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League of Legends
League of Legends

Patch 8.11 Reaches the NA LCS

While most of the world has already experimented with many of the changes in the mid-season patches, the North American League Championship Series would be the last major region to finally play on the patch. Major changes to the jungle camps and many AD items has broken open the meta in a way that has allowed for numerous new strategies to be implemented. From funnelling gold to a heavy scaling champion to compositions that completely forgo a marksman, Patch 8.11 has allowed teams to reach deep into their playbook and pull out their most creative strategies. The NA LCS featured a variety of new strategies this week, including an emphasis on newly popular picks such as Brand, Lulu, and Aatrox. Irelia continued the momentum from MSI as a must pick or ban, and Taliyah found her way into the jungle for the first time.

Echo Fox Undefeated After Controversial Win

If any team was going to thrive in this new Meta, it was Echo Fox. With a versatile group of players that includes the always unpredictable Heo “Huni”Seung-hoon, Echo Fox finds themselves able to employ a diverse set of strategies in any given game. It did not take long for Echo Fox to flash this ability, with Huni receiving his patented Yasuo in their first game against FlyQuest Esports, but taking him instead to the bot lane. As such, Johnny “Altec” Ru would be forced to the top lane and selected Dr. Mundo for the first time in his professional career, recording a respectable 4/1/5 scoreline in the Echo Fox victory. Echo Fox’s next opponent would be a familiar one in Clutch Gaming, the team they had overcome to finish third in the Spring Split. Once again, Echo Fox’s flexibility was on full display when Huni and jungler Joshua “Dardoch” Hartnett would switch positions, with Dardoch taking his classic Rengar top and Huni jungling Taliyah. Echo Fox LCS The game would steadily shift in Echo Fox’s favor over the first thirty minutes, but a solid inhibitor defense from Clutch Gaming left a glimmer of hope that the team could hold off Echo Fox and make a comeback. A couple minutes later, Huni and Dardoch were sieging bottom turret when all ten players suddenly disconnected. The Riot Games staff spent the next thirty minute frantically to fix the issue in the game, even looking towards their Chronobreak tool as a possibility. When it was determined the game could not be recovered, Riot Games awarded a victory to Echo Fox, releasing the following statement; “In @ClutchGaming vs @echofoxgg, the game server crashed at 32:26. We were unable to chronobreak the game. League officials are ruling the game a victory for FOX. FOX was currently up 7 turrets to 0. There was one inhibitor down CG's side, a four dragon lead for FOX and a 10k gold lead for FOX. League officials have ruled that CG did not have a reasonable chance to come back in this game and will award FOX with the game victory.” Although on paper it appeared that Echo Fox had a commanding victory, this decision was not without controversy, as many of the fans, staff, and other players viewing the game felt there was still a significant chance for Clutch Gaming to pull out a victory.

Grig Debuts for Team SoloMid

Joining Echo Fox at the top of the standings at 2-0 is none other than fan favorite Team SoloMid. In a continuation of the revolving door at their jungle position, TSM benched the much heralded Michael "MikeYeung" Yeung in favor of former Echo Fox jungler (and TSM Academy player) Jonathan "Grig" Armao. Grig TSM After a sputtering start to their first match against Counter Logic Gaming, Grigne would find his stride on Olaf and provide a steadying force for their victory. In their second match against FlyQuest, Grig would do much of the same on an early Xin Zhao pick, and would end the weekend with a combined statline of 4/1/17 (a 21 KDA). In a meta that allows TSM solo laners Søren "Bjergsen" Bjerg and Kevin “Hauntzer” Yarnell to shine on picks such as Irelia and Aatrox, Grig does not need to be a carry for TSM and will only be relied upon to provide a consistent performance from the jungle. While MikeYeung struggled to find his footing in the Spring Split, Grig already has TSM off to a better start.