Why teams should be afraid of Echo Fox
Echo Fox, a North American LCS team, finished 6-12 in the Spring Split. They ended the season in 7th place, and are safe from potential relegation. This is bad news for other teams in the league.
How can a team that finished 6-12 be that big of a threat to these other teams? Well, Echo Fox had bad luck for a lot of the season. With their two best players, Park “kfo” Jeong-Hun, and Henrik “Froggen” Hansen, having Visa issues for most of the early parts of the split.
Echo Fox, at full strength, won their first game of the split, and ended week 1 with a 1-1 record. However, kfo and Froggen would not play for Echo Fox again until week 5. They would not win a game without them. They and Renegades looked like the two worst teams in the LCS for sure, as Echo Fox was not competing with a lot of their opponents.
However, once kfo and Froggen returned, they went on a tear. They would win 4 straight matches, at the time the longest winning streak by any team not named “Immortals.” kfo and Froggen would bring a sudden burst of energy to Echo Fox’s games, and energy unseen by the team thus far in the series.
This was also the first split for Froggen and kfo on the team. Without any games in 4 weeks, they came in and immediately revitalized what was a terrible team. Can you imagine what they can do with a whole off-season to prepare for the Summer split?
Everyone knows what Froggen can do. He will dominate mid lane by keeping the other laner rooted in lane. By not roaming, and not letting his opponent roam, he plays a different style compared to many other mid laners today. Very much an old school style of player, Froggen set the world record for CS in a game versus Team Dignitas in week 8 of the split. Playing professionally since 2012, it’s hard to argue that this is the best Froggen has ever been, but even Kobe in 2010 was pretty dominant.
kfo on the other hand, can be a mixed bag. He usually plays tanks in the top lane, providing a good engage and disengage in the fights. In those games he usually lets Froggen and their ADC Keith doing the carrying. However, after getting to play Kayle once, he drew a Kayle ban in the next 5 games.
Keith, Hard and Big, the other three players on the team were really stepping up toward the end. They had to play 3 weeks without their star players, and they were losing bad. This can be a real confidence killer for a group of young guys. Especially Hard who, in week 4, was the only Echo Fox member to actually play as Keith and Big were subbed out. These guys could have mailed in the rest of the season and aimed to win the Relegation Series. But, once they got their stars back they became a new team.
Finishing in seventh place means Echo Fox is the only team in the LCS whose season ended after week 9. They did not make the playoffs, but they are also not in the Relegation Tournament. They are just safely in the Summer Split. This means they can start practicing earlier, start planning earlier, make any transactions earlier; not making the playoffs simply means that Echo Fox can get ready sooner.
The LCS and their fans have seen what Echo Fox is at their best, and we’ve all seen what Echo Fox can do at their worst. An offseason to get more consistency can help Echo Fox get to that next tier of team.
Their roster was only assembled in December, then they had to play a good chunk of the split without it. More time together can only help them get better, especially considering half of their roster is from Korea and half is from Europe. The communication was never perfect, but an offseason together can really help them clean up their in-game communication. This past split they didn’t have much past the simplest phrases and pings, but after an off season together they will definitely be ready.
If I were a coach in North America, I would make sure my team was ready for some hard fought battles with Echo Fox.
Plus, their owner is former NBA Champion Rick Fox, former 3x NBA Champion and he used to be married to Vanessa Williams, the first African American Miss America, so clearly he knows how to win. That can easily translate the world of League of Legends. This is not some celebrity owner looking to spend their money either, Rick Fox has been verbal about how he feels eSports has grown over the last few years and he is firmly behind it.