Ever since Rick Fox bought out Gravity Gaming in 2015, his League of Legends team has been known as a rather under-performing disappointment: failing to ever grab a spot in the NA LCS playoffs and even being relegated (when that was still a thing,) out of the league.
Come the first split of 2018, and they've shot that precedent right out of the sky with a stellar spring performance that has them sitting at first place with one week remaining in the entire split.
While their position on the table can change due to a tight race between the top four teams (only being separated by one win between them all,) what is set in stone is Echo Fox's qualifications for playoffs.
This marks the first time in the team's history that any Echo Fox squad has gone to the post-season competition, and is almost as impressive as the would-be first place title that they might get, should they give a 2-0 performance this coming weekend. Needless to say, this would also be a first for the Foxes.
The season began with fans and critics alike unsure of what to expect from the team. New signings like Dardoch and ex-SKT top laner Huni made predicting Echo Fox's future a difficult task. It was agreed upon by most people that they would either implode into failure, or do fantastic beyond belief.
The latter would prove to be the fortune told right, and the time it took for people to figure out that it was a possibility is laughably shown by Phreak's team tier list.
Because doing an article without any criticism is boring, i'll do a quick run through of each starting Echo Fox player's season performances so far.
Somehow managed to be just as magical as everyone expected him to be, without being a complete carry for the team. While he has had a couple of games where he looked lost and non-useful, his micro and, more importantly, his macro are some of the big reasons why Echo Fox are in the position that they are.
Long live Huni! Long live Lucian top lane!
I mentioned that Huni is just some of the reason why the Foxes are doing so well, what are the other ones? Well, the jungler himself.
Dardoch has managed to not only rise above the common criticisms thrown his way about being a salty spittoon, but has also mirrored his team play with solid solo performances that make the team's foundation around a solid roamer stronger than any other NA LCS team's aside from perhaps C9.
I'll admit I was expecting some Akaadian-esque inconsistencies from the jungler, but he's actually proven to be Echo Fox's most consistent player, if only being shadowed by Huni's flashy play style and hype.
There's not much to say about the mid laner, other than that he's the Michael Carrick of Echo Fox. Quietly assuming his role in the middle of the park and doing his job excellently.
Even this past weekend with a double loss, Fenix managed to amass statistics that would lead you to believe his team didn't lose, but won directly through him. Hopefully he feels appreciated at the team and wants to stay at the end of the year, because losing him would be a big blow for the Foxes that cannot be easily repaired.
Adrian and Altec
Boy oh boy is this a dynamic duo of surprises. You know, if it hadn't been for this past weekend of the LCS, I would have had the same things to say about these two as I did Fenix.
But boy, is that not the case in even the slightest sense.
The bot lane duo has managed to become a pretty big hindrance to the team, and everyone and their mother has figured out that you can beat Echo Fox through abusing their bot lane. Only time will tell if the added pressure of being the weak link will push the bot laner's performances to a higher level, but as for now it's clear that the success of the team in the league and in the future will rely heavily on how Adrian n' Altec improve (or don't).
In any case, it's a great feat, and the Foxes should be proud of what they've accomplished. We'll see if they can hold onto their first place spot. And when playoffs come round, we'll see how they stack up against veterans of a non-Bo1 format.