The fundamental problem that Misfits faced last year was having the wrong approach to the game and to their team. A group of incredibly strong and recognizable players was gathered only to then stumble and fall during the regular season. This kind of issue begins at the very foundation of an organization: in the ownership and coaching staff.
Misfits must have known just how important the role of their coach would be in this upcoming Spring Split. They must have known that the weight of redeeming an entire franchise would fall squarely on their shoulders. They must have known; because they sought out one of the very best voices Spain has to offer.
The name of Alejandro “Jandro” Fernández-Valdés is perhaps relatively unknown among the current LEC fanbase, but it will soon be remembered. One of the most notorious coaches that Europe’s regional leagues have ever seen, Jandro deserves to be recognized as a true leader.
A Unique Background
Jandro comes from a family marked by one passion: Basketball. Both his brother and his father trained and played regularly. As a young child, Jandro would enter his local Basketball club and there he would discover his passion for coaching.
Jandro would find inspiration in his trainers, who taught him a lesson that stuck with him throughout his entire life and career: the team comes before the individual. Far from a mentality of finding “stars”, Jandro learned to always look at the group as a whole and value what they can create together. He never forgot that idea, even once he found a profession in his passion of esports.
A History of Success
Jandro’s first notable experience as a coach was as a member of OverGaming. The now disbanded Spanish organization had a surprising amount of history. It was founded all the way back in 2012 and throughout the years accumulated several notable results, especially in the LVP. With Jandro, the team would have a respectable run in the LVP Season 9 (2015).
Jandro would then transition to Coollife Gaming, where he would work with fellow coach Daniel “LilSainity” Fernández Crespo. It is as a part of Coollife that he first found a good amount of success. He brought the team all the way to the Grand Finals of Final Cup 9 Madrid, the winner of which would get a chance to qualify for the challenger series. The match represented a battle of Spains’ greatest teams and each game was close and exciting. Though they did not win in the end, Jandro still considers that the whole experience helped him grow and mature.
Ironically enough, the Spanish Coach would soon find a job as a member of the very team that beat him in Final Cup 9: the soon-to-be Giants Gaming. For Jandro, this would mean a transition to a more professional environment. He would keep growing as a leader, helping his team unite and guiding them toward notable success. He thrived in raising the morale of the team and creating a productive environment. When the whole group is silent and disillusioned, his voice will pick them back up and put them on the right track.
Jandro would be further tested as a coach after joining Movistar Riders. There, he worked with a 10-man roster, a challenge difficult even for the very best coaches of the major leagues. But the Spaniard took the conditions in stride, focusing on the positives that a wider lineup offers. Jandro experimented with several combinations of rosters and promoted an environment of inner competition to keep his players on their toes. In the process, he turned Movistar Riders into one of the most fearsome members of their league, only rivaled by the legendary Mad Lions.
A Master Strategist
With FNATIC Rising, Jandro finally had the chance to prove just how good he was as a Coach. In the past, he had helped other teams improve and archive success beyond expectations. But when tasked with commanding a dominant organization like FNATIC, Jandro was able to take them to a whole different level. Simply put, in 2019, FNATIC Rising placed first in every single event that they took part in with the exception of the EU Masters, where they still placed a respectable 3-4th.
So what is the secret behind the success of the undisputed best team in the UK?
Suffice to say, Jandro never forgot that lesson he learned as a kid in the Basketball court. Instead of focusing on a single player or strategy, the coach imparted onto his players knowledge about coordination, macro and team play.
The results of his guidance become clear in the grand finals of the UKLC. Excel, their opponents, were notorious for their powerful Early Game. Not long into the first match, they would already be ahead by a large margin. Even then, FNATIC Rising would display their superior organization, expertly playing around the map to force mistakes out of their opponents. As a unit, they completely closed the gap on Excel and took the win.
That is exactly what Jandro brings to the table. Harnessing the full potential of each member, he turns any lineup into a well oiled cohesive machine. A team under Jandro is incredibly versatile and dynamic. He enables his rosters to play around any member, to adapt to the current situation of the game, to play a variety of compositions and to find victory as a team.
A Promising Future
Jandro is exactly the kind of leader that Misfits needed. To bring in a group of rookies into the LEC is a bold move to say the least. But just like always, Jandro finds a way to exploit the unique positives of his situation. With lack of experience comes flexibility and potential for growth.
In the Neosurf cup, Jandro proved to be testing out different strategies and compositions. Misfits dominated Excel in the first few games through smart rotations and aggressive jungling. In general, the team showed to be able to apply pressure on the map from any angle and as a group. Though they lost at the end of the day, their performance was still a statement.
This year, Misfits is not a Superteam of pieces that don’t fit together. This year, Misfits is a hungry team of rookies guided by an experienced Coach who is ready and able to turn them into a powerful and unpredictable unit.
Under Jandro, the LEC may witness yet another underestimated squad rise up to surprising highs.
Featured image courtesy of Misfits Gaming
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