After the Boy Who Shattered Time was banned in three matches during his first week available for competitive play, two teams were finally ballsy enough to let League of Legends’ latest champion into battle in the League Championship Series (LCS).
The first player to take Ekko into the Summoner’s Rift in an LCS match was Elements’ Henrik “Froggen” Hansen. But it wasn’t enough to give Elements a win against Fnatic—in part because they gave up too much in the draft to get him.
The Danish mid laner locked in the pick against Fnatic in a draft filled with powerful picks. Fnatic took a lineup featuring Hecarim, Kalista, Rek’Sai, and Azir into the rift, the top contested champions in each of those roles at the Midseason Invitational event last month. Elements countered with a squad featuring a team capable of making impressive mechanical plays with Fizz, Vayne, Bard, and of course, Ekko.
While Elements managed to pull off a couple cheeky plays, they fell behind against Fnatic’s skirmishing talent and then failed to execute in some crucial team fights, eventually dooming them.
Froggen’s Ekko started out with a lead, pushing Fabian “Febiven” Diepstraten’s Azir back in lane and staying ahead in farm, at one point taking a 20 creep lead and amassing a 3/0/0 KDA line.
But an ill-fated Magical Journey by Bard in the top lane played into Fnatic’s hands: Elements thought they were catching Fnatic out, with two of them backing into Elements vision. But Fnatic turned the fight into multiple kills thanks to Hecarim and Rek’Sai’s ability to join from global range.
Elements took advantage of Bard to attempt a comeback. The support pick is quickly becoming a staple, and Elements showed why on purple side by sneaking a Baron at the 27 minute mark. Fnatic had vision in the river from the Rift Scuttler, but Elements took a Magical Journey through the wall to bypass it, allowing them to take the important objective uncontested. With a 6K gold deficit, that’s just what Elements needed to get back into the game. But the ensuing team fight as they tried to push proved disastrous: Missed skillshots from Gragas and Bard saw Fnatic score four kills and a huge lead.
“We basically got every OP champion we play, and our comp was super strong compared to theirs,” Febiven said after the match. “We just had to farm up and then we’d win the team fights.”
Overall it was a quiet debut for Ekko, a champion who quickly became a solo queue terror after his release. But the Fnatic mid laner says the pick is “overrated.”
“I actually never played this matchup because this champion is just out and it’s getting banned a lot in solo queue,” Febiven said. “I don’t have a lot of practice against Ekko, but I just told myself to farm up. I knew how strong Azir would be in late game, mid game so… Ekko is pretty strong I think, his laning phase, because his shield is pretty broken. But next patch it’s going to get nerfed, so. I think he’s pretty overrated.”
Of course, when you have to give up “every OP champion” you play to actually get the Ekko pick against a team like Fnatic, things probably won’t go well. It wasn’t a bad individual performance by Froggen with the new champion, but he probably wishes he could rewind time to the pick and ban phase after that debut.