Today’s matchup was do or die for Misfits, as they prepared to face off against one of Korea’s best teams. If the Swedish roster hoped to advance, they would need a 3-0 victory to do so cleanly, or a 3-1 win to force a 3-way tiebreaker.
As for Lunatic Hai, the Korean squad were faced with a much easier task, as they only needed two wins to secure their playoff seeding.
Most of the day’s games were likely to be a clash of styles, considering the difference in player roles. On Lunatic Hai’s side, their once 8-man roster had recently lost both its main D.Va and Reinhardt players, leaving their strategies limited to dive compositions. On the other hand, Kevyn “TviQ” Lindström served as a jack of all trades for Misfits, as he’d proven his skill on practically every available DPS pick.
Lunatic-Hai drew first blood on Ilios, using two variations of their usual dive comp. The first round was an all-out brawl on Well, as both sides tried aggressive 2/2/2 strategies. Although Misfits’ adaptation of putting TviQ on Pharah did net them several kills, it wasn’t enough to rout their enemies from the control point. While TviQ was cleaning up stragglers surrounding the point, Kim “zunba” Joon Hyuk was executing his objective-focused teammates as Roadhog.
The following rounds saw a shift into a 3 tank lineup from Misfits, and a commitment to diving aggression from Lunatic-Hai. Misfits looked more coordinated on their defensive picks, which enabled TviQ’s Soldier 76 to lay into his enemies, without fear of losing the objective. Now bolstered by calculated aggression from Jonathan “Reinforce” Larsson’s Reinhardt, Misfits’ new lineup made a convincing comeback on Ruins.
Despite a convincing loss in the second round, Miro and co. bounced back in the third. With a more urban arena to work with, Lunatic-Hai took full advantage of Lighthouse’s winding streets. Using Winston and Genji’s vertical mobility, Gong “Miro” Jin Hyuk and Lee “WhoRu” Seung Joon leaped between the city’s rooftops, allowing them to get the drop on unsuspecting victims. With their dive comp’s divide and conquer strategy working to full effect, Lunatic-Hai took a 100-40 win on Lighthouse, and a 2-1 win in the first game.
With the pressure on them to perform, Misfits made an impressive start to game 2. By earning himself an early kill as Roadhog, Tim “Mannetens” Byhlund allowed his team to secure the payload in the blink of an eye. Misfits’ Roadhog continued to impress throughout the streets phase, as he repelled every attempted defense, with the help of TviQ’s McCree. Despite a great start to the map, Misfits’ advance was brought to a complete stop, just moments away from victory. With the payload a mere .95 meters away from its goal, Yang“tobi” Jin Mo managed to push three different opponents off the foundry’s edge, using Lucio’s sound wave.From there, Lunatic-Hai were able to stabilize their defenses, and barely deny their opponents’ full push.
The Korean squad’s response was merciless, as they methodically tore through Misfits’ defenses. After reaching the foundry with only a slightly slower time than their opponents’, Lunatic-Hai were sure to not mimic their mistake of over commitment. After testing the waters with a series of ultimate-less fights, WhoRu found an opening through an opposing ult. Seeing that TviQ had unleashed Pharah’s rocket barrage on his teammates, WhoRu launched himself in front of the salvo, in order to reflect it back onto its user. With Misfits’ main DPS disabled, and several ults at their disposal, Lunatic-Hai used the opening to take a 2-0 series lead, and assure their spot in the playoffs.
With nothing but pride on the line for the rest of the series, Misfits chose Temple of Anubis (one of Lunatic Hai’s staple maps) as the third map. Both sides put up impressive performances in their first rounds, albeit in different fashions. In Misfits’ case, several failed sieges eventually lead up to an ultimate advantage, which they used to take point B in one fell swoop. On the other hand, Lunatic Hai took control following a bloody 3 minute fight, throughout which Ryujehong managed to charge four ultimates as Zenyatta.
The tables were turned in the time bank rounds, as Lunatic Hai blazed through their capture, while Misfits were faced with a drawn out fight. Unfortunately for Misfits and their fans, they were unable to withstand the Temple of Anubis’ steady stream of respawns, and lost their third and final game of the series.
With today’s victory in the books, Lunatic Hai will join KongDoo Panthera and Meta Athena, as the third team to go 3-0 in their group. Although it may benefit them to broaden their strategies going into playoffs, the Korean all stars have more than proven themselves using their wheelhouse dive comp.
Unfortunately for Misfits, today’s loss means that they won’t be able to make playoffs. Despite looking like a top eight contender in any other group, the rapidly improving Swedish roster will have to watch from the sidelines. Although they did fall short in APEX, Misfits have made leaps and bounds in their play over the season, and will be a serious threat in their next tournament.
Images via OGN Global (twitch.tv/ognglobal)