Chres “Sencux” Laursen and the rest of his Misfits squadmates sat slumped in their chairs. Misfits had just lost to ROCCAT, ending their 2018 Spring Split without anything– including a playoff appearance– to show for it. It was an unexpected end for a team that had massive expectations at the start of their 2018 campaign.
They were hot off a surprising run to the Worlds Semifinals, and everyone expected Misfits to make a push for an EU LCS championship in the 2018 Spring Split, even with their newly tweaked roster. However, Misfits simply didn’t find their chemistry in time, finishing with an 8-10 record which was just outside the Playoff picture.
I was pretty hungry to redeem myself in the summer.
“I mean, obviously there was a bit of disappointment when I realized we wouldn’t make playoffs,” said Sencux. “It was pretty sad at first, especially because I didn’t have my best split... I was pretty hungry to redeem myself in the summer.” Sencux felt that the playoff miss was more disappointing because he knew Misfits had a chance to make something happen, even from a lower seed. That hunger from losing has transformed Sencux into one of the top mid laners in Europe.
Flame Baby Flame
The public wasn’t kind to Sencux immediately after the Spring Split. The fanbase was searching for a scapegoat, and Sencux was an easy target.
“For me, it was sad. There was a lot of flame to me. At the start it was a bit of annoying, but I learned to ignore it as well.” Sencux said. “I was told not to look at it. I also noticed that a lot of the comments were… not correct and didn’t make much sense. I just felt like it was flame to flame someone.” Misfits was desperate to find a working formula heading into the Summer Split, and after a brief two week break, they sent most of the team to Korea for a bootcamp. Sencux was able to recharge his batteries and hang out with some friends before the bootcamp, but deep down he really just wanted to get back to work.
Sencux credits the Korea trip as a huge reason for pushing him into the upper echelon of European mid laners. He worked on his mechanics, practiced new champions in the meta, and most importantly, regained his confidence. Sencux learned something vital during the bootcamp: aggression. He wanted to get rid of the stigma of being a passive player and the bootcamp allowed him to change his mentality while steadily grinding the Korean ranked ladder. He and his teammates played against better players and had far less distractions around them. It was just Misfits and League of Legends.
The Staff Behind Sencux
Misfits came into the Summer Split firing on all cylinders, dismantling Fnatic in their first matchup of the Split. The team eviscerated every team that challenged them, starting the first half of the Split with a perfect 9-0 record. Sencux led the way with his renewed confidence and aggression. He was instrumental in every game, showcasing astounding mastery on several different champions while bodying his opponents.
“I definitely had something to prove,” Sencux said. “I feel like my play was a lot better. I was a lot more confident in my laning and the meta suited me more this split. But I do think it was the hunger for showing off the in the first couple of weeks.”
I definitely had something to prove.
Sencux’s transformation showed that hard work does pay off. He changed from being one of Misfits weak points to becoming one of their greatest strengths. The mid laner obviously wasn’t alone in transforming Misfits into a top tier team. The rest of the squad has shouldered the burden as well, but Sencux also credits the team staff as a big reason for the team’s early success.
Hussain “Moose” Moosvi and Jesse “Jesiz” Le lead the coaching staff for Misfits and both do a great job of creating a culture that players can thrive in.
“I think Hussain is a good coach, he is good at getting people together. Him and Jesiz are a really good pair. I think it’s one of the reasons why we started off so well this split.” Sencux said. “[Hussain] is good at asking the right questions. There is always something new that we can learn, and he is always good at goal setting.” Both coaches help with the pick ban period, and while Hussain keeps everyone honest, Jesiz comes up with new ideas for the players. The staff has been a well-oiled machine and, maybe most importantly, provided structure for a team with high hopes for the Summer Split.
On top of a solid infrastructure, the 8.11-8.13 meta has also contributed to Misfits’s hot start. Sencux really enjoyed the meta, loving the new champions in the bot lane and the range of champions he could still play in the mid lane. While Misfits has played standard compositions in nearly every game, Sencux said the team is ready for any changes that may come along. The meta may continue to change around them, but Sencux and company feel that they’ll be more than ready to adapt when they’re called to, even if it takes them a few games to get the read.
Misfits is well positioned to make the playoffs and their ability to finish with a top three seed is completely in their hands. Sencux isn’t content playing for second place– He wants to take the whole Split. Even with top three in Misfits’s sights, Sencux always has his eyes set on the horizon. He knows he’ll have to eventually beat every team anyway, so improvement is always his number one priority. Besides, what good are opportunities if you aren’t prepared to seize them?
With such a good start, it’s almost inevitable that there would be some bumps along the way. Misfits have now had four losses in the last three weeks. In Week 7 Misfits got their largest bump of them all, a 0-2 week and a drop to second place. The last three weeks have brought out some glaring problems for Misfits. With the changing meta, it has become harder for teams to snowball directly off a strong early game. Mid laners with wave clear have become highly prized and late-game AD carries are viable once again with their smoother build paths.
Misfits started out so strongly because of their macro play and ability to snowball games from an early lead. Now, it seems that Misfits need a gigantic early lead or everything could go haywire. Clearly all of the Misfits squad members are feeling a bit a pressure, as their gameplay hasn’t been clean and they’ve looked less confident with every loss.
Misfits still have high hopes for the season going forward, even with their string of recent losses. They’ll need to fall back on their trademark aggression and Sencux needs to reassert himself with great mid lane play. Looking into the future, a Worlds return could be on the cards if Misfits play their hand right.
We are a strong enough team to make Worlds.
Sencux and Misfits love the EU LCS stage, but their ultimate goal is to book their flights to South Korea and take on the best teams in the world.
“I expect– I wouldn’t say expect, I don’t want to put too much pressure on my mates,” Sencux said laughing, “but I definitely think we are a strong enough team to make Worlds and to make it out of Groups if we keep improving. We can’t start slacking, if we keep improving we can be a strong team, we have shown that. So, yeah, I guess I expect to go to Worlds.”
The last time Misfits went to Worlds, they shocked the entire League of Legends collective. They escaped a group that nobody picked them to emerge from and brought SKT to the brink, almost winning a Best of 5 against the eventual runners-up. The disappointment of the Spring Split and the last few weeks has lit a fire under Sencux and Misfits. If they want to shock the world once again, they’ll have to first get back to taking care of business in the Summer Split.