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

Echo Fox

King of the Hill: Echo Fox VS Cloud 9

With Week 4 of the 2018 NA LCS Spring Split over, it’s time to take a look at who is dominating the standings. At the top, we have Echo Fox and Cloud 9 tied for first at 7-1.

Both of these teams are coming off the back of a 2-0 weekend. Cloud 9 having taken down the other contender for first in Team Liquid and also the newly revitalised Flyquest. Echo Fox having defeated The Golden Guardians, who have finally made it on the scoreboard, and Team Liquid whose place in the middle of the pack has been cemented.

Let’s take a look at the key games for each of these teams that put them in the position they are in.

 

Echo Fox

Courtesy of Riot Games

 

Cloud 9 VS Liquid

Cloud 9’s superstar bot lane duo of Andy “Smoothie” Ta and Zachary “Sneaky” Scuderi continued to prove they are the best duo in NA. Even up against Team Liquid’s Yiliang “Doublelift” Peng, who is currently the best ADC in the league stat-wise, they dominated. This gave Smoothie the ability to roam frequently and snowball his other lanes on Alistar. However, the real story here is about rookie top laner Eric “Licorice” Ritchie being able to trade blows with the best.

With the assistance of an early roam from Smoothie, Licorice was able to completely crush the opposition. This was no easy feat as Team Liquid’s top laner, and former Cloud 9 member, Jung “Impact” Eon-yeong is highly seasoned. Even in a hyper carry vs hyper carry situation, Licorice just continued to outshine Impact, eventually leading to Cloud 9’s win.

 

Echo Fox

Courtesy of Riot Games

Echo Fox VS Liquid

Echo Fox. What is there to say about this team that hasn’t already been said before. They are an absolute powerhouse who have defied all expectations. Last night’s match against Team Liquid was no exception. Liquid had messed up right from the draft stage by giving over Zac to Fox’s Joshua “Dardoch” Hartnett.

Dardoch has shown many times throughout the split just how proficient he is on this champion. Never thinking twice about his slingshots and picks, he dives headlong into the action and gets picks for his team. This is especially true when up against immobile champions who have no way of getting out of harm’s way when such a dive occurs.

It just so happened that in last night’s match, Double was on one of these aforementioned immobile picks. Not just any immobile champion mind you, but the epitome of immobility, Kog’Maw. Even though Double gave over no kills in these situations, he had to constantly use his summoners to avoid them. This left him at a disadvantage during team fights as he would have to stay far away to avoid being caught out. Therefore, making him less relevant.

Eventually Double began to scale up on Kog’Maw to the point where he could delete enemy squishies. However, it was pointless as by the time it came to a team fight, Liquid was always a man down due to Dardoch’s continuous picks. Thus, allowing Echo Fox to steamroll the match and win.

 

Next week we will finally see the stalemate broken as on day 2 Echo Fox will face off against Cloud 9. Finally, the best team in the NA LCS will be decided. Who will come out on top?

 

CREDITS

Looking for a podcast covering EU and NA LCS? Check out LCS Weekly on SoundCloud. You can ‘Like’ The Game Haus on Facebook and ‘Follow’ us on Twitter for more sports and esports articles from other great TGH writers along with Brandon!

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Featured image courtesy of Riot Games

NA LCS

The Champs of the NA LCS Week 2

With Week 2 of the NA LCS behind us, Riot has released an infographic detailing the stats for the week. The Infographic contains all sorts of information, ranging from the match results to the best players of the week. However, one thing that specifically jumps out are the champion presence and win rate stats. Without further ado, let’s dive in.

Champion Presence

Over the last week of play, there were many champions who were either picked or banned for almost every match. However, in the case of three champions, they had presence for all 10 matches. The most prolific of these champions being Zoe, the aspect of Twilight. Zoe has an incredibly strong kit, ranging from CC to insane burst damage. To make matters that much worse, she has the ability to do half your health at level 1. With that in mind,  you can start to see why she was banned 9 times out of 10, slipping through the ban phase only once.

That time was during the Echo Fox vs TSM game, as soon as Zoe was on the table Echo Fox snapped it up for their mid-laner Kim “Fenix” Jae-hun. TSM choose not to ban it thinking they could counter it should the pick come out, but they couldn’t have been more wrong. Fenix proceeded to absolutely demolish, going 8/1/13 in an almost hour-long match.

 

NA LCS

Source: Riot Games

On the other side of the spectrum, we have Ezreal. Ezreal was picked in 9 of the 10 NA LCS matches, being banned only a single time. Ezreal is a very popular pick, not only in the NA LCS but also in solo queue. According to Champion.gg, he is the 3rd most picked ADC with an 11.82% play rate, being surpassed only by Vayne and Tristana, both of which are late game powerhouses.

Ezreal rose to the top of the meta with the release of the reforged runes system, being one of the best abusers of the Kleptomancy keystone. Kleptomancy for those who don’t know grants gold for landing an auto attack after using an ability. It also gives the chance at a random consumable when this auto attack lands. You may now be asking why Ezreal is able to use the rune to greater effect than many other champions. The answer, his Q. Ezreal’s Q applies on-hit effects, meaning in the case of Klepto, his Q counts as both the spell and the auto attack. Combine this with his Q’s low cooldown time and you have a recipe for klepto spam.

Champion Winrate

Moving onto champion win rate, the infographic only included champions that had been played in more than 3 games. The infographic shows late game powerhouses such as Tristana and Azir, who if left to their own devices will completely demolish their enemies. However, what is interesting here is that the only 2 champions with a 100% win rate are champions who come online earlier in the game. Gangplank comes online mid game, and Taric is good during the lane phase.

The question here is why they exhibit higher win rates compared to the late game carries who are essentially a guaranteed win should the match last long enough. There are two reasons for this, average match length and champion kit. Let’s start with match length, the average match length during week 2of the NA LCS was around 42 minutes. At an average of 42 minutes champions like Tristana who aren’t as good early game don’t fully come online. This is especially true vs early game damage dealers who can continuously poke them out of lane and deny CS.

NA LCS

Source: Riot Games

Secondly, we need to take a look at champion kit. First up is Mr. Fabulous himself, Taric. Taric is a great laner, this is due to his stuns and passive armour increases. He is able to set up kills an keep his team safe with relative ease, making him a very well rounded pick. Not to mention the fact that he has one of the best ultimates in the game, potentially making his entire team invulnerable.

Gangplank, on the other hand, is rather weak during the early lane phase in terms of skirmishing potential. However, this remedied by the combination of his Q and Kleptomancy. That’s right Kleptomancy is back for a second round. Similarly to Ezreal’s Q, Gangplank’s Q applies on-hit effects, but to make it that much sweeter, his Q grants bonus gold if it kills a unit. This allows Gangplank to be ahead of the enemy laner by an entire item at about 20 mins. This happens even if they go even in lane.

To take a look at the rest of the infographic, which includes lots of interesting information about the week, click here.

CREDITS

Featured Image: LoLUniverse

Other Image(s): LoL Esports

Looking for a podcast covering EU and NA LCS? Check out LCS Weekly on SoundCloud. You can ‘Like’ The Game Haus on Facebook and ‘Follow’ us on Twitter for more sports and esports articles from other great TGH writers along with Brandon!

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Joshua “Dardoch” Hartnett on their victory over TSM, onstage intensity and words for MikeYeung

“I genuinely feel like I have a long term home here. I really love playing with my teammates.” – Dardoch on Echo Fox

Parqueso – What are the comms like when it gets into these really late game teamfights? How do you keep calm, how do you keep your composure? Especially as the only one who can get into the backline.

Dardoch – “Well I wouldn’t necessarily say I kept composure during the game. *laughs* I was screaming a lot, and I was really intense… Every time I would engage, I was screaming who I was going for. Like, “Kill Bjergsen! Please kill Malzahar, kill Ez!” That kind of stuff. But overall, when everything calms down and we need to talk about strategy, like after the teamfight disperses and we are clearing waves, everyone is really calmed down and we just get the concise plan out.”

Image provided by Riot Games

P – Everyone talks about 100 Thieves showing up and proving to not just be “pretenders,” but what about you guys on EchoFox? People talk about how you seem to have potential, but could easily fall apart. Any response to that?

D – “I wouldn’t say we have solidified ourselves as a top team yet but we are definitely on the right track. And I think if we have a couple more strong performances, we will definitely solidify ourselves as a top team.”

P – Does the memeing and flame from the community or whomever propel you forward or is it just something you want to die off?

D – “It is something I just wish would die off, but really I am numb to that banter already. It’s been going on for so long, but I know what is going on inside my organization and I know how my teammates feel about me, and I’m really happy about how they feel about me and our relationships. So I don’t really care about the public’s wrong perception of me.”

P – You present as a very emotional player, and I’d say a number of LCS pros are – you can just see the passion when they play. How do you use that emotion? And is it something you actually think about, or does it just exist?

D – “It’s 100% natural onstage. My adrenaline pumps so much in these really high intensity games, when it’s almost entirely on me to get the engage – especially in that game when legitimately no one else on the team could engage the fight – every time it goes correctly, my heart is just racing. It’s so fun! It’s really an awesome experience playing onstage.”

Image provided by Riot Games

P – What changes do you expect to happen in the jungle in competitive play going into patch 8.2?

D – “I mean, we are going to see a lot of Nunu bans. That is probably one of the dumbest balance changes I have ever seen come out of Riot games and it is just actually baffling that they haven’t reverted it yet. And I hope that is the quote of this interview, because it is absolutely ridiculous. It is absolutely ridiculous for them to buff Nunu that absurdly. The champion needs a rework. He is just boring. He needs a rework he doesn’t need a buff. I just needed to say my 2 cents on Nunu. But I think most changes are just from lane matchups. Targons gone from adcs, spellthief’s gone from other laners and junglers. We’ll see the most change in [lanes] due to the change in targeted spells changing minion aggro.”

P – Lastly, I’m starting up a segment called Everyone Else is Trash, where I encourage players to engage in some friendly banter with their opponents. Do you have anything fun you’d like to add?

D – “I actually don’t really want to bm, but I could give some words of encouragement to MikeYeung. Just directly to Mike, ‘Mike I think you’re a really good player and I think you have a lot of potential. You’re going to get a lot of hate because you are on TSM and you’re losing. But just keep your head down and keep working. You have really good players around you, and I think you guys will be fine.’”

Wholesome Dardoch provided by Riot Games

 



Thanks for reading! Shoutout to @Dardochlol for being an amazing interviewee. Stay tuned here for more interviews and content! If you’d like to contact me, go ahead and tweet @parkeso. For pictures and stories, follow my Insta @parqueso. If you’re not big into social media, email me at parkesotwo@gmail.com. =)

Echo Fox

Echo Fox remains undefeated

At the end of Week Two of the 2018 NA LCS, Echo Fox, a team that was placed in the middle of the pack on most pre-week one power rankings, is the only team to remain undefeated.

After failing to meet expectations in the 2016 and 2017 seasons, Echo Fox had to show that they were a team worthy of being in the LCS and if the start of the 2018 season is anything to go by, then they have definitely proved they are worthy.

Echo Fox have shown how amazingly dominant they can be. They have continuously shown how they can snowball games early and proceed to stomp on their opposition. They begin to bleed their enemies of XP and gold, building the advantages up over time. These advantages eventually convert into entire item leads that allow for Echo Fox to completely take over the map with relatively little opposition.

 

Echo Fox

Source: Riot Games Flickr

Even in matches where Echo Fox has been severely behind, they have shown just how good they are. They have shown they can win team fights even when the enemy team has the advantage. At no time was this better shown than in the game against Team SoloMid on Saturday in which they were behind by 10k gold. With Fox on the ropes, TSM moved in to secure the win, Michael “MikeYeung” Yeung dove the bottom Inhib turret with the rest of his team on his heels ready to respond. The play was very much unnecessary due to the huge amount of pressure they had on Echo Fox’s base, yet nonetheless, they went for it. Echo Fox was able to capitalize on the dive by immediately locking TSM between a Gangplank ultimate and the turret, allowing Echo Fox to turn the tide of the game and eventually win the match.

Echo Fox

Source: Riot Games Flickr

Ultimately, the reason why Echo Fox is proving to be so dominant is due to their opportunistic and aggressive playstyle. They are a team that is never too afraid to pick a fight and are able to commit to a play within seconds. This gives them a distinct advantage over other teams that aren’t as quick on the trigger. Whilst some may say that committing to plays so quickly could be a recipe for disaster, Echo Fox continues to do so. They understand that sometimes in order to be the best, you have to take risks. With the way Echo Fox has been performing, they could quite possibly become the best team in the region, and perhaps even bring NA to the world’s finals, but I guess we’ll just have to wait and see.

 

CREDITS

Featured Image: LoL Esports Flickr

Other Images: LoL Esports Flickr, LoL Esports Flickr

Looking for a podcast covering EU and NA LCS? Check out LCS Weekly on SoundCloud. You can ‘Like’ The Game Haus on Facebook and ‘Follow’ us on Twitter for more sports and esports articles from other great TGH writers along with Brandon!

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Fox Dardoch

Dardoch on Free Agency: ‘I didn’t really have many other options’

Echo Fox debuted their revamped roster this past weekend, premiering their veteran-laden lineup as they begin gunning for their organization’s first playoff berth.

Labeled by some as North America’s biggest boom-or-bust team, the new Foxes swept their opening weekend with convincing wins over FlyQuest and Clutch Gaming, comforting Echo Fox fans heading into Week 2. And with games against Cloud9 (2-0) and TSM (2-0) on the docket, this team will certainly have a chance to prove themselves again this weekend.

Anyways, following their opening victory, we had the opportunity to sit down with Echo Fox jungler Joshua “Dardoch” Hartnett.

First off, congratulations on your first win. What do you feel made it such a one-sided victory?

“First, our coach Inero and our assistant coach Thinkcard set us up with a really great draft. And everyone felt really confident going into the game, so that definitely helped us play well. Other than that, I think FlyQuest just kinda let us play to our team comp’s win condition and they didn’t really contest us in places they needed to so we just kinda got to do what we wanted to do, and we won.”

What were your thoughts on AnDa’s debut?

“It’s kind of hard to tell because they were pretty outclassed as a team it seemed, so not much to gain from it. I don’t know yet.”

Dardoch fans

Echo Fox is Dardoch’s fourth team since the beginning of 2017. Photo courtesy of Riot Games.

So you picked Echo Fox this offseason, why them over other teams?

“For me personally, I didn’t really have many other options. So, I signed with Echo Fox only knowing Fenix was on the roster and I just kinda trusted them. With the names that they gave me and the options that we had, I felt pretty comfortable signing, so I just did.”

Have you noticed a difference in Huni since his time on SK Telecom?

“Well, he’s definitely a lot better than he was previously. Even though he was already an overwhelming individual player on Immortals. After his year on SKT, he just became a lot more composed and he’s actually a very good leader.”

In terms of your character, do you feel like you have something to prove to people outside of your team?
fox dardoch

Despite his talent, his behavior as a teammate has always been called into question. Photo courtesy of Riot Games.

“I don’t feel like I have anything to prove to anyone outside of my organization but I know if I act the way I act my teammates will speak the truth about me. And eventually the word will get out that I’m not this toxic entity.”

No doubt in this team’s talent. You’ve got Huni, yourself and you’ve all played in LCS for quite some time. What do you feel like you guys need to do to unseat the favorites like TSM or TL?

“I think all we need to do is keep practicing as hard as we do and keep the communication line flowing. I think we’re a really creative bunch who aren’t scared to make plays, so I think we can easily dethrone TSM, TL, whoever the top teams will be by the end of the season if we keep our practice up.”

 

Featured image: Riot Games

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NA LCS Week 1 overreactions

Week 1 of NA LCS is in the books and as always, teams don’t always seem too coordinated at the beginning of the split. The new meta has brought a lot of long games that has tested the shot calling and synergy of many of these newly formed rosters. Franchising seems to have upped the competition for sure as every team looked competitive in the first week. Here are some of the overreactions after week 1:

TSM will crash and burn

It’s no secret that Team SoloMid’s new roster debuted with a dud of a week. After being criticized heavily at last years world’s for the lack of early play making ability, the team went for a new look. They imported European duo laners Jesper “Zven” Svenningsen and Alfonso “mithy” Aguirre Rodríguez. They also brought in promising all star rookie jungler, Michael “MikeYeung” Yeung, to round out the roster.

TSM looked like a mirror image of their Worlds team during week 1. They were lacking in early game play making and reacting to the enemy team’s moves. Former coach of the split, Kim “Ssong” Sangso was supposed to help fix their issues, but the team looked unchanged.

Star mid laner Søren “Bjergsen” Bjerg faced heavy criticism from Riot analysts for his passive play. Many players were quick to defend him. They came in ranked near the top for most of the preseason power rankings. Going 0-2 is a major disappointment for this new roster and they’ll need to fix their drafts and early game play making if they don’t want to fall too far behind.

Echo Fox can actually win na lcs

Huni

Source: Riot Games Flickr

Echo Fox came being ranked as one of the lower tier teams in the league. Many argued that the egos on the roster would not be able to mesh well together and the team would ultimately fail once they lost a few games. In their first two games, the team looked very good going 2-0. Echo Fox’s early game has been the best in the league. They averaged a gold difference @15 of 4,233 over the two games they played.

Top lane star Heo “Huni” Seung-hoon showed off his top Lucian pick as a counter to Gangplank. He would end the game with a 4-0-6 KDA and flame horizon the originator of the saying, Lee “Flame” Ho-jong.

Joshua “Dardoch” Hartnett showed out well with two good Zac games and finishing with a 9.5 KDA. Echo Fox looked really strong, but we’ll need to see them stay consistent heading into week 2. They’ll be facing off against a struggling TSM and Cloud 9 this week. If they can pull out another 2-0, this team could be the real deal. This could possibly be the roster that finally gets Echo Fox to playoffs.

100 Thieves Might be the Strongest of all the New teams

With the NA LCS introducing four new teams into franchising, 100 Thieves looked to be the best of all the teams. Built with solid veterans in just about every role this team could be a sleeper team to look out for. They have two strong Korean solo laners in Yoo “Ryu” Sang-wook and Kim “Ssumday” Chan-ho.

They have a strong core of North American players as well in veterans Zaqueri “aphromoo” Black and William “Meteos” Hartman. Along with rising young stud Cody “Cody Sun” Sun, their roster looks solid. They were able to pull off a really close win against Optic Gaming and dominated Counter Logic Gaming.

Lead by passionate owner, Matthew “Nadeshot” Haag, 100 Thieves could start gaining fans quickly if they keep their success up.

Licorice is the Next Great NA Talent

When Cloud 9 announced that rookie Eric “Licorice” Ritchie would be replacing Jung “Impact” Eon-yeong, many were quick to write them off as contenders. Licorice in particular had no LCS experience and hadn’t looked particularly strong against LCS competition. In their first match against CLG Licorice was a victim to camping by the enemy jungler, but was still able to deal the most damage in the game on Gangplank.

In his second game against Golden Guardians, he had an excellent Kled game going 7-0-6. Licorice has been a longtime solo queue stud, so if he can develop into a carry top lane he could be the next star from North America. Cloud 9 is known to be open to letting their players play what they think is strong so he’ll have a lot of freedom for champion choice.

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Cover Photo by lolesports

 

 

Huni

Huni’s dominant return to the NA LCS

The History

It’s been around one and a half years since Heo “Huni” Seung-hoon left Immortals and with it, the NA LCS. Many League fans remember the day that Huni threw the match against Team SoloMid by picking Lucian top. It was deemed by many to be a random pick that cost Immortals the match, their perfect scoreline and their chance at Worlds. They had one more chance to qualify by playing CLG. Alas, even after winning the match they were beaten out by Counter Logic Gaming for the 2nd place seed at the 2016 World Championship by a mere 10 championship points. Disgraced, Huni left for Korea to join SK Telecom T1 where he has played for the last year, improving his skills. After the massive upset at Worlds where the SKT dynasty was ended at the hands of Samsung Galaxy (now KSV), Huni was set to play in NA again after being picked up by Echo Fox.

Throughout Huni’s entire career many have said that he is a bad player who is extremely overrated. Now as Huni returns to the NA LCS he has set out to prove to all those people that they are wrong. What better way to accomplish this than by picking up where he left off, with his infamous Lucian top. Despite the heavy criticisms, Huni was determined to show to the world that he was a top-tier player and so, on January 20th, he walked onto the stage, full of confidence and delivered the ‘Huni special’, instalocking Lucian and riling up the crowd.

 

Huni

Source: Riot Games Flickr

how did huni perform?

Huni started off the match by playing as expected. He went for pokes to force his enemy laner in FlyQuest’s Lee “Flame” Ho-jong out of lane so he could gain a CS advantage. He pushed this advantage further by buying a second Doran’s Blade and a Vamp Scepter on his first back to stack lifesteal. These purchases allowed him to go for aggressive trades that would always come out favourably for him. This resulted in him getting a 30 CS advantage and a solo first blood tower at a mere 10 minutes into the game.

It was due to Huni’s massive gold lead that he managed to gain lane priority. It was incredibly important that he gained this advantage as it not only allowed him to make the split-second decision to teleport into the team fight at 12:46, but it also meant that Flame had no teleport as he was forced to use it to get back to lane to stop the growing CS lead. Upon Huni’s teleport in, he instantly flashed away from Jang “Keane” Lae-young’s Cassiopeia Miasma and used his ultimate to not only pick up a kill on William “Stunt” Chen but also to disperse FlyQuest, allowing for easy picks. Echo Fox ended the fight with four kills plus first blood. Thus, allowing them to take vision control of the enemy jungle and begin to slowly bleed them of gold and experience.

Later in the match at 18:45 FlyQuest make the mistake of walking into complete darkness. This allowed for Joshua “Dardoch” Hartnett (on Zac) to slingshot in and isolate Stunt with his ultimate. The rest of Echo Fox moved to collapse onto FlyQuest, However, FlyQuest had no answer. Huni, due to his lane priority, had forced Flame to walk the long way around to the fight. This meant he couldn’t get to the fight in time to do anything, securing an Echo Fox victory in the fight. With the end of this fight finally came the conversion Echo Fox was looking for, beginning to pull ahead of FlyQuest by entire items.

With Echo Fox now having a firm lead, they were looking for an opportunity to end, and at 24 minutes into the game, they found just that. As Jason “WildTurtle” Tran (on Varus) tried to stun lock Huni with his ultimate, he was met with his own unfortunate demise as Huni QSS’ed the ult and proceeded to blow up WildTurtle. This converted into a Baron dance that was eventually won out by Echo Fox.

 

Huni

Source: Riot Games Flickr

The Result

The match was over after the very first team fight as Echo Fox slowly began to seal FlyQuest’s fate, ending after they were unable to recover from failing to stop Echo Fox getting Baron. Huni ended the match with a very impressive 4/0/6 KDA, cementing himself as a top-tier player and silencing the naysayers once and for all. The best part? He did it all with a smile on his face.

 

CREDITS

Featured Image: LoL Esports Flickr

Other Images: LoL Esports Flickr, LoL Esports Flickr

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Image from LoL Esports Flickr

Coach Inero addresses Echo Fox’s off-season and Spring Split expectations

LCS fans and analysts are having difficulty placing Echo Fox in their power rankings following the off-season in North America. Many outlets hesitate to place FOX high on their list, citing reasons like “asking [these] players to work together…raises a lot of questions,” “we just don’t see them having good synergy,” “somebody needs to step up and keep the team together when the going gets tough,” and “negative feelings about this organization.” No one is denying the potential prowess of Huni, Dardoch, Fenix, Altec or Adrian. Everyone is unsure of their abilities to cooperate, or that Echo Fox is the organization to manage them.

On Tuesday, January 16, Echo Fox hosted a Roster Day “to familiarize professionals…with those involved in Echo Fox.” The organization invited journalists and other media to interview members of the FOX family, including players, coaches and executives. Many of these interviews involved asking questions about Dardoch’s past issues and public perception. However, every member interviewed downplayed any current negativity, and promoted him as reformed.

Strangely enough, no one has mentioned Echo Fox’s coach, Nick “Inero” Smith, who has been with the organization since May 2017. He coached the LCS team to an eighth place finish last Summer Split, and oversaw team construction in the off-season. It will be his responsibility to weave FOX’s team members together in 2018. Here are his thoughts on the off-season and Spring Split of NA LCS.

Inero is the head coach for Echo Fox in 2018

Image from LoL Esports Flickr

the Off-season

Question: What was Echo Fox’s philosophy for building a roster in the off-season?

“Going into the off-season, our plan for the LCS was to create as competitive a roster as possible. Alongside this, we wanted that roster to be young and committed to us for the long-term. Making sure those players that were all committed to the same goal of being a top team was extremely important, and we believe we’ve acquired the best five possible for this. For academy, we took a similar approach but pulled players from our own scouting boot camps.”

Question: Echo Fox brought on an entirely new roster for 2018. How much of that change came from Echo Fox scrapping everything and starting fresh, versus the previous players deciding to find other options? 

“Our main objective was to have a roster that all were aligned towards the same goal, while also being as competitive as possible. We didn’t go into the off-season wanting to completely redo the entire roster, but when rosters begin moving it happens very quickly and we must be completely certain that all the players we sign are ready and willing to commit to those same goals.”

Inero is the head coach of Echo Fox for 2018

Image from LoL Esports Flickr

Coach Inero stressed that Echo Fox’s main objectives for roster-building in the off-season were competition and alignment. He wants players that will be able to play at the top level of League of Legends. He also wants players that can come together and build their synergy around wanting to succeed. Fans will look at Echo Fox’s roster for Spring Split and see all competitive players. None of them are talentless. And the big synergy question comes down to hunger for victory. Inero is betting that ferocity will bring these individuals together into a functional unit.

The Spring Split

Question: How do you plan on managing the dominant personalities joining Echo Fox, in-game and out-of-game?

“I don’t think the personalities on this roster are as dominating or conflicting as people make them out to be. Public perception of the players on our LCS roster is overall pretty negative, but it mainly comes from people who have never worked or interacted with them before. Having five players that all want the same thing makes everyone’s lives a lot easier, and everyone is extremely cooperative with one another. For the coaching staff, this means we can all focus on becoming NA LCS champions, rather than trying to motivate the players to want the same thing.”

Question: With that in mind, what are your expectations for your LCS and Academy rosters in Spring Split? 

“I have really high expectations for our LCS roster over the course of this year, but as a step-goal for the Spring Split, we’d like to bring the organization to the playoffs for the first time in their history. Every other team under Echo Fox is performing at the top of their league, and it’s time for us to do the same. I fully expect that we’ll go further than just reaching the playoffs, but also reaching playoffs is a decent start. For academy, it’s tough to say, with every academy team taking different approaches to the league, but I have full confidence in all five players and Peter to be in the top half of their league as well.”

Dardoch and Adrian join Echo Fox in 2018

Image from LoL Esports Flickr

Just like Dardoch and other team members denied any clashing of personalities, Coach Inero assuages the community’s fears. This is powerful, coming from the coach who oversees everything. Inero describes FOX’s roster as “cooperative,” not something you will find in any power rankings. He believes Echo Fox can realistically make playoffs for the first time since its induction to the LCS. This would be a landmark win for the organization, and it would prove doubters wrong.

With the return of best-of-ones and new organizations entering the LCS, it is impossible to predict this split. But if Echo Fox is able to become a contender in the NA LCS, then Inero should be given credit. There has been so much dissent towards Echo Fox in the past, and towards the current roster in the off-season. If Inero is able to align these players, then he should earn massive props from the community.

credits

Featured Image: LoL Esports Flickr

Other Images: LoL Esports Flickr

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Is Echo Fox the biggest sleeper team?

It’s no doubt that when Echo Fox’s roster was announced, the biggest critique would be their clash of personalities. Echo Fox gutted their roster from last split in favor of bringing in young talented players among the scene. Just about every player was known as a rising young star at some point before failing to ever meet their potential.

With these questions being raised, many are ranking Echo Fox in the lower half of pre-season power rankings. The team seemed to have built off raw talent without regards to the problems that could arise.

Echo Fox has a lot of synergy questions to answer heading into the split. While this team on paper has a lot of talent, egos could clash if the team doesn’t perform well early.

New Year, New Dardoch?

Jungler Joshua “Dardoch” Hartnett alone is already on his fourth team in his young career. Fans were given an inside look into the life of Team Liquid in the HTC documentary, “Breaking Point,” where Dardoch was at the center of many clashes with teammates and coaching staff.

Last year Immortals granted Dardoch a three year contract, but Dardoch didn’t even last his entire first year before being transferred. In his departure video, it could be seen that Dardoch hadn’t changed much from his Team Liquid days. He was shown still clashing with teammates and coaching staff and Immortals traded him to Counter Logic Gaming after the Spring Split.

With CLG, not much was known to fans about why Dardoch would eventually be replaced. He felt betrayed when the team brought in Omar “Omargod” Amin to split scrims with him. After Omargod was brought in Dardoch felt the need to leave the team and would eventually be transferred back to Team Liquid.

Dardoch has a new chance with Echo Fox to prove that he has matured and can succeed in this league. This may be his last chance as many teams may not be willing to give him another chance if he can’t fix his attitude issues.

Adrian and Altec Stay Together

Photo by: Riot Esports

Echo Fox’s bot lane duo of Johnny “Altec” Ru and Adrian “Adrian” Ma come over after a brief stint on Dignitas. With Dignitas, they instantly made the team better as Dignitas was able to upset Cloud 9 in the first round of playoffs before losing to TSM in the next round. Altec and Adrian were a large part of Dignitas’ improvement.

On Echo Fox, they’ll have the benefit of having played together before. Adrian has had attitude issues on other teams as well. Most recently, on Phoenix1, he was quick to point out Inori’s flaws in an interview. This would eventually lead to Adrian being transferred off of Phoenix1.

Both Altec and Adrian were heralded as rising young stars early in their careers. Neither of them have been able to qualify for a world championship, despite being on some talented rosters. The added synergy from playing together will definitely help in developing Echo Fox’s synergy.

Huni’s Return

The biggest acquisition for this team might be in the top lane with former SKT top laner, Heo “Huni” Seung-hoon. Huni had the experience of playing in the most competitive region in the world last year. He failed to win the World Championship with SKT, but his mechanical skill was still seen through his play.

When he played in EU and NA many critiqued his inability to play tank champions. With SKT, he showed the ability to play both tanks and carry champions. He’s always had a positive and fun attitude towards the game in interviews. He gives a bright and positive attitude to a roster that may need it.

Many will remember his great regular season performances in North America the last time he was here with Immortals. If he can duplicate that same success, Echo Fox could be surprise contenders at the end of the split.

With nobody really talking about them at the moment, Echo Fox has the chance to finally have a successful split in the LCS with this new roster.

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