The 5th week of EU LCS was all about taking down Misfits gaming.
It all started with pre-game banter between Roccat and Misfits social media managers, but it took to Fnatic to finally bring Misfits dominant summer season to their first loss.
Misfits might have dropped their first game of the split, but they still showed everyone why they might still be the best team in Europe right now.
The Misfits Early Game
One of Misfits speciality has definitely been to keep a positive record while playing ad carries in the bot lane, but it also has been their early game execution.
Even this weekend, most notably against Roccat, Misfits showcased their smart Early Game planning. In their match against Roccat, for example, Alphari managed to play out a small lead in the top lane matchup due to clean wave control. His stellar wave control not only enabled him a small gold lead on the top lane but it also denied a crucial gank from Memento with him backporting at 5 minutes of the game. The whole situation leads to Misfits relocating their whole attention towards the top lane. Awaiting the moment Memento would prepare the blue buff for Blanc’s Swain and take action at 7 minutes into the game, let Sencux push Blanc under his own turret and set up for a dive on Dr.Mundo instead of focusing on Mundo they focused on punishing Memento’s positioning, providing them with a kill and the pressure needed to take the turret.
A similar situation occurred against Fnatic. Despite the obvious early games problems after Fnatic’s cheesy level one play, Misfits was still able to create an advantage through their bot lane at 9 minutes as a response to Fnatic’s drake a minute prior to that.
The impressive part is not that Misfits found a space to even out the gold lead in that series, but the way they played it out.
As Misfits is one of the few teams that kept loyal to playing ad carries on bot lane, they became really good at snowballing through the bot lane and set up their ad carry in the right place for the mid-game. Especially at this bottom lane gank they bait out Fnatic that they will be going to retake the vision around the bottom side river as Maxlore sets himself up for a lane gank, which was enabled through Hans Sama clearing out the wave at 8:55. Fnatic is then forced to move a bit more towards Misfits side of the lane due to the way Hans Sama bounced the wave, this way they were able to brute force an initiation by an impressive W-Flash-Q combo from Mikyx’s Braum. Usually, teams that are behind would either play reactive or farm up until their safest power spikes before taking action.
This type of play is not a reactive play, but a clear answer to a predicted movement by Fnatic. Also a play like this needs to be setup properly, with some sort of preparation and the optimal way would start a minute prior to the actual execution of the play, which probably happened through a call after they got confirmation Broxah was taking the drake.
While Misfits had an advantage against Roccat and could snowball out of it, against they had to find an opening to be able to commit to their primary win condition.
In the example taken from the Fnatic match, Broxah’s pathing showed clear tendencies to back up the bottom side of the map as the top side of the map was in Fnatic’s favor after the level one play. There was not much to be done for Misfits in the top lane other than letting farm matchup between two tanks play out. And as long Broxah was backing up Caps Wu-Kong ín the mid lane, Sencux Yasuo would be forced to farm under the turret.
This is where Maxlore’s pathing would come into play. Usually he would be able to setup his teammates due to being one step ahead in the jungle pathing, this is not something that he can simply do without mid pressure. So he has to wait for opportunities given by the enemy team to either establish needed vision control or find the opportunities like the gank they found at 9 minutes against Fnatic.
Side Lane Control
As important as the Aatrox and Yasuo picks are for Misfits it is also their side lane control.
So picking champions that easily scale into a splitpushing monsters is just as high as a priority. Which is why Misfits tend to either build on a solo lane advantage or early advantages in their bot lane to be a threat after laning phase. Usually having a triple threat combination with one of the players playing with fewer resources.
So they normally focus on the bot and mid lane as their primary carries and only set up Alphari to be the splitpushing and scaling threat. Leading to a lot of Dr.Mundo and Gankplank picks as they are fairly safe in lane and can scale without needing a lot of investment. Even if the Yasuo pick that Misfits has been highly prioritizing is a risky pick as it needs to get rolling early, the pick fits perfectly in their playing style, which is focused on getting a good and simple early game advantage. A concept Misfits explores at all times is the Jungle and mid lane duo combo. For example in their game against Roccat rarely you would see Maxlore and Sencux running seperately. They would most of the times stick together to force Roccat to answer them at any time possible. Only letting Sencux take over a side lane by himself when answering the pushed waves by someone of Roccat’s team.
Unfortunately for The Herd, Fnatic had an answer to their playstyle this weekend.
They came in prepared to answer the Yasuo with a smart pick in Wukong.
Wukong is a known counterpick to Yasuo in solo queue. It is not the most popular but a very effective one. You can pressure Yasuo in the laning phase, can answer his tornados with Wukongs Decoy and even easily setup dives with your ultimate against him.
This blocked Sencux to apply any side lane pressure throughout the map. And all Fnatic had to do was to make sure that Maxlore would not be able to set him up for good.
So they secured the top side for themselves with the level one play and Broxah would orientate himself to play towards the bot side, not giving Maxlore the chance to properly contest the mid lane at all times. So Broxah would continue to back up Caps at all times as Bwipo could safely farm, Hylissang would join with his Pyke to increase the kill pressure on Yasuo. Then Fnatic’s win condition at this point is to kill Yasuo completely before the mid-game. Rather from starving him from farming and kills or in order to take up the game after it takes the tier one mid lane turret and takes Misfits chances of coming back into the game with it.
Skirmish 13:00 -
One of these examples is a skirmish at 13 minutes into the game, where Misfits has to block Fnatic from setting up a gank towards the mid lane and block their jungle entrances.
At this point in the match controlling red side, vision is Fnatic’s highest priority to track Maxlore and enforce plays on to the mid lane. Although Misfits was able to prevent a gank on mid lane they weren’t able to protect their jungle and Fnatic could get the information needed of Maxlore’s pathing and the space needed to apply pressure on the mid lane tier 1 turret. Ending in an exchange of ultimates and forcing Sencux back to base and losing a bit of farm.
In the end, it is still a slight advantage for Fnatic, but nothing groundbreaking. Still, it was enough for Fnatic to keep the vision control and set up the momentum for the next play at 16:30.
Pressure mid 16:30 -
Where Caps pushes Sencux to his turrets and in the heat of the moment Misfits support and jungler step out of position to rush for help and end up getting caught by Fnatic’s jungler and support. Even if the positioning of Broxah and Hyllisang were called a few seconds prior to the play, Misfits decided not to stop the proactive play from Fnatic by backing up Sencux at the turret but by trying to flank Caps which ended up the needed window for Fnatic to capitalize on their Mid lane pressure advantage. The mistake was crucial due to the whole Misfits bottom side moving up to back up their mid lane and still having to back out due to their positioning, this enabled Bwipo to get the push on the bottom side freeing up hylissang who could simply stay mid lane and as soon as Misfits would try to pick off Bwipo initiate the dive on Sencux with Caps. This was the play Fnatic was looking for and trying to set for the past five minutes in the game. The one that would enable them to get the mid lane turret and with that all chances of Yasuo farming freely anymore.
Ironically it actually happened just a bit over a minute after Fnatic took the first turret.
In the end this one mistake and Fnatic’s smart level one lead them to beat Misfits as their team composition didn’t have many options for a comeback after this. It was a clean played out game by Fnatic after that. Fnatic prepared themselves well for the encounter against Misfits and were able to stop their stellar early game. What Fnatic understood coming into the match is why Misfits draft in a certain way and where to block the execution. With the cheesy play on the top lane, combined with the pressure in the mid lane and Broxah being able to focus on the bottom side of the map, Maxlore wasn’t left with many possibilities to provide Hans Sama or Sencux with the setup needed to snowball into their usual mid game setup. Leading to Misfits having to take risks they didn’t want to take and creating opportunities which Fnatic were successfully able to snowball from, breaking Misfits win streak.