No player competing in the 2023 League Championship Series Spring Split has had worse luck than Bill “Eyla” Nguyen. After impressing during a brief stint in the LCS last spring as a substitute on Team Liquid, Eyla was ready to make his debut as a starter on FlyQuest this year, but unlike the rest of his teammates, did not get approved for a visa before the start of the season.
As a result, Eyla arrived later than any other starting player in the LCS Spring Split – he missed the entire first half of the split.
“I stayed in Korea for two weeks extra after the rest of the team left from our bootcamp,” Eyla told Upcomer after his first game on the LCS stage this year. “After that, we were having problems, so we decided to go to London. I stayed there for the rest of the time until I came here recently.”
For the first half of the split, FlyQuest Challengers support Kim “Winsome” Dong-keon subbed in for Eyla, and while the starting support watched every scrim and match his team played, he found that there was little he could do to personally benefit from it.
“I don’t think it’s productive for a player to listen in and learn things they can’t practice in scrims,” Eyla explained. “So I was kind of trying to figure out things on my own in EUW solo queue and EUW Champions Queue, but that’s not a good enough environment to practice certain concepts that you practice in scrims.”
Despite playing without their full starting roster, FlyQuest dominated the first half of the LCS Spring Split to the tune of an 8-1 record. All the while, Eyla waited for something to change.
“I didn’t know when I would come back,” said the FlyQuest support. “Every morning, I would wake up hoping to get an email or a message saying I got approved for a visa interview. But I didn’t know. It was rough.”
Unfortunately, Once Eyla finally arrived, FLY stumbled. FLY went 6-3 in the second half and lost the 1st place Tiebreaker to Cloud9. This isn’t to say FLY playing slightly worse was directly the fault of Eyla, but it’s undeniable that the team, regardless of reason or cause, lost a step around the same time he joined the roster. Right from Eyla’s first game with FlyQuest – a shaky performance, but understandably so – Evil Geniuses support Philippe “Vulcan” Laflamme started a new topic of banter.
BRING WINSOME BACK
— Philippe Laflamme (@VulcanLoL) February 23, 2023
FLY, seemingly committed to the original vision of their roster, stuck with Eyla in the starting support role as initially intended through their quarterfinals sweep of 100 Thieves, but it became clear that the team had, for one reason or another, lost a step when they were swept out of the upper side of the LCS Spring Playoffs bracket by Cloud9. This prompted FLY to substitute Winsome back in for their lower bracket final match against Golden Guardians. In the end, FLY was not able to fix the issues that were present prior to Winsome’s return, and Golden Guardians took the series 3-2.
Roster Update: #LCS Finals pic.twitter.com/XGFMmQ6Oez
— FlyQuest (@FlyQuest) April 8, 2023
Eyla has been a victim of unfortunate circumstances this season. While his delayed arrival and FlyQuest’s mid-spring stumble coincided, it’s unfair to say that he was individually to blame or even had a fair shot given factors outside of his control. It’s been seen what Eyla is capable of at the LCS level when he has time to start the split and work with a team as he did in 2022 for Team Liquid in lieu of Jo “CoreJJ” Yong-in’s visa issues, but unfortunately, he has yet to have a fair chance at showing his stuff in a FlyQuest jersey.