ESTNN had the chance to talk to FlyQuest's top laner Colin "Solo" Earnest ahead of the LCS Summer Split.
First off, how has the break been for you and the team?
"It’s been ok. Its been a little boring, I mean, I didn’t play a full split and I wasn’t nearly as burnt out as others. But I’ve been excited to start up again and its been fine."
On that note, how exciting is it for you to be starting this split?
"I’m pretty excited! I think my team’s really good so I’m excited to just have a full split of being dedicated, trying to win every day and seeing where that leads us."
Solo, FlyQuest and the Summer Split
Looking back towards spring, why do you think the team struggled with V1per and what did you bring to the table that he didn’t?
"Oh man, hitting me with a loaded question! *Laughs* I wouldn’t say so much that the team struggled, I think from my perspective coming in that there’s a lot of highs and lows during the season for a lot of teams and they sort of happened to be in a bit of a funk. So me coming in there added a little bit of life to the team and maybe a little bit of different gameplay perspective. And I think V1per’s still a really good player and everything but we play different styles and what I brought to the table ended up meshing better with the rest of them and we ended up being able to build off of that and succeed pretty well."
Would you like to elaborate more on the different styles you have?
"Sure, I think V1per is more carry-oriented, tries to get resources and plays that way. My preference I towards playing something higher-utility and more tank play where I might not need so many resources and play more [on an] island. And I can contribute in that way, a little bit more of a rock."
What are your expectations for next split?
"I think the goal is to make Worlds and compete with C9, that’s what we kind of all decided. We want to do everything can do throughout the split and have everything we do in practice be with the mindset of “is this going to be enough to be able to beat C9?” Because they are the competition that we need to strive for, so I think trying to be at their level is what we’re shooting for."
So, do you think there’s any other teams that can contest C9 this upcoming split? Other than FlyQuest of course.
"I mean, we’ll see. It’s really hard to judge because its early, but I’m not particularly impressed with anyone else so far. But things can change quickly, teams can get it together. I think the hierarchy of us, C9 and EG seems to be relatively intact. But we’ll have to see what TSM and maybe TL bring to the table."
Let’s shift focus a bit; what have you personally focused on as a player to better yourself, even just this year or through your career as a whole?
"Probably the biggest thing I’ve always focused on is laning in general. Laning is the most enjoyable part of League but also the most interesting because no matter how good you play, there’s always something you could’ve done more optimally. There’s always ways to improve and adapt your mindset in terms of matchups, trade patterns and playing around jungle.
The more I play the game the more it seems like every champion is viable and you can lane with any champion just because if you’re good enough at understanding lane mechanics and wave management you can survive just about anything, which is probably why I’ve shifted more towards tank play. Before, tanks were worse in lane but better later on but as I get better at playing it seems like you can lane well playing most tank champions. You just have to be diligent with how you do things. That’s the main thing I’ve always tried to improve upon because that’s the 1v1 part of the game, so I’m trying to be the best I can be at that aspect."
The Relentless Storm
Talking about different picks, do you have any exciting new top lane picks prepared? Are you maybe practicing some Volibear?
*Chuckles* "My picks may not be exciting for others but I have some champions picked that we’ll see if we have the opportunity to use. A lot of the picks people think are new or exciting are really just kind of for niche situations that don’t end up presenting themselves on stage. That’s why meta picks get pick more often since they’re very consistent. But hopefully we can get the chance to play something different.
Yeah, I don’t know if Volibear will get play but maybe after the next set off buffs he’ll see some. I definitely see the potential with the champion but he’s a little bit clunky right now. I’ve played him quite a bit and he’s a fun champ so hopefully the next set of buffs will make him more viable."
Hopefully they do, the 38% win rate isn’t too appealing!
"Honestly, I think if his ultimate, where you jump, had a slow like Sett ultimate the champ would be really broken. I think his biggest problem is that, because your ultimate is so long when you’re jumping, that even when you land most champs can just walk away. *Laughs* They can just run away from you, and your Q has such a long wind-up that its hard to even start hitting them before you get beat up. But if he had some sort of slow or, I know they talked about making his Q animation more fluid, I think either of those might help. But we’ll see."
Beating up on other LCS teams
Generally, what are your favorite players or teams to play against in the LCS?
*Laughs* "Let me think… I was going to say maybe I should name some of the bad teams to say I love playing against them because we win!"
Hey, you can answer however you want!
"I mean, that’s kind of true. It is somewhat enjoyable to play some of the bottom teams because you go in there, you get a W, easy peasy, job done and get to celebrate.
But it is really satisfying to beat TSM for sure. Beating TSM is always really fun because then you get to watch TSM Legends and see you whoop their ass and them being like “guys what was that problem? What’s the game plan? We messed up draft” or something right? So yeah, TSM is one of the more fun ones to play.
In terms of competitive C9 is obviously really good to play. You learn a lot about your team and how you match up. But I think beating up TSM is too fun. Its always been fun beating TSM to be honest. It’s a good time."
To wrap things up, is there anything you want to say to LCS viewers, your fans and/or FlyQuest fans?
"Thanks for all the support! I know times are getting a little crazy but I’m glad LCS can still do its thing and give people something to enjoy right now. So I’m glad for all the support and the opportunity to keep on playing."