Last split, FlyQuest were on the verge of becoming a top contender in the LCS. They had a 9-9 record in the regular season and finished fourth overall. Not surprisingly, the team kept the same starting roster going into the Summer Split.
But since the start of this split, FlyQuest have suffered loss after loss, falling to ninth place. The rest of the season was looking grim—until last weekend when Kim “Wadid” Bae-in replaced support Juan “JayJ” Guibert in FlyQuest’s starting lineup.
While the swap has helped FlyQuest win two out of their past three games, it’s difficult to say whether it will create lasting improvements. But Jason “WildTurtle” Tran believes this change has at least increased motivation for the team.
“I think normally just having a roster swap can kind of bring upon like a honeymoon phase with the team and I think just bringing on Wadid re-motivates a lot of the players on the current team,” WildTurtle told Dot Esports. “And I think that’s kind of what’s going on with Wadid—we’re just bringing out a new player, so we don’t want to be bad anymore. We’re trying to motivate ourselves more.”
Midseason swaps are common in the LCS. And while some are unexpected moves, others come naturally. For WildTurtle and FlyQuest, the decision to bring in Wadid was pretty seamless.
“I don’t want to say [swapping] was planned, but it was definitely like in the back of our minds that we could potentially be using Wadid a lot more than JayJ,” he said. “I think we pretty much had tryouts where it’s kind of like which one works well with our team, so we actually split scrims with JayJ and split some scrims with Wadid and I think eventually we kind of shifted over to Wadid completely.”
It seems like Wadid will remain in the lineup for the foreseeable future. But WildTurtle left the door open for a JayJ return if he performs better than Wadid, despite saying that Wadid seemed to fit the team better than JayJ.
Although the switch from JayJ to Wadid appeared effortless, there are clear distinctions between the players’ strengths. And that made Wadid the better option, according to WildTurtle. Additionally, the differences stem from the experience gap between Wadid and JayJ.
“I think he sees some engages a lot better than JayJ does,” WildTurtle said. “I think he knows the timings a little bit better as well. And I think he’s very vocal around how he calls for things and I think that’s definitely a little bit different from JayJ. I think he also contributes a lot more to the feedback like after the games. Like we had better discussions with Wadid rather than with JayJ and I think that’s due to JayJ’s inexperience around like what to talk about.”
While WildTurtle believes the swap is beneficial overall, it doesn’t come without growing pains. Since joining FlyQuest, WildTurtle has laned with Daerek “LemonNation” Hart, William “Stunt” Chen, Kevin Kwon, and, of course, JayJ. Despite his experience laning with a multitude of players, synergy isn’t built overnight. This is the first time WildTurtle and Wadid have played together, so it’ll take time for the two to fully grasp each others’ playstyle.
“We’re definitely not the best at the start, because we just didn’t play with each other before,” WildTurtle said. “I think he’s understanding the way I play the game a lot better now and I’m understanding the ways he’s playing the game and I think it should work out. I think normally bot lane can be played if you just have two good players that you can kind of get along with and learn their playstyle. And I think for me I’m learning the way Wadid likes to play a lot more.”
FlyQuest are in ninth place with six games left to play before playoffs. This week, they take on CLG, who are tied for third place. They then meet 100 Thieves, who have been on an upswing after making a swap themselves. While FlyQuest’s swap has pushed the team in the right direction, WildTurtle believes future success could still be hindered due to poor scrim performances.
“I think our scrims, honestly, are going like kind of 50/50,” WildTurtle said. “We’re not doing so hot sometimes but when it comes to playing on stage if we’re comfortable with what we have, we normally play pretty well.”
He also compares FlyQuest to the top-performing teams this split. If FlyQuest aren’t able to feel confident on and off stage, they’ll struggle to compete against tougher opponents.
“The top three teams like Liquid, C9, TSM they’re teams that are very consistent in scrims,” WildTurtle said. “And I feel like for FlyQuest we still have issues where we’re just not playing up to par in our practice games which really sets back some of the learning process of our team.”
Creating consistency can be difficult, especially when practice games often come with less stress and urgency. This is a crucial point of success for any team competing in the LCS, however. And with Wadid now on the main roster, FlyQuest could improve and raise in the standings before the summer is over.