Making Waves is a weekly column series highlighting the best emerging League of Legends talent in North America.
When it comes to North American organizations with a solid track record of talent development, teams like 100 Thieves, Evil Geniuses, TSM, and Cloud9 usually come to mind. However, after one of the most exciting off-seasons yet in 2021, FlyQuest may make a push to add its name to this list.
With the signing of former jungler Ganbat “Yuuji” Ulziidelger from Bethany Lutheran College (Bethany Esports) and former mid laner Djalal “Spirax” Djiar from Maryville University to the pre-2022 Academy org roster, FlyQuest became the youngest org to do so doubles college talent in their development approach.
“I’ve played with Maryville for all of this year and half of last year. And one thing I’ve learned a lot is how to work with my teammates,” said Spirax. “I’m ready to play in the Academy.”
“I didn’t think about going pro before I came to NA,” Yuuji said. “FlyQuest did tryouts, I played along, and they decided to pick me up.”
Yuuji and Spirax were both top performers at the FlyQuest two-week tryouts that took place last November. This year they will look to make a splash in their debut season by competing under the banner of a team associated with the League of Legends Championship Series.
Growing up in Mongolia, Yuuji played League of Legends mostly for fun, frequently doing 130+ pings on most servers. He enjoyed other hobbies like watching anime, going outdoors and playing games like World of Warcraft and Counter-Strike 1.6.
Yuuji’s brother introduced him to League when he was 13, and after less than two years of consistent play, he achieved Diamond 1 on the NA server while playing with 200 pings from local PC ponies in Mongolia. He eventually started playing on the EUW server, where he first met Challenger (150 ping average).
“PC Bangs used to hold LAN tournaments,” Yuuji said. “I’ve always won most of them. I think it was like $20 for first place the first time.”
Yuuji reached rank 5 on the server within his first year after moving to North America. Despite playing at a high level for so long, his competitive journey began recently, having first joined Bethany Esports in September 2021.
“When I came to Bethany Esports, they didn’t have enough players, so I had to play support and midlane for them,” Yuuji said. “I definitely learned all the roles of how to move around the map.”
When Yuuji received an offer from FlyQuest, he told his parents after receiving his contract. They have always been supportive of his hobbies and interests and pushed him to do whatever he wants in life, he said. His older brother even helped talk to them and explain the opportunity to them.
Yuuji takes a lot of inspiration from Weibo Gaming jungler Lê “SofM” Quang Duy in his jungle game. He wants to be remembered as a jungler with good pathing and an aggressive playstyle, and holds the former Worlds Finalist in high esteem for his versatility.
“He plays differently than other junglers,” Yuuji said. “He plays for himself. He also farms a lot and invades the enemy jungler. He also plays so many different champions.”
Although the jungle is one of the most important roles in the professional game, Yuuji says he doesn’t feel overwhelmed by the pressure to perform. Instead, he pressures himself to improve in order to play with as much distinctiveness and individuality as world-class junglers like SofM.
“I’ve tried to copy his playstyle, but I think for now I’ll just play what feels right to me.”
The Spirax Story
With several years of competitive experience under his belt, Spirax is feeling confident about his first season in the Academy League. And he was quick to attribute his willingness to his time in Maryville.
Spirax joined Maryville in the fall of 2020. There he learned how to communicate effectively with his teammates and took charge of the gunfight.
“I think the most important thing I can take away from playing with Maryville is how a competitive environment works,” Spirax said. “To be honest, the only difference between Maryville and Academy is that you don’t have to deal with the school.”
The former Lee Sin One-Trick grew up as an outdoorsy kid in Quebec, Canada and was introduced to League by his cousins around the age of 10 around Season 3. He eventually got better than them at the game and tried his hand for rank. After placing in Bronze (and trading a trick for Yasuo) and averaging one division per season, Spirax finally reached Masters in Season 6.
“From that point on, I thought I had a pretty good chance of going pro if I increased my champion pool,” Spirax said. “I started out playing magicians and stuff, and I said to myself I’d play mid lane because I like how versatile the role is.”
Spirax began watching professional games around Season 4. He said he’s always looked up to the elite mid laners in the world, particularly T1’s Lee “Faker” Sang-hyeok and Team Liquid’s Søren “Bjergsen” Bjerg.
“[Rasmus “Caps“ Winther”], [Jeong “Chovy” Ji-hoon], [Heo “ShowMaker” Su], all these players,” Spirax said. “I watch their VODs fairly frequently when trying to learn a specific matchup or just trying to learn their habits in general.”
After racking up some impressive finishes with Maryville during Proving Grounds in 2021, Spirax was so confident he could do it that he said his original FlyQuest offer didn’t put him in phase. His college experience made him feel more than ready for this opportunity. The same experience made his parents more receptive and comfortable with the idea of him going pro, he said.
When not playing League, Spirax enjoys cooking and eventually plans to cook dinner for his teammates at FlyQuest.
“I can’t cook anything too crazy, but cooking is easy, honestly,” Spirax said. “There are some difficult recipes, but for the most part, many of them are easy to follow.”
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With North American talent under pressure to perform and excel more than ever, Yuuji and Spirax are motivated to improve and make their mark. And with Riot Games putting more resources into the Academy League in 2022 because ever they have the perfect opportunity to do so.
“I think the way NA talent is portrayed on social media definitely puts pressure on young talent to perform,” said Spirax.
“People always say NA is bad and there is no talent,” Yuuji said. “I think if other players came to NA, they would just have a mental block against them.”
The first few months at FlyQuest have been filled with team meetings and activities together (like going to the movies to see the new Spiderman), but with the Academy season less than a week away, things are in full swing .
Catch Yuuji and Spirax make their LCS Academy debuts as they open the season against the Dignitas QNTMPAY Academy on January 19th at 4pm EST.