At the start of the 2018 EU LCS Summer Split, Misfits were the team to beat. They made it all the way to nine straight wins and absolutely no losses, and they had seemingly bent the meta to their will rather than trying to adapt. They were at peak performance, and none of the other top teams could keep up.
And then they met Fnatic, who whipped out a mid lane Wukong and absolutely demolished them. Not only did Fnatic hand Misfits their first loss, but they seemingly sent them into a downward spiral, because they didn’t play with the same confidence for the rest of the season. From that loss during week five until the end of the ninth week, Misfits dropped seven games and only won two.
This Saturday, Misfits get their chance at revenge in the semifinals of the playoffs, and they’re going to need a full return to form to take Fnatic down.
Fnatic are the clear favorites of this matchup. While there was some confusion at the start of the split when the team first subbed out Martin “Rekkles” Larsson, right around the time they buried Misfits, they were well on their way back to the top. Now, with Rekkles still on the bench and Gabriël “Bwipo” Rau in the bot lane, Fnatic’s favorite strategy has evolved into a fast-paced choke, designed to snuff out an enemy team before 30 minutes rolls around.
The scary part for Misfits is that Rekkles isn’t necessarily ruled out. He was brought back to play a game during week eight and then again for week nine. And although Fnatic dropped an embarrassing game to Unicorns of Love that week, Rekkles’ performances were overall pretty solid. With Rekkles, the team’s pace slows down considerably, and they shift into a much more traditional scaling game to let him dish out massive damage later on. In other words, they have two very different strategies to use, and Misfits will have to know how to deal with both at any given time.
There is hope for the underdog, though. Misfits buried G2 Esports last week in the quarterfinals. And although most of that can be attributed to G2 floundering all over the Rift, Misfits certainly showed us a glimmer of the dominance they had at the start of the split. G2 didn’t appear ready for a playoff-buffed Barney “Alphari” Morris, Misfits’ top laner, and they certainly weren’t ready for Steven “Hans Sama” Liv to tear through them on Draven in the final round.
Alphari and Hans Sama won’t be enough to beat Fnatic, though, who were the definite, hands-down strongest team in the region at the end of the regular season. Fnatic have three serious threats in the mid lane, bot lane, and jungle. Misfits can put the pressure on top and maybe even match the bot lane against Rekkles, but Misfits mid laner Chres “Sencux” Laursen has been struggling—and his struggles continued in the win over G2. Fnatic’s Rasmus “Caps” Winther, however, is the best mid laner in the league, and a crippled Sencux is going to turn into Misfits’ Achilles’ heel if he can’t patch things up. Why? Because Caps is going to steamroll him.
Last week was a good start, but to truly stand against Fnatic, all of Misfits needs to be back—Alphari and Hans Sama just won’t be enough. Their series kicks off this Saturday at 10am CT.