Slingshot’s Andrew Kim caught up with FlyQuest’s Galen “Moon” Holgate after Sunday’s 3-2 win against Counter Logic Gaming in the quarterfinals of the North American League of Legends Championship Series.
Andrew Kim: First off, congratulations on the dramatic 3-2 victory. It must have been really tough, especially with the community evaluating FlyQuest to be on the down swing coming into the match and coming back from an initial 0-2 deficit. Especially for you specifically because compared to your other teammates you have a lot less experience —
Galen “Moon” Holgate: And I’ve lost every best of five. (Smiles)
AK: Yeah. All things considered, how did you come back? What was the process like?
GH: Honestly I think I had a lot of mental problems after the second game. I’m not gonna lie and say “Yeah I was fine, ready to come back.” I thought we would just lose 3-0, to be honest. I think we had a lot of draft problems, and I think that’s the main reason why we lost the two games so hard. We just got destroyed. I think after we fixed our draft problems and we put me more on play-making champions and stuff like that, crowd control and, just started picking more play-making champions, the series became a lot easier. After Game 3, I was really confident that we could come back in the series because I played so well.
AK: Your performance on Rengar was indeed amazing, and he had a win rate of 100 percent in the series against Counter Logic Gaming before he got banned out. Why do you think he was such a contented pick between you guys?
GH: I think the first two games when they played Rengar, I don’t think Rengar mattered that much. I think it was just they had, their draft vs. our draft was just like, we’re so scared of them. When we played Rengar, Rengar is a super comfort champ for me. When he got reworked, I just spammed Rengar and I got rank 1 in NA solo queue with an 80 percent win rate on Rengar. So obviously he’s a super comfort champion for me, and it allowed me to make plays and feel really comfortable in the Rengar vs. Graves matchup, which they played multiple times. I think it’s a completely skill matchup, he can push me out early, but once I start getting (my ultimate), I can pressure lanes a lot better than he can.
AK: I talked to Hai (Hai Du Lam) earlier and he said the common conception of the “Hai control tower” is going away a little bit. If he was 80 percent of the voice in-game, he is now more 30 percent, and you guys are moving more towards group shot-calling. How is the transition going, and what are you guys doing to make that happen?
GH: It’s weird because in our scrims, a lot of the times a lot of people don’t talk. Like for example, our bot lane and our top lane will not talk very often, so I feel like I pick up a lot. Sometimes Hai tries really hard and communicates a shit-ton. It’s hard because there are some scrims where everyone’s communicating, or on stage everyone is communicating, and it’s too much. Everyone talks and it’s like, guys shut up, please stop talking so much. Chill out guys, and it just feels like we’re all, it’s just hard because it’s so different. In between games, obviously it depends on the champions we’re playing and stuff like that, but there’s just games where in practice nobody’s talking and it feels really depressing to play. So we need to fix that, but I would say that everyone contributes a lot compared to Hai only talking or me only talking and stuff like that.
AK: Do you think that the switch away from a single shot-caller to the collective communicating is better in the long run, as difficult as it may be adjusting to that kind of style?
GH: Yeah, having everybody communicating and everybody shot-calling depending on who’s strong or who’s playing the play-making champions and stuff like that is definitely better than just having one person communicating. If we have one person communicating and that person’s having a bad game, they’re gonna shut down and they’re not gonna be able to communicate as well if they were carrying or doing really well.
AK: It’s kind of astounding to see how far FlyQuest has come. A lot of people were down on you guys a lot because it was a modified Challenger team, with a rookie jungler in yourself, and there were a lot of naysayers. When you started out in the LCS, as good as your beginnings were, did you find yourself ever going like “Hey I’m going to play in Vancouver, I’m going to make it to the semifinals,” or did you already exceed your expectations?
GH: For the beginning of the split, I got signed last minute. I was just happy to be here. I didn’t have expectations for like, how we’re going to make playoffs or anything. I honestly just wanted to not get relegated and have a good performance and improve myself as a player, try to change people’s opinion about me. After we went 6-1 at the beginning of the split, my expectations changed to like, “Oh shit, we’re really good. Let’s go to playoffs. Let’s shit on everybody!” And then we started losing a bunch, and after that it was just I wanted to make playoffs. So my expectations changed a ton during the entire split, kinda like our play has, and I’m just really happy not only that we’re in playoffs, but we are going to Vancouver. We’re playing TSM. I don’t know what the stage is like in Vancouver, but I’m excited to play on a big stage because I’ve never played in one. I want to hear the crowd. I want to hear the hype. I want to see Johnny (“Altec” Ru) with the Canadian flag. I’m excited.
AK: One thing I do want to ask you about the champions you pick and the pick situation with FlyQuest. You guys moved a long way from the Shaco jungle or the Mordekaiser-Blitzcrank lane and stuff like that. Obviously you guys are trying to scale back on your drafting and go for more traditional picks, but you still have pocket picks like Evelynn available, which was very effective in the fifth game. Did you play her a lot? Is she a pick you’re confident on? What’s the story behind you and Evelyn?
GH: So I’ve played Evelynn since Season 2. When I first started playing the game, I didn’t play very much but I didn’t really do anything else with my life, so I would watch one streamer, his name was dYe44, and he started one-tricking Evelynn. This was like before the rework, but because I was watching him so much I started picking her up and she got reworked, and I honestly just mained her my entire solo queue career. I played Eve mid a bunch, and Eve jungle, I used to be a mid main so I played Eve mid a lot. I’ve just always had her in my champion pool. I feel like I’m like so comfortable. She’s by far my most comfortable champion. I probably played over 5,000 games or something crazy on Evelynn, so it’s like even though she’s kind of a shitty champion, and she’s definitely not good in this meta, like all the jungle champions kind of shit on her and it’s really difficult to play her. But I think especially in a high stress situation like Game 5 of playoffs, you pick Eve, and everyone just shits themselves on the other team. They’re so scared. The entire game last game, I can’t tell you how many times someone on our team was like, “they’re playing scared.” Balls (An Van Le) was like, “Oh Camille’s playing scared.” I go bot, our bot lane’s like “Oh their bot lane’s playing so scared. Don’t worry, don’t worry, don’t come bottom.” It’s like, everyone shits themselves, and your laners can get a natural advantage just from the Evelynn pick. It’s like a hidden passive: everyone just shits themselves when Evelynn is on the other team.
AK: My last thing for you is that I want you to brag about your team. I want you to tell everyone what makes your team so great and why you’re going to beat TSM.
GH: Wow, that’s hard. Brag about my team. Alright so Balls, Balls is a fucking god on tanks. He’s super good and he communicates when he needs to. Hai has always got my back, Hai’s always the one who’s willing to fight, willing to back people up, willing to sacrifice for people. Altec is fucking good at playing carry champions, he will carry any game. If he gets kills early, he will fucking carry. And Lemon (Daerek “LemonNation” Hart) is really good at knowing where to be and supporting the team and basically helping Johnny carry, I feel like. That last game, our entire communication was like, “alright Lemon you’re just peeling for Johnny, that’s your job, you’re gonna save him, and we’re gonna win.” Honestly it’s not just the individual players, as a team we have the teamwork over other teams, I think.
Cover photo courtesy of Riot Games/illustration by Slingshot