As of the time of writing, the world is one week removed from the start of the 2020 LEC Spring Split. The bulk of the Offseason has come and gone, teams switched up their lineups, organizations were rebranded and some players were left behind.
With excitement, as well as a bit of caution, fans and analysts are building expectations for each roster. Who will be in the top 3? Who will qualify for playoffs? What team will be the unexpected underdog to step up to the plate?
Some dare to give the same response to every single one of these questions: Misfits Gaming.
Misfits had a bit of a turbulent 2019 and subsequent Offseason. After the failure of their ‘Superteam’, the organization relied on their academy roster to salvage their results in the last weeks of competition. The decision to then let many of them go, especially in the case of LIDER, was quite questionable. The community accused Misfits of wasting good talent and not treating their players correctly.
During the 2019 Offseason, Misfits would completely revamp their roster. Only Top Laner Danny “Dan Dan” Le Comte returned from the year prior. New rookie talent would fill most of the positions on the map.
Perhaps now more than ever, the team earned its name of ‘Misfits’, given the odd and unique backgrounds of each of their players. Ronaldo “Ronaldooo” Betea, in the Mid Lane, spent a large portion of last year filling in as support in FNATIC Rising. Ju “Bvoy” Yeong-hoon, the ADC, had flopped in the LPL after a strong start and found a career renaissance in Latin America of all places. Petr “Denyk” Haramach and Iván “Razork” Martín Díaz, from Giants Gaming, are perhaps the more tame acquisitions, around which Misfits hoped to build a strong core of Support and Jungle respectively.
However, the fury of fans was far from quenched, which they proved in a Reddit AMA organized by the team. New coaches Alejandro “Jandro” Fernández-Valdés, Michael Bolze and Maurice “Amazing” Stückenschneider offered to answer questions only to find an avalanche of complaints and disillusion.
Currently, both analysts and the community as a whole tend to count out Misfits. Fans consider them a bottom-tier team which doesn’t even have a chance at playoffs, let alone Worlds.
The case for Misfits
Misfits learned their lesson; some may even argue that a little too well. Far from a Super team with bad chemistry, they drafted a rookie squad with incredible potential. All of the pieces are present for a fearsome roster, as viewers of the recent Neosurf cup are well aware of.
Throughout the series, Razork demonstrated to be the skilled and impactful Jungler that Misfits needed for momentous early games. His synergy with Denyk makes for a dangerous duo that can roam around the map to get picks and take objectives. Fabian “Febiven” Diepstraten is just as good as ever in the Mid Lane. Dan Dan can absolutely tear through sidelanes and team fights alike, which enables Razork and the team to play around his pressure if needed. Bvoy is a more than capable carry that can put the team on his back. Finally, Ronaldooo has the loose and flexible style that threatens to turn a game around in the blink of an eye.
What most of these players lack is experience. But for some, that is exactly what makes the whole concept of 2020’s Misfits so exciting in the first place. The man to truly watch out for is right there on the stage behind the players, and his name is Jandro. Misfits knew exactly the kind of coach that they needed to bring for their new team.
Jandro promises to slowly build the identity of the roster around one idea: Resilience. Misfits is set to become a cohesive unit that can play around every lane and employ an entire array of strategies to get the victory.
The direction of Misfits
Even passionate fans question if Misfits will truly perform in the first weeks of competition. There are doubts that they will have a good placing by the end of the Spring Split. However, are these truly big issues?
After all, the LEC is one of the most competitive and unpredictable leagues among the major regions. Just last year, Vitality, SK Gaming and even Misfits themselves had strong starts to their seasons. All of them dropped in the ladder by the end of the year. Origen went from top 2 in Spring to being knocked out of the gauntlet early in Summer. Meanwhile, “train wrecks” such as Rogue, that lost quite literally all matches to start their season off, would end up looking like a strong contender for top 4 and gained the love of their fans.
With the lineup that they gathered, the only direction that Misfits can head is upwards. Even an entire underwhelming split would be a small price to pay in exchange for long term success and growth. Of course, these ideals depend on the promise of “development”, which doesn’t always pay off. Misfits could very well crash and burn.
What to look forward to
All of this brings Misfits to the beginning of their 2020 season. The org got perhaps the best possible opponent for their first match: the aforementioned Rogue. After acquiring Hans sama, Rogue are the strongest candidate for top 3 in Europe. Therefore, the game will serve to test where exactly Misfits could fall in the rankings as of next season. Immediately after, Misfits will face the undisputed top 2 in Europe, FNATIC.
The tougher the competition is and the earlier it comes will prove best for Misfits. The rookies have nothing to lose and everything to gain as they look forward with hunger and ambition.
Counted out and doubted, these Misfits are set to surprise everyone when they hop right over all expectations.
Featured photo from Misfits
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