Echo Fox: Looking Back on the Summer Split

By Cas van Asseldonk
September 20, 2018

In 2016, Echo Fox competed in their inaugural NA LCS split. For two years Echo Fox fought hard and faced many challenges, including missing out on playoffs multiple times. After making franchising, the luck of the team turned, and in the spring of 2018, the team broke the cycle of near misses and qualified for the playoffs for the first time. At the end of the split, Echo Fox finished in third place, secured 50 championship points towards qualifying for Worlds, and also earned a spot in their first international event; Rift Rivals. With all that success, Echo Fox was in prime position to keep up the momentum and build on their success moving into Summer Split.

The first week of Summer Spilt showed great promise for the team as they went 2-0 with the team choosing to swap roles with the funnel meta still being relevant. In game one, our global star Top Laner Huni played ADC, picking Yasuo and helped grow leads for the team. Echo Fox used the role swap to their advantage and took home their first win of the season. For their second match, the Jungler Dardoch, picked Rengar - his favorite champ - but played it top lane while Huni jungled with Taliyah. Dardoch got ganked multiple times, but this didn't get the team down – Dardoch even almost got a triple kill after a fantastic outplay. As Echo Fox began their attack on the enemy base, a Taliyah bug caused the entire game to crash. After determining Chronobreak was unusable for the situation, Echo Fox was awarded the win from League officials. Huni didn't play his own dedicated lane until the fourth game of the split.

Echo Fox continued their aggressive playstyle throughout the season, leading them on a 1-1 week chain. During their matchup against Cloud9, the situation was looking rather dire but Echo Fox proved they will always fight when their backs are against the wall. As Cloud9 was knocking on the door of the inhibitor turrets, the enemies engaged. Echo Fox didn't flinch, and miraculously the ADC, Altec, picked up a gorgeous pentakill, turning the game back into Echo Fox's favor. The Foxes continued to maintain a top-four standing as they found success with their signature aggressive style while struggling during some funnel compositions.

Mid-season, the Split hit pause for the international showcase tournament Rift Rivals, where the top three teams from Europe square off against the top three teams in North America. Due to their top three placing in the Spring Split, Echo Fox was one of three North American representatives. The team took the opportunity to experiment with new players and strategies. Falling early to Fnatic gave Echo Fox the determination they needed to take down Splyce. Echo Fox finished the group stage with a loss against G2. In the championship best of five, Echo Fox upset G2 to give North America an early lead. Unfortunately, neither 100 Thieves or Team Liquid were able to win their matchups forcing Echo Fox into a precarious situation against Fnatic in game four. Echo Fox eventually fell to Fnatic and Europe emerged victorious. Regardless, Echo Fox proved their might against Europe's strongest teams and gained plenty of knowledge they could use in the LCS.

Even though the team had found success, there is always room to improve. After having proved themselves through consistent dominant performance in the Academy League, Damonte and Lost were promoted to the main line-up. This change happened as Echo Fox acquired world-class support Smoothie from Cloud9 at the trade deadline. With the new and updated roster, the team continued their journey toward the playoffs. Going into the final week of the season, Echo Fox needed just one more victory to secure a playoff berth, but they knew that win wouldn’t come without a fight. In the final game of the season the Foxes convincingly defeated Clutch Gaming, securing a slot in the top six! Now tied for third with three other teams, Echo Fox needed to play through two tiebreaker matches to determine their quarterfinal's opponent. In the end, the Foxes won round one and lost round two to finish fourth in the regular season.

For their first round of playoffs, Echo Fox found themselves matched up in a best-of-five series against TSM, who they'd beaten three times during the regular season. However, bad luck struck the team when Huni got extremely sick from food poisoning, causing the team to be unable to practice with their top laner for the entire week before playoffs. Despite their best efforts, the Foxes fell in an incredibly tight five-game series. Following their loss in playoffs, Echo Fox's only chance left to get to Worlds was through the dreaded Gauntlet.

The NA Regional Qualifiers would be a big mountain to climb for the revamped roster as Echo Fox needed to beat three teams in a row, Clutch Gaming being the first. Without any issue, the Foxes swept their enemy in a dominant 3-0 series. The win moved Echo Fox into the next round against TSM. Despite Echo Fox managing to keep games close in kills and objectives, TSM proved to be too strong an enemy and took down the Foxes 0-3. The loss would mark the end of Echo Fox's 2018 season.

Despite the team's dream of going to Worlds not coming true, Echo Fox can look back on a historic year of competition and growth: making the playoffs for the first time ever during Spring Split and then repeating the fantastic feat in Summer; achieving our first international appearance at Rift Rivals; amazing synergy between stars Dardoch and Huni; Damonte proving to be one of the best native mid laners in NA; and a great bot lane duo who we're only just getting a glimpse of the heights they can. If this season is any indication, expect Echo Fox to come back even stronger next year – especially with more time for the roster to practice together and build chemistry.  For now, the players will have time to rest and recuperate before the 2019 season where they will have their sights set on a North American championship and a coveted Worlds appearance.

Echo Fox would like to thank every single fan who has supported the team throughout the season, before, and after. Our players play for the fans, and the fans keep our team motivated to improve and get on stage every week believing they can win. Every fan, from those active in our Discord and community events to the ones who cheer on the team in Twitch chat, to those who come out to the Riot Arena week after week, you integral to our success, and we thank you for your support. The future is very bright.