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Palafox on the Azir ult bug, stacking up against LCS midlaners

Dan Smyth-Temple

The gap between C9 and the rest of the league continues to grow, and FlyQuest shows no sign of being the team to stop them in the fifth week of the LCS Spring Split. Several early leads snowballed into a seven thousand gold advantage at fifteen minutes and an easily won game for C9. We caught up with FlyQuest’s midlaner Cristian “Palafox” Palafox after the teams loss to C9 to talk about the Azir ult bug, facing off against top LCS midlaners, and self-improvement. 

Palafox C9

Palafox has been a shining star for FlyQuest despite the team’s rocky start. (Photo via Riot Games)

Hotspawn: I feel like I have to first address the elephant in the room before moving forward— that Azir ult onto Perkz looked like it should’ve had him dead to rights, but it went right through him. Can you walk me through what happened there? 

Palafox: Well, what happened in-game exactly was I go in for a shuffle, [and] right as I did that Perkz Irelia Q’d a creep, and it didn’t push him back. This is kind of a learning lesson for me as a newer player. I’m not used to pausing for bugs and stuff, but I probably should’ve paused and asked for a clarification at the very least. After that, because he didn’t die, it put my lane in quite a bad spot. Especially considering— the idea for going with that play is you look for a gank on mid, [then] push out and get bot vision so our bot can play [more] easily. And it made a chain reaction that now my lane is in a bad spot, and we have no vision on botside so their lane is in a bad spot too. So it was quite unfortunate to happen in-game. 

Hotspawn: You were inches away from solokilling Perkz twice that game! But let’s shift back a little to talk more generally about the loss versus C9. Could you walk me through FlyQuest’s gameplan going into the game, and what you think went wrong?

Palafox: [laughs] Well I think our preparation for C9 was actually pretty good. We had an idea of how we wanted to pick a comp— have a tank top, have a pretty beefy tank jungler that’s pretty good into their jungler. I’m picking Azir because in the front to back it’s pretty good, and even as a blind pick it’s one of the safer blinds in mid. All around it’s a really well-rounded comp, and even if they counter it’s not like we don’t have many options. That was our preparation for C9, and I guess what went wrong was pretty much just what happened in-game [laughs.] 

Hotspawn: What would you say were some of the key takeaways from this game in terms of future improvement? Individually, or as a team. I know it’s hard to speak on a game that just ended ten minutes ago, but if there’s anything that immediately comes to mind. 

Palafox: I can only speak personally cause I can take away some stuff, [but] I don’t know what my teammates take away. I think I’m pretty consistently able to get a lane advantage against most players in LCS. Pretty much for me, it’s just transitioning that into more of a lane advantage and then playing across the map and getting a win from it.

[Laughs] last week I played against Jiizuke, and I had a pretty good plan for how to get my lane in a certain spot, and when we ganked him he should’ve died but I straight up misplayed. It was kind of disgusting. If stuff like that doesn’t happen, [and] as long as I transition my leads that I can get into other parts of the map we have a solid way to play. Going onto the learning part and what I’m taking away from that game, it’s just how to act on these leads. 

Hotspawn: I’ve talked to a bunch of different rookies this split about transitioning to the big stage, and most players described some difficulty with the skill differential between Academy and LCS. What sets you apart? 

Palafox: For me, when I was playing in Academy it got to the point that I was able to consistently outlane everybody on everything. And then I would start countering myself so I could learn how to properly play matchups, so now I usually have a good understanding of how to play both sides of the matchup and come out [with] either the least amount possibly lost or with a lead at the very least. 

Going into the LCS, the person who’s hardest to for me play against because they’re an absolute maniac in lane, but I love these games [laughs], is actually Jiizuke. I’ll straight up— I don’t know if you watched that game, but level 2 he should’ve died and then after that I got an advantage. If I hit one more Q he dies. I’m playing with disregard for the jungle, he’s playing with disregard for the jungle— it’s absolutely great. One of the most fun games I’ve ever had on stage. When I think about it, Jiizuke is the scariest because he plays like an absolute animal. 

palafox C9 Academy

Palafox played for C9 Academy before being picked up by FlyQuest’s main roster. (Photo via Riot Games.)

Hotspawn: You mentioned before that you feel like you can go head-to-head with most other midlaners. How confident are you in your individual play right now?

Palafox: Like I said before, my laning is pretty standard. What I need to work on is the macro outside of lane and calling people around me, and teamfighting properly. In that regard, I’ll give an example— I don’t think Jensen’s the most proactive in lane, but his teamfighting and macro is a lot better than other players in the league. I want to get to a level where I’m at his level of macro and teamfight knowledge. 

Hotspawn: Speaking a little more specifically, could you expand on what you mean by improving your macro?  

Palafox: In another game against C9 [laughs], I was Syndra against Perkz’s Tristana. I was 2-0 in this game, we killed him with a gank, killed him with a dive. Past that, I wasn’t clear enough in the game about where I wanted my vision. I think I needed to tell people exactly what time they needed to help me. We should’ve been able to push that game to at least a very very close thirty-minute game, and at the end of it [start] teamfighting. At that point, I wasn’t adamant enough about who I wanted around me and what the actual objective was so it wasn’t clear to some people on my team.

Hotspawn: Do you feel like that’s something that’ll come with time? You’re talking about leadership skills here, which is a tough thing to develop in your rookie split. 

Palafox: Yeah, one hundred percent. For me, my understanding of the game is you teach a lot of it outside so everybody has a general understanding of what they should do in the game. When I talk about not calling people around me correctly, it’s more like I’m not projecting enough confidence or my tone of voice isn’t strong enough. It’s really just small things like that— even if I’m calling the right stuff, maybe I’m saying it a little too softly. I just need to be a little more demanding, right? 

Hotspawn: Definitely. Today was tough, but looking forward you have a bit of an easier weekend ahead of you. How’re you feeling about your upcoming games against CLG and Immortals?

Palafox: I’m feeling really confident in those two games. C9 is undeniably the hardest opponent that we’re facing this week, and we put a lot more preparation into the other two games. I can’t go that much into depth about it, but I’m feeling pretty confident. 

Hotspawn: Sounds good! Unfortunately, that’s all I have time for. To close us out, do you have any parting words for the FlyQuest and Palafox fans out there?

Palafox: To the people who support me, to the people who support my team even though we don’t have the best record: thank you, I love it. That’s pretty much it!