The North American LCS is full of players who moved from team to team for years, but it’s always rare to see these journeyman finally move into the top tier after almost four years in the league. But that’s exactly what happened with Echo Fox mid laner, Kim “Fenix” Jae-hun during the 2018 Spring Split.
Echo Fox is the fifth North America team that Kim has joined, but it was the first where he established himself as one of the best mids in America. While he was long known for his consistency, this split he showed people exactly how good he could be and that he was more than capable of carrying some games on his own.
After Echo Fox’s third place victory in Miami, the Rift Herald had the chance to sit down with Kim to talk about the joining Echo Fox, playing with jungler Joshua “Dardoch” Hartnet, and the difficulties the team face this split.
Rift Herald: How have you been enjoying Miami?
Kim “Fenix” Jae-hun: When I came here the first time, it was kinda warm. But it was always bright even if it was nighttime so it reminded me of Korea. So I was pretty happy with that.
RH: Echo Fox is a pretty different team from the others you have been on, it has a pretty different dynamic, what has the adjustment process been like during this split for you?
KJ: In the early season we dominated the season pretty well, but at some point as patches changed, we kinda didn’t fit the meta, and I was part of that too, so it was kind of hard to bounce back from that frustration, but finally we beat the meta shift.
RH: What was it like when you first found out you were going to be joining Echo Fox?
KJ: I was contracted with GCU (Gold Coin United) my former team, I got two other offers from other teams, but I thought Echo Fox roster situation seemed better than the other teams, so I chose Echo Fox. And I heard Josh wanted to play with me, who is Dardoch, so I got really excited.
RH: Is that who you were most excited to play with when you got the team?
KJ: I was very excited to play with Dardoch because I knew he was the best jungler from NA. And he is very aggressive, so if I can match with him there we would be really good this season.
RH: Do you feel like you have matched well so far?
RH: Was there some kind of process that sort of helped you two match up well or get on the same page, or did it just immediately happen?
KJ: It happened pretty immediately. When we started he would invade every time and when he invades, mid lane backs up, so it was immediate.
RH: Were there any players on Echo Fox that you weren’t sure about, or didn’t know how well you would get along and you ended up really enjoying playing with?
KJ: Dardoch. People said he was a kid, or that he used to be, but then I heard from a few people he was getting better. So, I went to Echo Fox to play and found out he wasn’t a kid anymore. I trusted him and it was great.
RH: What do yo think the difference from the middle of the split when you guys were struggling to now when you guys are dominating again?
KJ: I think it was on me. We had terrible results from scrims, even if I did well in scrims, I didn’t fare great in game. But we lost scrims and I lost my confidence too, so it was really hard. But after losing against Team Liquid, I just think about myself and why I play bad, and how I can improve.
RH: What was it like on the last day of the season, watching your team play all those games and not getting the chance to help out?
KJ: Well, it was a team decision, I didn’t like it much, but I think it was good for the team overall.
RH: If you could choose to be any League champion to be in real life, who would you choose and why?
KJ: I would be Twisted Fate, because you can teleport anywhere.
RH: Los Angeles is a great city, but it doesn’t have a lot of the same stuff that’s in Seoul, is there anything you really miss from Korea?
KJ: Drinking until 8 a.m., it’s too hard in America. I know it’s about the laws and I can do it at home, but that’s different from going out drinking until the morning.
This interview has been edited for clarity.