On December 18th of 2015, Rick Fox (Yes, THATRick Fox) would officially announce his purchase of Gravity Gaming at a reported $1 million.
The Professional League of Legends team would be renamed Echo Fox, and begin its first split in spring of 2016 with a lineup that included none other than Froggen and kfo.
The exciting transfers brought around many fans with hopes of Echo Fox turning into a great force to be reckoned with, and it looked to do exactly that.
Promising as the team may have been on paper, the early waters were rough for Echo Fox.
Due to technical issues with visas, most of the official lineup for the 2016 Spring Split could not actually compete for a large portion of the season, and were instead replaced by a substitute squad made up of various challenger players.
Many thought Echo Fox's 7th place finish could have been improved had players like Froggen and Hard been able to take their rightful place in the roster without interruption, but that theory fell apart the next summer when Echo Fox finished 9th.
The 2016 Summer Split, the second split of Echo Fox's history and one that had no roster difficulties whatsoever, was the one that forced the team into relegation. It was a disappointing time, and many fans felt like the organization wasn't living up to its name as an up-and-coming powerhouse.
But despite the poor performance during the split, the team managed to pull themselves up and out of relegation with a solid exhibition in the 2017 Spring Promotional Tournament.
The overall consensus when it came to Echo Fox in 2017 was that they were a team that could feasibly do well in the NA LCS, but in reality should be more concerned with not doing poorly.
They started the spring split with varying performances, often winning convincingly one week, then losing embarrassingly the next.
The inconsistent win rate came with a consistent play style and thus consistent criticisms. Akkadian, the newly signed up and coming jungler, played a very aggressive early game and often fell off in the later stages of the match which mounted a template for fans to throw their two cents at Echo Fox, who often played their best early on in matches but couldn't keep up in the late game.
This 'start strong, finish poorly' pattern continued even in the league standings as Echo Fox would show themselves to be improving wildly within the first four weeks of the split, only to fall off and finish in eighth place. A better finish than last season and one that staved off relegation, but one that left everyone unimpressed.
Before the recent summer split came along, Echo Fox had made slight adjustments to its transfers and coaching staff in a moderate and unexciting posture towards progress, but to no avail as the coming summer split would result in the same eighth place finish as the previous season.
Echo Fox seemed anchored to the bottom.
Present and beyond
Since the Summer Split of 2017 has ended, Echo Fox made some incredible signings to their roster. The most notable of the transfers being SK Telecom T1's top laner Huni, who will also be joined with Dardoch, FeniX, Altec, and Adrian.
Of these players, it is clear that Huni will need to take on some role of leadership in the team as he has not only seen the most success on the global stage compared to all of his comrades at Echo Fox, but has NA LCS experience due to his time spent with Immortals (2016.)
Such a lineup spells good news for a team, but Echo Fox should be weary about what happens when an organization relies on big names for results. The important thing will be for this side to put the time into learning to play as a team and solidify synergy.
Despite the promise of the signings, the team will be at a disadvantage due to their lack of cohesiveness that comes with playing on a team of new faces. Due to this, it would be best to not raise expectations too high just yet. But expect them to do better and grow as time goes on.
Regardless of how the team performs, it is important to keep in mind that Rick Fox and Echo Fox as a whole will play a huge role in the bridging of League of Legends into the mainstream, as they've done so far.
The man, with his respect for the game and its players, will be what someone thinks about when they decide that they want to give League of Legends a shot.
And that, unlike a Huni or Dardoch, is priceless.
Let us know what you think of the new Echo Fox in the comments below!