Recently, Misfits gaming announced a drastic change of image through their twitter.
— Misfits Gaming (@MisfitsGG) January 21, 2020
The once cartoony design of team mascot Fidget was temporarily replaced by a ghastly figure with a terrifying smile and sharp claws. The motif and colors are now generally darker and with a bit more edge to them. The graffiti-style conveys an unruly, underground aesthetic. The team’s apparel and merch promise to follow suit with the same themes.
It is often that organizations shake up their logo and presentation to appeal to the audiences or to simply keep things fresh. However, there may be deeper connotations to the Misfits rebrand than some may realize. Looking back at the story, the direction, and the lessons that this organization has had to learn, Misfits might be sending out a clear message: playtime is over.
From “misfits” to Misfits
The League of Legends team managed to qualify for the world championship in 2017, where they would surprise everyone by outperforming EU first seed G2 and advancing to the quarter finals. There, they would be met by Korean powerhouse SKT T1. Despite the incredibly small odds given to them by experts and analysts, Misfits managed to take SKT to five games, and they did so by playing niche strategies and picks. The team under the banner of “Misfits” quite literally took advantage of not conforming to the norm to make the gods of the game bleed.
Even the fact that they did not succeed in the end made them more lovable and iconic. They were the young underdogs who performed beyond all expectations and proved their potential. The influence of this series was powerful enough to single-handedly create an identity for Misfits inside of the LEC (or EU LCS). This identity would soon spread to the brand as a whole.
Years of loss and struggle
However, 2018 would not mirror the same success. Losing two of their best players in Tristan “PowerOfEvil” Schrage and Lee “IgNar” Dong-geun, the team would face some difficulties and throughout the year look like a middle-of-the-pack lineup. They would ironically be, at the time, one of the few organizations to stick to traditional team compositions in the League.
In 2019, the organization failed even further. They attempted to build a “Superteam” comprised of veterans like Kang “GorillA” Beom-hyun and even former a Worlds Champion in Paul “sOAZ” Boyer. This roster would fail due to lack of synergy among its members. Misfits then hastily inserted their academy squad to salvage their results. For a few weeks, the community thought that they were watching the Misfits of old as a group of upstart rookies took games from the best teams in EU with some unique strategies. However, ahead of the 2020 season, Misfits would drop most of these members and thus provoked the outrage of fans across the region.
Recovering an identity
The 2019 Offseason was a very important time for Misfits. The team had many things to prove outside of the Rift. They needed to show their fans and supporters that they learned their lesson and that they had a clear direction as to where they wanted to take the org.
Luckily, in the eyes of several analysts and fans, Misfits succeeded. Far from a glorified Superteam, they brought in a promising group of rookies with compatible playstyles and put them under a coach with a history of success with young talent.
Arguably, since 2017, Misfits has never represented its name better. The roster is once again a group of upstarts and underdogs looking to prove their skill on a stage that seems larger than themselves. It just takes a surprising performance, maybe an innovative strategy or two, for Misfits to reclaim the identity of the unexpected oddities once again.
But should they really be content with just that?
Making a statement
During the entirety of 2018 and 2019 Misfits lost a lot of support and confidence among the League community. At some point, they began to be seen as a simple novelty act. They managed one good fluke year because they got lucky with their roster and then failed to do anything with great talent afterwards. At least, that’s the version of the team’s harshest critics.
The organization needs to demonstrate that it took the failures of years past to heart and that it has not become complacent or mediocre. The aspiration of the team cannot be to “do better than last time”, and neither can it be to recapture some glory days with the same approach.
Misfits will aim to show that they are now hungry, aggressive and decisive in their pursuit of victory, that they are coming back to dominate. But they also won’t abandon that playful feeling of mischief which is at the core of their being.
With all of these things in mind, suddenly the scary grin that greets you when visiting the team’s social media acquires a whole new meaning.
Misfits no longer wants an image of lovable and odd underdogs. They want to be feared. With a revamped team, a new coach and the promise of a bright (or dark?) future, the team marches onward with confidence and ambition toward the start of the LEC.
Featured photo from Misfits
“From Our Haus to Yours”