Road to Season Seven: Echo Fox
Adding a former world champion to their active roster, Echo Fox looks to rectify their past mistakes and prove to the world that they aren’t a bottom tier NA LCS team.
- Jang "Looper" Hyeong-seok
- Matthew "Akaadian" Higginbotham
- Henrik "Froggen" Hansen
- Yuri "KEITH" Jew
- Austin "Gate" Yu
On Dec. 18, 2015, former NBA champion Rick Fox announced the creation of his new esports organization, Echo Fox. With this announcement came the news that Echo Fox had purchased Gravity’s NA LCS spot and would be competing in the upcoming 2016 season.
The marquee signing for Echo Fox’s NA LCS roster was European legend Froggen. Regarded as one of the best European mid laners to ever play the game, Echo Fox chose to sign Froggen after his contract with Elements expired. Echo Fox’s second major signing was former Team Liquid and Team SoloMid AD Carry, Keith. Being one of the only remaining free agent ADCs with LCS experience, Echo Fox decided Keith was the best choice for the team. To round out the roster, Echo Fox brought in NA CS players Anthony "Hard" Barkhovtsev and Terry "BIG" Chuong, as well as Park "kfo" Jeong-hun, who had a high rank in Korean solo queue.
Echo Fox’s spring split was plagued with visa issues. Three of Echo Fox’s players, including Froggen, couldn’t play in the LCS for several weeks due to visa problems. Echo Fox wasn’t able to play with their full roster until week five, almost halfway into the spring split. Echo Fox finished the spring split in seventh, missing playoffs but avoiding relegations.
Despite fielding their main roster for the entirety of the split, Echo Fox had a horrible summer split performance. Winning only one series in the first week, Echo Fox went on to lose every other series, finishing the summer split dead last with a match score of 1 - 17. Facing relegations, Echo Fox had to compete in the NA LCS spring promotion tournament. Somehow managing to beat both Team Liquid Academy and NRG in the promotion tournament, Echo Fox secured their LCS spot for 2017.
Following the summer, Echo Fox decided to make changes to their top lane, jungle, and support positions. The biggest addition to the team is undoubtedly former Royal Never Give Up top laner Looper. During the last world championship, Looper showed his laning prowess, making the round-of-eight before losing to SK Telecom T1. As a world champion, Looper will certainly be able to help guide or lead the rest of Echo Fox.
Replacing Hard is Akaadian. Playing only in the challenger series, this will be Akaadian’s NA LCS debut. Being the only rookie on this roster, Akaadian will definitely be the biggest question mark for Echo Fox.
After failing to secure former IMT support Adrian "Adrian" Ma, Echo Fox chose to sign Gate. As an average NA LCS support, Gate is definitely a step up from Big. Gate also brings almost two years of experience in professional play to Echo Fox.
Even with a world champion like Looper, when compared to the rest of the league, I can’t possibly see Echo Fox finishing above eighth place. While their solo lanes are decent, Echo Fox has arguably the worst bot lane and jungle in the league. This weakness can easily be exploited by the other NA LCS teams, especially with the removal of lane swaps.
On paper, this Echo Fox lineup does not have much going for them aside from Looper, and with many other great top laners now entering the league, this advantage becomes increasingly irrelevant. It doesn’t matter how well Looper does in the top lane; if the rest of his team is getting demolished, there isn’t much he can do as a Poppy or Nautilus.
Echo Fox’s performance in this upcoming split is really going to rely on Akaadian’s performance. Playing arguably the most impactful role in the game right now, Akaadian will have to play out of his mind this split if both he and Echo Fox want to avoid relegations.
Do you think Echo Fox can win the NA LCS? Let us know by commenting below or tweeting us @GAMURScom.
Article by Malcolm Abbas. Follow him on Twitter @SmashhLoL.
Photo via LoL Esports