All the talk during pre-season was about Zven and Mithy vs Olleh and Doublelift – did I think that Adrian and I were overlooked during the ‘best bot lane NA’ debate? Maybe a little.
Honestly, I’m not sure why the teams I play for are so frequently underrated; maybe it’s because, when they look at us, we don’t stand out as much compared to the big names. I don’t really care about those rankings anyway; none of us do. I just focus on my own play and do what’s best for the team.
Our early success this split shouldn’t simply be marked down as result of us having played together before though. This split, a lot of the bot lanes in the NA LCS have played together previously, either during previous splits or on previous teams: Zven and Mithy, Hakuho and Apollo, Sneaky and Smoothie…
The hype is always going to be around the perceived ‘big names’, so while it feels bad to be overlooked, at the same time there’s nothing we can really do about it except continue to play our best. Adrian and I were really dominant at the end of the 2017 Summer Split with Team Dignitas; it was one of the high points of both our careers.
By the time we reached Playoffs last split, we had crushed pretty much everyone, going on to destroy Cloud9 in the quarterfinals. It was one of my greatest achievements as a pro player since it felt like Adrian and I had proved our worth against everyone, but at the same time, it left a bittersweet taste after falling just short of Worlds.
I first met Adrian a long time ago, during my time playing in the challenger scene at the beginning of my career. He wasn’t playing for anyone at the time and for the most part, our friendship consisted of playing hours and hours of solo queue together as a duo. At one point, I think we managed to hold both rank 1 and 2 on the NA server, before grinding multiple accounts up the challenger ladder.
Our synergy worked really well as a duo from the outset, but sadly we never got the chance to play with each other in a competitive setting. It wasn’t until three years later on Dignitas that we finally sat down next to each other on the NA LCS stage.
As the timelines went, we were both teamless at the start of the Summer Split. I wasn’t cut by Flyquest, it was my decision to step down from the team after the Vancouver finals where we ended up fourth. I decided to pursue other options, confident that, even if I didn’t find myself a team for the summer, I would find myself on a strong team by the time spring came around.
I wasn’t too worried, but as it worked out, Dignitas came along with exactly what I was looking for with pretty much my first offer. When Dignitas’ management initially reached out to me, I told them straight away that I didn’t want to join without Adrian; we would be signed as a package and, after some negotiation, they made it happen.
Sure, there was a risk to that decision – we’d never played professionally together – but I had every confidence that it would work. During the brief period that we had both been teamless, it had been like old times; playing straight solo queue for weeks at a time. I would never have joined Dig without Adrian, it wouldn’t have felt right.
It’s funny, before we started playing together, Adrian had a reputation for only being able to play ranged supports and cheesy champions. It wasn’t until we were both on Dignitas, that we showed that we could adapt and perform on near enough anything. We continued to build on our synergy together, becoming really comfortable and building up a lot of confidence in each other.
When I first joined Dig they had a 5/1 record, after my first few weeks with the team, they were 5/5 – I guess that could just be put down as a coincidence. Admittedly, I hadn’t established myself as the starter by that point, I was swapping in for LOD if he was underperforming. It wasn’t until Week 6, that the management decided to play Adrian and myself as the starters from that point onwards; we crushed pretty much everyone.
Adrian and I approached the 2017 free-agency period as a package once again. A lot of teams came in wanting to sign the pair of us, whilst at the same time, we approached a lot of teams directly with our proposed package deal. There were some teams that were hesitant about recruiting us together and a lot that had already recruited their bot lanes for 2018.
In honesty, we delayed our decision until quite late on, by which point, Echo Fox was definitely our best option. The management proved to us that they really cared for their players, something that I didn’t really have at any of my previous organisations. Before we joined, we knew Fenix and Dardoch were already locked in, but we had no idea who our top laner would be – luckily for us, Huni came along.
After our roster was announced and I started reading about the potential volatility of our roster, in the back of my mind, of course, I knew all about Dardoch, Fenix and Team Liquid’s implosion. I wasn’t too worried about it though, I had every confidence in my teammates and their ability. They’re all really strong players and as long as we all put the effort into our relationships, everything will work out.
When I first joined Echo Fox, I think the bar had been set pretty low by their previous rosters; they’d only played in relegation fights for the past two years so my initial goal was to make playoffs with this team and take it slowly take it from there. It feels good to be towards the top of the table, looking likely to exceed my expectations.
I have everything I need to achieve my potential here at Echo Fox; they have given us all the resources we need, even a professional office environment to scrim from. My biggest goal right now is to head down to Miami and win the NA LCS, but before that, Adrian and I need to maintain our consistency. This is, without a doubt, the strongest team I’ve ever been a part of and I’m just glad to be part of it.
Image Credit: Riot Games