Dardoch: “We’re all really aggressive players and have a great atmosphere, so most of the time we are cheering each other on to go for risky plays”

After an inconsistent week, Echo Fox have gone 1-1 in Week 3, getting bested by CLG and then playing a game that was longer than expected against OpTic Gaming. Joshua “Dardoch” Hartnett has been at the center of this team, with great performances and a surprising ability to adapt to a tank heavy jungle meta.

Izento got a brief moment with Dardoch to discuss this week’s games, his Zac pick and the difference from being a rookie and playing in a veteran team.

Against OpTic Gaming, you guys smashed the early game and then there was the fight at the Infernal drake around 24 minutes. What was the communication like? It seemed like everyone was just running in one-by-one.

We tend to do that when we lose something really minuscule, instead of just giving something up we should give up based on the deaths. We try to salvage as much as possible, and nine out of ten times it ends up with us chain-feeding. The communication was: “We could look at a dragon steal or we could contest, but let’s just wait until it gets low” because we’re waiting for everyone else to return from base. Dragon dropped a lot faster than I thought. In my brain I was thinking, “go when it’s low”. I saw when it was at half hp, jumped in, missed and died for free. More people jumped in and died for free and then everyone was saying we should stop dying on stage.

Was it attributed to cockiness?

We definitely weren’t calling that we could 2v5. Most of the game we were saying that we shouldn’t take too many risks. The enemy Kog’Maw and Ryze were still really strong and could win a fight. Usually, no one on the team denies going for a play because we’re all really aggressive players and we all have a great atmosphere, so most of the time we are cheering each other on, like “GO FOR IT”! When Fenix was 1v5 in the top side jungle, everyone was just saying “GO FOR IT! You can outplay”!

Another play which people might have scoffed at was the baron play, where it was stolen from Akaadian. What was the plan with the rend + smite interaction?

Altec just said the number that he wanted to rend and then we combo together, but I think at that time, we let baron drop too low and since it was late in the game, we should have just bursted it at a much higher hp.

On the timing when Altec said “smite”, I smote, but unfortunately Kha’Zix got into the baron pit before Altec could get his rend off.

I noticed you have been playing quite a bit of Zac. How do you feel about Zac in the current meta? What do you think about teams not banning the pick against you?

I think Zac is quite good. He has a few hard matchups, but he counters immobile carries and team comps in general. He’s decently hard to play at a professional level against carries that are more skilled. I think I’m pretty good at Zac and I don’t know why people aren’t banning it against me. But if they aren’t going to, I’m going to play it.

Better than Meteos’ Zac?

Yeah, I think so.

Some have assumed that you are playing tanks now because you feel confident that your team can carry you. Is this true? If so, is this the most confident you have been with a team?

I’m playing tanks because that’s what is strongest in the meta. It just so happens that tanks fits our team the natural way we would want to play the game anyways, with an aggressive engaging jungler, paired with carries in solo lanes. The thing that’s different with us is the carry top lane pick, but if carry junglers and tank top comes into meta, me and Huni have both shown that we can play both styles very well.

Yesterday, after you suffered your first loss. Was the atmosphere and VOD review largely different?

We don’t do VOD reviews after a game. After the CLG game, we went over the main points of why we lost, which mostly came from our draft process. I mean, our draft wasn’t bad, but it just put us in an awkward position from what we normally had practiced and we tried a last-minute counter-pick instead of going with what we had been playing all week. In conjunction, with having an out-of-character bad play around Elder dragon, it forced us into an awful position which lead to our loss. We made a mistake really late in the game and in my opinion, CLG played very bad throughout the mid-game.

CLG got baron, then they got 1 turret with baron. They also had Nunu and Kalista, so they could get as many dragons as they wanted, so there wasn’t much we could do about that. Early game, we shut down the Zoe as well. I thought we had a free win, but we just made a lot of uncharacteristic map plays this weekend.

Switching to your teammates, what made Fenix a more appealing teammate than other mid laners when building this roster?

Truthfully speaking, I don’t think anyone other than the top tier mid laners like Jensen or Bjergsen can reliably match against the other mid laners. I don’t think anyone else in the league aside from Febiven or PowerOfEvil are good enough to go to higher level teams, but I had already known from playing with Fenix in Team Liquid that he was at that skill, so it was natural to join with him since we had so much innate synergy.

After working with a rookie squad on Team Liquid to veterans on CLG, and then to Echo Fox, what is different in working with rookies versus a veteran squad, which you have currently?

The main difference between TL and what I have now is that my teammates are simply better. We were rookies back then, so we were dumb about the game. Now, my teammates are very smart and everyone has been a pro for a few years now, so we all have our own situation understood, whether it comes to warmups, what we need in scrims or how we practice. Everyone practices incredibly efficiently, so nobody feels like anyone else is slacking. This team feels cleaner. There’s not a lot of low-tier mistakes. Everyone has their head on straight and everyone wants to win.

Would you like to say anything to your audience?

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Izento is a journalist present at the NA LCS, armchair analyst and car enthusiast. As an avid Season 1 League of Legends player, he's since pursued his passion for esports through the power of writing.

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