Despite finishing fourth in their first season in the EU LCS, Spring Split playoff semi-finalists Misfits were left disappointed by their team performance. Citing communication issues as a primary reason for their dissatisfaction, the LCS newcomers have removed jungler Lee “KaKAO” Byung-kwon from the team roster. In his place, Misfits have announced the signing of Team ROCCAT’s Nubar “Maxlore” Sarafian as the new starting jungler.
Misfit’s decision to remove KaKAO has underlined the organisation’s aspiration to reach the League of Legends World Championships on their first attempt. By Misfits own admission, KaKAO impressed during the opening weeks of the EU LCS Spring Split, though his performance declined towards the end of the Spring Split campaign, resulting in disappointing playoff results.
“Despite a great start to the 2017 Spring Split and a top 4 finish in playoffs, we failed to meet the expectations set by ourselves and our fans. A top 4 finish is admirable for a team coming from Challenger, but for us, it is not enough.
“Since the organization was formed in Challenger, it has been our goal to make it to the League of Legends World Championship in 2017.
“After a string of poor performances that culminated into a loss streak and an underwhelming showing in playoffs, we decided a change was required in order to fulfill our short-term and long-term goals.”
Misfits Official Statement
KaKAO’s haphazard performance against Fnatic in the 3rd/4th place playoff has proved to be his last in a Misfits jersey. Misfits, who are now partially owned by the Miami Heat, acquired KaKAO as their headline signing ahead of the Spring Split.
KaKAO first established his reputation with Korea’s KT Rolster in 2012, playing with the organisation until 2014. After demonstrating his jungle prowess throughout Season 4, the 20-year-old was one of many Korean players to leave for China during the fabled Korean Exodus, joining Invictus Gaming.
The jungler left Invictus Gaming after Worlds, going 2-4 and getting knocked out in the group stage. After languishing in the Korean challenger scene, the move to Europe was supposed to provide KaKAO with an opportunity to re-ignite his professional career, yet his grasp of the English language appears to have blighted his progress in the region:
“Every role is required to contribute to a team’s communication system in order to succeed. We believe that poor communication was a big culprit in our losses.”
“Despite his fantastic individual performance, KaKAO had trouble contributing to communication.
“While the staff and him tried their hardest to improve his English and in-game communication, it was not improving fast enough and we foresaw this problem continuing in the Summer Split. This meant we had to part ways with KaKAO.”
To fill the vacant jungle spot, Misfits have turned to Maxlore, a player the organisation have described as a “fantastic European talent”.
Maxlore departs Team ROCCAT after yet another dramatic survival split with the organisation. After a poor start to the season and without a win until their fiesta of a showdown with Origen, ROCCAT produced a remarkable recovery towards the end of the season.
Team ROCCAT narrowly missed out on playoffs after piecing together a five game winning streak, defeating unbeaten champions G2 eSports in the process. Maxlore proved his value towards the end of the Spring Split, earning the praise of analysts and fellow professionals alike as Team ROCCAT avoided relegations once again.
“I’m really happy with the opportunity Misfits has given me.
“I’m really excited to play with my new teammates and I’m confident that we can make it far. I’ll do my best to achieve both my goals and the goals of Misfits.”
Nubar “Maxlore” Sarafian
Anything short of World Championship slot will be considered a Summer Split failure for the Misfits organisation. Maxlore will be under pressure to quickly embed himself within the roster, eradicating the communication issues that were inherent to KaKAO. Whether the Korean jungler was genuinely the cause of Misfits’ shortcomings – or simply a convenient scapegoat – will all become clear from the team’s forthcoming split.