With the 2021 LCS Summer Split concluding, the eyes of North America descended upon the final match of the regular season to watch FlyQuest face Counter Logic Gaming, two teams that usually sat in the bottom of the standings for the majority of the year. Despite both competing teams’ dismal position, considerably high-stakes were in play for one of them, FlyQuest specifically.
If FlyQuest defeats CLG, they would clinch the eighth seed and qualify for playoffs, therein titled the “LCS Championship” where NA’s three slots for Worlds is decided. Should FlyQuest lose, Golden Guardians take the eighth seed by virtue of a tiebreaker through head-to-head (3-2), eliminating them outright as a result.
A byproduct of FlyQuest’s enormous playoff implications against CLG was caused by a prior result in the same week. Even after bringing back Brandon “Josedeodo” Villegas and Cristian “Palafox” Palafox from Academy, the team lost to GG in their opening contest of the week, which crucially relinquished the H2H advantage to their opponents.
Had FlyQuest walked out as winners at that moment, all the hoopla overseeding projection would be thrown out of the window and the CLG match rendered meaningless. Nevertheless, losing against GG they did and after 15 weeks and 44 games, FLY was thrust in a must-win scenario against a team that looked to play spoiler to their playoff aspirations.
Unfortunately for them, such an aspiration did not materialize.
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The Match Against CLG
From champion select, FlyQuest was forced to play behind CLG’s staple of unorthodox play. CLG opened the draft with surprising picks for their top, jungle, and mid lane, first-picking for Renekton alongside Elise and Ekko, two champions who returned to the LCS after at least a year of absence.
FlyQuest’s original plan against CLG was to select Viego and Syndra as their jungle-mid combination. However, with Renekton and Elise entering the fray for CLG, they made an frantic audible, ultimately opting for Graves to match CLG’s rapid roaming and survivability aspects and “pair Syndra up with AD and AP”. But with CLG constantly pestering FLY’s top lane, the match quickly devolved into an impossible issue to rectify.
For Josedeodo, who previously styled on the opposition with Graves during Worlds 2020, CLG thoroughly stymied his effectiveness on the game. Even if he bested Mads “Broxah” Pedersen in terms of farm in real time, he couldn’t support all of his teammates at every corner.
“Even though Elise got to trade sides and he lost a lot, the thing was that we needed to cover top dives but my champ is not good in covering them because he needs to farm every time, so if I’m playing like this and I need to cover lanes every time, it becomes really bad for me,” said Josedeodo in reflection of the CLG match.
“The game in general was really bad because I never got windows to do something and I always needed to catch up in farm. And if Graves played like this, it becomes very good for Elise. Even if he (Broxah) is dropping camps, he is still winning because he’s getting his laners ahead. The biggest problem for us was that we were matching CLG’s play but we couldn’t do much else in the map throughout the game.”
Each member of FlyQuest tried their best in their respective positions to stifle CLG’s push for their nexus, but CLG’s three uncommon picks ultimately lambasted their chances in the match as they ultimately lost to find themselves eliminated from playoffs.
“I played Graves and it was hard because we had to guard top all the time and if we didn’t do that, the game was basically over,” said Josedeodo. “Even if I’m farming and scaling, if we don’t defend top, the game was over so I needed to rob jungle camps and my champion is bad in doing that so it was hard to play today.”
About 2021 as a Whole
The elimination struck a heavy chord onto FlyQuest’s band of players. Players can cobble together a short post of gratitude and throw some motivational quips for their social feeds to paint a positive outlook for their fans for the future, that doesn’t entirely absolve them from the despair of elimination they felt upon seeing the defeat signal flashing on their screens.
The preordained goal of reaching playoffs to compete for a spot at Worlds was denied by a year littered of discord and disharmony, all of which culminated into an early exit. No one best understands the depth of failure reached than those literally responsible for permeating it.
To Josedeodo, his team’s elimination was all the more tragic since he believed they were finally making strides in improvement as the season winded down, that if the team “had two more weeks, maybe we could’ve solved [their issues] and be better.” He believed that despite experiencing such struggles the likes he hasn’t seen since spring 2019, the team can clinch playoffs at the last second.
Alas, the resultant match with CLG informed him of the futility behind such an idealistic goal. With the swarm of issues impeding their progress, FlyQuest never had a chance in the first place.
“I think [the match] happened the same way as for the whole split. We didn’t solve our problems at the right time,” said Josedeodo. “At the end of the split, we were kind of catching up but it was too late. I think most of our mistakes at the end of the split were never solved which caused a lot of trouble.”
Nevertheless, FlyQuest’s elimination shouldn’t diminish Josedeodo’s individual progression for 2021. Before Week 6, the LCS FlyQuest team was replaced by the Academy squad after compiling a 10-game losing streak. That meant Josedeodo was sent to the second-string team for the first time since the start of his career.
Not only did the LCS team play like the personification of a deer caught in headlights during their skid, Josedeodo felt couldn’t perform the same way that shot him to the forefront of Latin America’s League of Legends. With Josedeodo’s move to Academy, it was believed that his promising stint in NA had terminally fizzled out in mediocrity.
“I’m only going to say that I don’t have much words to explain how we’re playing, but I still have faith in this team that we can achieve more things and I’m not going to throw the towel until we have 0 chances left. I’ll give 300 percent of effort and more,” said Josedeodo on Twitter during Week 5.
However, contrary to expectations, playing for the Academy team was an indispensable opportunity for him to recuperate his confidence. In his three weeks in the NA Academy summer split, he was nearly unbeatable, going 10-2 by doing “those 1v4 fights, Diana ults, and Lee Sin plays” over his adversaries.
Academy was a period of much-needed rejuvenation for the Argentinian jungler. By the time of his demotion, his confidence was barren, gone, and distraught. He felt that by constantly losing in LCS, his skills were regressing to an unfathomable level, but by winning nearly all of his games, he was relieved to know he can still perform at his best.
“Whenever that happens, even if you’re good, it will be in your head thinking questions like ‘Am I bad? Am I failing a lot? Am I doing this wrong?’,” said Josedeodo, “so throughout those games in Academy, I reached out to everyone that I was feeling really confident. I still feel that I can do really good.”
Josedeodo on the Future
What is next for LATAM’s top figure? According to the Global Contract Database, Josedeodo’s contract with FlyQuest runs until November 2023, meaning he has two more years in NA before deciding his next career move.
The original aim for Josedeodo was to lead one of the LCS’ promising teams to fight for a spot in Worlds. Instead, he was a part of an underwhelming team that caught more attention in crashing out than turning heads in admiration.
Fulfilling one’s contract term is the standard all players abide by, but after a tumultuous season that featured a brief stint in Academy, couple that with FlyQuest’s obligation to rebuild for 2022, the Argentinian isn’t sure about his future. In fact, he “doesn’t have any idea”.
“For now, I don’t have any idea. It also depends on what is going to happen with me. We just got eliminated today,” said Josedeodo. “I never ever, even if we were the worst team in the world, thought about next season until we are out of it. From now, I will start thinking about what to do. I’ll probably stream while I’m here and then rest from League at some point. I’ll do that and then see what happens next.”
What he can do in the meantime is rest and mentally recharge. For what it’s worth, if history has any bearing, it might prove advantageous for the 21-year-old. After finishing last in the 2019 LLA Opening split with Furious Gaming, his team came back to finish third the following split, and then in 2020, as a member of Rainbow7, he qualified for Worlds.
Precedence says Josedeodo can redirect teams to glory from the cellar, but after falling out of the LCS playoffs, it’s only up to FlyQuest to decide if he can have another go at redemption.