“Misfit” is a name reserved for those who don’t quite feel comfortable with the world around them. A misfit is the kind of person who stands out – for all the wrong reasons.
For years, this was the story of one professional League of Legends organization. They stood out for being underdogs in their first year of competition, because nobody expected them to succeed. They stood out against SKT, because they got so far yet still lost. They stood out in 2018, because they began so well only to fail further down the line. They stood out in 2019, because of the broken promise of a “Super Team”.
Intrigue and disappointment are the two common threads that connect the past events of this team’s venture in the LEC (and EU LCS).
During the 2019 off-season, the organization suffered from a great amount of backlash. Many fans were outraged due to the apparent mistreatment of young talent. However, the built-up frustration over years of being let down was likely a factor as well.
Nobody gave these Misfits a chance come the 2020 season. A group of random, no-name players put together way too late into the year? Surely, the likes of Origen and G2 would easily shove them aside.
Now fully doubted by the majority and vilified by some, Misfits could comfortably play their own style – and stand out against all expectations.
Synergy > Name Recognition
The culture around building rosters in esports is quite peculiar. The idea that “talent” can be measured and compared directly between players is very common. As a result, organizations like Team Liquid look to “upgrade” their lineups by replacing and adding members according to perceived strength and past accomplishments.
Mads “Broxah” Brock-Pedersen did really well in FNATIC; he was a superstar Jungler in EU and a multiple time regional champion and world finalist. Therefore, will Broxah also be a great Jungler in TL? Not necessarily, as time has proven.
Slowly but surely, the scene has come to accept that players are not simple pieces with stats that can be stacked on top of each other. Many aspects such as personality, playstyle and background are important factors when measuring how well or bad they will fit inside of a team. A player can be a star in one roster and mediocre at best in another. The relevance of a famous name and past success is very relative.
In this regard, this year, Misfits have become a symbol and prime example of the power of synergy. Both community and analysts initially considered the roster of the organization to be very underwhelming. ADC Yeong-hoon “Bvoy” Ju was especially a target for criticism due to his mediocre stay in the LPL.
However, on the back of very strong fundamentals, of a well defined playstyle and of solid team play, Misfits rose up far above all expectations. Taking down the likes of G2 and Origen, the team proved that the power of a cohesive unit can overcome even titans of the game.
Of course, the merit for this success belongs to the coaching staff, particularly to Amazing and Jandro, who recognized the chemistry between the players and built an optimal team atmosphere for them to develop.
Consistency and Attitude
In the past, Misfits tended to enjoy explosive bursts of success and just as quick downfalls. They surprised the scene in their first outing by being very solid all around. In 2018, they famously went on a great winning streak before stumbling by the end of the season. In 2019 they once again showed promise by gathering a super team but then began losing and never looked back.
It’s maybe because of this that this year has been quite refreshing for Misfits fans. The team slowly but surely accumulated a good amount of wins despite a bad start. They did not fall from the top of the standings ever since the third week of the regular split.
Misfits’ playstyle this year has been, in simple terms, clean. They often put pressure on themselves by drafting for the early game, but for the most part, they are able to apply pressure on the map very well. The fundamentals of laning, vision control, jungle tracking and proper roaming are all very solid. Fabian “Febiven” Diepstraten in particular has been a pilar for the team. He holds down the Mid Lane and shows incredible conscistency with rising star jungler Iván Martín “Razork” Díaz.
However, despite the new polished play on the rift, it’s comforting to see that Misfits has never abandoned the oddball style that has come to define the brand. Fans who follow the social medias of the team are treated to the quirky mannerisms of Bvoy, to the boundless charm of Danny “Dan Dan” Le Comte and to the infinite “you know’s” of Razork.
All of the members are quite lovable in their own unique ways; which just makes it all the easier to root for them.
Locking in the Future
Perhaps the biggest accomplishment for Misfits this year has been gathering some of the best talent in the world and offering them a welcoming home. Most of the team is comprised of rookies whose ceilings are still far from being reached. A solid first year is just the cherry on top of the cake for this new vision of the organization.
Regardless of how well they perform in playoffs, the promise of potential and growth will always remain in this lineup. As members such as Razork reach their prime, one can only imagine how well Misfits will do next year, and the one after that.
Redemption in the true sense of the word, both in the eyes of fans and talent, is truly what this team needed.
Now with a solid playstyle, an appealing brand, a close-knit community and the promise of a great future, Misfits look ahead into playoffs with hope – and a bit of mischief.
Featured photo from @MisfitsGG
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