What makes a League of Legends team great and memorable? While simple answers at first glance may point toward “winning everything” or “having the best and most popular players,” there’s more to any magnificent team than that.
Sometimes teams find popularity fairly quickly and keep their legacies and brands going for extended periods of time, while most fade into obscurity if they fail to capture lightning in a bottle. But only a few teams can claim to rise above any adversity and initial shortcomings.
At the 2020 League of Legends World Championship, FlyQuest have the chance to show that they’re the most improved team at the tournament.
In 2017, when FlyQuest first entered the LCS, it was a new organization that bought out the spot and players from Cloud9’s Challenger team. After the team’s first split, they eventually picked up WildTurtle and centered the roster around him. Even when the original roster of old C9 players was benched from the FlyQuest squad, the team still struggled to find domestic success in North America. This was especially true after WildTurtle left the team for Immortals, only to return in 2019. Before this year, FlyQuest were unable to qualify for the League World Championship, let alone finish above fourth in the North American playoffs.
With a roster in constant flux, sometimes the popularity of a team must be garnered from the top of the organization and filtered down to the players, instead of the natural bottom-to-top progression. At the start of 2020, FlyQuest’s management shifted its COO, Tricia Sugita, to the CEO position. And with that change came a team-defining campaign that aimed to help the world.
When the 2020 Spring Split began, FlyQuest launched an effort called TreeQuest that saw the organization commit to planting trees based on its in-game performances. After finishing second during the playoffs to C9—the organization’s historical best placing—FlyQuest planted a total of 10,000 trees.
Following the major success in rebranding both on and off the Rift during the spring, FlyQuest aimed to keep the momentum going in the summer. With the amount of attention that TreeQuest garnered, the organization launched another campaign called SeaQuest, which focused on raising money for coral reef relief.
While these campaigns and rebranding improved FlyQuest’s popularity off the Rift, the team’s formula to improve their success in-game began brewing in the spring. Halfway through the Spring Split, FlyQuest replaced its popular one-trick Riven player, V1per, with veteran top laner Solo. While Solo’s success was limited in North America on other teams like Echo Fox and Clutch Gaming, he quickly built synergy with his new team.
After earning a third-place finish in the 2020 Summer Split regular season, FlyQuest had to take a long path to qualify for Worlds. Winning against Evil Geniuses gave FlyQuest the opportunity to continue proceeding in the upper bracket. Needing only one more win to qualify for worlds, FlyQuest went beyond that expectation and sent the two favorites of the playoffs—C9 and Team Liquid—to the losers brackets. The cohesion between Solo and FlyQuest as a whole built up for a split and a half helped the org earn consecutive LCS finals appearances. Despite reaching the finals in both splits in 2020, though, they fell short again in the summer and failed to beat TSM.
Now at the 2020 League World Championship, FlyQuest have a lot to prove as North America’s second seed. In Group D, FlyQuest already have two formidable foes in the form of the tournament favorites and the LPL’s first seed, Top Esports, as well as the LCK’s potent second seed, DRX. With a surging Unicorns of Love squad also joining the group after an impressive performance in the play-in stage, FlyQuest will need to rise to the occasion to make it to the knockout part of the tournament.
Each FlyQuest player has a personal stake in this World Championship appearance. PowerOfEvil and IgNar both played together at Worlds 2017 on Misfits but were defeated in the quarterfinals against SK Telecom T1, now known as T1. Santorin and WildTurtle also have previous World Championship history together, both making their last appearance on TSM in 2015 where they lost in the group stage. In the top lane, Solo is making his first appearance at Worlds. With only six games to make a statement in the group stage, all of the players on this team want to find success to keep the dream of succeeding at the World Championship alive.
FlyQuest have already gone above and beyond and shattered their previous historical bests. But for the players and organization to prove their case as the most improved team at the League World Championship, they can’t simply finish third or fourth in the group stage.
With every player on the team looking to make a statement at Worlds 2020, FlyQuest can try to show how much the organization has grown by continuing to win against every difficult opponent, despite the odds. This certainly won’t be an easy task, however.
The main event group stage of League’s 2020 World Championship begins tomorrow, Oct. 3. FlyQuest face off against Top Esports at 3am CT.