Misfits vs Fnatic
For our third match of the day we have an interesting clash between the former “kings of Europe” Fnatic, and perhaps the most confusing team in the region right now – Misfits Gaming.
Now, this is by no means a must watch. On paper this is a fight between the second best team in the LEC and one of the worst. Not exactly the most premier match-up, one could say. But that aside, it does carry a great big number of question marks and narratives. In other words, it’s not so black and white, nor will it be as one-sided as most people expect.
Let’s focus on Fnatic first. Explaining their current state is a thankless endeavor, to say the least. What exactly happened for Fnatic over the last couple of days is anyone’s guess, but their level of play deteriorated far beyond what anyone expected. First of all, there was no obvious reason as to why such a thing had to happen in the first place. After all, they were as dominant as possible over in North America. But once they came back to European soil, there was something missing – their aggression and willingness to fight, for starters. They never quite got back to their former level of play, and the few weeks of brilliance back when the split began now feel like ancient history.
They’re still the same team we all know and love, but they’re noticeably weaker and more afraid. They’re passive, reactive, and are often one step behind. Their losses to Splyce and Rogue got everyone thinking – “is this really the second best team in Europe?” Their level of play sure doesn’t say that. When they draft comfort picks they’re still a beast of a team, but that pigeon holes them into a singular strategy – a bruiser for Bwipo, an early game-focused jungler for Broxah, a roaming pick for Nemesis like Twisted Fate, a late game-oriented hyper carry for Rekkles, and an engage support for Hylissang. That’s a stacked team comp regardless of the way you look at it, but they only have that one, single strategy.
If you ban their biggest and most picked champions they’re noticeably weaker – and that’s a problem. Whether or not they’ll get back to their dominant ways still remains to be seen, although the odds definitely are in their favor. They might not finish the split in second place, but their playoff spot is basically locked in.
As for Misfits…. Well, that’s a complete unknown. They’re… Acceptable, perhaps? Their “B” line-up is okay overall but they lack the talent and potential to actually do something this late into the split and actually leave a mark in the grand scheme of things. That said, they did display a somewhat promising level of play last week – promising in the sense that they could, in theory, upset when you least expect it. That fact alone makes the upcoming couple of weeks that much more exciting. We have a dark horse, a team that’s an unknown quantity. Will they step up? They’re going down – that’s a fact, but they have the potential to grab someone with them and upset the status quo by doing so.
They have nothing to lose, and a team that is willing to go to the extreme in order to get the win and upset everyone in attendance is a dangerous adversary, to say the least. They’re experimenting, and they’re playing without any pressure. Those are the perfect conditions, and they could give them an edge going forward. What they lack in skill (technically speaking) they can compensate in sheer bravado.
In the end, we have to side with Fnatic, but we have to be cautious. They haven’t been playing particularly well over the last couple of weeks and have shown huge openings in their game. They can bleed and they haven’t been this vulnerable ever since the 2019 Spring Split. Will Misfits be able to deal a fatal blow? The odds are definitely stacked against them, but seeing just how one-dimensional Fnatic currently are, it’s not like devising a game plan is going to be a hard endeavor. Fnatic is favored, and with good reason, but this could end up being a much harder clash than most people expect, especially if Misfits fully embrace the underdog mentality.