After the first two weeks of the LEC Summer Split, the middle of the pack is extremely close. Six of the teams are all even in the standings with 2-2 records including Schalke and Misfits, the two biggest names that missed out on the playoffs in Spring. It was a major failure for the two teams who both had expectations of challenging for the title.
Misfits assembled a roster of world-class superstars from around the world as Fabian “Febiven” Diepstraten, Paul “sOAZ” Boyer and Kang “Gorilla” Beom-hyun joined the organisation to complete a team capable of challenging the world’s best in terms of star power. However, the squad struggled to play together and find its identity which lead to an inconsistent split.
Meanwhile, for the majority of Spring it was Schalke who looked like the best team in the LEC behind G2. The superstar bot-lane of Elias “Upset” Lipp and Lee “IgNar” dong-geun were dominating games while experienced top-laner Andrei “Odoamne” Pascu appeared to be back at his best. The squad was charging full steam ahead but that momentum eventually derailed at the half-way point of Spring and ended with a disastrous tie-breaker loss to SK Gaming’s young squad.
Coming into this split, both teams have added extra firepower to their arsenals with additional players fighting for starting spots. The LEC is so stacked with talent that you know the race for playoffs will be go right down to the wire so any extra bit of motivation is crucial. Every game counts, especially with the World Championships looming.
This match will provide Misfits and Schalke with a massive opportunity to gain some momentum and push themselves one step further up the ladder in order to grab the brass ring. But who will be the difference maker?
Rumble in the jungle
Schalke and Misfits have brought in competition for their jungle position by bringing in new players during the off-season. Both teams looked to Turkey as Misfits signed Thomas “Kirei” Yuen following his strong performances with 1907 Fenerbahce at the MSI Play-Ins while Schalke brought in a second Korean import with former European champion Kim “Trick” Gang-yun who had last played for LCL side Galakticos.
Trick has quickly made the starting spot his own and is yet to miss a game for Schalke this season. While his return to his Korea didn’t work out as he hoped, Europe has definitely become Trick’s second home and still suits him to the ground. The Schalke man has the most kills (15) and the third most assists (28) of any jungler in the league so far this season. Trick is a natural leader and you could see his influence on the team in the most recent episode of Mic Check as he begged his team to hit the Nexus rather than go for more kills against Splyce which nearly ended in disaster when his team didn’t listen.
Considering Trick’s experience with multiple Worlds Worlds appearances and four European titles to his name, it’s not looking good for Jonas “Memento” Elmarghichi who ironically with his namesake, appears to have been forgotten about at Schalke.
That’s a position that Nubar “Maxlore” Sarafian will be afraid of falling in too. The Englishman has struggled a lot this season and his nightmares were realised when Kirei was handed his Misfits debut just two weeks into the Split. The Dutchman took the chance with both hands, stomping Britain-based Excel into the ground in what could end up being a metaphor for how the fight for the jungle position will go down.
Kirei made a major difference to Misfits’ early game, it’s no coincidence that Kirei was involved in first blood in both games he played. The early signs are promising but he hasn’t played enough just yet to fairly compare his stats with the league’s other junglers. The team may still lack direction in the mid to late game, as shown in last week’s match against Origen, but Kirei’s proactivity and aggression will go a long way in fixing that as the season progresses.
Better bot wins
When looking at this match-up, you of course have to talk about the teams’ monstrous botlanes. Upset and Steven “Hans Sama” Liv are the respective stars of Schalke and Misfits as both have battled for a long-time to try and be named the best ADC in the league.
Though, that aim has become much harder with the role-swap of Luka “Perkz” Perkovic and the rise of Patrik “Patrik” Jiru and Kasper “Kobbe” Kobberup. However, the latter was recently beaten by Upset in what was a huge win for Schalke. Splyce are known as the late-game kings thanks to Kobbe’s masterful teamfighting yet Schalke were able to enter their domain and win the 45-minute slog. Kobbe did his best to prevent a loss with a quadra-kill inside his own base but that wasn’t enough to stop Upset who’s Guardian Angel bought him just enough time to end the game.
Meanwhile, Hans Sama also took an important step this week by proving that he can be flexible by defeating Excel while playing Sona. The champion pool of Hans Sama has always a big doubt of an otherwise extremely talented ADC. Give the Frenchman Draven or Lucian and you know he can carry a game but during the mage meta last season, he only played an AP champion once in Vladimir and that resulted in a loss. Now Hans Sama finally making progress, he’s even played two games of Cassiopeia this season and won one of those games too.
Hans Sama has long been the main man for Misfits and still remains the case despite the added star-power in the team this season. His 74 percent kill participation this season is the second highest of all LEC ADCs and his performance will almost always decide the team’s fate.
There are so many great ADCs in Europe at the moment that it might not only be European mids that are revered as some of the world’s best. This bot-lane match-up is going to be explosive so there’s only one lane you need to keep your eye on with Pro View.