As players like Nikolaj “Jensen” Jensen and Zachary “Sneaky” Scuderi left the roster, Licorice was the final constant on the team, until it was announced in November 2020 that he would be moving to FlyQuest. He was the veteran in a group of players coming up from Academy, like Cristian “Palafox” Palafox, David “Diamond” Bérubé, and Brandon Joel “Josedeodo” Villegas.
FlyQuest has spent the split trying to build up this relatively new roster. We speak with Licorice about the team’s growth and more heading into week five of the LCS 2021 Spring Split.
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Licorice previously played for Cloud9 (Picture: Riot Games)
First off, congrats on the win. How has this split been treating you in regards to the increased games in a smaller overall split? I've gotten some kind of mixed responses from other players, so I'd like to get some input from you.
I think that for us as a newer team that has a lot of new players, and I'm not going to say that like we're supposed to be an eighth place roster; I think we could be doing a lot better. There’s a lot of work to be done there. But I think that it is bad for us to have less practice and more games in a short time. And then on top of that to have the standings carry over from spring to summer, it's a real bummer as a bottom team, I think.
The last time I talked with you, you were on Cloud9. How is your new team in FlyQuest treating you? Can you tell me about any differences or similarities in goals or mindset?
The general thing is that, I guess there's a positive and a negative side to it, right? And the positive side is that there's a lot less pressure on immediate winning, which means that as a player, I feel like I have a lot more room to expand and grow and work on things that I might not be as good at.
I don't know if I've done a great job of getting that done in practice, but that is a huge upside of being on a team like this. Obviously, the downside is that we don't win as much and everyone wants to win, right? Or we haven't been winning, winning as much at least.
But apart from that, apart from the competitive side, I've really enjoyed all my teammates. I think that the FlyQuest org is one that really cares about players and it's something that you really feel when you join. And that is just really nice as a player.
Speaking of the org as a whole they've been known for the “showcase greatness” motto, which has seen TreeQuest and SeaQuest and now BeeQuest. What does that philosophy mean to you, to showcase greatness?
For me, I think it just means do your best; the idea that everyone has something special that they can bring to the table, they call it greatness. And if you can show up and bring that, then you'll be a part of something special. So that's what I'm trying to do here.
Getting into the TSM game, talk to me about the Gnar into the Jayce. Gnar was blind picked, did you feel comfortable going in blind regardless of what Huni would play in lane?
Yeah, I think Gnar is pretty safe blind right now. Obviously the lane matchup is pretty even, and then as the game progresses, it gets steadily worse and worse. And eventually as you probably saw in the game, like Jayce is just taking towers in my face.
But I think that basically we didn't use our timers super effectively as a four-man core. So you saw SwordArt coming in and helping Jayce get vision control so that you could play extra aggressively and basically farm all the camps on cooldown.
So I think generally, you shouldn't look as bad as it looked, but I was fine playing it. You know, my job in this kind of team comp is just to not die because we should have the stronger mid and bot side.
I think you were kind of used to that on Cloud9 too; sometimes playing weak side. It seems like doing the thing that you need for the team, you seem to be roughly okay with that. It doesn't matter if you don't do that great in lane, as long as the overall team structure is where it needs to be, then that's okay.
Yeah, for sure. I think being a strong side or a weak side top laner has been one of my greatest strengths.
It's been something that hasn't led to a ton of success yet here on FlyQuest; obviously we're sitting here at eighth place, so it's something that I'm really evaluating right now on where I'm trying to put my energy and where I want to grow as a player.
Speaking of the record, FlyQuest has sort of had a rough go and you’re now 4-8 with two weeks left of the split. Have you just written off this split as more of a time to build as a team with fundamentals and learning to work together?
My personal opinion is that any time you focus too much on the future, it's always a mistake. So the way I'm looking at it is really just to make sure that we're getting the most out of practice every day and that we're getting the most out of the scrims and the stage games that we play. And then we'll see where we end up.
There's only two weeks left and we can kind of just do our best until then. And, at the end of this split, there'll be time to evaluate how we did. Maybe we'll be able to make a miracle run in playoffs. I think that'd be sick. But really it's just about the day-to-day and making sure that we're all putting in our best effort every day.
I believe in the miracle run! What sort of things have you learned in taking on a leadership-like role within FlyQuest? Maybe things that you didn't have to think about when you were on Cloud9?
I think on Cloud9, I was really allowed to just focus almost entirely on my own play. That’s kind of how most people play it. I would say probably with the exception of Nisqy, who was like the Doinb who ran around and ganked everyone. Shout out to Nisqy if he reads this. But it's basically changed my focus a lot from being super individual focused, to focusing a lot on how we're doing reviews, how we're doing scrim practice, how we're setting up our ideas of goals for the day and how we want to improve.
I think I have a lot of experience with those things and I have a lot of value to add there, so that is something that is really new to me to focus on, instead of just kind of being along for the ride.
Do you like that change of pace? Do you feel like that kind of might push you into being a better player than you already are? Or is it something where you wish you could go back to just focusing on your play?
I'm happy where I am right now. I think it is a huge opportunity for growth for me, and it's something that some players do really, really well. It's like this... I'm trying to think of a word that's not supportive because there's a role called support, but... you can have a really supportive style on your team where you focus a lot on your teammates and try to make sure that they're getting the best out of themselves. And you can really help out.
That's something that players — I would say CoreJJ is really well known for it. I think having the opportunity to grow in that way is really exciting for me.
Might get in trouble for leaking this but @FlyQuest has been intentionally trying to stay low on the standings early in the split to create a Bee Movie heroic storyline straight into winning LCS + Worlds this year. Today's win against TSM was the first domino falling into place.— Joedat (@Voyboy) March 1, 2021
You can catch Week 5 of the Spring Split from Friday 5th March.