League of Legends LCS draft or execution: An analysis of TSM vs. Echo Fox

League of Legends. Photo courtesy of Riot Games.
League of Legends. Photo courtesy of Riot Games. /
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TSM knocked Echo Fox out of the LCS playoffs by beating them 3-1 this past Sunday. This is an analysis of both the draft and execution of the League of Legends teams and makes sense of why TSM was able to topple Echo Fox.

In this first installment of the League of Legends strategy series “was it draft or was it execution,” we examine TSM’s 3-1 victory over Echo Fox in the LCS playoffs last weekend. We will try to distill down the games to see whether is was Echo Fox’s drafts, execution or both that led to their doom.

Game 1

Echo Fox’s draft

First looking at Echo Fox’s draft there are some strong synergies. Kindred’s ultimate is a good way to keep squishy carries alive, of which Varus and Zoe fit the bill. Varus, Braum, Kindred, and Aatrox combine together to create a strong team fighting composition and is Echo Fox’s first win condition.

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Zoe is also a nice addition to any team comp as Zoe is her own win condition. Zoe’s ability to force enemy champions back to the fountain by death or by recall allows her teams to get free objectives. This is why I consider Zoe an extra win-condition.

TSM’s draft

Now looking at the TSM team composition there are a few synergies, but they do not come together well. Jarvan IV and Galio are a really strong wombo-combo to start off team fights, but there is no other hard engage to stack on top of this. The team comp is very reliant on the Galio ultimate for any fight.

TSM also selected Jax, a strong split pusher, which gives TSM a win condition once late-game arrives. Jax does combo well with Zilean as a target that will go in, deal a lot of damage or be a huge disruption and then come back to life near full health. Galio is also a strong champion to have in order to protect your split pusher.

In the bot lane, Ezreal is good at kiting and can fend for himself while the other members of TSM engage, but he feels out of place in this team comp. Normally Jarvan IV and Galio are picked for a mid-game combo that you use to win team fights, but TSM selected Jax, Zilean, and Ezreal.

These are three champions that require some time to ramp up before they are relevant in team fights. This means you miss the strongest window for the Galio and Jarvan IV combo and have to execute it much later in the game or risk catastrophically losing fights early.

Comparing the two drafts

TSM’s draft looks even worse when you compare it to Echo Fox’s draft. While it seems like Echo Fox has 2 winning lanes and 1 losing lane, when you factor in that Kindred has a big advantage in skirmishes over Jarvan IV, it makes it hard to try and gain an advantage top lane, because TSM’s jungler cannot win the 1v1 and TSM’s top lane and jungle will not be able to win the 2v2 until much later in the game.

For those not aware, Kindred can Q out of Jarvan IV’s E+Q combo and since Kindred is ranged, Kindred can kite Jarvan IV with ease. This leads to 3 losing lanes and a losing jungle matchup until the tides can turn the top lane back into TSM’s favor.

How the game played out

The draft along with reasonable execution allowed Echo Fox to claim an early-game gold lead, five dragons, a Rift Herald and a Baron Nashor throughout the game. The fights in the early-game actually looked pretty close but that was due to poor execution.

Echo Fox jungler Lee “Rush” Yoon-jae messed up the timing or moved off his own ultimate multiple times during the game and made what should have been an easy victory, much more difficult.

In the last team fight of the game Rush placed down a very good Kindred ultimate and Matthew “Akaadian” Higginbotham engaged while Galio ultimate was unavailable. With TSM’s most important team fight tool gone and Rush finally executing correctly the team fight was not close and Echo Fox ended the game right after.

People will point to the fact that if the engage was timed with the Galio ultimate, that TSM would have likely won the fight or prolonged the game. I do believe this is true, however, TSM had no business being in that game to begin with.


Echo Fox was able to win this game of League of Legends due to draft, which is the focus of this article. However, TSM had a chance to win due to their crisp execution and Rush’s poor execution throughout the game. The issue is because of the draft, the second TSM’s execution failed they immediately lost the game.

My final verdict is that Echo Fox had a better draft was eventually able to ride it to victory and win the game after TSM made a mistake.