PowerOfEvil: “I’m Not Afraid of C9”
To close out the Spring Split, FlyQuest shocked viewers by taking their playoff run all the way to Finals. After their strong showing in their five-game series against Evil Geniuses in the 2020 Summer Split playoffs, FlyQuest is looking like they have a legitimate shot at making it to Worlds.
Tristan “PowerOfEvil” Schrage stole the show in FLY’s victory with pop off performances on fringe picks like Swain and Kog’Maw. We spoke with POE after the team’s victory to discuss their prep heading into the match, his thoughts on the remaining competition, and his opinion on why more people should be practicing situational counterpicks.
Hotspawn: Were you worried at all about Evil Geniuses coming back once they started gaining momentum and took you guys to game five?
PowerOfEvil: I felt like in the third game it was really close and both teams could have won. It was kind of a sad way to lose. I think Ashe got caught out with the Senna W and then flashed into me and got me snared. It was just a really unfortunate way to lose. Then in the fourth game, I would say they picked certain stuff that we didn’t expect; they just won the draft really hard. We had really low agency and a really hard time dealing with their team composition. It was really hard to do anything and felt bad to play out. But then in the fifth game we tried to change up some things. They really liked the Tahm Kench so we banned that out, then we went for the counterpick onto Azir with the Kog’Maw. We had a better plan going into the fifth game and it worked out perfectly.
Hotspawn: Especially in your wins, you looked like you had the upper hand over Greyson “Goldenglue” Gilmer throughout the series. Do you feel similarly? How do you think he played?
PowerOfEvil: I would say I definitely had the edge over him in the Swain and Kog’Maw games. In the fourth game, I would actually say that he had it over me. I think that he had really good tools around him and he played the LeBlanc really good. I had a little of a lead on him actually in this matchup, but I don’t think it matters too much because they have this LeBlanc-Senna-Shen combo which I think they used to get multiple picks and catch us. I think he played overall really well, but I think they didn’t expect certain pocket picks from me. I definitely still think I had a really good performance this series and my team definitely set me up, right? I called for the level three gank early. The Swain and Volibear combo is a really nice combo; he can flash-stun or I can snare then start the gank. In the Kog’Maw game, Lee “Ignar” Dong-eun came mid an got me a kill and I got a big lead off of that. So I think that we played really good overall as a team and individually I was really happy with our performance.
Hotspawn: It’s interesting that you mention that one of the best games from Goldenglue in your opinion was the LeBlanc game because Daniele “Jiizuke” di Mauro is usually known for his LeBlanc. Do you think EG has a different look when Goldenglue is starting over Jiizuke?
PowerOfEvil: For me personally, I would say that EG looked scarier with Colin “Kumo” Zhao and Jiizuke. Nothing against Goldenglue and Heo “Huni” Seung-hoon, I think they’re good players too. I just felt like they had this X-factor with Jiizuke and could clutch situations sometimes. Jiizuke definitely had bad games too and lost them on his own, but he won them on his own too, so I feel like this x-factor was kind of missing. The series was close, though, and they’re making it work with the other two players. I don’t really have any insight into the team. Maybe the team environment is better, maybe the scrims are going better, it’s a lot of different factors that come in and obviously stage is only one part.
Hotspawn: Can you tell us a bit about the prep that you guys had going into the series? What kind of read did you have on them and what was your plan to win? It seems like out the gate you guys had them downloaded.
PowerOfEvil: I think we had what we wanted to pick and which counterpicks we wanted for certain situations figured out, so I feel like we had a good read on them and good scouting from our analysts and coaches. We went into the series ready and confident and prepared and got those first two wins.
I just feel like having this big pool and figuring stuff out is really important as a pro player.
Hotspawn: Do you think the new patch brings any new power picks into play that people have to consider? We’ve seen picks like Ziggs from Golden Guardians and Hecarim so far that are strong on this patch.
PowerOfEvil: I think we expected EG, especially Huni, to pick something like Lucian who was recently buffed too. They actually didn’t pick it once. So I would say that can definitely still be picked for top laners and mid laners and we definitely prepared for that. I feel like it really depends from mid laner to mid laner. We see some people play Ziggs, we saw some people play Akali as well, which got a little change on the E. I don’t think anything drastically changed, but it will make certain stuff more viable or have the edge in certain matchups.
Hotspawn: When it comes to certain pocket picks or counters, a lot of players I’ve spoken with always say there’s only so much time in a day to practice fringe picks or strategies like that instead of the meta stuff. You seem to be one of the few pros that’s really made a name for yourself doing that, though. Do you think that’s more attributed to your innate ability to see the game in a certain way or is it something more people should be doing?
PowerOfEvil: I think every player is able to do it, it’s more that they choose not to. With me, for example, when it comes to certain item builds, I feel like I’ve played Orianna for so many years in different patches and metas and even teams. I’ve figured this champ out pretty much 200%; I feel like I know every mechanics and how to play certain teamfights. Of course, we’re all humans and make mistakes. I feel like it would help me more thinking “maybe I’ll try this.” I have the example of the Lich Bane, where you do a little bit more damage, it’s strong in the 1v1, and you only lose out on damage when you hit multiple targets with your Ultimate and W. I kind of think about these things and try to figure stuff out. It’s the same for pocket picks. If you wanna just play solo queue and improve on a certain champion, I could play my Orianna or I’ll just play Kog’Maw or Swain in solo queue, which I might still need to get some practice on in certain matchups. I just feel like having this big pool and figuring stuff out is really important as a pro player.
Hotspawn: You know, everyone always called you Søren “Bjergsen” Berg’s Kryptonite,” but it feels like a player like you would be every mid laner’s Kryptonite since you always seem to have an answer for most picks.
PowerOfEvil: Well to elaborate on that last point, I think some people feel like it might be a waste of time. For example, there was this AP mid lane Nunu trend for a week where another region played it and if you tried it out, maybe like 10 games or something, and it’s completely useless, then you wasted obviously a certain amount of time into a champion that won’t be viable or won’t be played. But I think at that point, you just need to decide on your own. When Nunu became a trend, I was kind of thinking about it and there are just certain champions in the midlane that just completely counteract it so I didn’t really put any time on it. But that’s a good example of why obviously if you try champions or stuff from other regions you can also waste your time so it’s really important that you choose wisely and think about it twice. Just do what you think is best for yourself.
Hotspawn: That’s an important thing to add. Speaking of other players, what are your thoughts on the All-Pro votes for mid-laners? Who would your top three be?
PowerOfEvil: I would say Nicolaj “Jensen” Jensen, me, and then I’m not too sure about Bjergsen or Yasin “Nisqy” Dinçer. That would be my top three.
Hotspawn: So you aren’t sure between them or do you think they’d be tied similarly to how you and Nisqy were?
PowerOfEvil: The thing is, there was a lot of hype around Bjergsen. I think he had good performances and I think Nisqy had a really insane Summer Split and even in Spring he was really insane. They kinda just dropped down a little bit right near the end of the Summer Split, right where the voting counts. So Nisqy for me is this x-factor where I’m not too sure where to put him. Maybe he’s gonna show up in playoffs and completely stomp playoffs and then everyone will be like “oh why is he third?” So I would say Jensen first for me since they got the 15-3 record, I think he won them a lot of games, and I think Jo “CoreJJ” Yong-in and him played really good.
I don’t really have a big preference between C9 or TL
Hotspawn: So you guys are against Cloud9 in your next match, and if you win that game you qualify for Worlds. Colin “Solo” Earnest just said in broadcast that you guys were joking about dragging the match against EG out to trick Liquid into picking you so you could smash them. How are you feeling about Cloud9, though?
PowerOfEvil: Honestly, I think it’s gonna be the same thing; I’m not afraid of C9. They’re definitely a strong team and you can’t underestimate them, even so they had a slump in the later half of the split. They’re a strong team, they won out against us most of the time, so going in we need to be ready and have them figured out. It’s a really important best of five, but yeah, we’re just gonna win. We’re confident, strong, and I don’t really have a big preference between C9 or TL. I think we don’t need to worry about it.
Hotspawn: So my last question is about your teammate Ignar. It feels like hes one of the more active supports on the map in our league and makes a lot of plays around mid. Does it feel like you have an edge playing around mid lane with a player like that on the team? What kind of value would you say he brings?
PowerOfEvil: Ignar’s a pretty important part of our team. In terms of the ganking, I think its actually pretty normal for supports in general since most supports, especially with Bard or something like that, have a really easy time roaming to mid lane. And they don’t really have that much else to do, right? If you get the push, you normally have two or three options like try to poke the enemies under turret, roam into enemy jungle, or roam mid. I would say me and Ignar have really good communication around what we can do. Whether it’s worth to roam and gank mid lane or when it’s not. I’d say our synergy from two years ago is really working out and helping us out.
FlyQuest will continue their playoff run against Cloud9 on August 20 at 1 p.m. PDT. The winner of that best-of-five will qualify for the 2020 World Championship.