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 Solo ahead of his second straight Finals appearance. They discussed All-Pro awards, FlyQuest’s player and coaching dynamics, and who he looks forward to facing at Worlds.
Thomas (TGH): I know you’ve probably gotten this a lot, but you and Wildturtle were left off of the All-Pro lists for both splits this year. IgNar was second in Spring; Santorin got second in Summer. I’m curious if you think that FlyQuest players are being overlooked for these awards?
Solo: Ah, well, to be fair I wasn’t playing very much in Spring. But as far as Summer Split, have we been overlooked? I think that definitely. You know, since we’re like a slightly smaller brand. I think that matters a lot, and since I’m kind of a newer name, then I think that all those things matter, especially when it’s like a close race.
But I think at least for this split the only person that I think you could argue I should have been above was Impact. And even though I feel like I should have been, and that was pretty clear, I could totally understand why you would vote for someone who was on a first-place team, right?
Thomas (TGH): I find it interesting because you guys are now two-time finalists. And most of the time the All-Pro voting tends to somewhat mirror the placements of the teams. Most of the time the top three teams dominate the All-Pro awards, and then you’ll have like a sprinkling of the other individual standout players. But it seems like FlyQuest for some reason this year was missing or, you know, down a couple of notches, despite being a second-place team.
But at the same time, people are willing to say that FlyQuest is a good team. They’re not necessarily willing to go that extra step and say that the individual players are the top in their position. So I’m curious what you find gives you guys the teamwork edge or whatever synergy that allows you guys to be a good team if it’s not the individual players?
Solo: Well, I do think everyone in their role is the best in their role. But, I think that when it comes to at least notoriety from the fan base and some people within the community, I think too often players are rated highly or more highly than others just based on the fact that they have worse teammates. And I think that was pretty prevalent this split. I think that a lot of players, I won’t say they are overrated, but I think they looked a lot better than their counterparts based solely on the fact that their teammates were doing poorly. By comparison, they seem like quite a lot better.
But for me, I think that players shouldn’t be punished for having good teammates when it comes to how they’re being recognized. And you know, I think that did play a part a little bit in how FlyQuest was viewed, since I mean we’re all very good players, so it’s easy for people to be like this player looks good because this team is good. So I think that that plays a big part.
Thomas (TGH): Yeah, what do you think are the biggest contributions of, say, the coaching staff of FlyQuest, because that was another area that I thought was interesting. I didn’t feel like many people were bringing up FlyQuest coaches even. I’m curious how the perception is, that so many people are willing to say FlyQuest is a solid team, and they obviously recognize that back-to-back finals is a big deal.
Solo: Oh, for sure. I think that our coaching staff has kind of made us the best-prepared team, out of all the, teams in LCS. I think it showed in the regular season, but especially when we get to best-of-fives in playoffs. Our preparation and our game planning and strategy are far and away the best of any of the teams, and I think we’ve proven that last split and this split. We’re able to just dissect our opponents and really show their weaknesses and kind of expose them. And a lot of that is the coaching staff. They really put it in hours to make sure that we have a good plan.
Teamless to Worlds
Thomas (TGH): On a similar note you were obviously not signed to a team at the beginning of 2020. And I’m curious how it feels, having been on such a successful run this year, and going to Worlds, despite the fact that you didn’t necessarily start the year on a team. How does that feel for you?
Solo: It’s strange because you know as far as where I was at the end of Echo Fox, I had the expectation that next split I’d be able to prove myself, that I’d be able to play for a team, and actually play deep playoff run, potentially go to Worlds and make some waves. And although the path to it was very peculiar, and not the most ideal, at the end of the day I did end up kind of shaping what I originally thought I was ready for. So, it’s been strange with the journey and how I got here, and I’m super fortunate just to have the opportunity that I ended up having, but I think I knew I was ready to move on to this level and start competing towards the end game.
Thomas (TGH): Yeah, that’s awesome. And then, last question, a little bit more fun. I’m curious if there are any top laners that you are really looking forward to playing at Worlds. I know you guys have finals this weekend, and you’re probably more focused on that, but I’m curious if you watch other regions and, if so, if there are any top laners that you really looking forward to, say, meeting, or practicing or playing.
Solo: Sure. I mean, I’m obviously interested in LPL top laners and Nuguri, but I think probably the most I’m interested in is Wunder and Bwipo, just because I’ve always thought that their styles were more transferable to my region, and I’ve always kind of looked at them as really big innovators to the game. I just want to have, the experience of playing against them and kind of getting a better idea of the players that they are.