2017 Spring Split in Review
Team Record: 6-12 (15-28) – 8th Place
Top Lane: Looper – 43 Games Played – 86 kills, 135 deaths, 259 assists – 2.6 KDA
Jungler: Akaadian – 43 Games Played – 178 kills, 144 deaths, 211 assists – 2.7 KDA
Mid Lane: Froggen – 43 Games Played – 154 kills, 108 deaths, 266 assists – 3.9 KDA
AD Carry: Keith – 43 Games Played – 111 kills, 130 deaths, 236 assists – 2.7 KDA
Support: Gate – 43 Games Played – 50 kills, 158 deaths, 322 assists – 2.4 KDA
What We’ve Seen So Far
Echo Fox started the 2017 Spring Split with a new roster. The team came in with new additions Korean import Jang “Looper” Hyeong-seok in the top lane and rookie jungler Matthew “Akaadian” Higginbotham. Echo Fox seemed to show some promise early on but results never materialized. Although their first series against Phoenix 1 resulted in a 2-0 loss, their game against newly reformed Immortals was much cleaner, embodying improvement. Rookie Akaadian showed a vast amount of potential with his impeccable Graves performance and veteran mid laner, Froggen, showed how monstrous he can be on pocket picks such as Twisted Fate. It was at this point that fans saw who they were going to give the most attention to and which players opposing teams would have to dismantle if they were going to proceed. Through the first half of the split, Echo Fox had a more positive performance than negative. However, with the break for IEM, teams had the capability to reassess their opponents. It seems that Echo Fox suffered in that down period as their win-loss ratio took a dive for the worse.
A huge aspect of a team is their consistency, not only as individual players but as a synergistic unit. if a team cannot come together to make an impact in the mid and late game, they won’t be able to close games easily, and therefore, will not achieve victory. As of late, Echo Fox’s strong suit lies in their jungler’s synergy between Froggen and Looper. By snowballing these lanes, there’s a spread of pressure for team based plays, which allows a sense of control to show. It’s because of this that a lot of pressure falls upon Echo Fox’s rookie jungler. Froggen, another highly consistent player on Echo Fox, makes use of this jungle pressure. By playing champs with very defined power spikes, such as Anivia or Twisted Fate, developing a solid lead allows for him to impact the map much more. We’ve seen this lead from Akaadian’s jungle pathing influence highly powerful roams and invades, such as in their first series against Immortals, where Froggen’s Twisted Fate was to be feared and respected.
Because of the allegations surrounding Echo Fox and what was seen to be a “poaching” scandal, many organizations refused for their professional teams to scrim with Echo Fox. Rick Fox’s team was seen to be at a huge disadvantage. With many NA teams refusing to scrim, there was a lack of practice at the levels needed to improve. Practicing against Challenger and “Ranked 5” teams simply cannot amount to the skill level of pro teams. This doesn’t allow for Echo Fox’s roster and coaching staff to develop their strategies as much as other teams, which inherently makes them weaker.
Because of this, levels of stress are implied to be much higher. To perform on stage amongst professional players, to develop a career not only as a part of your organization but for yourself, and to be unable to develop the tools necessary to avoid defeat, that in itself is a difficult task. However, the capability to not show their theorized drafting and game strategic development can also lead to an advantage over their opponents. The opposing teams wouldn’t be sure how to predict certain actions and would have to rely on in-depth VOD review to develop proper counters.
Coming into the Spring Split as underdogs, or in this case, the under foxes, left them with desire. Being a re-vamped team with roster changes, there was a curiosity on how they would fare against previous top tier 2016 Summer Split teams, such as TSM. When the spring split started, there was a lot of hype surrounding TSM as they almost had a perfect split. And yet the powerhouse known as TSM was dismantled by Echo Fox’s new roster. With Akaadian on the likes of Kha’zix and what’s proven to be his power pick of Graves, Echo Fox showed their inner beast. After securing a lead in the jungle, everything seemed to have gone to plan, with the gold lead extending towards not just Froggen’s Corki pick, but Yuri “Keith” Jew and Austin “Gate” Yu’s Jhin and Malzahar bot lane duo. It was impressive to see Echo Fox not only draft a beautiful team composition but display their understanding of their champions and roles.
More To Come
Though their performance after their victory over TSM ceased to impress, I believe it was in its own way, a very successful start. Being a relatively new team, they were still able to avoid relegation, even more-so than a returning organization, Team Liquid. Echo Fox’s win-loss ratio may have been lackluster, but there’s a lot to learn. Now that the poaching accusations have died down, the roster can not only get back to scrimming their professional peers but can reinvent themselves as a team.
A major aspect of a successful team involves attitude and mentality. From recent interviews, it’s visible that their ADC, Keith, has had some problems in terms of mentality and how he handles criticism. A key part to solving this issue is by properly utilizing their coaching staff and their support staff. By obtaining someone who can properly manage and mold a player’s mentality, Echo Fox can most definitely reach a high point of success. The role of ADC is hugely important, whether it be a need of utility, DPS, or a carry, it is not wise to let an ADC ruin a roster.
If you can shape a player’s mentality early on, there’ll be no need to replace them, and moreover will be a reason to keep them and give them a place to grow. If Echo Fox wants to show NA that they are capable of being a top-tier team, then they have to work hard on not only listening to criticism but by fixing the issues presented to them. If they were to develop the coaching and support staff, it’ll have a huge impact on the players working under the Echo Fox name and allow for better performances. Echo Fox doesn’t need to be an underdog, and they don’t need to struggle with avoiding relegation, they just need to learn from their mistakes and apply any newfound knowledge to the Rift.
What moves do you think Echo Fox should make in the offseason? Let us know in the comments below!