The 2020 LCS Summer Split Playoffs wrap up this weekend, with TSM facing Team Liquid, and the winner taking on FlyQuest in the Finals. The Game Haus’ Thomas Baker had the opportunity to talk with Santorin ahead of his second straight Finals appearance. They discussed All-Pro awards, FlyQuest’s MVP, his veteran resurgence, and who he looks forward to seeing at Worlds.
Thomas (TGH): First off, I noticed that Solo and Wildturtle were left off of the All-Pro lists completely in both splits this year. IgNar was second in Spring; you were second in Summer. I’m curious, do you think that FlyQuest players are being overlooked for these awards?
Santorin: Oh, I definitely think so. I mean, I think it’s kind of low key criminal that Solo didn’t get top three, because I think he’s been playing really, really well especially in Summer on stage. For Wildturtle, honestly, people started rating him really low after he had a somewhat of a lackluster Spring Split, but then in Summer he has been a completely different beast.
He’s actually been playing really, really well, when we’re playing with him. I know a couple of weeks we were playing with Mash, but even before and after Wildturtle was playing really well, and I could definitely see arguments for putting him top three. The only thing with him would be, I think there’s been a lot of AD Carries that have been kind of shining this year. Folks like Tactical, FBI, those kind of players are also stepping up. But I could definitely argue that Wildturtle was in the top three, and I do think he’s being underrated. I honestly think FlyQuest as a whole is still underrated.
Thomas (TGH): Yeah, I think so too. I was just curious to see, as someone who plays with these guys. You, IgNar, and PowerOfEvil have all been given various All-Pro nods, but never quite first, and never quite MVP. Then you’ve got two players who are in the top two team who have made Finals back-to-back and completely left off the list. I was just curious your thoughts on that.
Santorin: Well, I believe we all deserve to be honest, and I believe for almost all our positions we deserve to be higher on the list then they put us. It just, I don’t know what to do about it, you know? People will just always underestimate us, even going into playoffs. We went second in Spring and now we’re back in Finals, but people are still sleeping on us big time and trying to hype up the other teams, which I don’t really understand, but I guess that’s just how it is.
Thomas (TGH): Yeah it is how it is. That being said, what do you think gives your team an edge when it comes to teamwork, because people are obviously willing to say that FlyQuest is a good team, but they’re not necessarily willing to rate any of the players as the best in the league. So I’m curious what you think, as far as the actual teamwork and synergy aspect, what is it about this roster or maybe the coaching staff that contributes the most to your success in your opinion?
Santorin: Honestly, first of all, we have five veterans. We’ve all played for a really long time, and we’ve all matured over time. So, I feel like people are really good at taking criticism and they’re good at giving criticism. On top of that, we’re all here to win and we all know how to be a good team. Most of us, if not all of us, have been winners in the past, and if we see things in each other that we feel like we should change, like slightly move into another direction, we’ll do that. And we’re really good friends. In general, our environment is just really nice. We can give this criticism without making either really bad environment or making people upset. We’re all here to win and everyone is working as hard as they can.
Thomas (TGH): Absolutely. If you had to, I know this is kind of a loaded question, but if you had to shout out an MVP for your team this split, who would you pick?
Santorin: That is actually a question I don’t even know if I can answer because I honestly feel like everyone has stepped up big time and been the carry for the team in certain parts. There’s a lot of stuff you don’t get to see when you’re only watching the games, like what’s going on behind the scenes, who is very vocal in scrims, feedback, all these kind of different things.
Honestly, I could basically put any of these players out there and be like “yeah, this is our MVP,” and that’s why maybe our voting for MVP for LCS didn’t go that well. I’m not sure. Maybe a lot of people will get votes, I’m not sure, but I feel like any of us could actually be up there. But, I would say that me and PowerOfEvil have been working really well together with IgNar. I feel like us three have kind of been the core of the team through Spring and Summer. We’ve been consistently really strong. And now with Solo and WildTurtle stepping up big time, now I feel like we are a core five. In the past, maybe a core of three but now we’re all five strong players.
Finding Success as a Veteran
Thomas (TGH): I figured you probably wouldn’t bite but that’s okay. Moving on beyond just FlyQuest and LCS, I’m curious for you personally, how does it feel to qualify in back-to-back finals and you also are qualified to Worlds for your first time since 2015. I’m curious, because you did mention you’re a veteran, and you have been on some Academy rosters over the last couple of years. And now back on FlyQuest and it seems like you’re hitting another peak in your career, amid a time when NA is talking about needing more rookies and needing more NA development. Meanwhile, we’ve got some veterans who are just hitting another spike in their career. What’s that like for you?
Santorin: I’m really, really happy, getting kind of a redemption story. Obviously, I still need to step up at World’s not play like really bad like I did last time. But my career is definitely turned 180. Before, I was playing best-of-fives to try to promote to LCS or not get relegated from LCS. Now I’m playing best-of-fives to win NA, and that’s a huge difference for me and it just feels amazing now. I feel like I’ve actually clawed my way back up to the top, and I feel like I deserve it.
Whereas with TSM I felt like I was kind of just dragged in there, and Bjerg’s like “Hey come here, I’m gonna carry you to Worlds,” you know, that kind of thing. Now I should feel like I actually deserve it and that’s a completely different feeling and it feels so much better.
Junglers at Worlds
Thomas (TGH): That’s awesome. And then last question, more of like a fun question. I’m curious if there are any junglers that you’re really looking forward to seeing at Worlds. I don’t know how involved you are in watching other regions, but I’m curious who really stands out to you as someone that you’re excited to maybe practice or play against or, you know, be more directly involved with at Worlds?
Santorin: Honestly, if it’s just like who I’m excited to see in person, there’s definitely Broxah just because I love this guy. He’s a really good friend of mine and not being able to see him for so long it definitely feels weird, you know? So I’m excited to go to the gym and work out with him, or like whatever it might be in China. But when it comes to like play and like who I want to compete against Kanavi is the one that comes to my mind. I think this guy is actually just an insane jungler, and I would probably put him as the best jungle in the world right now, just from watching all the VODs from different junglers. This guy just seems like by far the best, so there’s definitely a guy that I love to compete against.