Shook H2K

All Shook up

H2K’s Spring Split

It often takes a few weeks for teams to settle into their groove and start playing up to their potential. For H2K, it may have taken five. After going 1-1 the first week of the Spring Split, they have resided steadily at the bottom of the EU LCS. Losing their next six games in a row, it’s hard to imagine things looking much worse for H2K.

In Week 4, they attempted to stall the tailspin. H2K moved mid laner Marc “Caedrel” Robert Lamont to the jungle, and started Marcin “Selfie” Wolski in the mid lane. Somehow, this only seemed to make things worse. H2K earned a combined 1 kill and 24 deaths in two losses that week. Likely assuming that they had nowhere to go but up, they made another roster change going into Week 5. Sliding Ilyas “Shook” Hartsema into the jungle spot and keeping Selfie at Mid, H2K readied themselves to take on Roccat and first-place Vitality.

Week 5

Game 1

As they chose their Champions, it was difficult to be too optimistic about their chances, even with the experienced Shook in the jungle. Not only was their 1-7 record tied for the worst in the EU LCS, but their average team damage was equally poor. H2K averaged 1384 damage per minute as a team, compared to the EU LCS average of 1858 DPM. This is the lowest DPM for any team since the statistic was first recorded in 2014.

As the match progressed, H2K seemed to have forgotten how much the odds were stacked against them. Slowly but surely they began to play like they were ready to be done with their losing streak. After giving up first blood in the top lane, Shook (Zac) immediately responded with a gank, launching behind the bot lane tower. He provided enough Crowd Control to give Selfie (Orianna) the double kill. Within three minutes, Shook had shifted pressure to the top lane, securing both the Rift Herald and First Tower for H2K.

Though it was not an easy game, with each team taking a Baron and the gold lead shifting five times, H2K looked more in control than they had in a long time. They made solid team plays, focused the correct objectives and defended well when behind. Just after the 33:00 minute mark, H2k interrupted Roccat’s Baron attempt. Shook earned two kills and secured the Baron, and H2K pushed into the enemy base for the victory.

h2k Shook

Courtesy of LoL Esports

Game 2

The next day, the revitalized H2K faced Team Vitality. Despite being handed their second loss of the split the day before, Vitality was regarded as arguably the most dominant team so far this Spring.

Shook (Jarvan IV) started by invading Vitality’s Blue Side jungle, forcing Erberk “Gilius” Demir (Jax) out after stealing his farm. Vitality responded by ganking bot lane, with Daniele “Jiizuke” di Mauro (Ryze) using Realm Warp to teleport Gilus and himself behind Patrik “Sheriff” Jírů (Tristana) and Hampus “promisq” Mikael Abrahamsson (Zilean). Shook was there to respond though, and knocked up Gilius just as Marcin “Selfie” Wolski (Galio) used Hero’s Entrance. They chained the Crowd Control on the enemy jungler and secured first blood.

H2K remained in control for the next 20 minutes, only faltering briefly when they got caught out while attempting to take Vitality’s Bot Lane Inhibitor Turret. They rebounded quickly, however, and immediately responded by taking that tower, getting three kills, and ending the match. Chants of “H-2-What? H-2-K!” filled the arena as the Nexus imploded, just as it often had in years past.

Moving forward

Shook may have been a large part of H2K’s success this week, but that is not because he carried them with the most kills or highest damage. He did what a good jungler should, providing pressure, securing objectives and allowing his teammates to get ahead. Because of this, H2K will be more stable and harder to stop. Instead of having one person to shut down, opponents will have a cohesive team of five members to deal with, each able to punish them if left unchecked.

Although this week was an impressive one for H2K, it remains to be seen if they can keep winning in the remainder of the split. It seems clear however, that Week 5 was not a fluke. The team looked revitalized with Shook at the helm, ready to climb their way up the EU LCS ladder.

 

If you would like to contact me or keep up with things I like, find me on Twitter: @buttsy11.  For more of the best esports news, follow The Game Haus on Facebook and Twitter. Thanks for reading!

Featured Image Courtesy of LoL Esports

Fantasy LCS

Fantasy LCS – Week 5

As we enter the halfway point of the Fantasy LCS season, some moves should be a given (like starting anyone involved with Echo Fox). Other decisions can get a little more complicated, and there are lots of factors to consider. Here are just a couple tips on who to start, sit or snag for later to help you improve your roster.

Start:

Tristan “PowerOfEvil” Schrage – Mid Lane for Optic Gaming.

Opponents this week: Golden Guardians (1-7) and FlyQuest (3-5)

Fantasy LCS

Courtesy of LOL Esports

If you’re still on the fence about PowerOfEvil, this is the week to start him. He has performed consistently despite Optics poor performance. His lowest weekly score (25.57) came in Week 3 where they played both first place teams, Echo Fox and Cloud9. In Week 5, Optic will be facing two teams on the other end of the table. FlyQuest sits just above Optic at 3-5, and their new Mid Laner Song “Fly” Yong-jun has only played one week. While he managed several assists, adjusting to a new starter always takes time, and Fly only earned one kill through two games. His other opponent, Hai “Hai” Du Lam, leads the LCS Mid Laners with 24 deaths and has only 12 kills to his name.  He and the rest of the Golden Guardians (1-7) should be easy pickings for PowerOfEvil.

Kim “Ruin” Hyeong-min – Top Lane for Giants Gaming

Opponents this week: Splyce (4-4) and Unicorns of Love (1-7)

While he has been having a fairly average Fantasy showing so far this year, Ruin is poised to post some pretty high numbers this week. First he will face off against Unicorns of Love Top Laner Matti “WhiteKnight” Sormunen who has 7 kills and 16 deaths so far this season. WhiteKnight is unlikely to get much help, as his entire team is struggling and currently in last place. Ruin’s second matchup this week looks even more promising, as Giants take on Splyce. His opponent in the top lane, Andrei “Odoamne” Pascu, has recorded only 9 kills so far this season while boasting an LCS-high 30 deaths. Look for Ruin to do everything he can to ensure Odoamne keeps that honor.

Fabian “Febiven” Diepstraten – Mid Lane for Clutch Gaming

Opponents this week: FlyQuest (3-5), Team SoloMid (4-4)

Not only has Febiven been a big name in the LCS for years now, but he has been putting up big numbers each week. His 33 kills and 8 deaths have earned him an average of over 18 points per game.  Somehow, he is still being started in less than 44% of fantasy leagues. If there was ever a week to change that, it’s this one as he goes up against FlyQuest and TSM. While facing TSM’s Mid Laner, Søren “Bjergsen” Bjerg, isn’t always an easy task, the fact that their Top, Kevin “Hauntzer” Yarnell, and Jungler, Michael “MikeYeung” Yeung, each have 22 deaths so far this season should more than make up for it.

 

Sit:

Jung “Impact” Eon-yeong – Top Lane for Team Liquid

Opponents this week: Counter Logic Gaming (3-5) and Golden Guardians (1-7)

While he is facing fairly easy opponents this week, unfortunately that doesn’t always translate to fantasy points. Eugene “Pobelter” Park and Yiliang “Peter” “Doublelift” Peng are the clear caries on the team, and Impact’s main role is to help them.

Fantasy LCS

Courtesy of LOL Esports

With 11 kills and 12 deaths, his 11.91 points per game puts him at 14th in the LCS. Despite this, he is still starting in 61% of leagues – third only behind Heo “Huni” Seung-hoon and Hauntzer.

Petter “Hjarnan” Freyschuss – ADC for G2 Esports

Opponents this week: Vitality (7-1) and Misfits (4-4)

Also starting in 61% of leagues is Hjarnan. While he has had some high scoring weeks, he has also had some fairly low ones, and this week looks tough. He starts the week facing Amadeu “Minitroupax” Carvalho who is dominating this season with 25 kills, 5 deaths, and 25 assists. Also a danger on Vitality is the explosive Daniele “Jiizuke” di Mauro, with an impressive 31 kills. After this, Hjarnan will have to face Steven “Hans sama” Liv. Although his best score came when he crushed Misfits Week 1, a repeat of that result is fairly unlikely. Since they last faced off, Hans Sama has found his footing, racking up 31 kills and only 10 deaths, while Hjarnan has struggled.

Zaqueri “aphromoo” Black – Support for 100 Thieves

Opponents this week: Echo Fox (7-1) and Counter Logic Gaming (3-5)

Though an experienced playmaker and shot caller, Aphromoo’s Fantasy scores have been unfortunately low so far this year as he finds his footing with a new team. While many people still believe he will return to the top tier (he is still owned in over 60% of leagues) it is unlikely that this will be his week. Facing the nearly unstoppable Echo Fox, as well as his former teammates at CLG who are surely looking for revenge after Week 1, it may be a little bit longer before we see big points from Aphromoo.

 

Snag:

Jin “Blanc” Seong-min – Mid Lane for Roccat

Although this may be an uncertain week, as he is facing top-tier Erlend “Nukeduck” Våtevik Holm and last place Marc “Caedrel” Robert Lamont, the future looks bright. Next week, Blanc is going against the 1-7 Unicorns of Love with a struggling Fabian “Exileh” Schubert in the Mid Lane. Additionally, he will be facing Luka “Perkz” Perković, who is playing well but has the 2nd most deaths for a Mid Laner in the EU LCS with 19. Blanc is currently only owned in 21.3% of leagues.

Milo “Pride” Wehnes – Jungle for FC Shalke 04

Only starting in 10.6% of leagues, Pride has the 5th best points average for a Jungler in the LCS. He put up 33 points against Giants in Week 3, and has had two games with 10+ assists. As FC Shalke 04 continues to look strong, he will be a solid Jungle pick in the coming weeks.

Noh “Arrow” Dong-hyeon – ADC for Optic Gaming

Fantasy LCS

Courtesy of LOL Esports

Owned in less than ⅓ of leagues, Arrow has been a consistent performer, never posting less than 24 points in a week all season. The next two weeks will be his time to shine as he faces Fly Quest (3-5), TSM (4-4) and the Golden Guardians (1-7) twice.

 

If you would like to contact me or keep up with things I like, find me on Twitter: @buttsy11.  For more of the best esports news, follow The Game Haus on Facebook and Twitter. Thanks for reading!

Featured image courtesy of LoL Esports

The Echo Fox Team

Keeping the faith: Echo Fox, Dardoch and the case for second chances

The path of Echo Fox

When Echo Fox joined the NA LCS prior to the 2016 Spring Split, the expectations and excitement were high. Purchasing the spot from Gravity, former NBA Star and actor Rick Fox wasted no time. He invested quickly and heavily in foreign talent, but due to Visa issues among other things, Echo Fox ended their first split in 7th place. By the end of that year, they found themselves facing NRG Esports in a best of five series for the right to stay in the NA LCS. Though they avoided relegation, they ended both 2017 Splits in 8th place. By the start of 2018, they had a completely new roster. Now, sitting atop the NA LCS at 7-1, they have defied critics with a roster full of second chances.

 

Dardoch and Echo Fox

Courtesy of LoL Esports

 

Dardoch

The signing of Joshua “Dardoch” Hartnett to yet another team was one of the most talked about stories this preseason. Since signing with AffNity in 2014, he played for no less than nine teams before finally landing with Echo Fox. The year he spent with Team Liquid was his longest stint in one place. During that time he bounced between being a starter, a substitute and a member of their Academy team.  

A mechanically talented player, the cause of his frequent moves was not because of poor performance. Instead, most were due to personal differences with other members of the organizations. Before long, this understandably earned him the reputation of being hard to work with. Other than Team Liquid, each team that signed him found a replacement within six months. He represented Immortals, Counter Logic Gaming and even found his way back into a Team Liquid uniform for a split before being signed by Echo Fox.

Now, it seems that he has figured out whatever issues he had with teams in the past. Dardoch has built a rapport with his team that is not just built on his talent, but also his presence as a teammate. Additionally, he has excelled on the rift with his current team, and is looking more dominant than ever. Adding improved decision-making and pathing to his already impressive mechanics, he leads both the NA and EU LCS junglers by a margin of over 20 assists after only four weeks of play.

 

A common theme

Though he may be the most well known example, Dardoch’s story isn’t exactly unique on the Echo Fox roster.  ADC Johnny “Altec” Ru has played for 11 different teams since 2014, including three stints as a substitute. Support Adrian “Adrian” Ma has worn six different jerseys in the NA LCS. Three of these came last season when he left Phoenix 1 due to internal issues, spent one month with Team Liquid, and then landed with Team Dignitas. Kim “Fenix” Jae-hun spent last year as the mid lane substitute for Gold Coin United. This NA Challenger Series team finished in second place, but failed to secure a promotion to the LCS. Even Top Laner Heo “Huni” Seung-hoon, who has the most consistent history of the group, has been a member of four teams in three different leagues over the last four years. SKT T1 released Huni after they failed to win the World Championship last year.

Though all well known players, it’s safe to say that not many would pick this roster to lead the NA LCS. Despite their history, however, the team has come together to earn a top spot, tied for first with Cloud9. One possible reason for this is maturity. Dardoch bounced between all of those teams and earned this reputation for being difficult all before his 19th birthday. Fenix is the only member over 20 at the ripe old age of 22. One can hardly blame players for struggling to navigate relationships and team politics perfectly at such a young age. As these players have grown, the sport has grown as well, and each year the infrastructure is improved to help the athletes succeed. In an esport dominated by younger and younger players, there may be something to be said for those who have earned experience and the level head that comes with it.

Echo Fox

Courtesy of LoL Esports

 

Supporting success

Another factor that should not be overlooked is the organization itself. With Fox’s experience in the NBA, three time NBA Champion Jared Jeffries as the new President, and the recent investment by the New York Yankees, Echo Fox approaches player management from a more traditional manner than most epsorts teams. They create an infrastructure that focuses on the development of the members as people as well as players. Along with this, they have a broad range of experience with players of varying egos and personalities.

Though his background is in traditional sports, Rick Fox has jumped into the esports scene with both feet. He is one of the most vocal supporters of not only his team, but esports in general. After their recent victory against Team Liquid, Dardoch referenced this support in a post game interview with LoL Esports. “I mean, it obviously helps a lot just having people in general…just being there to support us every day.” he said, referencing Rick waving from the crowd. “Stratton comes out, Jared Jeffries comes out, our President. And also Rick Fox comes out very often, so, just seeing them at work every day, and also them to show up on the days that matter most helps us a lot.”

Whatever the key ingredient is, it’s clear that it’s working. They have lost only one game this split to the veterans of CLG. Despite many critics’ predictions, they bounced back the next game just as strong as before. If they can keep succeeding, the members of Echo Fox may have finally found a permanent home and lasting success.

 

If you would like to contact me or keep up with things I like, find me on Twitter: @buttsy11.  For more of the best esports news, follow The Game Haus on Facebook and Twitter. Thanks for reading!

Featured image courtesy of LoL Esports

NALCS logo Doublelift Aphromoo

New homes for Doublelift and Aphromoo

The off-season saw Zaqueri “Aphromoo” Black go from Counter Logic Gaming to 100 Thieves, and Yiliang “Doublelift” Peng move from Team SoloMid to Team Liquid. Since then there has been much speculation: How would the former members of the once famous “Rush Hour” duo fare? After an exciting Week 1, and several wins since, fans of both players can breathe a little easier.

Week 1

Team Liquid

Team Liquid Logo Doublelift

Courtesy of Team Liquid

Rejoining the organization he spent two months with last spring, Doublelift took on his former team and recent replacement, Jesper “Zven” Svenningsen in the first game of the season. Zven and his lane partner Alfonso “mithy” Aguirre Rodríguez have played together for several teams, starting with Origen in 2014. Since then they have been inseparable, moving first to G2 Esports and now to the NA LCS. The pair have produced consistently dominant performances, leading many to call them the “Best in the West.” This is a title that Doublelift referenced with a smirk in his post-game interview, after going 5/0/5 in Team Liquid’s 28 minute, 11-1 rout of the defending NA Champions.

After the typical early game spent farming and feeling each other out, Doublelift engaged aggressively onto the enemy bot lane. Timing Tristana’s Rocket Jump perfectly with Taric’s Dazzle, he stunned Zven’s Kalista long enough to get the kill and chunk mithy’s Alistar down to half of his health. Without hesitation, Kim “Olleh” Joo-sung used Taric’s Cosmic Radiance. This protected the members of Team Liquid as they rushed past the enemy tower in pursuit. A flash/stun combo from Olleh secured the double kill for Doublelift, and sparked “Let’s go Liquid” chants from the traditionally pro-TSM crowd.  Team liquid took this early lead and ran with it to secure a resounding victory to start off 2018.

100 Thieves

100 Thieves Logo Doublelift

Courtesy of 100 Thieves

 

While Doublelift came into Week 1 ready to prove himself to TSM, Aphromoo went into Sunday’s game against CLG with as much to prove to himself as anyone else. He made it clear in preseason interviews that while leaving CLG was one of the toughest decisions of his life, it was ultimately his choice. He had spent nearly 5 years with CLG, becoming the main shotcaller and a fan favorite. “…I thought that would be my home forever.” he said in a preseason interview with LoL Esports, “…but here we are.” Not only was Aphromoo leaving his longtime friends and teammates, he was also transitioning from an established team to one that was brand new to the NA LCS. He seemed apprehensive about the change, and maybe a little homesick.

If Aphromoo had any lingering loyalty for CLG and former lane partner Trevor “Stixxay” Hayes, it didn’t last long. By 4:30 into the game, he had already set up the perfect gank, flashing forward as Braum to get stacks of Concussive Blows onto both Stixxay and CLG’s new support, Vincent “Biofrost” Wang. The resulting stun secured a a kill on the latter for his ADC, Cody “Cody Sun” Sun. 100 Thieves steadily increased their lead as the game continued, and Aphromoo racked up eight more assists while only dying once by the time the CLG nexus fell. As he walked down the line, hugging old teammates, he looked perfectly content in his new home.

Continued success

Now, three weeks in, both Aphromoo and Doublelift are still going strong, and their new teams sit above their old in the NA LCS standings. Doublelift is playing as cleanly as ever with a league-best KDA of 19.3. This is more than double that of Altec, the ADC who is his closest competition with a 7.5 KDA. He is in good company, with a team of veterans and some former teammates that looks like they have been working together for years. They have dominated all but one of their opponents, racking up kills and objectives in a style that is simultaneously exciting and methodical. Now tied for first with five wins and one loss, Doublelift looks poised to lead Team Liquid to the postseason.

Sitting just behind them in the standings with a record of 4-2, 100 Thieves quickly made their mark. While they have faced criticism for barely securing victories in some close games, it may very well be this ability to close out tough contests that will carry them to success later in the season. Additionally, they are the only team to have defeated Team Liquid so far this split.

Arguably the biggest question mark on the team coming into the season was young ADC Cody Sun. He entered the NA LCS only last year, and seemed to struggle before finding his groove in the Summer Split. However, he has never looked better than he does with Aphromoo by his side. Currently boasting 742 Damage Per Minute and 39% of his team’s total damage, he is #1 in both among ADCs. Aphromoo’s team-high 38 assists is only a small part of his contribution to the success of both Cody Sun and 100 Thieves, as his shotcalling and positive energy are what have made him one of the top supports in the league.

As they head into Week 4, there is still a long way to go this split. Though it looks promising, it remains to be seen if these two veterans can lead their respective teams to the level of success they are each striving for. If they both continue to perform, it is possible that we will see them both at Worlds again in 2018.

 

 

If you would like to contact me or keep up with things I like, find me on Twitter: @buttsy11.  For more of the best esports news, follow The Game Haus on Facebook and Twitter. Thanks for reading!

 

Other photos courtesy of  comicbook.com