Four weeks ago, Misfits were a mysterious newcomer to the European League of Legends Championship Series. They earned their place in the European LCS Spring Split after beating Schalke 04 in the Promotion Tournament, but they've since undergone changes, which provided a slew of challenges. With a massive roster shuffle, how would the team provide the same lethality it did in the Challenger Series?
Would you look at how they nearly dispatched G2 Esports in Group A, upset Fnatic in a convincing 2-0 victory, and set themselves as the team to watch, the team that could upset the G2-H2K-Splyce hegemony at the top?
Lee "IgNar" Dong-geun has been here from the start, and Lee "KaKAO" Byung-kwon joined him before the Spring Split. Between the moments of goofiness and banter lies a support-jungle duo that helped Misfits assert themselves near the top of Group A.
"He always says [he's] the best jungle EU," IgNar said with a smile. "He always says so. He has to do that."
IgNar joined Misfits before they took on the Challenger Series, but he had been in contact with the team back when it was under the Renegades brand.
"I talked to Renegades, but [later on] I did another team's tryout," IgNar said. "[By then], the team's owner had been changed. I thought I had to find another team, but Misfits contacted me again."
As such, he was able to witness the squad's rise through the Challenger Series, then triumph against Schalke 04 in the LCS Promotion Tournament. IgNar also watched KaKAO's arrival when, one day during the Misfits' lengthy tryout boot camp period, the jungler stepped into the gaming house fresh out of China.
"When I left the LPL, I found so many teams," KaKAO said. "They offered me [a position]. Korean teams and another nation's team."
Misfits also knocked on the door, so he tried out. What won him over?
"I think Misfits play smart," KaKAO said. "I like this playstyle."
"He played some scrims, and he thought 'this team is fine,'" IgNar added. "So he made his mind, and he joined."
For Misfits, KaKAO's addition meant that the number of Koreans acclimating to life outside of their home country was no longer two, but three, with assistant coach Paragon being the third. IgNar never spent a lengthy period outside of South Korea, and the transition had its ups and downs, with the primary pain point being food; not only is it different in Europe.
"In Korea, you can eat anywhere, any time, very quickly. Instantly. But not here. It's so hard," said IgNar.
The environment around him also changed, but he sees it as a positive point.
"Korea is very small, so roads are small, and buildings are very tight," IgNar said. "Here, anything is so huge, and it feels like [we have] more time -- [it moves] slowly. I like that more."
The duo also raised complementary points regarding their new gaming environment. While IgNar focused more on how he felt playing in Misfits and in the European LCS, KaKAO considered a more practical aspect.
"LCK is [stricter]. I like the EU LCS because there's [more] freedom. In our gaming house too, we have a lot of free time," IgNar said.
"The LCK players are five Koreans [with] very good communication," KaKAO said. "[Misfits have a] hard [time with] communication [with people from] three different nations."
Even with communication an issue, Misfits are marching forward. Sometimes, it is not easy.
"One more thing -- sometimes we got too scared [on stage]," IgNar said, seconded by a "same" from KaKAO.
But the squad is successful on the rift, following a tenuous adaptation to the stage environment. As players shake off onstage doubt, KaKAO cannot help but lament the lack of cheering for the squad.
"I think, in EU matches, the action is good, but no people are saying 'Misfits! Misfits!' or 'KaKAO! KaKAO!'" KaKAO said. "I want people, when they see [an] unbelievable situation or a good match, that they say 'Misfits! Misfits!' or our teammates' [names]."