On the 17th of June at the NA LCS stadium, Echo Fox defeated Clutch Gaming in a rather unusual way.
From the very start of the game, Echo Fox brought excitement to the crowd with Dardoch going Rengar top and Huni going Taliyah jungle. Echo Fox produced a convincing lead to what seemed to be a standard crazy game from Fox. However, due to technical difficulties regarding Taliyah, the game had crashed. Unable to chronobreak, a judge ultimately ruled Echo Fox victorious.
With much controversy in the matter, we met with Echo Fox’s jungler, Dardoch, to hear his thoughts on the situation. Let’s see what Dardoch has to say about the pause, Huni jungle, and the meta.
¤ Let’s talk about your opinion on the pause. From what I have heard, the judge decided to give Echo Fox the win due to the circumstances.
It is definitely super controversial. This is because if we were on Clutch’s side, we would also argue that it was winnable. You could say that the game is in a state that it could go back if they played well. However, we also understood that we were 10k gold ahead. We would have also won the game if we played correctly. Echo Fox ultimately agreed with the decision because it gave us a win.
Obviously, it is really difficult to declare one say is correct over the other. The only fair outcome is to chronobreak the game. But when that option is erased, there is no easy route to have both sides be happy with the outcome.
¤ Moving onto a lighter topic, you picked Rengar top and Huni picked Taliyah jungle. Could you run me through why Echo Fox decided to do this?
Currently, our philosophy on what is more important is; playing your role or playing your character. We feel that if the knowledge of the role is similar it does not matter. Huni and I both understand the jungle to the same degree. We both understand it very well.
Huni, coming from the immense experience from SKT, just has a good grasp of pretty much every role. This is why you see him play Yasuo bot really well. You have all seen him play mid lane. Huni can also play Karma top and probably can play Karma support as well. We see him play jungle all the time in solo q.
I have always been a Rengar main. When Rengar first came out, I played him top lane. You know when you get your off-role in solo q, I always try to practice junglers at top. So, I play Rengar. I have probably accumulated around 500-600 and up to a 1000 games on Rengar in the last two years top lane. A scenario came up in scrims when I was like “Let me try Rengar top. I think I can beat this champion.”, and I did.
Also, Huni played really well on Taliyah. Since Taliyah is fairly new to the jungle, I haven’t had time to master it. It just made sense to put us both on comfort picks if I can also win top as Huni would.
¤ Was your team and coach in full support of this decision?
It was not like I suddenly decided to play Rengar. I was already playing Rengar in the jungle because he is just one of my best champions regardless. I would always pick Rengar, but I would joke role swapping just cause everyone else around me was role swapping.
It was really natural for Huni to go Yasuo or Irelia bot. We already used Johnny on Dr. Mundo in the first game. That was a normal thing. We put anyone who is not comfortable with their role on something that is safe like tanks. We had a lot of success with that. Every time in those situations, I was the envious one because jungle role was the only role that was not swapping.
I would always say “I can play Rengar here” in drafts. In one draft, I said I could play Rengar and my coach was okay with it. Fenix, Johnny, and Adrian have been in NA forever so they know me for my Rengar in solo q. Hence, everyone had a lot of confidence in me. I did really well, so it is pretty good.
¤ Talking about Echo Fox as a whole, Echo Fox has not been playing like the other teams. While other teams are only trying new picks, Echo Fox has accomplished mixing roles with new picks. Do you think this is because of Echo Fox’s identity or because of you and Huni?
I think it is definitely reliant in having people like that on your team. The players that understand the roles at a higher level, and who can genuinely swap and dominate in those roles. Swapping Huni’s Yasuo to bot lane doesn’t win us the game. Swapping him bottom and winning because we selected him Yasuo is why we win the game.
It is not just about putting Huni on a champion that is important for our competition. It is about putting Huni on a champion that he can execute well on. He is not going bottom for a 50-50. Huni is going bottom and winning. Yesterday, Huni killed WildTurtle level 1 as Yasuo bot. He is dominating the game and doing the most damage.
In our eyes, we are just putting what works for our team best and setting ourselves up for success. We have always succeeded when Huni plays a champion that influences the map in a positive way and is also a damage threat. To us, we are just playing with our strengths. I think it can be seen as us just putting Huni on a carry and playing around him. However, I believe it is just the best way to play.
A lot of teams don’t have that kind of flexibility. I just don’t think there are a lot of players like Huni out there. Huni is a one of a kind player. Unless somebody imports Faker or something, I don’t believe you will see the similar amount of role swapping and genuine mastery of multiple roles. Huni definitely has it.
¤ People have said that Echo Fox is a “Wild Wild West” kind of team. A team that is unpredictable. Do you agree with this? If so, what your opinions on how people view Echo Fox?
I definitely have the same outlook on that. I believe it is my first time being on a team this weird. I think ‘weird’ is a good way to describe us. I was on pretty generic teams before where ADC was the carry and Mid was the carry. I would play the game how it was expected to be played.
Us as a team think about it too. When we all went to the bathroom before the decision for the pause had been done, I was just talking to my teammates in the bathroom like “How annoying is it to draft against us? If we pick Rengar, is it jungle or top? Is Huni going Mid or Jungle?”. But yeah, I think it is going to be a real headache to play against us. I don’t believe that this will change for a very long time.
¤ In last Spring Split, Echo Fox performed extremely well and placed 2nd before playoffs. What are some of your team/individual goals that you want to achieve this split?
Overall, we as a team care less about the regular season ending. We were sharing or in sole possession of first place up until week 9 when we lost to 100 Thieves. We know that this kind of thing doesn’t mean anything. Even if we lost in the semifinals, Echo Fox does not see that as a necessity. More so, we are very focused on just being more open-minded and flexible in terms of what we are practicing and how we adapt to patches.
These aspects are what we felt like we feel off the most. We didn’t adapt to the meta as well as we should have. We weren’t as open-minded when the patch came. In essence, we are more geared towards on Worlds and playoffs mentality instead of “Let’s try to dominate in the early season as much as we can.”.
¤ Do you wish that this meta will last forever? It seems as if this meta provides Echo Fox with unlimited possibilities and also allows Echo Fox to shine.
Yeah. Obviously now after we played week 1, we have a pretty good grasp on what is good. It does look like we are going to be the better teams on this patch for sure. Truthfully speaking just before we played FlyQuest yesterday, we were just as confused and worried about “If this is what we can play, what can they play?”. I think the meta is definitely in a spot where any team could understand it better than another. But, it is really just going to take some time. Any meta that favors early game fighting and mechanically heavy champions will benefit us for sure.
¤ NA, unlike other regions, seems to be afraid of trying new things in regards to the meta. EU and KR are trying all sorts of picks and strategies, but NA is still resulting back to standard ADCs. Why do you think NA is so afraid to make that leap?
It feels like in North America, there are a lot of teams that value winning now more so than learning and growing as much as possible. I feel like the teams that are going back to the standard stuff are just picking what they are comfortable with because they don’t truly understand the patch. They can easily be playing Yasuo and Irelia in scrims, but they just come to the decision that it is not ready for stage.
A lot of the ADCs are okay against the bruisers. They don’t lose after a certain point. You can still pick Ezreal and safely farm. People who are still uncomfortable on bruisers are still going to pick Ezreal blind. They will just farm and go even. You can still counter pick with the support and beat the bruisers. Gen.G. did it in Korea. Ruler still plays Marksman ADCs bottom, and he does pretty well.
My opinion on the patch is that the better individual player will win. I think it is mostly skill matchups all the way down the line. Everything has a counter pick. I believe intelligent drafting and people winning off counter picks is very important. Getting what you expect to play in draft is quintessential. If you counter pick a certain role and you don’t win, it is devastating to the map. Everything needs to be counter picked because most champions have such devastating effects to the game.
¤ Lastly considering the meta right now, which team are you most excited to go up against?
Honestly, the most exciting team that we played against in scrims is actually OpTic. They are pretty fun to vs right now in scrims at the very least. Since we have not scrimmed with every team yet, I would have to say OpTic is pretty good.