Loic ‘toucouille’ Dubois is forging his long-term future in League of Legends with FlyQuest. It was a risky decision, going from the ERLs to North America, but it’s paying off for the 21-year-old French mid laner — even without the instant results to show.
Toucouille is the LCS’ golden boy right now. The unassuming FlyQuest mid laner was far from being a household name at the start of 2022, but he’s been in a media frenzy over the last couple of weeks as he continues to dominate NA’s mid lane competition.
They say that all publicity is good publicity, but it feels extra sweet when everyone is singing your praises. He’s trying to not let it get to his head, though: “I get a lot of notifications on Twitter and I do a lot of things, but I try to not think about that too much. I just do the interviews when people want to talk to me.”
It’s a far cry from the public discourse surrounding the 21-year-old Frenchman just months ago. The signing was out of left field for most — toucouille had just finished seventh in the LFL and wasn’t the brightest shining star out of the hyper-competitive French domestic league.
Add on the fact he was coming to the League of Legends ‘retirement home’ in North America’s LCS, and the move didn’t add up to most. Why not stay in Europe and make it in the LEC? The chatter was enormous and really amped up the pressure when he made his top-flight debut. However, he couldn’t have proven the doubters wrong more if he tried.
“I remember when I joined the team, no one was happy,” he laughed. “All the LCS fans were like, ‘Oh, my God, who is this guy? Seventh place in LFL? Why would you take him?’ The French fans were like, ‘Why would you go to the LCS and FlyQuest? They’re the worst team in the world!’
“Everyone was thinking we were going to be sh*t, and if you looked at the power rankings, we’d be ninth or last place in a lot of them. It’s obviously a glow-up to be in this situation right now.”
The comparisons between Soren ‘Bjergsen’ Bjerg and toucouille have already been drawn by every pundit out there. Young European talent comes to NA and makes a career out of it. He might not be winning titles in his first couple of seasons, but he’s establishing a future for himself.
The young FlyQuest roster has defied all expectations, largely in part due to toucouille’s individual performances. He’s tied first for Player of the Game votes in LCS Summer 2022. His KDA is up there with the likes of 100 Thieves’ Felix ‘Abbedagge’ Braun and Evil Geniuses’ Joseph ‘Jojopyun’ Joon-pyun.
He’s a very solid role player, and while he meshes well with jungler Brandon Joel ‘Josedeodo’ Villegas, he’s not the focus of the team entirely. Johnson ‘Johnsun’ Nguyen can pull a lot of resources, and toucouille does his job by not dying — he has the second-lowest deaths out of all mid laners this split.
On paper, it looked like FlyQuest was in for a rough year, but things have clicked perfectly.
“We quickly saw we would not be a tenth place roster from scrims,” he said, reflecting on the start of the year. “The moment we realized we’d be good was after the first three weeks of LCS [Spring] where we went 5-1 — we weren’t going to be last place like everyone thought we were going to be, and so we just kept working hard to improve from there.
“Everyone wanted to win, everyone wanted to work with each other, and that’s a really good thing. From Day 1, Josedeodo and Johnsun were like, ‘F**k it, we’re not going to be last place again’. I was like, “I’m not going to be seventh place in LFL again’. Aphromoo was already there, motivated and ready to make the roster work.
“It is a great roster, and for my first year in a big league, it’s a really good chance for me to have been part of it.”
It might not have been the dream move for toucouille, but FlyQuest has presented the mid laner with a perfect opportunity to grow and a pathway to a long-term future with the organization.
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It aligned with his goals of gradually working towards becoming “the best mid in the West”. While esports as an industry often demands instant results with high turnover, the LCS organization stuck by its young players despite a rough 2021. The addition of toucouille is slowly starting to pay off for both sides.
“It’s something that a lot of ERL players do — they always talk about how their first year in the LEC will matter a lot for their future career and it’s really important to be in a good environment,” toucouille said. “I see long-term. I didn’t just want to do one year in the LEC and be bad, be in a team that doesn’t work, because then it’s hard to grow from that.
“I joined FlyQuest because it was a project that made the most sense to me. I talked to the coach and I liked the feeling. I liked how they wanted to develop the team and help me grow as a player, and that’s why I chose the LCS. I thought about the difference between the LEC and the LCS, but for me it wasn’t a big deal that solo queue had some ping. I saw the project presented to me and said yes.”
Worlds 2022 in his sight
Although focusing on growth and development is a good philosophy to have, results are still always on the back of your mind — regardless of how much you buy into narratives.
FlyQuest has been working hard to iron out kinks to try and contest some of the LCS’ super teams — Team Liquid, 100 Thieves, and Evil Geniuses. LCS Summer has been especially competitive, with six teams vying for those three Worlds slots.
The team in green (or rather purple this season) has pulled out all the stops. A Korean bootcamp during MSI 2022 “helped us be in shape mechanically” for Summer, toucouille said, but the drastic meta shift following the durability patch meant most strategic developments were tossed out. There’s a heavy focus on Champions Queue, too, as players try to keep those mechanics polished up.
However, League of Legends is still a team game at the end of the day. The durability update forced that onto the more pick-orientated squads. And while there’s a hint of optimism FlyQuest could sneak onto the entourage for Worlds 2022, it might admittedly take a healthy dose of luck.
“We have to be on a good day,” he mused. “We have some very good days on stage and some days where we aren’t. We need to be confident and prepared with the meta champions.
“For me, I have a clear idea of what we’re going to do. When we played Taliyah into Golden Guardians recently, I just knew the champion was really broken and I could beat a lot of the other meta champions. Good teamplay, too. Those are the two most important things.
“We had a meeting recently where we talked about it a bit, and Josedeodo said something like, ‘You don’t know if you’re going to make it to Worlds every year because you might have a bad roster or things aren’t working’. Even if it’s like a 20-30% chance, we just want to try.
“If we don’t make it, for me, it’ll be disappointing because that opportunity at Worlds would really be a step up for all of our careers. To have that experience, to scrim all the really good teams again, it would really help. I’m not going to think my year is a failure, but it will be disappointing.”
The short-term results, however, don’t really matter compared to the impact toucouille has had individually on the LCS. His name isn’t said in harsh tongues, but rather honeyed with praise around his play.
As long as he continues to play his best and grow, those opportunities will continue presenting themselves.
“I take things slowly and I just think about the fact I’m improving over a lot of years. My goal over one, two, three years is to be one of the best mids and to perform on a team that wins everything — a really top-level team. I’m not really results-oriented because I think if I can be the best I can be, the results will come in the end.”