to work under RapidStar who was a very successful and notorious coach who is now at Cloud9 and is doing very well. I also learned a lot under Saintvicious and I took the lessons from both of them and combined it all together. Obviously my Academy head coach stint last year helped me understand how to work with players, especially because I got to work with experienced players in Shrimp and Keane and in the summer, Meteos. I was pretty confidence going in that I could work with this group of players, especially since I worked with some of them before, Santorin and WildTurtle for instance I got to work with them for part of the year.
Bringing in Pobelter and V1per has been a great experience because they are very internally optimistic guys and they’re also very supportive and helpful in that transition. My coaching staff that I have under me, Cop, who is the assistant coach and Curry, the Academy head coach, have both been really good at giving me space and allow me to grow and learn as head coach, as well as governing the happenings of our strategy, diet, exercise, sleep as well as the overall work flow of the entire program.
Last year was kind of hectic for coaches because there was quite a lot of benching and players transferring in and out of starting LCS rosters. How was that, from your perspective, watching that all of that go on…
Well, I didn’t just watch it, I lived it (laughs). I watched a lot of my players move up, AnDa, who is on 100T had the opportunity to move up and I’m really grateful that I got to see him today and succeed in that role and thrive at Worlds. JayJ has also been pretty stellar in his showing as an LCS support. I’ve lived through that transition. Obviously as an Academy head coach and you’re of two minds, like, great this program is successful but then it’s like, oh no, I need a new support (laughs). Obviously at the end of the day you’re always greatful of those shake-ups when those players move up because it means that what you’re doing is working and what you’re doing is successful, it validates it all.
Talking about rosters, how is it being a head coach of LCS and being an Academy coach when it comes to building a roster?
I actually didn’t get to build this roster since I came into the role, but coming into this roster, you take what you can get and what I have is five amazing players and five players willing to grow that also have a chip on their shoulder in some way; that’s really exciting to have as a coach as well because it provides internal motivation for each player. Many don’t talk about this but our roster, if you’re only counting NA LCS championships, we have like eight between all of our players, and if you want to add Academy championships, let’s throw 10 on there, and if you want to add our victory at the university Olympics, let’s slap that on there too (laughs). This is a roster with a winning mentality, these people know how to win championships, they’ve done it before, and so they can do it again. They have that drive, especially because they’ve been there before and they can do it again. They also have those chips on their shoulder where it didn’t work out in “X,Y and Z”, so they want to prove that people made the wrong decision. So, it’s really easy to work with people that are as hungry as these five players, and with rookies like V1per, who wants to prove themselves and wants to get in there in what is honestly a very talented crop of top laners in the LCS and just stand on their throats and be on their throats. The transition was made a lot easier because the guys that I got this off-season, who are incredibly hungry, motivated and have something to prove.
Working with veterans and towing the line between breaking their old bad habits and giving them something new to work with, how difficult or easy is that to work with as a coach?
I don’t know about veterans in general, but for my players it’s been incredibly easy. These guys are very open and willing to grow, no matter what their experience is like. I think that’s one of our strengths as a team, especially Pobelter has been incredibly helpful in that with sharing his recent Worlds experiences and recent experience on Team Liquid to help us create and modify our communication system and our priority system in order to help us advance as a team and help us understand how to coordinate better. As I said before, I’ve worked with a lot of experience players in the past in Academy and those players helped me understand what I can do in my position as a coach and also help me understand how a pro thinks about the game and then apply it to my own thinking and knowledge. Working with people like Pobelter, WildTurtle and Santorin, who have been on experienced teams in the past, being able to bring that knowledge to help everyone is very crucial, including myself and how I coach. The other cool thing is that, again, this might not be true for all teams but these players are veterans without big egos, so it’s really easy to be a coach and be an authority figure and are experienced and don’t have those egos.
Anything for the fans this weekend?
Thanks to all the fans for coming out and your support means a lot to all of us. We’re looking to take some names and I hope you keep supporting us and keep fighting on!
Izento has been a writer for the LoL scene since Season 7, and has been playing the game since Season 1. Follow him on Twitter at @ggIzento for more League content.
Image courtesy of LoL Esports Flickr