News broke this week that after only one split in the LCS, Kobbe is returning to Europe to replace Bvoy as the Misfits bot laner. Will Kobbe be able to bring Misfits into the top tier of LEC competition?
Misfits fans who didn’t pay close attention to the LCS last split might associate Kobbe with the underperformance of TSM. After all, Kobbe was supposed to be the superstar signing that pushed TSM over the top, bringing them back to their glory days. Kobbe had come fresh off of the best split of his career, and the union of Kobbe with Bjergsen’s TSM inspired superteam expectations among a large part of the community.
The Kobbe+TSM combination clearly didn’t pan out, but very little of the blame for those results should fall on Kobbe’s shoulders. Early in the split, Kobbe was TSM’s best player, but the team had clear weaknesses in macro and coordination, issues that were never really fixed, allowing other LCS teams to outpace TSM over the rest of the split.
TSM’s failure, relative to their own expectations, was bound to inspire some offseason changes, and when Doublelift became available it was only natural for TSM to explore that opportunity, even if it didn’t directly address their largest issues.
Replacing Kobbe was a matter of opportunity and circumstance, prompted by Doublelift’s availability rather than any specific issues with Kobbe himself. If TSM’s front office disagrees on that point and does think that Kobbe significantly underperformed their expectations, then they didn’t properly understand what kind of player they were signing. Kobbe’s stats over the past two-and-a-half years present a pretty clear profile of the type of player he is.
Kobbe’s Stats by Split
Kobbe’s number give a good idea of what he will bring to Misfits. His laning results fell off a little compared to his Summer 2019 showing, but his laning numbers were still much better than the three splits before that, so he actually “regressed to the mean” less than he might have. His damage output dropped off, a symptom of TSM’s mid/late game issues and team fighting weaknesses as a unit, which I’ve discussed before.
Nothing in these numbers suggests that Kobbe’s time with TSM was an underperformance relative to reasonable expectations. Anyone who expected Kobbe to do substantially more than his 5.2 KDA and +66 GXD10 simply did not have an accurate outlook on the type of player Kobbe is, and anyone who plays Kobbe individually for his DPM drop-off is misattributing blame for TSM’s team fighting woes.
What really matters to Misfits fans, though, is what his spring split performance suggests about his ability to bring an upgraded performance over Bvoy. While it’s not always wise to compare stats across leagues, it’s interesting to put Kobbe’s and Bvoy’s numbers side to side, taking it with a grain of salt.
Kobbe vs. Bvoy, 2020 Spring Regular Season
Bvoy was a better player than his numbers might suggest, honestly, and made big improvements later in the split. In the playoffs, he earned a +72 GXD10 and put out 552 DPM, though it wasn’t enough to bring Misfits further in the playoffs.
But even if you have a high opinion of Bvoy’s future, Kobbe comes in looking like the much stronger player, even if you don’t go back to his most recent LEC split, where his numbers were even better. Kobbe is not a lane-dominant player, but he’s an in-lane upgrade on Bvoy, and even his diminished team fighting output within the dysfunctional TSM would be an improvement on the numbers Bvoy was able to put out.
Kobbe will bring good things to Misfits
Even if Kobbe plays at the same level this summer as he did for TSM in spring, he will bring improvements to Misfits. Bvoy showed potential, but Kobbe is already the real deal.
If Kobbe can recapture his 2019 form, and especially if he ends up benefiting from Razork’s superior contributions relative to what TSM offered him, then there’s a great chance that he’ll put himself back in the conversation of Europe’s best bot laners, not exactly a superstar but a rock solid carry only a small step down from the elites. If that happens, Kobbe can definitely help Misfits challenge for a spot in the top 4 of the LEC.