League of Legends LCS Spring Playoff preview: FlyQuest vs. Golden Guardians

League of Legends. Photo Courtesy of Riot Games.
League of Legends. Photo Courtesy of Riot Games. /
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Wildturtle of FlyQuest. League of Legends.
League of Legends. Photo Courtesy of Riot Games. /

These two League of Legends teams gave us a taste of what’s to come last weekend, but who will win in this weekend’s best of five series in the LCS playoffs?

The LCS playoffs start this weekend, as the best North American League of Legends teams square off to prove their worth. The first match of the week, on Saturday, features the fourth and fifth seeds, FlyQuest (“FLY”) and Golden Guardians (“GGS”). Who do we think is poised to take the victory?

A budding rivalry

It’s hard to remember back to Week 1 of the LCS Spring Split, but that was when these two teams first squared off on the first day of play.  At the time, Golden Guardians were a much-ballyhooed team, the darling of many an LCS prognosticator who was picking them to be a surprise team for the coming split. FlyQuest, on the other hand, were considered an afterthought by most, left towards the bottom of the standings by many predictors.

Yet FlyQuest made a statement on day one as the proactive crew played must crisper and more coordinated throughout the game. They got the lead early thanks to a botched gank by GGS in the bot lane. From there, they built a gold lead little by little until the Guardians forced a poorly-calculated play to single out Omran “V1per” Shourafrom.

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The team ended up acing GGS, taking the baron, and eventually ending the game. By the time the game ended, FlyQuest had over an 8k gold lead, a 17-6 lead in kills, and their first win of the series.

Incredibly, the two teams wouldn’t meet again until the final week of the season, as they were right in the thick of a battle for their spot in the playoffs. While both teams had clinched a spot, pride was on the line as FlyQuest could clinch the fourth seed with a win over Golden Guardians, and GGS would force a tiebreaker for that fourth slot with a win.

GGS picked some unique picks for the season, putting top laner Kevin “Hauntzer” Yarnell on Cho’Gath and mid Henrik “Froggen” Hansen on Vel’Koz. It was a back-and-forth game as the teams traded kills and objectives throughout the game. By the time the Golden Guardians secured the deciding Baron Nashor – their second of the game – there was less than a 1k gold difference between the two.

FlyQuest did trade the Baron for Elder Dragon, but unfortunately, Eugene “Pobelter” Park was killed on an ill-advised flank attempt. His team was unable to hold their base 4v5 and forced that tie-breaker game later that same day.

Once again, the game remained close through the early to mid game, even as FlyQuest elected to sub their starting jungler for rookie Magnus “Maxi” Kristensen, and swapped Pobelter and V1per between top and mid. At the 21-minute mark, the two teams had identical 37k gold scores, three downed towers each, and FlyQuest only an 8-7 lead in kills.

Then, an oddly-played fight in the top lane where Froggen teleported to the fight way late to clean up some kills and then used Ryze ult to get behind the FLY tower while the rest of his team backed off to Baron, resulted in GGS taking an almost 4k gold lead.

But Golden Guardians misplayed their Baron, electing for a 0-3-2 split which wasn’t coordinated properly and gave Maxi the ability to freely engage with his Nocturne ult. The team wiped three members of GGS, resulting in the team having to retreat with a negative Baron power play.

A few minutes later, FLY rinsed, repeated, and wiped four kills before securing a Baron of their own. Just three minutes later, FlyQuest picked another great engage as Hauntzer was split pushing on Poppy against the Baroned up FLY. Nocturne ult used, an ace by FlyQuest, a comeback completed, and a fourth seed secured by FlyQuest.