It is time to fly high (not Hai) for FlyQuest. Last year, FlyQuest signed 3 of the old Cloud9 players and got to the Spring Playoffs. In effect, they qualified for the regional playoffs where they came close to qualifying for Worlds.
In order to improve, they released the roster minus Jason “WildTurtle” Tran and signed former Immortals players — Lee “Flame” Ho-jong, Andy “AnDa” Hoang, and William “Stunt” Chen. Last year there were internal issues where FlyQuest had no support staff.
To answer those concerns, they brought in former Immortals staff like coach Robert Yip, former Immortals Overwatch team manager Joshua “Mins” Kim, and general manager Nick “Swaguhsaurus” Phan. Additionally, they signed former SK Telecom T1 staff Jung “RapidStar” Min-sung as their strategic coach. They have a solid management and coaching staff, but lack in other areas within the organization.
Like Echo Fox, the team has so much potential and has the ability to be one of the best teams in the NA LCS. However, AnDa, Song “Fly” Yong-jun, and Stunt are new to the big stage. AnDa and Stunt played for numerous teams within a span of 2 years. This upcoming season is the first time they acquired a starting job for a team. With that, comes a high stress and high-pressure environment. They have to overcome any nerves in order to meet victories for FlyQuest.
Coincidentally, FlyQuest signed mid laner, Fly. He is experienced in the South Korean region playing for teams like KT Rolster and Longzhu Gaming. After his stint in South Korea, he brought that vital experience over in the Challenger Series with Gold Coin United. Despite making the promotion finals in both splits last year, Fly was unable to carry the team into wins. He is still a young player and FlyQuest will depend on his experience to sustain wins.
In his role this year, WildTurtle is ready to prove to be the leader and shotcaller. In his prior teams like TSM and Immortals, he was not the sole focus and not the spoken leader. Although many critics state his mechanics have diminished, he will be ready to prove them otherwise.
FlyQuest has high upside and other teams will underrate their abilities. They have the talent to beat teams such as TSM, CLG, and C9. If their inexperienced players can adapt quickly to the big stage, and WildTurtle can show the capability of being a leader, this team can fly under the radars of many analysts.
#6 Clutch Gaming
Another new franchise appears in the NA LCS with the Houston Rockets-owned team. Like Golden Guardians, Clutch Gaming did not come into the LCS with rookie players and staff. They sought to make a statement and made clutch signings. They signed up and comer Colin “Solo” Earnest, who played for Team Liquid and Gold Coin United. When Team EnVy was not successful in claiming an LCS spot, its roster broke up. Coming in the clutch, CG signed top-tier jungler Nam “LirA” Tae-yoo and the underrated duo Apollo “Apollo” Price and Nickolas “Hakuho” Surgent. To round out the roster, they signed former mid laner for H2K Gaming and Fnatic, Fabian “Febiven” Diepstraten.
This roster is backed by tons of upside and could go from 0 to 60 out the gates. Like Tristan “PowerOfEvil” Schrage, Febiven is an established mid laner who can make a significant difference for CG. His skill is possibly unrivaled to other mid laners in the LCS and matches well with Søren “Bjergsen” Bjerg and Nicolaj “Jensen” Jensen. LirA was considered as a top tier jungler by the end of the Summer Split. Going into this year’s Spring Split, he is expected to continue on his rampage to be the best jungler. Last year, Apollo and Hakuho was on an upward trend and carried games for Team EnVyUs. The potential to keep a consistent performance is there, but to continue that upward trend this year is questionable. Lastly, Solo is relatively new to the LCS stage. Like AnDa and Stunt, this year is the first where Solo holds a starting position for a team. With lots to prove around his teammates, Solo can be a dark horse for CG.
To help the team into a playoff contender, Clutch Gaming signed former Team Liquid coach David “DLim” Lim. As seen in Team Liquid’s Breaking Point, DLim was featured and had a good relationship with the team. However, had a difficult time controlling the egos of its players. After Dardoch’s 1st departure from Team Liquid, DLim held the reins and had to guide the team to wins. Team Liquid lost most of the games in 2017 and DLim was let go as a result.
Coming into the LCS, Clutch Gaming has the potential to be a powerhouse. The spectators may see flashy plays from players like LirA and Febiven. Coach DLim has so much to prove after his stint with Team Liquid. Clutch Gaming is a fresh start for all of the people involved. Will this team get into gear and win in the clutch?
#5 100 Thieves
The last newest team in the NA LCS is owned by the Cleveland Cavaliers and managed by former Call of Duty pro, Matthew “Nadeshot” Haag. This team is ready to bring a championship from the NBA to professional League of Legends.
In the offseason, they made a huge statement in signing former Team Dignitas top laner, Kim “Ssumday” Chan-ho. After starting poorly in 2017, he adapted quickly into a new region and made his name known in the LCS by taking Team Dignitas to the Summer Split playoffs. Ssumday has one more thing to prove and someday will carry a team to a championship.
In a surprise move, 100 Thieves signed former Cloud9 and Phoenix1 jungler, William “Meteos” Hartman. He did not play full-time for any team in 2017. During his time as a substitute for Phoenix1, Meteos was efficient in their games and lead them to victory. Now back into the LCS in a starting role, he is ready to get back into form with his fellow teammates. There are a lot of concerns with Meteos since his absence from the LCS stage. The biggest concern is whether his game sense and mechanics are on par with other LCS junglers.
Cody Done. Cody Won. Another former Immortals player was picked up with their former AD Carry, Cody Sun. The man with many nicknames qualified for Worlds in his rookie year after a great year in 2017. Many people believed he will be the next generation of talented players. During Worlds, Cody Sun underperformed and lacked his usual presence. In the preseason, Cody kept quiet while his former teammates were signed to LCS starting position. This led to raised questions about Cody Sun. Did his Worlds performance display his flaws and could be exploited by LCS teams? Was it a fluke? Is this Cody Sun’s potential? For 100 Thieves, they believed in him and gave him another chance in getting back to Worlds.
To assist Cody Sun with any struggling issues, they signed former Counter Logic Gaming support, Zaqueri “aphromoo” Black. He has experience working with skilled AD Carries like Yiliang “Doublelift” Peng and Trevor “Stixxay” Hayes. In 100 Thieves, the organization is looking at Aphromoo to nurture Cody Sun into an extraordinary skilled AD Carry. While his mechanics are not how it was in the past, his game sense, leadership, and shot calling is more than capable to carry any team to playoffs. The grizzled veteran will help another team in getting to playoffs.
Lastly, in the mid lane, they signed former H2K and Phoenix1 player Yoo “Ryu” Sang-wook. Ryu thrived and carried those teams to success. This lasted until the 2017 Summer Split. Ryu grappled with staying composed every game; but, throughout the split, he was inconsistent. There were flashes of brilliance followed by giving up many deaths.
For Ryu to feel comfortable in his new team, 100 Thieves recruited Neil “pr0lly” Hammad. He coached Ryu while he was in H2K in 2016. They dominated the EU LCS, placing as the 2nd seed in EU for 2016 Worlds. With Ryu and pr0lly reunited, they have a mission to earn a championship in NA.
Like their NBA counterpart, 100 Thieves was formed to win championships. They might not have a king like the Cavaliers, but as a team, they can be the kings of NA. The team may be named 100 Thieves, but they only need 5 Thieves to win.