FlyQuest entered week one of the 2018 NA LCS Summer Split ranked tenth by The Dive, and ninth by ESPN and The Game Haus. The organization added Santorin and Kwon in the mid-season, while promoting Keane to the starting roster over Fly. Their match versus Echo Fox debuted the new line-up. With the professional league playing on patch 8.11, the meta has not completely settled. Players are swapping lanes and roles to figure out what is currently strongest.
FlyQuest prioritized the jungle against Echo Fox, banning Camille, Taliyah, and Graves in round one. They then locked in Xin Zhao as a first round pick. FLY rounded out their composition with supportive Lulu and Tahm Kench, Swain as a bottom lane AP threat, and Ornn top for a tanky initiator. FOX went with three tanks to enable Yasuo bottom and Irelia mid.
The Early Game
Santorin started clearing on FOX’s bottom side: red buff to raptors to scuttle crab. He knew Dardoch would be clearing the opposite side, so Santorin crossed to his own bottom jungle to trade blue buffs. Knowing Keane’s Lulu might struggle versus Fenix’s Irelia, Santorin hovered around mid lane. Dardoch died in a dive top, so Santorin returned to the jungle to take wolves and recall.
Huni and Adrian were playing aggressively with Shen-Yasuo, so Santorin ran from base to bottom. Dardoch arrived at the same time, resulting in a one-for-one support trade. Since the bottom wave was pushing in, Dardoch and Huni invaded Santorin and stole his gromp. He crossed the map to take his raptors, but Keane aggressed onto Fenix, drawing Dardoch to gank. Santorin pulled from raptors to counter-gank. He killed Fenix, Dardoch killed Santorin, and Keane killed Dardoch.
Upon spawning, Santorin returned to his top-side jungle to clear red buff, krugs, and finish raptors. FLY’s mid and bottom lane were pushed under their turrets, and Dardoch showed on a river ward, pulling all but top laners to the bottom lane. FLY successfully absorbed the dive and reset. With Infernal Drake on the map, Santorin secured the scuttle and cleared buffs on his bottom side before recalling.
Santorin made a beeline for bot-side river to move his control ward and sweep for FOX vision. He missed their control ward in the pit, so they saw him start the drake. Dardoch roamed around the pit, while Huni and Adrian pushed their wave to keep Wildturtle and Kwon from helping. Keane and Santorin pulled from the drake and both top laners channeled Teleport. FLY took the fight five for one, with Santorin falling to Altec’s Mundo.
Infernal Drake remained on the map, causing Santorin to continue hovering near the river. However, three FOX members cleared most of the vision, pushed in bottom and mid waves, and secured the objective. Santorin rotated to top-side jungle to farm, as each lanes’ waves bounced back. With red buff, Santorin joined Keane mid to destroy the low-health turret. Dardoch ganked and knocked down the bottom lane turret, allowing Santorin to secure the Rift Herald and immediately drop it in top lane. Flame assisted in taking FOX’s turret, then they recalled.
Leaving fountain, Santorin did a long clear of his bot-side, then top-side, jungle, before hiding in a mid-lane brush. Huni and Adrian were rotating mid, so FLY called for Wildturtle and Kwon to ride the Kench ultimate to join. All players collapsed, resulting in a two-for-one trade in FLY’s favor. At 16 minutes, FLY led FOX by 800 gold.
FLY decided to pressure FOX’s last tier one turret in bottom lane, so Santorin pathed there with Wildturtle and Kwon. Dardoch, Huni, and Adrian met them there, discouraging the push. FLY’s bottom side settled for setting control wards in FOX’s bot-side jungle, then brought Keane down. Fenix Teleported to even the odds, FLY engaged onto Dardoch, and all five from both teams made it to bottom lane. FOX assassinated Keane, then chased down Wildturtle and Kwon for three easy kills, while Santorin and Flame peeled. FLY took another bottom turret, another Infernal Drake, and a 2,000 gold lead.
Santorin hung around bot-side, clearing his jungle. Wildturtle Teleported into the jungle, while Santorin and Kwon engaged onto Huni and Adrian. FLY chased down Huni for one kill, but Altec took the tier one top lane turret. Baron spawned at 20 minutes, pulling Santorin to clear his top-side jungle and prioritize river vision. Knowing Altec was split-pushing the bottom lane, FLY decided to engage onto Dardoch, Huni, and Adrian.
With Keane’s Wild Growth on Santorin, he separated Dardoch from the fight, but FLY was not able to finish anyone off before Altec joined.The chaotic fight saw both teams’ members separated, but Huni’s Yasuo and Fenix’s Irelia dashed around to position where they wanted. FLY’s members used their key ultimates to engage the fight, leaving nothing to disengage. They lost the fight four-for-one, giving up Baron.
The Late Game
Santorin returned to his bottom jungle to clear before both teams collapsed on mid lane. With a Baron-Banner cannon minion, FOX sieged down FLY’s tier one, two, and three turrets. They continued onto the inhibitor, and Huni dashed through the wave to threaten Keane, triggering a fight. Santorin dashed to Altec and Crescent Guarded to knock back the rest of FOX. FLY tried to focus down Altec, but the Mundo was too tanky. Fenix dashed through FLY’s team to execute Santorin. Once he fell, the rest of FOX descended onto FLY, taking a three-for-zero and pushing down the Nexus.
Santorin finished the match 1-5-9, earning a 2.0 KDA and 77 percent kill participation. With Xin Zhao he had 108 CS, only 12 behind Dardoch’s Trundle. Santorin’s warding was on par with Dardoch (seven control wards), but his damage dealt and taken aligned more with Altec. He dealt 10,100 damage to champions, but took 19,800. Dive-fighters like Xin Zhao force players to teeter between doing sustained damage while surviving. Santorin did not quite do that this game, often finding himself engaging onto someone with no retreat.
Across all regions, Xin Zhao holds a 43 percent win rate, eleventh among junglers with five or more games played. He also holds the sixth-highest presence at 39 percent (fourth-most picked, seventh-most banned). Following the trend, Nocturne is the only higher prioritized champion with Taliyah, Camille, and Graves off the table from FLY’s draft. FOX’s first-pick Shen probably dissuaded that choice.
However, in the NA LCS, Xin Zhao has only won one out of five games. Akaadian found success with the pick against Golden Guardians, mostly because his ultimate mitigated so much damage from Graves and Brand. FOX’s compositions was all melee champions, giving Xin Zhao’s ultimate less value. Santorin generally front-loaded the ability, using it for engage, when it may have been more effective during fights to push back Irelia, Yasuo, or Shen during their dashes.
Overall, Santorin brought a lot to the Rift this game: strong farming, vision control, and overall map awareness. He seemed to communicate well with all of his teammates, often coordinating roams, ganks, and warding. On the other hand, FLY did not fight very well around the Xin Zhao pick. Santorin initiated most of the fights, tanked most of FOX’s damage, and received Lulu’s Wild Growth most of the time. Meanwhile, Flame frequently withheld Ornn’s Call of the Forge God until mid-fight, after Santorin already had low health. Since none of FOX’s champions were ranged or squishy, Santorin’s abilities needed to sustain throughout a fight, rather than front-loading.
For future games, FLY will need to coordinate their team-fighting a little bit better, and possibly provide Santorin with more agency over initiation with champions such as Skarner or Trundle.