Misfit’s Miracle Run and How They Did It
Europe has been known as one of the few regions that can consistently qualify their teams for the Knockout Rounds. However, the story of Misfits differs from any other EU LCS team which has made history on the Worlds Stage.
During the Groups Stage, Misfits managed to knock out Team Solo Mid and Flash Wolves, both of which were top contenders for one of the qualifying spots during the Groups Stage. However, in a crucial tiebreaker, Misfits’ strong performance against Team Solo Mid led to them qualifying for the Knockout Rounds once again.
So how did they do it? Originating in 2016 as a mere Challenger team, Misfits came from the ground up and built its way to success. They’ve been through the ups and downs of the EU LCS Competitive scene and have shown that despite their amateur status, they’re still a threat to the rest of the world. This is the story of Misfits.
Misfits had been formed out of the now-deceased Renegades squad during their push to Europe through the Renegades: Banditos. During the Challenger scene, the team quickly made a name for itself, losing only to Team Forge in the Summer Split.
Due to their dominating performances throughout the season, the team quickly qualified for the EU LCS Summer Promotion tournament of 2017, facing former powerhouse Origen from the EU LCS. Though they were defeated in a heart-wrenching 2-3 loss, the team still managed to qualify after beating Schalke 04 to advance into the EU LCS.
EU LCS Spring Split
The team started off the Spring Split with a fairly unknown roster consisting of names like Alphari, SELFIE, and Wisdom. However, as the team progressed throughout the Spring Split, players began to come and go.
They picked up Hans Sama, one of the most talented players on the European Servers, and later acquired PowerOfEvil. These two players were and still are, some of the Misfits’ largest assets. The team eventually placed fourth in the Split, losing to Fnatic in an 0-3 loss.
EU LCS Summer Split
The Summer Split of the EU LCS began with the Misfits roster of Alphari, Maxlore, PowerOfEvil, Hans, and Ignar all in their respective positions. Though the team struggled at times, their combined talents and skills earned them 3rd Place in the Groups Stage, going 6-7 throughout the Regular Season.
Though they may have had a mediocre performance during the Regular Season, the team quickly showed their prominence in the Summer Split Playoffs. First taking down adversaries Unicorns of Love and then former champions Fnatic, Misfits quickly showed they weren’t a name to be messed with.
Worlds 2017 Groups Stage
Coming into Worlds as the second seed, the Misfits roster consisting of Alphari at the top, Maxlore at Jungle, PowerOfEvil at Mid, Hans Sama at AD Carry, and IgNar at Support, found themselves placed in a bracket with Team Solo Mid, Flash Wolves, and Team WE.
In the first week, Team Solo Mid and Team WE came out strong, holding ties for first and second place.
However, with Misfits winning a crucial match against Team Solo Mid, the team was not yet out for the running, holding a 1-2 record in their group. In the second week, however, Misfits began to show their dominance.
They came close to taking down Team WE, the top seed in that draw, and dominated in their matches against both Team Solo Mid and Flash Wolves. With the team’s record tied at 3-3 and the same for that of Team Solo Mid, Misfits found themselves in a crucial tiebreaker which would determine the team that would advance to the Quarterfinals.
Using the power of Maxlore’s jungle presence and Hans Sama’s deadly AD Carry potential on champions like Xayah and Tristana, it was no contest for the Misfits roster and they quickly upset the top seed from North America, shocking fans across the world.
Worlds 2017 Knockout Rounds
Misfits yet again were backed into a corner as they found themselves going against the strongest Korean team on the current International Stage, South Korea Telecom. Armed with the famed Faker of the mid lane and perhaps the most deadly AD Carry on the planet, Bang, it looked hopeless for Misfits.
However, as soon as the match had started, it was clear that Misfits wasn’t going to go down with a fight. Winning a crucial Game 2 and Game 3 with the help of Hans Sama’s deadly Tristana, South Korea Telecom seemed to be backed into a corner.
It was only after a heart-breaking defeat in Game Four in which both teams had performed to their best did Misfits finally face defeat to the strongest team in the World. The team not only proved their dominance at a rookie level but they also showed they could perform at an international level without hesitation.
How They Did It
Misfits may not seem like the strongest team individual wise. The only two players on Misfits who have had names of their own from past experiences have been Hans Sama and PowerOfEvil. So what helped Misfits to a historical Worlds run in their first year on the competitive scene?
It’s simple. The team’s synergy is possibly one of the strongest in Europe. Though they don’t have individual talents that are exceptionally high like that of Rekkles or Febiven, they know how to play around their players.
Maxlore and Alphari don’t show off their carry potential. They leave that to Hans Sama and PowerOfEvil. Because of this, their ability to exert jungle pressure through Maxlore’s Sejuani or Gragas give a large area for Hans Sama and PowerOfEvil to snowball into unstoppable carrying machines while Alphari and Ignar do their job and tank the damage for their carries.
This synergized form of play not only helped them take down Flash Wolves and Team Solo Mid, it also helped them bring South Korea Telecom to a crucial game five. In Game 2 and 3, Hans Sama’s Tristana brought a new level play to the field which tested both Bang and Faker to the best of their physical ability. Hans Sama’s ability to play his signature Tristana was due to Maxlore’s jungle presence. Taking down Wolf and Bang several times over, Maxlore’s Sejuani quickly snowballed Hans Sama to an unstoppable carry that eventually won them both Games 2 and 3.
It was not till Bang picked the Tristana in Game 4 and 5 did Hans Sama truly begin to struggle on lesser champions of his roster like Sivir and Varus. However, Misfits’ ability to play such a coordinated game with such simple champions leaves an easy explanation as to why Misfits has been such a prominent team this past year.
While their individual skill is not something to be over-zealously marveled at, the team of Misfits still has individual skill which has been recognized over and over. Maxlore’s Sejuani is something to never underestimate and if the enemies ban it, that’s okay, Maxlore always has his Gragas to cover him up. If that is taken away from him, then there’s always his trusty Ivern.
He’s played on Origen when it was in its prime and was the best mid laner for Unicorns of Love.
The man’s not only shown a powerful performance on new champions outside his comfort zone like Karma and Ryze, he’s also proved that though this may be his first time on the Worlds International Stage, he has no problem going head to head against top players like Faker and Maple.
The last of the Misfits crew whose individual skill deserves honors is Hans Sama himself. Over and over again, his ability to perform on Tristana, Varus, and Xayah have aided in their journey to the Quarterfinals. His smart, aggressive playstyle secured easy wins over Flash Wolves and Team Solo Mid and his dominant Xayah performance was the decider against the tiebreaker in their match against TSM.
This combined trio has proved consistently that reputations don’t always matter. With Maxlore’s insane ability to pressure the enemy jungle into submission, PowerOfEvil’s consistent performance on non-dominant champions, and Hans Sama’s ability to compete against some of the top names in the world, there’s no wonder why Misfits has shown such a great year.
There have been many famed runs in the course of the Worlds Championship history but no rookie team has ever been so close to a victory in just its first year. With many more seasons to come for Misfits, fans and players alike are looking forward to what else they have to offer in the coming years.