Ahead of 2020, Misfits were not only projected to be bottom tier in the LEC – many fans expected them to finish dead last in the standings.
Misfits have a turbulent track record to say the least. An explosive 2017 debut, followed up by, arguably, four mediocre splits in a row. In the past two years, Misfits only reached the knockout stage once. Despite moments of promise and even the creation of one “super team”, the organization continually stumbled and disappointed.
In 2019, the company’s mistakes went from being endearing to outrageous. In the middle of a difficult split, Misfits relied on their successful academy players to salvage their results. The rookies, suddenly “upgraded” to the main roster, often looked inconsistent and sloppy. In the pro-League scene, where VODs are essential to get noticed, such a debut can permanently damage a career. Furthermore, once the season was over, the organization released most of these players to rebuild its roster.
Needless to say, fans were quite upset at this apparent mistreatment of players. The community began to believe that Misfits had a habit of wasting good talent. When the 2020 lineup for the team was announced, the general reaction was one of mockery. The org drafted five players who had barely, if ever, competed in a main region; most fans hadn’t even heard of their names.
If Misfits couldn’t win with World champions and international all-stars, what could they possibly expect to accomplish with a handful of novices and one washed up veteran?
The answer would be playoffs and a solid 6th place finish.
A New Culture
The journey toward redemption for Misfits began at the foundation of the team: the coaching staff. The contributions of Alejandro “Jandro” Fernández-Valdés and Maurice “Amazing” Stückenschneider to this roster cannot be overstated. Beyond just guidance, they provided a vision; a clear path to rebuild the identity of the organization.
It is this perception which allowed them to seek out players with one key quality: synergy. Contrary to years past, Misfits signed talent not based on their name or trophy case, but instead according to their style and personality. The objective was clear: to bring on young upstart players and give them the best possible environment to develop.
Therefore, it’s likely not even Misfits themselves wanted or expected the incredible amount of success that they enjoyed in this split. In several interviews, when asked about their goals, many of the players stated that they simply wanted to perform as best they could. Moments like these reveal the kind of healthy culture imparted by the coaches. Results were no longer the priority.
Such a change of heart is arguably what allowed Misfits to bring out the potential of their rookie stars. After a week one in which many of the players appeared sloppy and hesitant, Fabian “Febiven” Diepstraten stepped up and put the team on his back with some beautiful assassin performances.
With a boost in confidence due to the victories, with a focus on learning and improving and with the support of many veterans, the rookies rallied from that point onward and went on to accumulate an impressive winning streak.
A New Family
With just a bit of polish, Misfits found future star players in all of their rookie talent.
In this regard, Iván Martín “Razork” Díaz stands out as one of the most promising players. Despite his young age, he has already accumulated a great amount of experience. A former member of Giants, Razork is one of the best junglers ever produced in the Spanish Superliga. Arguably, he suffered the most during the first weeks of the LEC due to a couple of notable misplays. Ever since however, he became the cornerstone of the team, and the member often responsible for game defining plays.
Razork’s style is aggressive and oriented toward the early/mid stages of the game. He exerts pressure and takes full advantage of the priority of his teammates to create leads and establish control in the map. His notable synergy with Febiven has brought plenty of victories to Misfits.
Yeong-hoon “Bvoy” Ju and Petr “Denyk” Haramach represent yet another surprising success story. Even after the team began to perform better, the Bot Lane was often criticized due to their tendency to fall behind in pressure and CS. In the eyes of many analysts, the power of Misfits was in the Mid Lane and Jungle, while their weakest link was their ADC and Support. Soon, however, both players (and especially Bvoy) would begin to demonstrate their true potential.
The Korean ADC proved to have the confidence and mechanical skill needed to flawlessly execute mid/late game team fights. His kiting, positioning and dodging were such that he seemed un-killable at times. In the later games of the split, Bvoy began to comfortably out-lane even the best ADCs in the league. With practice, it’s scary to wonder what the ceiling could be for him.
A New Style
Misfits did not stop at revamping their roster; they wanted to reconnect with the community as a whole. Last year, the organization went through a small rebrand which brought about a surprising image change to their mascot: fidget. An edgier, underground graffiti style was adopted and a new name was established for the fans: The Mischief.
Along with these changes, the company has also put out some quality content in the form of the “Mischief” series of videos, which explore the backgrounds of all their players. Special streams such as the “warm-up” and “cooldown” have kept the team connected to their fans even during the unfortunate quarantine imposed by the COVID-19 virus.
It’s clear that Misfits intend to rebuild in every sense of the world, and they are doing it with a constructive, long-term approach. Long gone are the days of pursuing immediate glory. Now, Misfits is a stable brand with a solid structure around it in all aspects. Slowly but surely, the negative impressions surrounding the brand have dissipated and gave way to a new feeling: hope.
The community is beginning to once again believe in Misfits, because Misfits once again believes in the future. The loss at playoffs is not quite the same as the ones in years past.
With promising rookies, great content and an interesting style, Misfits can march onward with pride, knowing that they have created something lasting and truly worthwhile.
Featured photo from @MisfitsGG
“From Our Haus to Yours”