If Team Liquid and Cloud 9 are a 9/10, TSM is about a 5/10, and FlyQuest is a 2.5/10. LS said that during his co-stream of the first match between TSM and FlyQuest in the 2021 season. LS, seriously?
Spoiler alert, FlyQuest won. LS said it was the draft. Doublelift said TSM played badly. I don’t know who’s right or wrong. All I know is that people are sleeping on FlyQuest. After thinking a little bit, I realized that the Golden Guardians are also underrated. Don’t sleep on FlyQuest and Golden Guardians in 2021. They’re better than people make them out to be.
FlyQuest, Brimming With Young Talent
The 2021 FlyQuest line-up consists of Licorice, Josedeodo, Palafox, Johnsun, and Diamond in the top, jungle, mid, bot, and support positions.
2020 was a bittersweet year for FlyQuest. They made LCS finals two times in a row. In spring 2020, they were swept by Cloud 9. In summer 2020, they lost in a hard-fought full 5-game series. They placed in a group with DRX and Top Esports at worlds and went 3-3. Not bad, considering NA’s second seed took a game off China’s first seed.
But COVID-19 happened. Both FlyQuest and Golden Guardians are significantly backed by the NBA teams Milwaukee Bucks and Golden State Warriors. Since there were no ticket sales in 2020 due to COVID-19, all the NBA teams took a massive hit in their finances resulting in budget cuts.
These budget cuts hurt FlyQuest and Golden Guardians big time. Both teams lost their entire roster.
FlyQuest managed to come out of the roster blow-up with a decent looking squad. They managed to acquire one of the better top laners in the LCS, two academy players who were super hyped, a rising star AD-carry, and Latin America’s star jungler, Josedeodo.
Although Licorice looks like he’s trending downwards, I love the Johnsun and Josedeodo pickups. Both are players with excellent mechanics with a lot of upsides.
Palafox and Diamond are question marks for me. Personally, I don’t know much about them. After watching a few of their LCS games, though, I get the feeling that Palafox is a solid midlaner who can hold his own, but Diamond is getting caught out a bit too much. Over time, the entire team should improve, though.
The FlyQuest Brand Is Growing
If the 2021 FlyQuest roster were on a team such as Dignitas or CLG, I wouldn’t be super excited. One thing that makes me excited about FlyQuest is how it has been developing recently. FlyQuest managed to reach LCS finals two times in a row last season, beating most people’s expectations.
Their roster was good, but it wasn’t anything ground-breaking. People like PowerOfEvil and Ignar are good, but you wouldn’t consider them the best players in their respective roles in NA. Top lane was a mess for them where they had V1per and then swapped him out for Solo. Wildturtle is a veteran who isn’t at the top of LCS anymore either.
The only real “superstar” they had was Santorin, who you could argue as LCS’s best jungler in the summer split. Despite looking like a top-five or top-four team, they managed to pull through and become a top-two team. All their players were outperforming their expectations, which is an excellent sign for their organization and management staff.
Because of these performances, the FlyQuest fanbase has been gradually growing. The more fans you have, the more money you can make.
Money is crucial to push esports organizations to the top. The biggest spenders in the league coupled with strong management teams will be the teams that win and continually win. Team Liquid is the prime example.
Suppose FlyQuest can show that it is consistently able to outperform general expectations. In that case, it will rise in value and eventually get into the position to buy top League of Legends players.
Golden Guardian’s Coach Diff?
I can’t say that the Golden Guardian’s organization is developing the same way FlyQuest has been, but Golden Guardians did impress me last year with their roster. Although they did end up getting knocked out of both the Spring and Summer playoffs last year, they were outperforming expectations when everybody expected them to go tenth.
This year, they’re the underdogs again. Golden Guardians, just like FlyQuest, had their entire roster blown up. Unfortunately, they did not make it out as unscathed with a new roster consisting of two players from a collegiate team, one player from Golden Guardian’s academy team, a veteran ADC player, and a support from Latin America.
All of Golden Guardian’s pieces are unproven except their ADC player, Stixxay. And unfortunately, Stixxay has been on the downturn recently.
Although the Golden Guardians were knocked out in the quarterfinals of the Lock-In tournament and started the season with a 1-2 record, I like what they have been showing so far. They have been very proactive in their games, looking to generate their own leads. Even when they’re mechanically out skilled, they still fight back and look like they have a chance to win.
They’ve been playing really similar to 2020 Golden Guardians, which makes me wonder if these results come from the actions of their coaching staff. If so, with how they’re playing right now and thinking about their projected ability to improve, I’m rating the Golden Guardians much higher than last place. In fact, I have a hot take that the Golden Guardians will be in the top five LCS teams beating Evil Geniuses.
If the Golden Guardians get similar results to last year, it will be a coach diff.
There Are No Gods In LCS
I watched Travis Gafford interview Team Liquid’s top laner, Alphari, and he said something very intriguing. He was talking about G2 Esports and how the players were just five nerds sitting at a computer. Too many people make certain pro players out to be gods and untouchable. I’m always confused by this. How much better can one person be at a game than another?
When it comes to the LCS, the difference between the LCS, LCS Academy, collegiate, or even Challenger solo-queue is not that big. It’s only a big gap when you make it a big gap. If LCS teams think they could never compete against top LPL, LCK, and LEC teams, they will never be able to compete against them.
But is that really true? If we look at the players that were imported this year, they’re all meh. Yes, a player such as Alphari has come and instantly turned into the best top laner in LCS. Everyone else, however, has had middling performances. You would expect them to crush these new rookies completely, but that has hardly happened so far.
If I were to make an analogy, these “top-tier” imports are Master tier players, and the rookies are Diamond 1. These imports are better than the rookies but not by the margin everyone is expecting.
This is why you shouldn’t sleep on FlyQuest or Golden Guardians. The difference between rookies and top tier players is not that big. Teams comprised of primarily rookies can beat top-tier players.
If you want NA to stop importing and focus more on home-grown talent, you also want FlyQuest and Golden Guardians to succeed. Rookies’ success will prove to other LCS organizations that the difference between a rookie and a top-tier player is not that big.
The Rise Of New Orgs
FlyQuest and Golden Guardians are definitely rising esports organizations that will begin consistently competing for the top spots in LCS. Of course, in their current states, I wouldn’t put these teams above my top three teams, Team Liquid, Cloud 9, and 100 Thieves. But over time, FlyQuest and Golden Guardians are definitely in a position to rise above the other teams.
Here are some of the references to various sources I talked about throughout this article if you’re interested:
- TSM Vs. FlyQuest LS Co-Stream
- TSM Vs. FlyQuest DoubleLift Co-Stream
- Travis Gafford Interview With Alphari
Thoughts? Leave them down below in the comment section below!