Nothing exemplified the craziness of North American professional League of Legends quite like the FlyQuest vs Evil Geniuses game in Day 3 of the first week in the 2021 LCS Summer Split. Helped by mid-laner Cristian “Palafox” Palafox and his manoeuvring of Zoe throughout the contest’s 54 minutes of intense action, FlyQuest came out on top to snatch their second win of the season and finish their promising week on a higher note.
Fresh off that match’s conclusion, Palafox spoke with Gamezo for a one-on-one interview to discuss his team’s performance in the first week of the summer split, what ran through his mind as EG pushed to their nexus, and how they overcame that to get the win at the death.
First of all, I have to ask about your thoughts on that recent match against EG.
Palafox: How do I feel? Well, a win’s a win. We take those, but at the same time, I think if we played better, the game would’ve been over in 25 minutes, you know? So we still have a lot to work on.
Can you talk about exactly what stopped you from winning the game at 25 minutes like you said?
Palafox: I think the early game went really good for us, right? Lee Sin is a slower clearer than Rumble but because of what we did [in] Level 1, we came out on top. Tristana was really behind in lane and their bot lane was behind as well, so the only lane that was not well off from our team was the top lane where they had three or four people that were losing. At one point, you noticed that Josedeodo was at Level 6 to [Svenskeren in the Rumble who was at] Level 4 and I think if Brandon used his lead really well, he could turbo carry the game. I know Brandon is getting at himself for that.
Also, we had some weird team fighting mistakes. As an example, there was one dragon fight around my Level 10 and I was poking with Eric (Licorice) next to me and he went in but I was like ‘Oh no! I need you to stay on top of me because [if] Tristana jumps on me I just die,’ right? I think there were team fighting and individual mistakes there.
In light of those team fight mistakes, the second half of the game had various close calls where so many people could’ve died at once which would’ve ended it upfront. How did you maintain your composure in the midst of all that chaos?
Palafox: *laughs* I don’t usually feel too pressured. I don’t think most people would actually feel that much pressure in those situations. Specifically me, I know if I don’t have Flash, I’m not allowed to walk forward. When the game really should’ve been over, or like when they were at our nexus, I went forward one time and Tristana auto’d me for over half my health, so I couldn’t go forward anymore *laughs* I was just playing super safe and waiting for them to engage so I could deal some damage off.
And near the end of the game, you guys were waiting for that Elder power-up to finish before engaging as EG pushed into your nexus, so that must have been a very stressful situation.
Palafox: At the time, Licorice was yelling ‘Elder is out in ten seconds! We must not get engaged on!’ And he’s just yelling ‘Five seconds left! Don’t get engaged on!’ And then they were probably pressured [into doing that play] because they knew they needed to go with Elder, so they did some whacky engage, we’ll just call it like that. Yeah, and I guess we ended up coming back from it.
General Look After Week 1
Stepping off from that game and looking at the first week of play, what are some takeaways for you to digest and study after the fact?
Palafox: I think, for right now, the thing I need to focus on is to play new champions. I play a lot of champions, but I think sometimes I may be a little bit too negative towards a certain comp because I think it gets easily countered and I might not see the [true] value in it, but I should be a little more open-minded. Other than that, we have a lot of macro mistakes that we need to work on. In just the mid-game, everyone excluding [Licorice] needs a lot of work because I think our rotations around the map were not too clean.
Not only guys but the rest of the league returned to the LCS Studio for the first time after more than a year. What has it been like for you to return to the studio?
Palafox: Well I was in academy pretty much before COVID so I didn’t play many games on stage. Before this, I played maybe three or four games on stage, right? So it’s not that much. Now that I’m here though, I thought that I would be more nervous, I’m not going to lie. I’m really not nervous at all on stage and it actually feels really good. It feels like I can focus more and it’s really great to see everybody from every other team that I’m friends with. I think that’s honestly such a great feeling.
Piggybacking off that last question, how does being on stage compare with playing remotely?
Palafox: For the first split we had, everybody played in their rooms, right? It feels a lot harder to get in the zone at least for me. It feels a lot harder to get in the zone or enter a place where I’m really focused because sometimes there are sirens going out where we live. Being here, it’s really nice. I think it’s super super nice for me.
Looking into next week, you’re going to go up against the next set of three teams that will definitely offer a challenge. How are you guys going to look forward to next week?
Palafox: I think we need to look at our macro mistakes, the way we set up for objectives, and also some of our early-game planning for objectives. We’re going to work on that pretty much. I think that’s the best thing we can do for the next week.
One of the newest champions that have emerged in this meta are Viego and Gwen. How have you guys fared with those two entering the LCS?
Palafox: I don’t want to reveal too much right now, but the most I can say is I played in academy for three years and I felt I was at a good level, so after reached that level for those champions, I started playing everything…That’s pretty much all I have to say for that.
On the Rest of the Split
Looking into the rest of the summer split, who do you see as the team to beat?
Palafox: Honestly, that’s really hard to say. C9 went to MSI so that immediately makes them [the team to beat]. They should technically have the most practice and be the hardest to beat, but I think 100 Thieves and C9 are the two hardest teams.
Speaking of 100T, what do you make of their new strategy in putting Karma onto Abbedagge so he could support the other carry champions that he said previously in a post-game interview.
Palafox: They like to go with that strat and I think it’s completely viable. But the thing is on stage, that strat seems very good because people are very nervous [to face it]. It seems that when I watch Abbedagge play against other people, he’s not getting punished at all. This guy is obviously not nervous on stage, but with the people he’s playing against is, like, I don’t know what they’re doing. They’re just getting away with it. I feel like Abbedagge should play something else. He’s definitely good enough for it.