Photo: Riot Games

We are at the cusp of the 2017 Summer Split. It was an exciting ride, filled with surprises and excellent games. If there is one thing that is yet to be decided it is just how strong Europe as a region currently is. While G2 eSports showcased phenomenal League of Legends at this year’s MSI, the whole region failed to put up much of a fight against their NA counterparts at Rift Rivals.

In the end, it does seem like we get to witness the two absolute best teams duke it out in Paris. While G2 didn’t have a strong showing overall during the regular season, they finally found a playstyle that suits them and they’re performing on a very high level.

However let’s focus on Misfits for a bit.

They’ve entered the LCS this year. They had this “one year plan” of getting into the LCS and reaching Worlds within a single year. Now that plan is, no matter how you put it, incredibly optimistic. Europe as a region has been very top heavy for quite some time now, and to think that a bunch of newcomers could contest for a Top 3 spot was ludicrous.

How could they beat the European giants? Fnatic, G2 eSports and even H2K and the Unicorns of Love. While some of these teams had varying degrees of international and local success over the last couple of splits, it’s fair to say that they’ve occupied the top for a long time now.

However against all odds, they’ve managed to do so. And in what phenomenal fashion.

They didn’t just beat Fnatic. They outclassed them, both on an individual level and as a team. Misfits played with renewed confidence after clean sweeping UOL the week prior.

While both teams drafted well, Misfits always came out ahead fairly early. Fnatic know how to play from behind and they showed that virtue last week as well however to an extremely moderate degree. To their demise, Misfits always went toe-to-toe.

Every game was filled with tension. Both teams wanted to attain any lead possible and when they managed to fight it was often long and drawn-out. Misfits were a bit slow, however they moved cautiously as a unit and it paid off.

It was a strange series for sure. It’s not that Fnatic made any huge error. They made small ones. A lapse in vision, a bad engage, a careless fight turned awry. Misfits didn’t always play that well, they still made individual mistakes, a bad call here or there but when the late game came, they were always ahead by such a wide margin that whenever they did decide to engage and fight they were ahead in gold, objectives and items as well. It only took one big teamfight at the end of each game to close things out.

They took out Fnatic in the midst of their strongest showing in two years.

As a team Misfits grew, and they improved a lot all underneath the surface. They’re playing like a team possessed.

It’s mindblowing how quickly they fixed their issues in a week or two’s time. You could see their holes and mistakes in every single game prior to playoffs and then they just changed, almost over night. Obviously those improvements are a result of an immense team-wide effort.

It’s impossible to predict their skill level at the moment. However they did outclass Fnatic in a Best of 5 series and that speaks volumes about their strength.

Their opponents, G2 eSports also didn’t have a shabby showing themselves. Far from it. It was a 3-0 shellacking and H2K were the recipients. While the first game started off even, a single mindblowing Baron steal swung the momentum in G2’s favor. Stealing a Baron is one thing, but smiting between Jankos’ smite and “Consume” combo is a work of art.

As expected, the games were very slow and macro oriented. They rotated, focused on building their advantages, with H2K getting the better end of things early. However as the games progressed, things always went in G2’s favor. They were the better team, with better macro and a better gameplan going into the series.

Every member of G2 played phenomenally. The first two games were spearheaded with Expect and Trick, while the third one was essentially the Perkz show. He was on point with every champion he played – Orianna and Cassiopeia especially, hitting multi-man shockwaves and taking H2K to school. In the third game of the series he had nine kills and three and a half items by the 25 minute mark – on Cassiopeia.

It took them 38 minutes to close out the first game, 31 for the second and a mere 27 for the third.

Verdict

This is not an easy game for G2, far from it. They themselves said that they don’t know what to expect from this Misfits squad and with good reason. Betting against G2 is almost always ill-advised, unless it’s an international competition. They’re the more experience team, they’ve been through it all, the highs and lows. They’re a very versatile team and they can play the game in a plethora of ways and that is an ability that allows them to adapt so well, so often.

Looking at this matchup statistically, it’s won’t be an easy fight either. Misfits boast an almost comically high 2.42 Kill-to-Death ratio, meaning they make almost 2.5 kills for every 1 death. Paired with an equally insane 1,086 gold lead and the highest Early Game Rating at 61.8 (compared to G2’s 48.7) – it’s normal to feel unsafe betting on this match.

Misfits are coming in hot with the underdog mentality and that will surely allow them to perform even better, however G2 are used to the pressure. They’re seasoned veterans and they’ve proven their worth on more than one occasion. We are also yet to see the highs that this team can achieve, as rekindling their 2017 MSI fire is only a matter of time.

Expect this one to go the distance, and ultimately end in G2’s favor.

Winner: G2 eSports, 1.35 (odds @ Bet365)

Third Place Match – Fnatic vs. H2K

Photo: Riot Games

Fans of both organizations must have a sour taste in their mouths due to all the “what-if” scenarios. Fnatic were just a single win away from securing their spot at this year’s Worlds, and H2K failed to meet expectations – once again.

Furthermore, both teams looked lost and at times even stubborn. Fnatic failed to adapt during their series against Misfits and were constantly drafting similar comps. They entered every game almost disrespectfully, thinking it would be a much easier match that it turned out to be. Even individually, they looked lost. Broxah was a complete non-factor in the jungle, and Caps failed to impact the game in any way, shape or form.

Their backs were constantly against the wall and they failed to show why they we’re touted as the best team in Europe.

Luckily for them, H2K looked even worse. You can’t really blame them too much, if you lose the most important Baron of the series to a Sejuani and you have a Nunu on your team – it’s hard not to tilt off the face of the planet. That single misplay destroyed any momentum they might have had.

After the series Jankos vented through a Facebook post, saying they don’t have enough mental fortitude whenever they’re behind and it is a fault that was evident from the beginning of the split. When they’re ahead, they’re incredible and they dominate beyond expectations. When they’re even, things get a lot more complicated and nuances become the determining factor, and when they don’t get the early lead they often crumble under the pressure.

It’s strange seeing this team struggle this much, as they have three very experienced players and two rookies who actually manage to hold their own against the best bottom lanes in Europe. On paper they have the tools to at least be a Top 3 team, however in reality it never seems to pan out.

Eventually fans simply lost faith in H2K as a team, and they’re not doing anything to earn their trust back. It is a shame however as they managed to have a great showing last year at Worlds, and not having them represent Europe this time would be a disappointing turn of events.

Looking at this matchup specifically, Fnatic are surely angry and with good reason. They want to prove themselves and show the world that they do belong on the Worlds stage in China and their redemption story starts here. The problems that are preventing H2K from improving and performing are not fixable in a week’s time.

Fnatic will surely fix their issues and defeat H2K in a somewhat close 3-1 series.

Winner: Fnatic, 1.50 (odds @ Bet365)