Echo Fox has completed a miracle run to qualify as the 6th seed for the playoffs of the 2019 LCS Spring Split.
Four straight wins against Cloud9, 100 Thieves, Team Liquid, and Counter Logic Gaming puts FOX in the 2019 LCS Spring Playoffs by the skin of its teeth. The return and subsequent resurgence of Jungler Lee "Rush" Yoon-jae has made all the difference for Echo Fox, as a new level of synergy with Mid Laner Kim "Fenix" Jae-hun has raised the ceiling of the roster beyond previous heights.
The final win for Echo Fox was capped off in dramatic fashion. Bot Laner Apollo "Apollo" Price, serving as the primary damage for FOX's composition, finished off CLG with a Pentakill on Jinx. It wasn't done easily, however, as a fountain dive was necessary for the fifth kill to be secured, which resulted in the deaths of several Echo Fox members just before CLG's nexus fell. Grey screens and smiles abundant amidst the clinching of the 6th seed felt fitting of Echo Fox's unlikely triumph.
Apollo joined Inven Global after clinching playoffs against CLG to discuss Echo Fox's amazing run, break down his penta kill, and discuss once again dawning the helm of the TSM slayer with his teammates Nickolas "Hakuho" Surgent and Colin "Solo" Earnest.
That really was something else, Apollo. Did today go as you expected? Because it's been a roller coaster for us!
I mean, even starting from a couple weeks ago, a lot of people thought we were down and out, and that was fair to say. We were in a huge slump, and we needed four wins in a row to end the split with a playoff qualification. That's almost the only way it could have happened, and then...we did that. *Laughs*
Coming in from last week's 2-0 over Cloud9 and 100 Thieves, we thought, 'holy ****, we're actually good enough to do this.' Then we came into week 9 and beat Team Liquid, and after taking down the likes of C9 and TL, we knew we could beat Counter Logic Gaming after a three-game winning streak. We played really well because we had really good practice over the week and played a lot of compositions on which we were super comfortable.
Going into this match, I didn't feel pressured. I just felt confident, which is exactly how you want to feel in that situation. Even though we were fighting for a playoff spot and there was a lot of pressure, I just felt like, 'We're just gonna f*****g do this.'
And then you did, with a Pentakill at the end, to boot! What was the communications like for that ending?
I got the triple kill, and then I just kept chasing Rek'Sai because I wanted the kill. Hakuho told me not to go for the kill and just end the game because chasing was going to take too long, and then I was like, 'I want to kill this guy!' *Laughs* Then, Solo said, 'Let's go get the Penta!' and Hakuho agreed.
Hakuho's exact words before the fountain dive were, 'I will die for you.' *Laughs* I'm glad they had my back.
That's hilarious, especially considering that the game did not start off in your favor whatsoever with the early first blood on Solo for Wiggily's Rek'Sai.
His flash was used and he started to W on Vladimir when trying to escape.
Everyone knows how great of a start that is...In all seriousness, Solo didn't seem phased and sort of chuckled to himself when he was killed. Was the team morale not affected by the First Blood?
I didn't really think about throughout the entire game. It was pretty clear we had a full scaling composition and they wanted to mess us up in the early game with Neeko/Rek'Sai/Zoe/Lucian/Thresh. They were either going to end the game in 20 minutes, or bust. We were even in farm; almost ahead in the Bot Lane. We were strong and didn't lose that many turret plates. Mid Lane was going fine with the Kassadin matchup, aka just slowly losing.
Even though it was kind of shaky for us in regards trades on the top side and losing a few early turrets, we knew that if we held strong until I got my 2 items...3 items...4 ITEMS...then there's no way we could lose. By the time I hit my 3 item core and Fenix's Kassadin hit that 14-16 level range, they just didn't have the tools to close out the game. We played really well. We had three losing lanes and a losing jungle matchup, and we didn't lose in 20 minutes. That's what you get.
Was 20 minutes the turning point that you guys knew you could fight back? It was nice to see CLG go for aggression, but challenging Echo Fox to a 'street fight' seems like a bad move.
The second Infernal Drake spawned, and I had my 2 item core, we knew we could fight. We were aware of our scaling, but knew we should fight for that objective. We had Vladimir and Kassadin coming from good angles, so we ran down mid, caught out Zoe, and destroyed the fight. We were confident going into that play; it wasn't like we just found a lucky pick. We said, 'We're going to go fight these guys, because we are not scared.'
Solo has always been praised for his durability with little to no jungle pressure, and has made his LCS career on losing gracefully. However, he's been hard carrying the past few weeks for Echo Fox. Has something changed for the team as a whole, or did he just start eating his Wheaties?
I've been playing with Solo for a while, and I think he's a really strong player. I think the public perception is that he wasn't very good, which I thought was very unfair, but they're going to think what they want to think. As the team got better, it helped him play better too. He's more confident and more comfortable and he is utilizing Rush more often. But also, we as a team were utilizing him more.
We worked better as a team. It wasn't just like, 'Oh now Solo is going to take over the world.' We all gradually worked on these things and work on what we need to do to help Solo as a team and vice-versa. It's a team thing. I agree that he's been performing super well, there's no doubt about it, but I think he's always been this good. I think it's just that we're now working together as a team better and that's emphasizing it.
Speaking more towards your team, Rush mentioned he worked on things in our interview while being benched. Did the rest of the team learn anything from having Panda in the lineup
It definitely gave me perspective, because we had to change the way we played. There was a clear difference between Panda and Rush. We needed to control Panda and tell him what to do. It's not that he didn't know exactly what to do, but more that it was better for the team if we said what to do, and for him to follow and listen. He would also create game plans, but overall there was a lot more back and forth with Panda and the team than with Rush.
We would say an idea and Panda would keep going on that idea, which is really good. Rush was more instinctual and didn't communicate his thought processes to the team as well.
Panda was vocal, which is good, but it is also good to have that instinct and that 'switch' where you know when it's time to make the play. It was eye-opening for me because there was a huge difference between the two junglers in terms of playstyles. I think Panda is a good player, but Rush has that instinct that you need on stage. You need to have that, or you're not going to be able to beat the top teams and close out games on stage.
You can do well in the early game and communicate and be okay, but you still need to close out the game, and that's what Rush brings.
The Return of Rush was a big part of this incredible run for Echo Fox. In our last interview, you said you thought Rush could become the best jungler in LCS over time. How do you think he's doing on that?
He's proving people wrong, for sure. I believe in Rush, he's a good player. He sometimes needs toslow down and needs to communicate his things, but that doesn't mean he shouldn't have the other instinctual side. You have to have the balance, which is easier said than done, of course.
I'm not a perfect player either, but from my experience with Rush, I think he just needs to find that balance. Once he does that, I think he's going to be an amazing jungler, and he already is playing amazingly.
Congratulations on your playoff qualification. Are you, Hakuho, and Solo ready to become TSM slayers once again next week?
*Laughs* Thank you everyone for supporting us. We're hoping to knock out TSM...again.
Hopefully TSM prepares harder this time, but we'll give them a run for their money.