One of the biggest recent investors in European League of Legends has been relegated: FC Schalke 04 will be sent to the Challenger Series after losing to Misfits Sunday 3-1.
Misfits entered the promotion tournament with a lofty reputation as one of the best EU Challenger teams ever, compared with the likes of G2 Esports and Origen (both teams that made the finals in their first LCS splits). With top regional prospects in the top lane (Barney “Alphari” Morris) and at AD Carry (Steven “Hans Sama” Liv), a support with LCK experience (Dong-geun “IgNar” Lee) and LCS experience in the mid lane (Marcin “Selfie” Wolski) and jungle Tae-wan “Wisdom” Kim, there were high expectations.
IgNar, arguably the most important part of Misfits’ Challenger success, was named Player of the series, going 3/1/38 in his team’s three wins.
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Schalke 04 took an early lead in Game 1 thanks to a strong play in the 2 vs. 2 lane. Jhin and Tahm Kench is a deceptively deadly combination, and the two managed to blow up Steven “Hans Sama” Liv’s Sivir before a gank came in to finish off Dong-geun “IgNar” Lee.
Schalke 04’s composition looked strongest at the beginning of the game, moving around the map for picks. At 15 minutes, after the Misfits bot lane attempted to collapse on Berk “Gilius” Demir, who was stealing their blue bluff, global ultimates from Shen and Tahm Kench turned a 1 vs. 2 situation into a 4 vs. 2 situation. Two kills later, Schalke 04 had a pretty decent Game 1 lead.
But three minutes later, Misfits collapsed mid and picked up a triple kill for Alphari’s Gnar, taking the lead and never looking back. Alphari played a near-perfect game as Gnar, stunning four with a five-man Gnar ult to set up an ace for his team.
Schalke 04 was able to extend the mid game with a few picks, but Misfits held strong and controlled objective and team fight priority. The game finished 15-10 in 39 minutes, with Alphari 8/1/6 on Gnar, Wisdom 1/1/14 on Rek’Sai and Selfie 4/2/11 on Karma.
Game 2 started swimmingly once again for Misfits. After three early kills built up a big lead for the bottom lane, a team fight in 21 minutes resulted in an ace and Baron.
Another 10+k gold lead before 30 minutes, another easy win. Misfits took this one 15-1 in 30 minutes, with big performances from Wisdom’s Gragas (1/0/11), Hans Sama’s Ashe (5/0/8) and IgNar’s Tahm Kench (2/0/11).
Game 3 saw Schalke 04 return to its roots: namely, Gilius’s excellent Lee Sin. He helped secure his team First Blood and then went off, building a massive early game advantage for his team.
Gilius ended the game 3/2/11 as Schalke 04 took the game 20-4 in 31 minutes.
Game 4 didn’t quite quite so well for Schalke 04, even though Gilius got his Lee Sin again. This time it was Misfits who was able to secure an early advantage, and the team never looked back.
This game ended 19-3 in Misfits’ favor after 29 minutes of play.
Formerly known as Elements, FC Schalke 04 was purchased by the German football club before the start of this split. After a strong start saw them in fourth place after Week 5, Schalke 04 went 0-4-4 down the stretch to finish in eighth. Schalke 04 lost its first promotion series against ROCCAT 3-1 earlier in the week.
Misfits was once the sister organization of NA LCS team Renegades, making the Challenger Series after winning the pre-split qualifier. After running through the Challenger regular season with a 4-1-0 record, Misfits swept Millenium in the Challenger Finals before losing to Origen in a five-game promotion series thriller.