Only one team finished the first week of the North American League Championship Series with an undefeated record. Defying expectations it was neither Team SoloMid or Cloud9 who reigned supreme, but rather Echo Fox who climbed to the summit of the NA LCS. At the heart of the team’s renaissance, is their star player and mid laner Henrik “Froggen” Hansen.
After a split in which Echo Fox barely avoided the Promotion Tournament and finished in eighth place, FOX brazenly stuck with the same roster in hope of a summer revival. While their confidence in their original roster may ultimately prove to have been misplaced, a boot camp in Korea and a unique scrim structure has shown Echo Fox to be improved early in the season.
From the team’s very inception, it was clear that the Echo Fox team was going to be built around Froggen. Already a superstar in Europe, Froggen became the latest European mid laner to leave in an attempt to make his mark in NA. Unlike his famous predecessor Søren “Bjergsen” Bjerg, Froggen was not able to find early success with Echo Fox; now in his fourth split, Froggen and Echo Fox have yet to make an appearance in the playoffs.
Froggen’s first match-up of the week came against one of NA’s best native mid laners, FlyQuest’s Hai “Hai” Du Lam. Placed on two high damage carries in Lucian and Leblanc, Froggen showed off his laning dominance and mechanical prowess by opening up significant early leads on Hai in both games. In the first game, Froggen overpowered what is usually a safe pick in Karma mid, and punished Hai’s disrespectful blind Kassadin pick with his Lucian in game two.
In their next series against Team Liquid, it was much of the same for Froggen. Although Team Liquid’s mid lane struggles have been well documented, Froggen took care of business against substitute mid laner Andrew “Slooshi” Pham, putting on one of the season’s most impressive performances in game two on a Taliyah pick that may cause future opponents to ban it. He dealt 48% of Echo Fox’s damage and was constantly applying pressure across the map.
Froggen highlighted his versatility in Week 1 by playing a mixture of carries and control mages, something that will allow Echo Fox not only to adapt to the meta, but to not be ‘pigeonholed’ into a specific strategy moving forward.
His apparent mastery of many popular meta picks bodes well for Echo Fox’s outlook early in the season, and there has never been any reason to believe Froggen’s play will drop off as the season goes on. A veteran player who is used to the pressure of being a star, Froggen is a rock with which Echo Fox can continue to build upon.
The biggest question for Echo Fox moving forward may be, ‘can Froggen keep this up?’. With what many would consider one of the weakest bottom lanes in the NA LCS composed of Yuri “Keith” Jew and Austin “Gate” Yu, Froggen will likely need to maintain a high level of play for Echo Fox to compete for one of the spots in the playoffs.
If he is able to continue to dominate his lane, or win his lane by a large enough margin to apply pressure upon other lanes, Echo Fox’s chances of success in the NA LCS should increase dramatically.
CLICKON eSports 2017 NA LCS Summer Split Power Rankings
CLICKON eSports NA LCS Power Rankings
On the heels of Rift Rivals, CLICKON ranks the teams of the NA LCS.
9th: Echo Fox
After a hot start to the split, Echo Fox has cooled off considerably. Although their mid laner Froggen continues to play at an exceptional level, he still has not received consistent enough play from his teammates to push Echo Fox above a bottom tier team. With a new season approaching, expect Echo Fox to make multiple moves in the off-season if they fail to make the playoffs once again.
The surprise of the season so far has been the resurgence of Immortals behind their new jungler Xmithie. Maintaining the top spot for most of the season so far, Immortals find themselves coming off their first 0-2 week. Whether this is an anamoly, or a sign of things to come, Immortals have proven they can compete with NA's best.
7th: Team EnVyUs
Team NV could be a dark horse in NA moving forward, with a star jungler and consistent bot lane play that has led to significant improvement from their last place finish in the Spring Split. WIth both Pirean and Nisqy showing they can hold their own in the mid lane, NV should finish the season as a contender for a playoff spot.
10th: Team Liquid
Team Liquid may have hit rock bottom halfway through the second split of the 2017 season. With constant substitutions in their starting lineup, Team Liquid have yet to find the right combination to push them forward. For Team Liquid, it is time to start thinking about next season already.
8th: FlyQuest eSports
The addition of former TSM AD Carry WildTurtle has failed to provide the positive spark that FLyQuest were hoping for, and in response they have fallen quickly from their former perch near the top of the standings. Still a fringe playoff team, FlyQuest remains a dangerous team that can not be ignored on any given week. If Hai and Moon are able to rekindle some of their Spring Split synergy, FlyQuest could make a run to end the year.
5th: Team Dignitas
Team Dignitas may be the biggest wildcard of the upcoming split, a team loaded with potential and talent who had a very tumultuous first split. The addition of subs Shrimp and Big should provide flexibility to a roster that has continued to synergize as the season progressed. If LOD is able to keep up with the other ADCs in NA, Dignitas will be a team to watch out for.
2nd: Counter Logic Gaming
Expectations were high for Counter Logic Gaming entering the split after the arrival of Dardoch, and those expectation have been mostly met as CLG currently sits atop the NA LCS standings. With greatly improved play from top laner Darshan, CLG have become a favorite to capture another NA LCS title. Do not be surprised to find them as one of the two teams playing in the Finals in Boston.
Following their third place finish in the Spring Split, do not expect much drop off from Phoenix1 in the upcoming split. NA MVP Arrow should excel in a meta that emphasizes ADCs, and both Ryu and Zig have proven to be more than competent solo laners. The only unknown for Phoenix1 seems to be new support Shady, who was given the starting position despite his poor performances near the end of the last split.
Coming off a 2-1 series victory over Team SoloMid, Cloud9 had a less than impressive showing at Rift RIvals. With the news that the majority of the team was sick at the event, we will cut C9 a break and still have them as a top three team in NA. If they can find consistency from their two top laners, Cloud9 could challenge for the NA LCS crown once again.
1st: Team SoloMid
Following their dominant showing at Rift Rivals, Team SoloMid should once again be considered the favorites in NA. With string laners and great macro play, TSM have shown significant growth already in the split. The return of Doublelift and the emphasis on improvement has paid dividends for the reigning NA LCS Champions, and could easily lead to another title.