After an offseason roster overhaul, new FlyQuest players Cristian “Palafox” Palafox and David “Diamond” Bérubé talked to Stropse about their transition into the League of Legends Championship Series, their motivation to prove themselves, as well their experiences as part of the Cloud9 organization.
FlyQuest had a surprisingly successful 2020 in competitive League of Legends, finishing in second place in both the LCS Spring and Summer Splits, as well as making the trip to Shanghai to compete in Worlds. However, 2021 FlyQuest is looking a lot different than its previous iteration. With no starter from 2020 remaining, the team brought in former Cloud9 star Eric “Licorice” Ritchie, Worlds 2020 breakout jungler Brandon Joel “Josedeodo” Villegas, as well as two C9 Academy players in Diamond and Palafox.
“It’s pretty similar,” Diamond said of his new team’s environment. “I’m really good friends with both [Palafox and Licorice], so it makes the transition super easy.”
FlyQuest did a terrific job capitalizing on Cloud9’s acquisition of European star Luka “Perkz” Perković. To afford him, Cloud9 needed to dump Licrorice’s contract, which FlyQuest happily took on, while also managing to score two of its rising Academy stars. Because of this, FlyQuest has created an environment where it’s easy for Diamond and Palafox to transition to the LCS level.
When asked if having Licorice and Diamond made his transition smoother, Palfox said, “I would say 100%. I talk to Licorice and Diamond a lot. Even though Licorice was on the main team of C9, we still interacted quite a bit, and I think we all got pretty good vibes from each other.”
Palafox also explained that it’s not just his Licorice and Diamond making the transition easy for him, it’s his new teammates as well. “On top of that, Josedeodo is really funny and he’s really, really friendly, and Johnsun and I are pretty good friends. Johnsun is also pretty good friends with Licorice and Diamond. It’s been pretty easy.”
Even though this is a brand new roster and atmosphere, the FlyQuest starters seem to be synergizing well from the start.“I think we’re pretty easygoing,” Palafox said. “I think we bounce back pretty well whenever we’re not doing not so well in scrims… It’s pretty good.”
Speaking on the team’s in-game comms, Diamond said, “I don’t know if there is a big voice, maybe I’m the big voice and I don’t realize it. I think everyone just puts in their input. I don’t think there’s one person that’s above all else, it’s kind of everyone just does their part.”
Although the FlyQuest members don’t have much experience playing together, they seem to all get along and work well with each other, which is a fantastic start for them.
Experience on Cloud9
Cloud9 is an organization known for its ability to develop young talent. Having both gone through the system themselves, Diamond and Palafox had plenty they learned from their old team, which they’ve already taken and used in their time with FlyQuest.
“Cloud9 taught me a more competitive aspect and how to hold myself accountable,” Palafox said. “Before, I didn’t really think solo queue meant anything so I wouldn’t really try. But just watching Zven take solo queue really seriously, kind of pushed me to also try.”
While Jesper “Zven” Svenningsen was the example that he learned from on Cloud9, Palafox hopes that in the future, he can be that role model who inspires his teammates. “Seeing that, I kind of learned that I want my teammates to do the same for me. So, this season, I want to keep that up, so my teammates will also be motivated by it.”
Diamond echoed that same sentiment, praising Cloud9 for keeping its Academy and LCS rosters close, so that everyone was able to learn from each other. “The way the Academy and LCS teams were linked together helped a lot for both teams,” Diamond said. “The connection was really helpful for all of us, and I want to keep that in FlyQuest.”
Diamond and Palafox’s Academy days are over, and now they’re ready to prove themselves on the big stage.
For Diamond, he’s been with Cloud9 Academy since November of 2018, and he’s long awaited the chance to prove himself in the LCS. “I want to prove that I’m good enough to be in LCS, or even more. I’ve been in Academy for two years now. I want to prove individually that I’m good enough and that I can stand up to the other supports that have been here for a long time.”
But his ambitions go beyond personal goals. Diamond also wants to be the same type of teammate that he had there for him during his time with Cloud9.
“I also want to be a person that my teammates can rely on in-game to be there for them,” Diamond said. “Usually the way I deal with things in-game, is I’m a big voice, and I can hype up my teammates a lot. So if they make a sick play, I can be like, ‘Oh my God, Christian [Palafox] is so good’, and stuff like that. I like to gas up my teammates, and make them feel good. That’s kind of my idea, to be a good teammate.”
For Palafox, he’s already hyping himself up against the best the league has to offer. “Perkz is the person to beat for mid. I guess that’ll shift around depending on how the split goes. I basically just want to be considered the best mid in NA.”
Everybody knows that in order to be the best, you have to beat the best. However, Palafox is also aware that he needs to start small with his goals, and expand from there. “Past that, I want to be considered a real contender at Worlds. The start for doing that is being realistic with my goals. First, I want to get to Worlds, and we’ll go from there.”
FlyQuest is in for an exciting 2020, and Diamond and Palafox are just two reasons why. With the synergy they have with their teammates and the talent FlyQuest possesses all across the map, the two players are in prime position to capitalize on their opportunities, and prove themselves to the League of Legends community.