Echo Fox made a dramatic move to cut former mid lane starter Kim “FeniX” Jae-hoon from the organization’s NA LCS team on Tuesday.
FeniX, one of the mainstays of the region since moving over from South Korea in 2014, had been one of the longest-tenured players in the league. But recently, he saw his starting spot taken by Tanner Damonte, a longtime Academy player. Today, he revealed on social media that the team has cut him altogether.
This marks a major shift for Echo Fox, who are also grappling with a coaching change after head coach Nick “Inero” Smith stepped down just two weeks ago. The team now has to quickly reorient itself to playing solely around Damonte as its mid lane starter.
FeniX came to Echo Fox last offseason as the team executed a major rebuild after being accepted into the franchised league. Popular Danish mid laner Henrik “Froggen” Hansen was the organization’s first big signing in 2015, but he was unable to lead the squad to the playoffs.
Echo Fox brought in FeniX and fellow Korean Heo “Huni” Seung-hoon along with other LCS veterans to replace Froggen. The new team overcame potential personality conflicts to finish second in the 2018 Spring Split regular season and third in the playoffs. But the Summer Split has proven much as the team has struggled to improve and adapt to the new meta. Now, FeniX is gone as well with the reigns to the mid lane turned over fully to Damonte.
Damonte had subbed in for Echo Fox in the past, but this is his first extended action at the LCS level. Damonte was suspended by Riot for the first five games of this split for continued toxic behavior in solo queue. After returning to the team and getting subbed in for FeniX, his match record has been shaky, with three wins against four losses. But Echo Fox apparently feel that he’s the key to their improvement for the rest of the season.
As for FeniX, most LCS teams are relatively set at the mid lane position. Even FlyQuest, who saw former starter Song “Fly” Yong-jun return home to South Korea during the midseason, are tied for first place with Jang “Keane” Lae-young starting at mid lane. It may be a while before FeniX finds a starting position in the NA LCS again.