One look at the history of Split champions in the LEC (or EU LCS) reveals one fact: the status quo has been a heavy burden for quite some time. Excluding an unexpected victory by Swedish representatives Alliance in 2014, only two organizations, FNATIC and G2, have ever won playoffs in the region.
This year promises to change this narrative. Misfits, MAD Lions and Rogue, three rosters comprised mostly of new faces, rose up to challenge the established powerhouses. Misfits in particular had much to prove after having four arguably disappointing splits in a row in recent years.
However, the mere promise of change still needs much validation. Both fans and experts are skeptical that, come playoffs, we won’t see the new blood fall short as they often do. The best of five format is a looming concern which threatens to expose weaknesses and inconsistencies in any team.
Therefore, in order to really prove that they are serious contenders for the top spot, next week will be of absolute importance to Misfits. If they are able to overcome the force that is Origen, they might be able to reclaim the top spot, reach playoffs on a strong note and truly change history.
Misfits Clash with Origen for a Second Time
When it comes to the matchup between Misfits and Origen, predicting who will come out ahead is especially difficult. The first time the two teams collided during the regular season, Misfits appeared to dominate their opponents. However, it is undeniable that Origen seemed uncharacteristically hesitant and uncoordinated during the match. Coach André “Guilhoto” Guilhoto would later state that the team was experimenting in both draft and playstyle.
Furthermore, after the unexpected loss, Origen would begin a dominant streak which would even leave them ahead of the mischievous bunnies in the standings. Hence, for Misfits, the rematch could mean rising to first place once more and definitely placing themselves in the discussion for top 3. Meanwhile, for Origen, a victory would prove their dominance and establish their status as one of the top tier teams along with FNATIC and G2.
Looking at gameplay, the individual player matchups are all quite interesting. Both these rosters are perhaps the more resilient in Europe, and have proven to be able to play around any position on the map. For many fans, the definitive point of focus will be the Bot Lane. Home of Origens’ star player Elias “Upset” Lipp and Misfits’ often doubted ADC Yeong-hoon “Bvoy” Ju, a good showing would mean a lot for both men.
A Look into the Future: Playoffs
It seems at this point that reaching playoffs is only really a matter of time for the current top 6 of the LEC. On their way, Misfits must remain vigilant and avoid any temptations of becoming complacent. They have already defied all expectations and even took down former champions G2. However, history has shown that come the end of the Split, little else matters other than the matches at hand.
What often occurs in fact is that the established powerhouses of the League seem to receive a “buff” in the playoff bracket. Even when they look at their weakest, FNATIC, G2 and Origen always seem to pull through and somehow manage to end up in the finals. It’s in fact in those high stake situations that the weight of experience truly comes into play. Veterans are less likely to crack under pressure, they are more consistent and they learn to adapt on the fly to their opponents.
Furthermore, even the coaching staff of these organizations are keenly aware of the importance of playoffs. It’s when it most matters that surprise picks, strategies and compositions come out of the blue and force the enemy into a reactive position.
While Misfits have done quite well for themselves so far, once the end of the split comes they will truly have to test their worth against dire conditions.
Watching Misfits succeed and stay competitive, especially within the current standings, has certainly been a pleasant surprise. However, the team now has the pressure to “stick the landing”. With the top of the ladder being so close, just a couple of mistakes could cost them all of their efforts.
However, thought there are reasons to doubt Misfits, there are also plenty of reasons to believe in the ability of the players. As new as they might be to the LEC, many of the rookies have been champions of their own regions. Spanish fans consider Iván Martín “Razork” Díaz to be a veteran already due to the amount of experience he has accumulated in his young career. Similarly, Danny “Dan Dan” Le Comte competed in several lineups and even won the EU Masters.
If they are able to bring out their full potential, if they are able to play to their strengths, it is perhaps possible that we may be looking at the first squad in 6 years to bring down the reign of FNATIC and G2.
Until then, fan of Misfits have plenty of reasons to wear their colors proud.
Featured photo from @MisfitsGG
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