FlyQuest coach: "We feel we can go to Worlds 2020 with these players"
WIN.gg spoke with FlyQuest's head coach Anand “Curry” Agarwal about why he loves working with the FlyQuest roster, his strengths as a coach, and what it will take to make it to Worlds 2020.
Were you expecting this outcome today?
Curry: Definitely wasn’t expecting to lose. We don’t ever come in expecting to lose. We always have a solid plan and a lot of confidence in ourselves. The expectation was that we were going to come in and win. We were taking all the fights that we wanted and were very confident but it didn’t go our way.
What do you think went wrong?
I think the biggest thing was that we weren’t able to set up objectives first. TSM was basically beating us to every objective today. First to three dragons, the second Herald. That makes it easier for their comp to play, it's good flanks. For our champions, we need first vision, first set up…
The game paused. How were you feeling during that moment? Do you think this helped or hurt your team?
It just makes us nervous. Whenever there’s pauses, you're busy trying to figure out what will happen next...But when it's interrupted, then you get anxious as you sit around and wait. I want the game to start up again so I can see what we’ll do and how we’ll perform.
TSM hasn't been too consistent, since they just loss to CLG. Where do you think they are in the rankings right now?
TSM always tries to experiment during the Spring Split. There’s no doubt they’re a really good team but they’re doing really weird drafts. Usually you just try one new thing, but they try three things at once, all over the place.
But today, they played the stuff they’re good at. When that happens, there’s no doubt they’re one of the top teams.
Do you think you’re still the second best team in the LCS right now?
We don’t use power rankings when we rank ourselves. We sort of group teams together. I'd say we’re still at the top. Us, Cloud9, TSM. Those are three big teams. The other teams are more inconsistent. That’s how we see it from our perspective.
FlyQuest put together a team of veterans for this season. How has their experience helped with practices this season?
It’s actually really good. I love working with veteran players. The veteran balance we have this year is important to the team. We have really strong voice and opinions.
In previous iterations of FlyQuest? Not that many voice and strong playstyles.
It’s a lot easier to do my job and for everyone to play when people are saying what they want to do. Whether they agree or not, it leads to a lot better discussions on how we play the game. How we tackle this or that. That’s what made us a really strong team.
How do their practices differ from that of the Academy team?
Academy is really different, the players don’t know much of anything. They’re there to learn. You do a lot of explaining, telling them what they need to do. The basic techniques are taught.
At LCS, it’s very different, especially the top teams. It’s more about discussing the situation and the players talk it out. They need to come to a solution together.
On Academy, I told everyone what to do. That’s why we were a good team. But here, it’s about moving discussions forward and players are not getting too heated and keep composure. They can say the things they want and teammates can receive it and they can all grow as a team.
Who is the most outspoken on the team?
What do you think has made your team so dominant this season?
The biggest reason is that we are really strong team fighters and laners. That’s a simple answer, but it’s honestly just the truth.
When it comes to teamfight, which is how the game is being played right now, dragons and heralds so important, teamfight to teamfight. We do well getting to those objectives and teamfighting there. Then we win games.
What do you think it will take to stay at the top and make it to playoffs?
To stay at the top, we need to find our form a bit. Compared to where we were a week or two, we lost a bit of our edge. We need to be on top of what we’re doing in game. We were really ahead on our plans a few weeks ago. Now our planning is a little bit off and we’re not planning as far ahead. When you’re playing against really good games, if you play a little bit off it’s hard to win against those teams.
We need to be first to fights and we’ll be right back at the top.
When you joined FlyQuest, what was your goal for the team? What were some of the things you wanted them to focus on?
Our biggest goal is going to Worlds. That was our biggest goal in the off-season while making roster changes. We feel we can go to Worlds with these players.
What I wanted as a team was really good discussions. We wanted to make sure that this was an environment where everyone feels they can speak their mind and not be afraid to speak up, especially to their teammates.
When you’re aiming for Worlds, the best teams just know that they need to hash out problems. Siting on problems and letting them fester, you’ll get knocked off early, there's too many issues. We want to tackle those issues right away. That’s my biggest philosophy. I want everyone to feel like they have a voice.
Have you noticed any growth throughout the Spring Split that you’re most proud of?
We came together really well as a team after the first time we lost to Golden Guardians. Everyone really took a step up, honestly.
I was honestly most impressed by WildTurtle. I’ve worked with him before, on TSM three years ago. He’s stepped up more than I ever saw him step up. He seemed really passionate. He understood his problems and what he needed to do better. He’s playing better than in previous years.
How does it feel to be a head coach this season?
Stressful. That’s definitely number one. I’ve always been assistant coach or academy coach. With those roles, the stress level is lower and I can do my own thing. But especially since we just lost, the stress is really high.
But with all the stress, there's a lot more reward as well. When the team wins and is performing really well, I feel I’ve done a lot more to make that happen. It just feels a lot better.
It’s been fun to explore what I’m capable of. There were lot of times in the past where I would think, “if I was head coach I would do this and this and this." Now I want to do all of those things. I can implement my style and find what I'm good at. That’s what has been really rewarding.
What do you think has made you a strong coach with FlyQuest?
My strongest asset is that I get along really well with my players. I spend a lot of time trying to understand my players. Not only how they play and what they want to do, but in their personal lives.
I make sure I know what’s going on and make sure they’re happy. If they’re not feeling well, I take them out to eat. I'll go with them to the gym. It doesn’t have to even be about LoL. A part of being a good athlete is having a clear mind. I want to understand them and their voice.
It's about cohesive team play. I want to know everyone’s opinion and use my own judgment to find the best path forward. That’s what helps make us really strong.
You haven’t played League of Legends professionally. Do you feel that has helped or hindered your career as a coach?
It’s hard for me to speak about being a player. I've never been one, but I've been a coach from the beginning, so I have a more broad sense of what should be happening in game.
I'm not focused on macro, trading, particular match ups…I don’t focus on those things. I leave that up to analysts and players. I focus on more big picture stuff. I don’t get lost in that kind of stuff. That’s definitely a strength for me. And I make sure the weaknesses are covered by my staff.
What is your favorite part about being a coach for FlyQuest?
I really love the players here. That’s definitely a big thing. Everyone here is someone I really want to work with. The other thing is the management. The FlyQuest management is great.
I've been on Clutch Gaming and TSM. Nothing against those organizations and I learned a lot, but FlyQuest has really felt like home. When I come into work and talk to [FlyQuest GM Nicholas Phan] or [CEO Tricia Sugita]…It feels really natural. It feels like it’s where I should be.
What is your team’s motivation this season?
We’re a team of players who had a lot of success in the past. We've all been to Worlds and tasted success, but we've all struggled the past few years. Everyone realized that when we started working together, even in the off-season, we knew we could do it.
That’s a big motivation. We realized how good we can be and how far we could go. We're thinking about Worlds already. It’s on all of our minds and we all really want to go back.
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