When the Misfits originally joined the EU LCS, everyone I knew was hyped about them. We’d get to see the Jungling legend that is KaKAO, see the first professional EU LCS split of Alphari and the SoloQ prodigy that is Hans Sama – someone who was known for shredding pro players in Challenger, even at the age of 13. But for Tristan “PowerOfEvil” Schrage, it was a different story. For PowerOfEvil, Misfits were his last chance at proving himself as a professional player whose name was worth noting in the history books of the LCS. This is his story, from joining the EU LCS with the Unicorns of Love, to boxing with Faker.
When PowerOfEvil originally joined the EU LCS together with the Unicorns of Love, he was a key component to the success of the team in pink. While his teammates often surprised with interesting new picks, Tristan consistently delivered on standard Midlaners such as Cassiopeia, Syndra and – of course – Orianna. He stole Baron’s with shockwaves, obliterated his lane opponents and solokilled Bjergsen several times. People knew PowerOfEvil was good. But would he be able to keep his form over the course of the coming seasons?
Even Faker was surprised by UoL PowerOfEvil:
After the Unicorns of Love barely missed out on attending Worlds in 2015, PowerOfEvil received an interesting offer: Origen, a team that just came back from the Worlds 2015 semifinals, wanted his signature. He was supposed to be the replacement for the legendary xPeke. Big boots to fill. Too big for Tristan.
PowerOfEvil was unable to show that he was the superior Midlaner. He wasn’t the shotcaller and leader that xPeke was, how could he, with so much less experience? After losing Zven and Mithy to Origen and being unable to find a suitable replacement, Origen barely avoided getting relegated in the Summer of 2016. The team split up.
After the news broke that Misfits, an upcoming Challenger team, decided to part ways with Selfie in order to sign PowerOfEvil, many heads turned in doubt. Yes, PowerOfEvil succeeded at the Unicorns of Love, but historically players peaked while playing at this team. His replacement Midlaner Fox, for example, was unable to obtain a spot at an LCS team after playing for UoL, getting relegated with Schalke and failing to qualify for NA LCS with EUnited. Additionally, Tristan was often viewed as a scapegoat for the failings of Origen. If he wouldn’t have succeeded at Misfits, there’s a good chance he wouldn’t receive any EU & NA LCS offers for a long time.
Despite all of this, yesterday the young man named Tristan “PowerOfEvil” Schrage almost beat the greatest esports athlete to date in a Best of 5. And if you look at the components, it’s not even that surprising that he almost did.
What can only be described as a match made in heaven, Tristan fits the Misfits perfectly. Not just because both his and the team’s name are a tad bit edgy, but because since the arrival of Maxlore, he doesn’t have to focus on shotcalling anymore. When I talked to him after the EU LCS Summer Split Quarterfinals against UoL, he mentioned how Maxlore heavily changed the way Misfits are playing as a team:
“For Maxlore it’s the third split I guess so you can already consider him experienced. Before that, we had KaKAO in our team who also had a lot of experience but unfortunately, he didn’t speak English well enough to really make it count within the team. IgNar and I made most of the calls and within our new roster, the communication structure within the team improved a lot.”
It’s become evident that Tristan might not be the greatest shotcaller of all time. But what he lacks in his ability to call, he makes up with individual skill and the ability to follow perfectly.
There’s a level of confidence within him that is unrivaled. It’s not a form of cockiness, don’t get me wrong. He simply knows when an opponent has overstayed his welcome and ought to be punished. Tristan has solokilled Perkz, Exileh, and Caps. And now he can add even Faker to this list of opponents he has slain, but this time he had the help of his teammates. This wasn’t the case very often in the past.
This team has elevated Tristan beyond any doubt: He doesn’t have to play hard-carries such as Syndra or Cassiopeia anymore but can rely on his teammates Hans Sama and Alphari to dish out the damage, while he CCs his opponents using champions like Karma and, his favorite, Orianna.
And, speaking of Orianna, Tristan’s winner’s mentality is explicitly shown by his odd relationship with Nashor’s Tooth, an item that he, and only he, regularly builds on the ballsy robot. An item that omega-tilts analysts and coaches alike, but he persists on its usefulness in teamfights.
I swear to god if I see @PowerOfEvilLoL hit a big shockwave soon but not have enough damage I'm going to tilt out of my window.
— Mark Zimmerman (@TheeMarkZ) October 20, 2017
If you’re still curious about his reasoning, in a different interview I did with him he talks about the item extensively:
“It’s really strong against frontline-backline fights since you deal more consistent damage. In the first game where I picked it, the enemy team had Janna, Caitlyn, so lots of kite-back and disengage. So we’re not supposed to one-shot the backline with a shockwave. With Nashor’s Tooth, you consistently deal damage and still have the threat of a shockwave that is a little bit less bursty.”
But it’s not his professional opinion that is so important here, it’s the fact that he values his personal judgment more than the ones of others. That takes courage and trust in one’s abilities. To innovate and defy what others are saying are signs of a leader, a truly great player. And with the series against SKT, Tristan has finally shown that he deserves to be viewed as such.