After four weeks of play in the 2019 LCS Spring Split, Echo Fox is sitting at 4-4. Strangely, the team is undefeated on Sundays, but has yet to win a game on Saturdays. Still, FOX has exceeded expectations, and are currently in the LCS playoff race.
Echo Fox Support Nickolas "Hakuho" Surgent sat down with Inven Global following Echo Fox's fourth split weekend in a row to talk about his team's strange curse, the willingness to take risks, and the familiarity between his teammates.
Congratulations on your win, Hakuho. Echo Fox is now 4-0 on Sundays and 0-4 on Saturdays. Is there an actual difference in how you're playing on the different days?
At this point, we expect Saturdays/Sundays to go the way they have been. It's kind of like a mental block, and I'm not really sure why it happens. I think after the first two weeks, we kept joking about it, but now it's in our heads.
How did you feel your game went today?
We executed on our plan, but 100 Thieves kind of let us win because they didn't really do anything. We got the free objectives, vision, then ran into the base as five and won.
Are we starting to get to the point in the split where teams are showing their likelihood of a playoffs run?
Yeah, it's kind of hard to know for sure in a best-of-1 format, but we're almost halfway into the season. Generally, you should be able to show how good of a team you are by now. For us, we're still showing we have some issues. Our team play is still kinda sketchy, and we're pretty on-and-off. Still, if you want to go to playoffs, you have to have shown by now that you can beat some of the top teams in the league.
Everyone on Echo Fox has played together previously. Has that helped you guys develop synergy?
We all know each other so no one is getting hard-tilted after a loss or mad if someone makes a mistake. Generally, we also know each other's play styles and how we want to play each lane and how we approach our fights depending on the composition. Because of the familiarity, things work pretty well in that aspect.
Echo Fox has a penchant for aggression that's made possible by your synergy. Do you find it harder to win games aggressively now that games are going longer than previously in the split?
Games are going much longer in North America. I know that in Europe, games are still relatively well-paced because they play more aggressively as a region and the games end in like 29 or 30 minutes. In NA, a lot of teams go to 40 or even 50 minutes. I think that happens because people are hesitant to pick the risky stuff, but we try to go against that concept.
For example, I tried Morgana out yesterday, and I messed up. However, the lane we drafted is a hard win if we can get to level 6 and 2v2 non-stop, but it was a risky choice to draft Morgana. If you want to go for that, you have to play it extremely well, whereas tanky meta champions like Alistar or Tahm Kench have more room for error and allow you to win more easily through team play.
We're willing to try the riskier picks because if you play them well, you can end the game convincingly at around 20-25 minutes in a hard stomp. However, as I said, there's less room for error.
As a veteran player, you know that you have to strike a balance between conventional team play and individual risk. How do you find that proper balance?
When we pick something risky, we're still trying to win, we're just trying to win in a different way and play very fast and aggressive. Teams like Griffin play whatever they want and just win because they are smurfs, but they're the ones willing to experiment because they are a good team. I think that kind of mentality is really good to have, especially for our team.
Was it easy for this roster to build communication structure due to the familiarity of the players?
I'd say our communication style is pretty normal. We are all veterans, so we know how LCS communication works and how to play the game at the competitive level. We did have to get used to how Rush wanted to jungle since the Jungler dictates most of the early game. Our main focus was combining his style with how all of the laners wanted to play our respective lanes.
Where do you rank yourself amongst Supports in the LCS?
I'd say I'm a Top 3 Support in the LCS with Zeyzal and CoreJJ.
How about you and Apollo as a Bot Lane?
Top 3 as well, I think we're really strong.
In regards to the playoff picture, are there any other teams that you think could surprise people?
I think FlyQuest is really strong. I think they're the type of team that would do really well in a series. They have really interesting picks and they can play a lot of different styles. If they go to playoffs, regardless of who which team they play, it will be an interesting match.
Is Echo Fox's penchant for experimentation geared towards playoff preparation as well?
Exactly, it's to be prepared for series format. If you have cheese picks, you can steal a game and that can really help you out.
Thanks so much for the interview, Hakuho. Is there anything you want to say to the FOX fans?
Thanks to everyone who has been supporting us. We play Team Liquid next Saturday, so maybe we'll break our curse against them.