Misfits – their very name alludes to the sort of underdog narratives we have come to expect from the EU LCS squad. Heading into the second week of the 2017 World Championship, MSF has as good a chance as any in Group D to reach the quarterfinals.
The definition of a ‘misfit’ is to lack a place in the world; unaccepted by society, yet somehow finding their own path. Even as everyone counts them out of the equation, misfits always come back fighting, reminding the world that they exist.
Misfits have come back enough times that we cannot ignore them any longer. It is time to show Europe’s third seed the respect they have earned over the past two months of shattered expectations.
Since the EU LCS Playoffs, the Misfits have transcended from regional gatekeepers to international threats, shifting their public perception from one of pity to that of awe.
In September, Misfits conquered the strongest teams in Europe, defeating Fnatic and Unicorns of Love in two massive upsets.
Perhaps what was most impressive about their wins was that they didn’t come from an individual performance. Certainly, most of their players played better than average, but no one member of the team carried all of its weight.
Misfits persevered through synergy and strategy to defeat their opponents, ignoring the odds stacked against them.
Last week, lightning struck twice when the Misfits overcame both Team SoloMid and Flash Wolves, scoring two wins in a group where many analysts projected them to find none.
The European team are tied for first place in their group, the best in their region coming out of week 1. Even after their shocking finals run, no one respected the Misfits.
Praise and high hopes were adorned to Fnatic and G2 eSports, while brushing aside the accomplishments of a fine team in their own right.
The Misfits deserve recognition for their consistent improvement over the past few months, rising to the top tier level of play. Since the regular split, they have become exponentially better, both tactically and individually.
The secret to Misfits’ success lies in their jungler and support. Nubar “Maxlore” Sarafian and Lee “IgNar” Dong-geun have one of the highest jungle presence percentages in the world; few other jungle-support duos can match their nearly unrivalled synergy as a group.
This strategical commitment has clearly played off, resulting in Misfits’ wins. The leading team in jungle control this Worlds isn’t Team WE, Flash Wolves or any other team with a star jungler, instead, Misfits lead the charge, due to their constant dual pressure with both Maxlore and IgNar.
This combined pressure has paid off in a variety of ways. IgNar’s roaming tendencies have combined with Maxlore’s constant presence to create a constant fear of three-man ganks in the middle lane.
With this support, mid-laner Tristan “PowerOfEvil” Schrage has blossomed into a star player for the European squad, in a way he has never been able to achieve for any team before.
In addition, the wall of vision he and his support create has given all of Maxlore’s lanes an immeasurable boost. Both Steven “Hans Sama” Liv and Barney “Alphari” Morris have finally reached their full potential as bonafide carry threats on Misfits’ frightening new-look lineup.
Finally, the support of IgNar has helped Maxlore keep up with his opposing jungler; Maxlore currently holds the second highest gold differential at fifteen minutes, and he is on no pace to slow down anytime soon.
The incredible synergy that these players have developed after months of struggle has brought Misfits from good to great. Through Maxlore and IgNar, the team is able to provide lane pressure, secure invades and threaten mid ganks in the early game to garner a lead.
With this as a solid baseline, it is easy for the Misfits to pull off any type of counter strategy they want, or simply play their game off their carries. It’s incredibly hard to stop a team with this much coordination, especially for a team like Team SoloMid, that struggles in the jungle.
The bottom line is this: the victory over Team SoloMid was not a fluke. The Misfits have a proven strategy that has worked to near perfection since the EU LCS Playoffs.
It should come as no surprise if North America’s favourite sweethearts fall again to the dark horse from EU.Misfits make a strong case for the most tactically proficient team in all of Europe. They have adapted around their supposed weakness in the jungle, and turned it into a strength, with the support of IgNar in the jungle.
Misfits are a team to be afraid of.