Once upon a time, there was a snake and a hare. The snake had a two game lead, it tilted and threw, and the hare reverse swept it. The End.
Fairy tale comeback
As a spectator, reverse sweeps are an odd thing to understand. How can a team that already won 2 games in a row not find a single victory in the next 3 games? With only a couple of things going wrong, a team that was seemingly going to stomp a series can get caught off guard and eliminated.
The bar was set high for Splyce since the beginning of the split and, going into the playoffs, they were expected to easily secure a spot in the semifinals. Misfits had struggled in their last games of the regular season, dropping matches to ROCCAT and Fnatic. Moving towards playoffs, Misfits’ future didn’t seem bright.
Nevertheless, during the first quarterfinal of the EU LCS Spring Split 2017, Misfits was able to take down Splyce in a hard fought five game series. As with any reverse sweep, fans of the losing team were disappointed and started pointing fingers at what they thought went wrong. Was it the Kennen pick? Was it leaving LeBlanc up after game 4? Was it Wunder’s performance in game 5? Let’s break down the series game by game.
Game 1: Closer than you’d think
Even though Splyce was never behind in gold during the first game, it was closer than you’d think. While Splyce secured most of their gold lead by taking towers, Misfits was able to stay in the game by reacting properly when Splyce over extended and failed to dive effectively. The game was decided in a team fight near baron, were Kobbe picked up a triple kill and Splyce aced Misfits. Apart from the risky plays, nothing was inherently wrong with Splyce’s play style. They had leads in the early game and played well to push them further.
Game 2: Press R to win
Game 2 was much cleaner from Splyce. This time around Sencux played Syndra, a power pick known for deleting enemy players with the push of a single button. Thrashy’s Kha’Zix was also a determining factor as he was able to isolate and kill many of the Misfits. Splyce was able close out the game with style with Wunder teleporting to backdoor Misfits’ Nexus. Splyce looked determined to clean sweep Misfits.
Game 3: Press R to win v2
This game was a disaster for Splyce. Mikyx and Wunder misplayed consistently, whiffing their ultimates in key fights. Sencux’s Ahri was never given the chance to assassinate any of the Misfits’ carries and Kobbe’s AD Kennen had very low impact. However, for Misfits this game was a beacon of hope. KaKaO and Alphari were consistently setting up plays. PowerOfEvil was showing up big time, dealing 45 thousand damage on Syndra. Ignar played an insane Thresh and Hans Sama had an excellent Kalista game. Misfits set their eyes on the reverse sweep.
Game 4: Magic tricks and mischief
PowerOfEvil continued to carry in the next game. Now on LeBlanc, and using an unconventional build, he led his team to victory by assassinating Splyce’s carries in crucial team fights. Splyce couldn’t find an answer to Misfits and they only had one more game to bring it back.
Game 5: Tilted of the face of the Rift
LeBlanc was left unbanned after PowerOfEvil‘s monster performance. Splyce surprisingly picked Kennen for the third time in a row, but this time they had Wunder play it in the top lane. In short, Wunder had a horrible game. POE punished him tremendously and put himself miles ahead of Splyce. Put two and two together and BAM! Misfits takes the series.
What really went wrong?
The first thing to look at is Alphari’s and KaKaO’s performance throughout the whole series. Alphari was allowed to play Shen for 4 games, winning 3. KaKaO also played 4 games on Rengar. In all of their games, both Alphari and KaKaO enabled their team to make plays and constantly landed their abilities in team fights. Alphari‘s Shadow Dashes were on point throughout the whole series.
Then, there’s the Kennen pick, which didn’t win a single game on either side. When Kobbe was on Ezreal, Varus or Lucian his impact in game was notably higher. However, Splyce opted to take AD Kennen for games 3 and 4. Kobbe fell behind and couldn’t really match Hans Sama. In game 5, Kennen was flexed to the top lane. Wunder got completely destroyed yet this wasn’t due to the pick. He was overextending without vision time and time again, letting POE’s LeBlanc to kill him multiple times. In addition, Wunder opted not to join a fight around Baron with TP up. Whether this was a misplay from Wunder or just a team call to save the summoner spell is still unclear, however the outcome of that skirmish might have been different if he had joined.
Finally, we have PowerOfEvil’s LeBlanc. LeBlanc was banned by Splyce for games 1 and 2 after which the ban was dropped. In game 4, POE pick the champion and decimated Splyce. Even after the heavy nerf to her Distortion [W] damage, LeBlanc proved to be a power pick when building Hextexh Revolver and Lich Bane as her core items. For game 5, Splyce insisted on leaving LeBlanc up and POE repeated his performance from the previous game.
For Splyce, their playoff run ends here. They were outplayed and outdrafted by Misfits. Even if they had changed certain picks, the team was clearly titled in their last games. Misfits advance to the semifinals and will face the Unicorns of Love next week for a spot at the EU LCS Spring Split 2017 finals.