Next Friday on February 14, Misfits will face G2 for the first time in the 2020 LEC Regular Season. If this matchup occurred earlier in the year, expectations surrounding it would most likely be very tame.
After all, the Worlds Finalists and undisputed best team in Europe go up against a brand new lineup comprised mostly of rookies. Furthermore, after a series of difficult and controversial splits, the Misfits brand as a whole built a questionable reputation among the community. It’s natural then that G2 would stand as the heavy favorites.
However, in the past couple of weeks, Misfits has defied and surpassed all expectations. After a rocky start with consecutive losses in Week 1, they managed quite the respectable win streak. Their dominant performance against Origen in particular did much to turn heads and change minds.
Thus, an increasing amount of people are expecting the game between a first place G2 and a now second place Misfits to be at least competitive. Perhaps, even management agrees, as they have decided to place the match last on the schedule. But for some passionate fans, just “competitive” is not enough; they hope for Misfits to upset the champions and be the first team to hand them a loss this year.
An idea that would sound ridiculous just a couple of days ago is now a very likely probability. But how did Misfits turn their situation around? What can be expected from their matchup against G2?
Misfits Rises on the Back of a Strong Foundation
During the first weeks of competition, the problems of Misfits were many and apparent. The rookies acted hesitant and nervous, the macro and coordination were not quite there and even on an individual level members were underperforming.
Very egregious was the case of Yeong-hoon “Bvoy” Ju and Petr “Denyk” Haramach in the match against Rogue. Their weakness in lane is what allowed their opponents to gain pressure and then move it around the map to secure an easy victory. It’s interesting to point out that Bvoy is still one of the ADC with the lowest CS in lane in the League.
However, just a couple of weeks later, the Misfits that got on stage to play Schalke was completely unrecognizable from the one before. Acting like a cohesive unit, they won through solid objective control and good execution in fights. But of course fans were still cautious in their praise when the victory came against a struggling opponent such as Schalke.
Therefore, the real turning point for the team was the game against Origen. Misfits were dominant. Iván “Razork” Martín Díaz, the biggest outlier for misplays and nerves, acted with no hesitation and carried. The team as a whole displayed incredibly strong fundamentals, was proactive in their approach and even showed off solid mental when they brought the match back from a baron throw.
The incredible development and growth of this team can be attributed to a top notch coaching staff. Alejandro “Jandro” Fernández-Valdés and Maurice “Amazing” Stückenschneider are both veterans who have achieved great success in the past and assembled the roster with a clear vision in mind. They know what to work on and are talented with treating rookie players. Thus, Misfits is now a strong contender in the LEC.
Despite the kind of Cinderella story of Misfits, their opponents are still the undisputed best in Europe: G2.
The word undisputed is not utilized as a hyperbole in this context. In just three weeks, FNATIC, Origen and Rogue, who are considered to be the high echelon of LEC teams, have all stepped up to G2, only to be put down, sometimes in dominant fashion.
Indeed, in a league competitive enough to have a four-way tie for second, the narrative often seems to be G2 against the world, and G2 tends to win most of the time. Their style itself relies in the talent and confidence of its players. It’s often stated that G2 are chaos, which is at the same time frivolous, yet undersells the real complexity behind their success.
The style of Europe’s best revolves around absolute aggression and being proactive in a way that is still systematic and controlled. G2 often force their opponents into uncomfortable fights or situations by over-committing to a roam, skirmish or objective in a way that demands a contest. However, fights and movement is just a part of their strategy. Without strong fundamentals, without excellent wave management, vision control, understanding of windows and pressure and especially without outstanding individual talent, G2’s plans would often fall and crumble.
The staple innovations that the team introduces to the League, such as the now infamous soraka top, rely on very high execution barriers.
So how is Misfits supposed to take this titan on?
G2 vs Misfits: What to Expect
Misfits’ identity finally took shape in the past weekend. Mirroring the strategy of Giants, the past team of Razork and Denyk, they rely on a strong Jg/Mid/Supp synergy to be proactive in the early to midgame and secure pressure and objectives. Dan Dan focuses on the sidelane and usually plays a scaling champ, while Bvoy usually plays some hypercarry aimed at team fights.
A Misfits victory depends first and foremost in Razorks’ early pathing. Knowing where Marcin “Jankos” Jankowski is to track his movements and hopefully outpacing him is a must. Securing a strong matchup in the midlane is also very important, as well as making sure that Dan Dan is not completely shut down by a counter pick or an early dive.
G2 is most likely to exploit the weakness of the bot lane. Pushing back Bvoy and Denyk would pressure drake, deny CS and chain the support to the tower thus preventing him from impacting the rest of the map. Utilizing a strong counter pick such as the soraka top to neutralize Dan Dan and making Jankos play around it can also prove advantageous. This way, they would simultaneously shut down Dan Dan’s scaling, as well as have strong pressure on Herald to pick it up with an early lane swap and perhaps even force Razork into being predictable in his pathing.
Ultimately, however, the execution of teamfights will be at the forefront here. G2 is known for splitting and catching enemies off guard. Misfits meanwhile showed incredibly coordinated play against Origen. The high tension situations promise to define this match in an exciting manner.
A matchup that would once be expected as a complete squash now promises a thrilling and unpredictable encounter. For Misfits, handing G2 their first ever loss on the Split would complete an incredible redemption arc of sorts. After years of disappointment and backlash, the team of upstart rookies once again reclaims its place in the League and becomes a legitimate contender for the best.
However, it’s clear that G2 will not give away its crown so easily. For them, a victory against Misfits would cast aside yet another threat to their place at the top, and leave them with few obstacles in their path to a potential perfect Split.
With high energy and emotion, fans are sure to witness some good League of Legends once the clock strikes on the day of love.
“From Our Haus to Yours”