Securing a spot in playoffs was a huge accomplishment for the brand new Misfits roster. The organization needed to prove itself after several disappointing splits and it delivered. Building a team on the basis of strong synergy and fundamentals, they surprised the scene as they took down fan favorites Origen and G2 on their path to a fifth place finish.
However, the last weeks of competition went anything but smoothly for the mischievous ones. Suffering a number of losses, the team appeared sloppy and unrefined at times. Being upset by a resurging Schalke, Misfits lost a now very crucial chance at the fourth spot in the standings.
Going into the end of the split, Misfits find themselves at the lower end of the bracket. Furthermore, they face Rogue in the very first round; a team that convincingly beat them twice during the regular season. If Misfits truly hope to achieve the top spot, they have the longest, hardest possible road ahead of them.
But is this miracle run possible?
The Strength of Misfits
As the season progresses and the Meta establishes itself, teams will adapt and become better. Because of this, it’s perhaps too easy to write off Misfits’ victories against stronger opponents. Origen was trying out new strategies according to their coach and G2 was having an off week due to “craps”. With defeats against the likes of Rogue and MAD, it’s undeniable that Misfits is solid, but not the top of the pack.
FNATIC in particular, with their active and organized play seem to be the perfect counter to Misfits’ more individualistic style. Considering that Misfits will be forced to face every single team on their road to a hypothetical Grand Final, their chances seem slim.
While all of the above are valid arguments, an equally compelling one can be made in favor of the mischievous ones. On the one hand, this Split has been one of the most competitive in the history of the league. The distance between the top of the standings in terms of skills is incredibly close. Therefore, the victor will heavily depend on preparation and adaptation, both skills in which Misfits have proven to be quite efficient.
On the other hand, Misfits have a very valuable quality: consistency. Both in the strength of their players and in their mental, Misfits have been one of the teams who struggle the least. Ever since the first week, Iván Martín “Razork” Díaz has never looked back and always delivered. Fabian “Febiven” Diepstraten is definitely a pillar a well, around which deep runs and comebacks can be built.
A Compelling Storyline
In the past four splits, Misfits made playoffs once. It was Summer of 2018, where they would sweep G2 convincingly before dropping right after to FNATIC in a 3-1 set. Just one year before that, in 2017, Misfits had earned the love of European fans following a beautiful run at Worlds 2017.
The history of the organization has been filled with hope and disappointment. After building, rebuilding, gathering a super team and relying on rookie talent, it seems the organization had exhausted every possible option. The fans grew impatient, and then progressively infuriated at the perceived failures of the team. In fact, in the eyes of the community they had constantly wasted talent and missed opportunities.
There was very little good will around the brand ahead of this season. Most just wrote the roster off as yet another future let down waiting to happen.
What happened after has been very well documented. Misfits initially lost, and everyone laughed; then they won and won, and people witnessed in surprise.
A new coaching staff brought a new vision and identity; the rookies displayed incredible synergy; Razork rose as one of the best junglers in the league; Yeong-hoon “Bvoy” Ju showed off clutch performances when he was most needed.
But above everything else, there was the confidence and loyalty of one man: Febiven. Even when it seemed like he would be forced into sitting in the bench, the now veteran displayed incredible levels of commitment and professionalism. He was willing to stay no matter what and build something worthwhile. And so he did.
There is no doubt that Misfits is an unlikely contender. But then again, when have they ever been anything else? If there is one thing this brand specialized beyond everything else is defying expectations; whether positive or negative.
Winning would no doubt represent an incredible finish to a redemption arc of sorts. But the truth is, that Misfits no longer need a trophy to prove themselves. In perhaps the greatest, most competitive year in the history of European competition, a group of upstarts stood out as one of the elite.
With more than a bit of attitude and style, the mischievous ones march on to meet their fate.
Featured photo from @MisfitsGG
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