For only being gone for five months, the professional League of Legends scene sure did change during the absence of Diego “Quas” Ruiz.
Four North American League Championship Series teams – including NRG, for which he now plays – didn’t even exist when Quas left Team Liquid last November. The format for the LCS changed from single games to best of threes, and a NA team made the final of an international tournament for the first time.
And yet here’s Quas, rejoining the fray and attempting to regain the form that once made him one of the best top laners in the region.
“So I took around five months off competitive, and going in I felt like pretty much a new guy in terms of lane swaps and team play,” Quas told Slingshot after Saturday’s 2-1 loss to Immortals. “I had played just solo queue for those months. So I think it’s gonna take a while to get back into top form, but I’m liking how things are going and how my play is evolving. I think even though it’s gonna be a slow start, I’ll be able to pick it up.”
The first two weeks have indeed been troublesome for NRG, which sits at 1-3 after earning a playoff berth in the spring split. Meshing a new roster of Quas, Alan “KiWiKiD” Nguyen, Lucas “Santorin” Tao Kilmer Larsen and Korean imports Lee “GBM” Chang-seok and Oh “Ohq” Gyu-min has taken some time, and Quas is still adjusting to simply playing in the LCS again.
Still, the fact that Quas is even playing is almost as surprising as his disappearance from the scene in the first place. Quas, the second team NA top laner in last summer’s split, was suspended by Liquid on Nov. 29 and announced his retirement less than a week later.
“When I left the scene, I wasn’t planning on coming back immediately, Quas said. “I didn’t feel like I had the drive to really excel at what I was doing. I didn’t really feel motivated to compete. I felt like I wanted to do something else. I felt like I wanted to go back to school, do other stuff.”
Quas tried to enroll in college but said his start would have been delayed because of a hangup with his green card. Quas followed what was happening in the spring split, and the school setback nudged him in the direction of returning to the game.
“Circumstances changed, and I got a really good opportunity with NRG,” Quas said. “I thought that would be a really good step moving forward in life. I really wanted to try a new team, new environment, and see if I could perform better than before.”
He was gone only five months, but the top lane crop in North America has filled out in Quas’ absence, a pack that includes Immortals’ Heo ‘”Huni” Seo-Hoon, EnVyUs’ Shin “Seraph Woo-yeong, Kevin “Hauntzer” Yarnell of Team SoloMid and Darshan “Darshan” Upadhyaya of the reigning NA champions, Counter Logic Gaming.
A New format, new schedule, new teams and new challenges have awaited Quas upon his return to the LCS. His skills might be rusty at first, but the ever-competitive Quas is looking to put himself back in the conversation of the best top laners in the region, one that he voluntarily left last fall.
“The competition is a lot harder now than when I was back on TL,” he said. “I think it’s just more motivating to keep trying to figure out what things to do better than other teams and keep trying to get an edge on other teams.
“I like the competitiveness.”
Cover photo courtesy of Riot Games.