Coming into the 2019 LEC Spring Split, Misfits Gaming was looking like one of the hottest teams in the entire league, behind G2 Esports. With the Summer Split nearly halfway finished, Misfits now sits in ninth place and in danger of missing their second consecutive playoff appearance.
Super teams in League of Legends have historically fallen flat when compared against the expectations set for them. 2014's Alliance couldn't escape groups at Worlds, 2016's TSM lead by Bora "YellOwStaR" Kim barely reached the LCS Spring Finals, and 2017's KT Rolster failed to dismantle the one team they were build to destroy in SK Telecom T1.
The core 2019 Misfits roster consists of Paul "sOAZ" Boyer, Nubar "Maxlore" Sarafian, Fabian "Febiven" Diepstraten, Steven "Hans Sama" Liv, and Kang "GorillA" Beom-hyun. In the beginning of 2019, these five names together on the same lineup looked more like a lucky Fantasy LCS draft than a real team that could actually exist. GorillA and sOAZ, two of the most storied players of their respective roles, combined with arguably three of the best young European talents that have yet to hit their peak-- surely this was a team to be feared.
That's what most people were thinking, at least. Since their three game win-streak to kick off the 2019 LEC Spring Split, they've continued to lose more games than they've won and haven't won more than two games in a row. After missing out on any chance to make playoffs in spring, Misfits built a 10-man roster for the summer. Thomas "Kirei" Yuen and Adam "LIDER" Ilyasov are the only two recent acquisitions to have mixed in with the LEC lineup, but have since struggled to produce meaningful results.
It's been nearly half a year since the formation of this roster, and all of the excuses have drained from the tank. Both the players and the coaching staff have proven their individual skill sets in the past, but the team itself hasn't been working out. It's no secret that the team struggles to execute plays on a mechanical and macro level, and rarely seems to be on the same page in their decision-making. But with players of their caliber producing such poor results, there are likely dozens of intangible factors at work.
Match notifications, latest esports news, and more. Get the Upcomer app now.
Head coach Hussain "Moose" Moosvi tweeted on July 13 about the teams performance, claiming full responsibility for Misfits' failure to utilize their multi-man roster as a true asset within the team.
In a recent interview with The Shotcaller, Moose voiced his concerns about the team's trajectory and fielding stage and practice time between rotating players.
"Probably the primary issue has been consistency in performance and play style," said Moose. "They [the players sharing time] each have their pros and cons for early game and mid game."
Clearly Misfits has identified unique strengths within Kirei, LIDER, Febiven, and Maxlore than can be utilized differently depending on their preparation against certain teams. However, willingness to play multiple players in the same role will always mean less practice with the team for those who are sharing time.
Misfits' current record is 2-6 and there are five weeks left in the split. They still have a chance to contend for a playoff seed, but that can't happen without changes. If they ever plan on committing to a core of five players, now is the time to do it while their strength of schedule is relatively hard over the next two weeks.
Misfits play Splyce on Friday, July 19 at 9 a.m. PDT, and Rogue on Saturday, July 20 at 9 a.m. PDT.