In less than a minute the first attempted scrim between Echo Fox and the roster best known as ‘The Stream Dream Meme Team’ was over. A failed level one invade, some screaming and an Echo Fox ace later was all it took for the game’s chat to be spammed with “Remake?”. It was as pointless as it was entertaining.
Thousands of cumulative fans tuned in to enjoy the star-studded roster of Michael “Imaqtpie” Santana, Joedat “Voyboy” Esfahani, Marcus “Dyrus” Hill, Danny “Shiphtur” Le and William “scarra” Li take on the NA LCS pros of Echo Fox.
In reality, only Matt “Akaadian” Higginbotham and Yuri “Keith” Jew opted into the broadcasted scrim matchup, Jang “Looper” Hyeong-seok and Austin “Gate” Yu perhaps felt that their time would be better spent elsewhere, whilst Henrik “Froggen” Hansen preferred to spectate as opposed to participate.
— Henrik Hansen (@FroggenLoL) 6 June 2017
As the team’s successfully settled down in an attempt to create a somewhat competitive match, it soon became clear that the newly formed Delta Fox roster had a long way to go until they could legitimately challenge their NA LCS colleagues. It was a testament to the quality of the games that the often criticised Keith solo-carried with ease.
To analyse the two team’s in-game decisions would be entirely pointless; rather than analysing the action witnessed on stream, it is of far more value to assess the streams themselves.
‘Competitive integrity’ is a phrase that has been frequently thrown around to criticise the scrim matches. Perhaps the games failed to provide Akaadian and Keith with any meaningful practice ahead of their weekend fixtures, but it’s not uncommon for players to take time out of their practice schedule to attend promotional film/photo shoots or fulfil sponsorship obligations.
For any NA LCS player, the choice between standing in front of a camera for a couple of hours or mess around in a series of light-hearted clown fiestas against endeared former-pros is pretty clear cut.
The Echo Fox vs Delta Fox scrims accumulated a viewership that could single-handedly challenge that of the primary Riot Games NA LCS broadcast. Any game that can attract over 200 thousand viewers cannot be considered a waste of time.
With franchising now on the horizon for each and every North American League of Legends organisation, team owner Rick Fox has evidently identified the need to accumulate a fanbase who support the brand – despite their lack of ‘competitive integrity’, the entertaining scrim matches certainly achieve that aim.
That’s not to say that the debut appearance of the stream squad hasn’t highlighted room for improvement. As enjoyable as it was to witness the roster in a ‘competitive’ setting once more, consistently one-sided matches will lose their appeal quickly.
Considering that MarkZ is supposedly acting as the team’s Head Analyst, they could have at least taken the pick and ban phase seriously. Fan will not be satisfied be simply seeing their favourite streamers names listed as a Challenger Series competitors, they will be expecting them to give a good account of themselves and the Echo Fox organisation.
The Delta Fox project has opened up a range of possibilities, but whilst entertaining content and an increased fanbase are a given, a legitimately competitive Challenger roster is far from guaranteed.