Keith on how to win a match after losing for 60 minutes
When Yuri “Keith” Jew finally reached the press room and plopped into an office chair, he looked like he was ready to relax. Almost 40 minutes after his team, Echo Fox, pulled off the most thrilling and unbelievable win in League of Legends this year, he’s still out of breath, stunned by the conclusion of the record-setting 68 minute match.
When I ask Keith what happened, he shrugs and laughs. “I don’t know,” he says. “We just lost early and mid game because of some Poppy ults, for the most part, then they just made mistakes—and we won?”
But then he saw Anthony "Hard" Barkhovtsev hitting the nexus. “Freaking superhero right there, jesus.”
It took more than 50 minutes for Echo Fox to pick up a kill, more than 20 minutes after Baron scored one by killing a Dignitas player. It took more than 60 minutes for Echo Fox to take the outer mid lane turret. They gave up four Barons and seven Dragons, somehow surviving three Aspect of the Dragon buffs, a win condition that’s designed to end the game. Yet somehow Echo Fox survived, stalling the game with Henrik “Froggen” Hansen and Keith clearing wave after wave of minions as Dignitas pressured their base—and farming at a world record pace.
At the 64-minute mark, after stacking Baron and Dragon buffs, Dignitas wanted to push down top lane and potentially win the game. But Froggen scored two kills on Gangplank and Echo Fox traded one death for four kills. With respawn timers at 80 seconds, they pushed down mid to try and end the game.
The problem? They only killed the out mid turret after the 60 minute mark. Dignitas had a lot of base in between their nexus and Echo Fox.
“We tried to end it of course, but then we couldn’t,” Keith says. They took down the first nexus turret, but Dignitas spawned and killed Echo Fox’s two solo laners, pushing the remaining players out of the base.
“The only thing I’m thinking is, ‘We’re going to lose. We have nothing left,’” Keith says.
Then Froggen made a fateful call: “You guys walk around and backdoor.”
Keith, backing out into mid lane with his support, acquiesced while thinking that it probably wouldn't work. He flashed over the wall into the base and used his Kalista ultimate to pull Alistair in with him, hoping for the best.
Dignitas responded quickly, with one player getting on Keith right away. Echo Fox downed the last nexus turret, but Keith quickly fell.
“When I died I just thought we lost right there,” Keith says. But then he saw Anthony "Hard" Barkhovtsev hitting the nexus. “Freaking superhero right there, jesus.”
The victory felt surreal, Keith says. Playing a boring 60-minute match, where the most exciting thing was cheering on Froggen’s climbing creep score—punctuated by such an exciting finish with massive implications in the standings—didn’t feel real.
“It’s just insane because, when we won, it didn’t even feel like we won,” Keith says. “Like wait, we won? This is crazy.”
The victory pulled Echo Fox to 6-9. That’s not exactly a record to be boast about, but it kept the team from falling into a 5-10 tie with Dignitas and Team Impulse, a place that could lead to relegation. Plus, it kept Echo Fox in the playoff race—a few more wins, and they could easily pass NRG eSports or Team Liquid to enter the big dance.
Plagued by visa problems all season long, Echo Fox has fielded a rotating lineup of ringers for most of the season. But now that they’re starting their actual starters, they’re excelling. Since finally putting together the full lineup they built in the preseason, Echo Fox has posted five wins and two losses. That's “a good record for how good we are,” Keith says.
The team’s been practicing together all season long, and two weeks ago they installed an office so that they could play from a dedicated practice facility. Keith believes it’s helping. “You can think more clearly when you’re in the office,” he explained.
That, of course, may not be enough to salvage a season derailed by administrative problems. After a close loss to Counter Logic Gaming on Sunday, Echo Fox will face the No. 2 team in the league, Cloud9, and a Renegades team that are playing well after a late season trade to bolster their lineup. They need to win both games to force a tiebreaker with NRG eSports or Team Liquid, should either of those teams lose their final two matches. Still, Echo Fox has likely managed to stave off relegation, putting them in a good position to grow in the Summer.
Now that Echo Fox are starting their actual starters, they’re excelling.
Echo Fox also managed to seize control of a League of Legends world record. Froggen and Keith are now No. 1 and No. 2 for Most CS in a competitive match with 764 and 738 respectively, topping the 726 mark set by CJ Entus mid laner Shin “Coco” Jin-yeong in February last year.
Keith just shrugs about the record—he only cares about the top spot—but laughs that his teammate, Froggen, seized the record. Dating back to his days on Counter Logic Gaming EU, Froggen has a reputation as one of the most methodical and dedicated farmers in League of Legends.
“There’s this big meme about Froggen being only farmer, and this proves it,” Keith says. “Best farmer NA.”
More like best farmer in the world.
For most of Echo Fox’s game against Dignitas, that was all their fans had to cheer. But even in a game where leads compound, anything can happen. The ending of that boring 60 minute match was one of the most exciting five minute stretches of League of Legends you’ll ever see, and it’s got Keith, Froggen, and Echo Fox thinking playoffs instead of relegation.
Photo via Riot Games/Flickr