The European League of Legends Championship Series Regional Qualifiers got underway on Friday with a five-game slugfest that saw Splyce prevail over Misfits Gaming in Berlin, eliminating Misfits from Worlds contention.
Coming into this series, conventional wisdom would have dictated that Misfits had the upper hand. Not only did it end the EU LCS Summer Split with a better record, but it managed to advance further into the playoffs thanks to a 3-0 stomp of G2 Esports in the first round. When it comes to the head-to-head matchup between these teams, though, it was an even 1-1 in the summer. The closeness of the teams was on full display all throughout this tight series on Friday.
From start to finish, neither team managed to string together back-to-back games the entire series, as it was a neck-and-neck race at every point. In just about every game, the teams traded shots before blowings things open on the back of a major decision or teamfight. More often than not, it was Splyce who was on the positive end of those exchanges, as it fought with relentless aggression and controlled the late-game objectives to keep Misfits constantly on its backfoot.
This was best seen in Games 3 and 5 where Splyce decisively got the job done with little opposition from Misfits. These games also ended up being the shortest of all of them, as once Splyce kicked it into high gear, there was nothing Misfits could do. The driving force behind Splyce's control over the proceedings was AD carry Kasper "Kobbe" Kobberup. It didn't matter what champion he played, as he wreaked havoc on Misfits on his way to a 29/11/28 KDA (kills/deaths/assists) in the series. While he was solid throughout, his shining moment came 22 minutes into Game 5 when he picked up a triple kill out of nowhere with his Vayne that slammed the door shut on Misfits' hopes at making it to Worlds.
For Misfits, the ultimate downfall was that the team simply couldn't play with the confidence and scrappiness that has come to define this team. Every move Splyce made threw Misfits for a loop and prevented the team from gaining a footing. Even in the games that it won, the mistakes piled on. Whether it was prematurely starting and then giving up Baron without a fight in Game 4 or losing back-to-back teamfights in Game 2, it was a miracle that Misfits managed to recover from these mistakes to win those games. Before long, though, Splyce finally stopped letting things slide and put Misfits away for good.
While Misfits will now be forced to watch the rest of the 2018 season from home, Splyce will advance on to face G2 Esports at 11 a.m. ET on Saturday. The winner of that match will then face FC Schalke 04 at 11 a.m. ET on Sunday.
-- Wyatt Donigan