May 22, 2018 Written by: ROG

How Echo Fox sets themselves up for success

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echo-fox-na-lcs-small-121scaleThe deceptively powerful ROG G20 is one of Echo Fox’s keys to success.

Echo Fox’s LCS team blew people away this Spring Split. They’ve received breathless ESPN coverage and even convinced critics that something is different this time. They never closed out a week at less than first place, managed to hand Team Liquid their first loss of Spring Split, and charged full-steam ahead into the playoffs to snatch a solid 3-0 third place position against Clutch Gaming. Echo Fox is a changed team, and it shows.

Part of this success is thanks to Echo Fox’s management, whose pro sports experience and unprecedented support infrastructure is making waves in the esports community. However, players have their own tricks. During NA LCS week one, we caught up with Echo Fox and got the inside scoop on how they’re bringing their best this season. It starts with the right equipment and settings, but they bring it all together with technical know-how and teamwork.

Plugging in with prowess

echo-fox-na-lcs-small-116scaleThe ROG G20 is compact enough to fit on a small desk with plenty of room to spare.

Playing at pro levels begins with pro equipment. Echo Fox uses the ROG G20, one of our powerful compact gaming desktops. It’s stacked with an Intel Core i7-6700 processor, NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1080 graphics, 16GB of DDR4 RAM, and a 512GB SSD. Best of all, it’s quieter than a library and features customizable Aura RGB lighting effects. The award-winning design is small and stylish, giving Echo Fox plenty of desk and floor space to spare, unlike many practice rooms with wild tangles of towers and cables.

Paired with the G20 is the only display fit for foxes: the ROG Swift PG248Q gaming gonitor, also known as the official monitor of ESL ONE Cologne and The International 2016. This Full HD G-Sync display has a lightning-fast 1-ms response time and overclocks to 180Hz, meaning every frame the G20 cranks out is displayed with buttery-smooth perfection. No screen tearing or stuttering here.

echo-fox-na-lcs-small-125scaleThe ROG Swift PG248Q’s special eye-friendly features have solved Echo Fox’s eye strain issues. The G11CD gaming towers in the background will soon be upgraded to epic custom-built ROG Strix GL12 esports gaming desktops.

Almost as important are the Swift PG248Q’s eye-friendly features. When we followed Echo Fox during NA LCS Spring Split 2018 week one, we learned just how long their practice sessions are. The team scrims for a minimum of eight hours per day, six days a week. With that kind of screen time, eye strain is a big issue, and it can lead to blurry vision, burning eyes, and even headaches.

The Swift PG248Q’s built-in ASUS Eye Care Technology tackles these issues directly. It filters blue light at five different levels and uses a flicker-free backlight to reduce eye strain. In fact, it eliminates the need for specialized gaming glasses altogether. Back in January, multiple Echo Fox players reported the difference from their Eye Care displays, including fewer headaches and more comfortable gaming sessions. A monitor that’s kinder to your eyes actually means the difference between surviving a marathon scrim and surrendering because you can’t see straight.

Setting up for success

echo-fox-na-lcs-70smallSuccess starts with settings, but it ends with Summoners.

Many players tout their settings lists as being the only way to play as a pro. Some streamers have even started making settings videos claiming you’re a n00b if you don’t configure your interface or hotkeys a certain way. The opposite is true for Echo Fox. Every player’s config combines individual style, personal preference, and Champion choice. There’s no one-size-fits-all.

Settings are largely about efficiency and comfort, though that doesn’t mean there aren’t some universal factors that can raise anyone’s game. When it comes to winning, well, that’s on you, but based on Echo Fox’s configs, here are seven key settings to tweak next time you’re in the League of Legends options menu.

1) Just say when with timestamps

Chat timestamps aren’t on by default, but every Echo Fox player has them enabled, and so should you. If a neutral monster like Baron Nashor or a drake is killed, it’s displayed with a timestamped message. Each neutral objective has a known respawn window, so your team now knows when they’ll be back. This also applies to warning messages. If your mid laner says the enemy mid laner just used their Ult with a 130-second cooldown, you know you’re safe for at least two minutes after that timestamp.

Enable timestamps under Options > Interface > Chat: Show Timestamps.

2) This spell costs how much?

When spell costs are on, ability mana costs are displayed on top of HUD spell icons, so you know exactly how much mana they’ll set you back. It’s simple yet essential info. Don’t set foot in Summoner’s Rift without it.

Enable spell costs under Options > Interface > Ability and Attack Display: Show Spell Costs.

echo-fox-na-lcs-small-117scaleSpell costs and timestamps are key information.

3) Make it quick cast

Quick cast is all about efficiency. Many Champion abilities, items, and spells are a two-step process: step one, press hotkey. Step two, click a target direction to cast the spell. Quick cast reduces this to just one step by immediately triggering directional abilities toward the mouse cursor. It’s not recommended in all cases, but there are many times when it makes sense.

Support Adrian ‘Adrian’ Ma favors AP-focused Champs like Janna, Soraka, Blitz, and Thresh. Most have at least a couple of directional ranged spells and abilities, and Thresh is almost completely ranged. Because of this, Adrian has every hotkey set to quick cast. The same goes for Mid Laner Kim ‘Fenix’ Jae-hun, who’s currently favoring ranged spellcaster Ryze.

Meanwhile, AD Carry Johnny ‘Altec’ Ru, Jungler Josh ‘Dardoch’ Hartnett, and Top Laner Heo ‘Huni’ Seung-hoon have selectively mapped quick cast just to some abilities, spells, and items. Even with directional or ranged abilities, there are good reasons to intentionally decide against quick casting. Let’s use Melee Jungler Zac, one of Dardoch’s favorite heroes in this meta, as an example. Although Zac’s E (Elastic Slingshot) is a directional jump that might normally benefit from quick cast, Dardoch hasn’t set it up this way because it’s also a channeled spell. With quick cast plus channeling, Zac launches too soon unless you hold E for the charge’s duration. Without quick cast, tapping E once is all that’s needed. No need to hold it down; the spell charges completely, then you can click and leap.

Selectively enable Quick Cast under Options > Hotkeys by clicking the arrow beneath the abilities you want to Quick Cast, or click Quick Cast All to assign it to all hotkeys.

4) Clear your vision with a small HUD and a big map

The HUD is the bottom-center toolbar with all of your Champion’s spells, items, HP, mana, and more. It’s also comically large, so much that it can cause deadly mistakes by obscuring enemies. Echo Fox players reduce the HUD size from 80 all the way down to 0, but there’s no one right answer; it’s all about personal preference.

Conversely, the Minimap’s usefulness is the HUD’s polar opposite. Players jokingly refer to the Minimap as a MOBA’s rear view mirror, and they’re not wrong. It shows where units and structures are wherever your team has sight and wards. It also displays team pings, which are crucial intel. Making the Minimap as un-mini as possible is key, especially when pro players are glancing at it every few seconds. Every Echo Fox player sets the Minimap to 100.

Change the HUD and Minimap scale under Options > Interface > HUD scale and Minimap scale.

echo-fox-na-lcs-small-116scalePlayers optimize their UI for a smaller HUD and larger minimap. The 24” FHD ROG Swift PG248Q provides lots of viewing area no matter what you choose.

5) See the battlefield at pro resolution

Inside and outside the arena, Echo Fox players are limited to 1920x1080 or lower to meet tournament standards. No ultra-widescreen or multi-monitor advantages here. However, everyday players have no such limitations. Whether you’re running a single- or multi-monitor setup at 1080p or 4K, be sure to use your monitor’s native aspect ratio and set it to the highest resolution for optimal detail and clarity.

That said, the pros have the right idea for optimizing game performance. Full HD may not be bleeding edge anymore, but it’s a fantastic choice for anyone interested in high-FPS gaming. Even for high-end graphics cards, cranking out 60 FPS on a 4K monitor is a tall order. If high FPS is your goal, consider going the way of pros and playing at 1080p.

Set your game resolution under Options > Video > Resolution. Be sure to use your monitor’s native aspect ratio for best results.

6) Smooth things over at high FPS

If your PC can crank out the frames, put them to good use. Just because Echo Fox replicates competition environments with 144 FPS doesn’t mean you have to, especially when the Swift PG248Q overclocks to 180Hz. That’s three times the frequency of typical displays and 25% faster than most gaming monitors. The result is ultra-smooth gaming goodness and a competitive edge over anyone unfortunate enough to still be stuck at 60 FPS.  

Set an FPS cap under Options > Video > Frame Rate Cap. Make sure it’s set to Uncapped to take advantage of all 180Hz.

echo-fox-na-lcs-small-113scaleHigh DPI mice typically need to be balanced out with decreased mouse speed.

7) Get lightning quick reflexes with high DPI

Pro League of Legends players use high DPI gaming mice for lightning-fast reflexes. They want to quickly respond to whatever’s happening in-game. FPS players often use high DPI and low sensitivity for precision, but pro MOBA players need high DPI and high mouse sensitivity for speed. Every player balances between speed and accuracy with settings, but, unlike pro FPS players, LoL players actually want huge cursor jumps for raw speed. Players generally keep their cursors centered near their Champions, but in less than a second they might need to move to the screen’s edge for a quick map pan and vision, followed by flicking and clicking over to an enemy to attack.

For MOBA players like Echo Fox, DPI settings often range anywhere from 1600 to 3200. And mice with adjustable DPI hardware buttons, like the ROG Gladius II, let players browse the internet at a normal DPI and quickly switch over to their preferred settings in-game.

Mouse speeds vary from as high as 50 for Altec and Dardoch, to 30 for Fenix and Adrian, to 10 for Huni (in this setup, there’s nothing inherently better or worse about higher or lower speed; it’s all about individual player preference). Also, be sure to disable Windows mouse acceleration.

Mouse DPI is set in your mouse-specific driver panel or with your mouse’s physical DPI adjustment buttons. Set mouse speed in-game under Options > Game > Mouse Speed.

Disable Windows mouse acceleration under Control Panel >  Hardware and Sound > Devices and Printers > Select your mouse in the list > Pointer Options tab and uncheck “Enhance pointer precision.”

What about the rest?

As a wise gamer once said: “To auto-attack or not to auto-attack, that is the question.” Everything else truly comes down to choice. Bearing that in mind, here’s the full Echo Fox settings list:

 

Altec (AD)

Adrian (AD)

Dardoch (Jungle)

Fenix (Mid)

Huni (Top)

Resolution

1366x768

1920x1080

1920x1080

1920x1080

1920x1080

Windowed Mode

Borderless

Borderless

Borderless

Borderless

Borderless

Special settings

Relative team colors

Relative team colors

Relative team colors

Relative team colors

Relative team colors

Special settings

Colorblind mode
Hide eye candy

Hide eye candy

Hide eye candy

n/a

n/a

Special settings

n/a

n/a

Colorblind mode

n/a

n/a

Graphics slider

Increased quality

Increased quality

Increased quality

Balanced (50/50 perf/quality)

Increased quality

Character quality

Medium

High

Very high

Medium

Very high

Environment quality

Medium

High

Very high

Medium

Very high

Effects quality

Medium

High

Very high

Medium

Very high

Shadows

Medium

Off

Very high

Low

Very high

Character inking

No

Yes

No

No

Yes

Show Spell Costs

Yes

Yes

Yes

Yes

Yes

FPS Cap

144

144

Uncapped

Uncapped

144

HUD Scale

30

1

0

80

100

Chat Scale

30

100

40

100

100

Minimap Scale

100

100

100

100

100

Combat text

Uncheck mana and XP

Uncheck mana and XP

All checked

Uncheck mana and XP

Uncheck mana and XP

Mouse Speed

30

50

50

30

10

Camera Move Speed (Mouse)

50

50

50

50

35

Camera Move Speed (Kbd)

50

50

0

50

50

Camera Lock Mode

Fixed offset

Per-side offset

Fixed offset

Fixed offset

Per-side offset

Auto Attack

Yes

Yes

Yes

No

No

Attack move on cursor

No

Yes

No

No

Yes

Pointer Motion*

4

6

6

4

2

Pointer Precision

Uncheck

Uncheck

Uncheck

Uncheck

Check

Getting beyond settings

It’s certainly tempting to think the only thing standing between you and your next big solo queue conquest is a few hotkey mappings. In reality, configs are intensely personal and chat timestamps can’t create overnight champions. Getting to Diamond rank or higher is also about more than a few settings. Here’s what Echo Fox thinks it means to play well for their particular roles, plus where they see room for personal growth.

Top Lane

echo-fox-na-lcs-small-89scaleHuni says top (or any solo lane) is about counter-picking and mastering Champions.

To Huni, top is crucial because it’s a solo lane, and it requires some major Champion flexibility. “You should be able to play any champs that you're truly good [with],” he says. “The matchup is really important.” He’s referring to countering whatever Champion you’re up against with a solid counter-pick. There’s a reason why he’s known for having some of the best top lane counter-picking skills, and he’s also infamous for his unusual Lucian top build.

When it comes to personal improvement, Huni’s focusing on communication. Despite his former South Korean team SKT1 being one of the world’s best, he feels like there was a downside to being among so many great talents: “I should be more vocalizing with my team, [like] I used to do, when I was outside of Korea,” he says. “When I got back [in] 2007 to LCK I didn't need to say that much.” Now he’s playing catch-up and breaking those bad habits.

Jungle

echo-fox-na-lcs-small-91scaleWhen it comes to jungling, Dardoch is a serious team player.

Analysts frequently bring up Dardoch’s ego, leaving little room to consider his personal growth since joining Echo Fox. Talk to him about his role on this team now and there’s no evidence of ego problems. In fact, his approach to the Jungler role is all about teamwork and compromise. Dardoch says being Jungler is “meshing two people's view of the game together and finding a happy medium where both are feeling good about how they're playing the game and growing personally.” After drafting, he talks to his laners about their matchups to find out when they believe they’ll need pressure. “Really, it's just how well you play around your team,” he concludes. “Jungler is just such a team-centered role.”

Mid Lane

echo-fox-na-lcs-small-90scaleFenix says it all comes down to winning and a perfect CS. He makes it sound and look easy.

Once a top laner, Fenix switched to mid four years ago when he noticed he was much better at the role than other mid players. He hasn’t ever looked back, although his top lane know-how certainly comes in handy during split pushes. He can’t exactly put his finger on what makes a good mid laner, but he thinks it comes down to three things: a perfect CS, roaming, and winning. “Everything comes from winning,” he says. “It’s hard to say, but it’s still simple. It’s just winning. Winning makes you a good mid laner.” Well, no big deal, then.

AD Carry

echo-fox-na-lcs-small-88scaleAltec likes flashy moves, but not at his team’s expense. AD Carry all comes back to supporting them with the most damage.

For Altec, AD Carry is an exciting, aggressive, and highly skilled role that’s about more than avoiding enemy feeding: “As AD Carry, I don’t think you can be too passive,” he says. “There are a lot of players who only focus on not dying, but not necessarily on doing the most damage. I just try to play super, super aggressive.” Altec also gets some opportunities for flashy plays with Champions like Vayne, which he loves, but his main priority is still doing major damage to help his team and working on communication: “It’s very easy to have communication shutdown after a play goes wrong,” he says. He’s always improving and making sure that doesn’t happen.

Support

echo-fox-na-lcs-small-87scaleSupport sounds straightforward, but Adrian has seen plenty of players whose egos get in the way.

Like Dardoch, Adrian says being support is all about helping his teammates succeed. “I think support is really support,” he says with emphasis. “I don't need to be a superstar. I just need to be consistent, do my job well, and help my teammates be the best they can.” He noted that the best support players can’t have an ego if they want to last long: “Lots of supports want to be superstars, but they're not good team players. They burn out really fast. They get weeded out.” That’s about as far from what Adrian wants as possible. “I just want to be really consistent and be here for a long time and help my team be better,” he says.

More than just a checkbox

From talking to Echo Fox’s LCS players, it’s clear that there’s no catch-all approach to League of Legends. It’s about what makes you most comfortable, confident, and efficient. The world’s best often use highly customized setups that can be quite awkward for everyday gamers. To be successful, find a setup that works best for you, then focus on practice, practice, practice. If we’ve learned anything from talking to these League of Legends stars, it’s that excellence is about training, communication, teamwork, and trust. It transcends settings and goes way beyond checking a box.

by Kimberly Koenig

 

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