Friday, September 30, 2022

Misfits win crucial tiebreaker over Fnatic, secure upper bracket LEC playoff berth

misfits gaming gutted out a comeback win in a tiebreaker match against Fnatic to clinch a spot in the top four of the League of Legends European Championship Summer Split playoffs, subsequently sealing their opponent’s fate and dooming them to a start in the lower bracket.

With a spot in the upper bracket on the line, Misfits continued their upward trajectory since calling up former Astralis jungler Nikolay “Zanzarah” Akatov from their LFL affiliate, Misfits Premier. Misfits now find themselves just one best-of-five win away from the team’s first Worlds appearance since 2017. The playoff berth holds more weight for the historic European org this year: they’ll look to go out with a bang in their last split in the LEC before their slot is sold to Team Heretics for the 2023 season.

Fnatic, meanwhile, endured a five-game losing streak in the middle of the split before winning five of their last six games. Beating Misfits themselves in the last regular split game of the LEC season allowed them to surge into the playoff picture despite ultimately falling short in the tiebreaker against the same opponent.

Fnatic jungler Razork has been as up-and-down as his team since coming over from Misfits this past offseason. His early game on Trundle was well-played for the second consecutive game, and he was a part of all three of his team’s kills before the 10-minute mark.

Little by little, Fnatic crept away with the lead before an ill-fated overstay—crashing the second Rift Herald into the bottom lane tier one tower—swung the game into Misfits’ favor. From there, Zanzarah’s Poppy and superstar mid laner Vetheo’s Sylas danced around the members of Fnatic in extended fights and frustrated any attempts to come back into the game.

Upset had been the true carry for Fnatic the last few games, including in the team’s last game of the regular split earlier on Sunday, going 9/0/6 on Zeri. In this tiebreaker, however, his Ezreal and support Hylissang’s notorious Pyke weren’t enough.

Fnatic’s disappointing split sputtered to a similarly underwhelming conclusion with this loss, which leaves them one best-of-five loss away from elimination and—at minimum—two best-of-five wins away from a Worlds slot.

Essentially, using the above bracket convention, if you make it to “Match 6,” you make it to the Worlds Play-In stage at minimum. With G2 Esports being the first team on the planet to lock in a spot at the tournament after the LEC was given four slots, five teams are fighting for three spots.

The LEC takes a break next weekend, but playoffs kick off on Friday, Aug. 26 at 10am CT with Rogue taking on MAD Lions. First-seeded G2 chose Misfits as their first round opponents, and they’ll square off on that Saturday at 11am. Fnatic and Excel will fight for their lives in the lower bracket on Sunday at 10am.

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