Pre-Season Power Rankings

TCL Winter 2018 Pre-Season Power Rankings

The Winter Split starts this weekend for the TCL, and the question on everyone’s mind clear; where do the team stand going into the season? Fortunately, we at The Game Haus are here to help. Here are our pre-season power rankings for Turkey!

Rankings

1. 1907 Fenerbahçe

Roster :

Top: Thaldrin
Jungle: Chaser
Mid: Frozen
ADC: Padden
Support: Zergsting

Pre-Season Power Rankings

1907 Fenerbahce’s mid-laner Frozen (Image courtesy of 1907 Fenerbahce Facebook page)

They dominated the TCL last split, and its looking to be no different this time around. The addition of Chaser is a strong improvement for the team in the jungle, and if he and Frozen can establish strong synergy, they will devastate the competition. What’s more, the return of damage orientated junglers should help Chaser. They’ve also picked up former Team AUORORA Support Zergsting, whose large champion pool should be an upgrade on Japone. The only thing to be concerned about is if Chaser can pick up English (the teams comm language) fast enough. The team’s goals for this season should be to improve their laning and synergy, especially in the bot lane, and try to pick up some wins against the B5 regions at MSI and Worlds, along with the expected two domestic titles.

 

2. Royal Bandits

Roster :

Top: Broken Blade
Jungle: Malrang
Mid: Cepted
ADC: HolyPhoenix
Support: Dumbledoge

Pre-Season Rankings

Royal Bandits look to make a name for themselves this year (image courtesy of leaguepedia)

After a disappointing finish to their TPL run in the Summer, Royal Bandits decided to take a new approach to qualifying: buying out newly promoted side Oyun Hizmetleri. The team seems to have learned from its failings in the lower league and decided to go with the new strategy: buy a good team. The team has put together a monster botside with famed ADC HolyPhoenix and legendary Faker killer Dumbledoge on Support. Former Galakticos top laner Broken Blade has switched to the Bandits top lane, while Malrang and Cepted bring strong synergy from their time on Ever8 last year. There is concern after their poor performances in the LCK last year, the duo should be strong enough to be top 3 in their respective roles here. Be on the lookout for this team to make a splash this season.

 

3. YouthCrew

Roster :

Top: Elwind
Jungle: Mojito
Mid: Coco
ADC: Madness
Support: Zzus

Pre-Season Power Rankings

Coco looks to bring his strong play to YouthCrew and bring the team a title (Image courtesy of Inven Global)

Crew took the offseason to rebrand itself as YouthCrew, looking for a fresh start going into 2018. The addition of Coco to this roster is massive, especially as he looked fairly strong last year in the LPL on NewBee, and likely will compete with Frozen for best mid in Turkey. Not much is known about the other import for the team, Zzus. He played four games for Longzhu in LCK Spring 2016, before getting moved to the sub roster, and hasn’t been seen since. The four games weren’t much to write home about either, going 2-2, with the two wins coming against Kongdoo on an average statline. If he pans out here, YouthCrew could look to fight for one of the top spots this year.

 

4. Dark Passage

Roster :

Top: Marshall
Jungle: KaKAO
Mid: Lucete
ADC: Ruvelius
Support: Japon

Pre-Season Rankings

Dark Passage (image courtesy of leaguepedia)

2017 was a rough year for Dark Passage. After their strong 2016 performance, the team stared down the barrel of relegations in the Winter, and barely avoided it again in Summer Split. Dark Passage is looking to bring a return to form and reclaim its throne atop the TCL. Most of the roster has changed out, with Korean jungler KaKAO coming over from Europe to form a cornerstone in the jungle. Bringing former Crew ADC Ruvelius and Fenerbahçe Support Japone should provide them a good bot side. The big question mark is Lucete: the man hasn’t played a competitive game yet, having been a sub for Korean Challenger team APK Prince. He’ll need to really step up if the team looks to challenge the top three, and rise Dark Passage above the middle of the pack.

 

5. BAUSuperMassive

Roster :

Top: fabFabulous
Jungle: Stomaged
Mid: GBM
ADC: Zeitnot
Support: SnowFlower

Pre-Season Power Rankings

New support SnowFlower could make the difference this year (image courtesy of Inven Global)

BAUSuperMassive’s offseason changes are interesting to say the least. On the one hand, they picked up what is likely to be the strongest support in the region in former Jin-AIr support SnowFlower. On the other hand, they made a complete downgrade in the mid lane with GBM, who struggled against Challenger players in the NACS last year. Coming to Turkey, he’ll have to again face the likes of Frozen and Coco, who are set to run circles around him. The team is going to have to hope the rest of the team can pick up his slack if they hope to have a chance of reclaiming their title this year. Unfortunately for them, the rosters above just look so dominating, I don’t see them above middle of the pack


6. Team AURORA

Roster :

Top: Panky
Jungle: Wisdom
Mid: Naru
ADC: Rain
Support: Rogu

Pre-Season Power Rankings

Can Naru keep up with the Korean mid imports? (image courtesy of leaguepedia)

The Team Liquid of the TCL, Team AURORA is looking to break its curse this year with some bottom half of the map roster changes. Former BAUSuperMassive midlaner Naru and support Rogu have joined the team, alongside former Invictus Gaming ADC Rain. While Naru and Rogu are definite upgrades in their roles, Rain is a question mark. He had a very average year, and it remains to be seen if he has what it takes to really be the strong carry his team needs. The team is going to have to rely on the synergy between Wisdom, Naru, and Rogu to carry them through games. With the strong rosters forming throughout the region, there’s a good chance this team will struggle to even make playoffs.

 

7. HWA Gaming

Roster :

Top: Armut
Jungle: Trix
Mid: Ninja
ADC: Achuu
Support: Revanche

Pre-Season Power Rankings

HWA makes their comeback to the TCL (image courtesy of leaguepedia)

After dominating the TPL (Turkey’s Challenger scene), and auto-promoting back to the TCL, HWA Gaming looks to be making only one change to their roster, moving former Dark Passage mid-laner Ninja to the team to replace Xico. While the roster looks decent in most positions, the addition of Ninja to the team isn’t likely to really give them the edge they need to make push up the ladder. After the disappointing time he had on DP last year, and the strengthening of the mid position in the region, he’s likely to struggle allyear. While this roster would’ve likely been fine last year, the vast increase in talented imports looks set to leave the team starting down the barrel of relegations again.

 

8. Galakticos

Roster :

Top: Rare
Jungle: Viking
Mid: Backlund
ADC: j1mmy
Support:Veux

Pre-Season Rankings

Galakticos (courtesy of Galakticos Twitter)

Galakticos went through A LOT of players in 2017, and really seemed to struggle to build a solid and stable roster. Even the roster that 3-0’d them out of relegations couldn’t last the off-season, with everyone but Veux leaving. The new roster looks highly disappointing, using their two import slots for unknowns Viking and Backlund from Europe. While Rare has played on the roster before, disappearing in the middle of last year, he’s average at best, and will need to make up for the rookies making up the rest of the carry positions. J1mmy is a rookie who I’ve heard rumors of some hype, but nothing else. They have what is by far the weakest and most untested roster. Based on their history, I wouldn’t be surprised to see them getting auto-relegated at the end of Winter. I’d love to be proven wrong, but i just don’t see it happening.

 

 

 

 

The TCL 2018 WInter Split begins tomorrow, January 20th. Be sure to stay tuned here for all the exciting coverage, and check out The Game Haus on Twitter and Facebook for more esports news. Don’t forget to also follow myself on Twitter for more news on the TCL.

~Isaac “Raptearer’ Chandler

Turkish League Logo

Turkish Champions League of Legends

Images Courtesy of Riot Games TR

The new year is finally upon us, and that means we are only a few weeks away from the start of the 2018 season of League of Legends. While the community is going crazy over the franchising of the North American and Chinese leagues, interest in the minor regions has grown after the success of Southeast Asian (GPL) team Gigabyte Marines last year. With the attention focused on them, as well as Russia and Brazil, many have overlooked the other minor region that succeeded internationally this year: Turkey.

The region, represented at Worlds by 1907 Fenerbahçe, upset Taiwanese third-seed Hong-Kong Attitude and the Brazilian representative to make the Group Stage at the tournament. Beyond this though, not much is known about the region to the West, soo let’s take a look at the eight teams and format of the Turkish Champions League.

 

 

The League

 

First started back in 2014, the Turkish Champions League (TCL) is the top-flight League of Legends league in Turkey. Consisting of eight teams, the league runs two splits, Winter and Summer, annually, and its playoff winner qualifies to MSI (for Winter) and Worlds (Summer) play-ins. The league has seen four teams take the domestic title since it’s inception: Dark Passage, BAUSuperMassive, 1907 Fenerbahçe, and Beşiktaş Esports Club.

It’s rival league, according to Riot Games, is the northern CIS region (Russia).

The current format sees the teams play a double-round robin, each match being a Best of One. The league has a six-team playoff in which the top two teams from the regular season automatically seed into the semi-finals.There is no third-fourth place match.

The losers of the third-sixth and fourth-fifth place matches play an extra match to determine who gets sixth place, and thus sent to the relegation tournament with the seventh place team. The eight place team at the end of the regular season is automatically relegated to the Turkish Challenger League (TPL), and the winner of that split of the TPL auto-qualifies to the TCL.

Teams

 

Turkish Champion League of Legends

1907 Fenerbahçe

1907 Fenerbahçe

Coming off their first year in the TCL, 1907 Fenerbahçe has taken the region by storm and proving to be one of the most popular teams come out of the TCL. Created by the supporter group for the famous Fenerbahçe soccer club (and not officially owned by the organization yet), the team took a joint third-fourth place finish in the Winter split, before storming the league in Summer, losing just one series the entire split.

The team, led by Korean mid-laner Frozen, and commanded by regional  star-shot caller Thaldrin, looks poised to reach new heights in 2018, having replaced jungler Move and support Japone with newly arrived import Chaser, and Team Aurora’s former support Zergsting. Be on the look-out this year for Worlds pentakill earner Padden to make a stand-out name for himself this year.

 

Turkish Champion League of Legends

Dark Passage

Dark Passage

The oldest team in the region to not be relegated, Dark Passage is a storied franchise, with multiple TCL titles under their belt. Consistently in the top half of the league, and more often than not top two, Dark Passage has been a powerful core for the region. Having hosted players from HolyPhoenix to Wikd, the team has shown strong resilience even in the face of a constantly evolving roster. Unfortunately, 2017 was not a kind year for the White Tigers. They missed playoffs for the first time in Winter, placing seventh and forcing them into the promotion tournament, and just avoiding the same fate in the Summer Split, achieving fifth.

The team used the off-season to make huge changes, removing everyone but top laner Marshall, and bringing in Korean jungler and mid laners, respectively, KaKAO and Lucete, along with native bot lane Ruvelius and Japone. Will they finally reclaim their thrown at the top this year? They’re sponsored by Domino’s Pizza.

 

Turkish Champion League of Legends

YouthCrew Esports

YouthCrew Esports

Formerly Crew Esports Club, the team decided to take the offseason to rebrand themselves as YouthCrew Esports. Having been around since 2015, Youthcrew started as a bottom tier team, getting relegated their first split, returning to the top flight the following summer. Since then, the team has steadily improving, averaging third place over the last four splits, as is looking to capitalize on its rebranding to make a run at the league title.

The team has brought in two imports during the off-season: Zzus from Korea, and most shockingly former NewBee mid-laner Coco, and has opted to keep the core line-up of Elwind (top), Mojito (jungle), and Madness (ADC). Will this finally be Youthcrews year to take it all?

 

Turkish Champion League of Legends

Team AURORA

Team AURORA

The Team Liquid of the TCL, Team AURORA has made third-fourth place every playoffs they’ve been in since promoting from the Challenger Scene (TPL) at the end of 2015, no matter their regular season performance. A gatekeeper to success in the league, AURORA is looking to finally overcome the wall of semi’s to take their first domestic title this year. To help this along, they’ve brought in former SuperMassive players Rogu (Support, formerly known as hbiki), and Naru (mid). Will this be AURORA’s year to finally break the memes?

 

Turkish Champion League of Legends

BAUSuperMassive Esports

BAUSuperMassive Esports

A relatively new organization, having joined at the start of the 2016 season after buying recently promoted Challenger secondary team of Beşiktaş, BAUSuperMassive (known locally as just SuperMassive) has won three of the last four splits, only failing this last Summer split after falling the finals to Fenerbahçe. The team elected to use the off-season making some small changes to the team, bringing in Korean players GBM (mid) and SnowFlower (support) to aid returning members Zeitnot (adc), Stomaged (jungle), and fabFabulous (top), and bring them back to the top. The team’s main sponsors are Bahçeşehir University and Carl’s Jr.

 

Turkish Champion League of Legends

Royal Bandits

Royal Bandits

The newest team to the TCL, Royal Bandits qualified after buying out the recently promoted team Oyun Hizmetleri. Having spent the previous split at the bottom of the TPL, Royal Bandits is looking to alleviate worries about its ability to run a team with some major signings in the off-season. From Korea they’ve brought in the former Ever8 jungle-mid duo of Malrang and Cepted, along with the star-studded domestic bot-lane of HolyPhoenix and Faker-killer Dumbledoge. Can the new boys on the block run the gauntlet and take a domestic title in their first season, or will they repeat their failings from the TPL?

 

Turkish Champion League of Legends

HWA Gaming

HWA Gaming

An original member of the first Turkish Champions League, HWA Gaming has seen its fortunes rise and fall over the years. 2017 was no exception, seeing the team burn out of playoffs and fall to the TPL until the end of the year. Looking  to make 2018 an up-year for the team, HWA has gone and replaced its Challenger Scene mid laner Xico with Korean import Ninja in the off-season, while keeping the rest of it’s promotion line-up. The team is anchored by long time jungler Trix, who has started for the team since Winter 2016. The team will be looking to push its way back to the upper half of the league this season

 

Turkish Champion League of Legends

Galakticos

Galakticos

The most mysterious team in the TCL, Galakticos is the last team in the TCL. Joining at the start of 2017, Galakticos has spent much time in the cellar of the league. Spending much of the last year rotating through players for almost every position, they never seemed to find a composition that worked. According to the TCL home page, the team will consist of, from top of the map to bottom: Rare, Viking, Backlund, J1mmy, and Veux. Having the only fully domestic squad in the league, Galakticos will be looking to make a name for itself in this strengthening region as a builder of local talent.

 

 

 

 

Be sure to stay-tuned to The Game Haus for all your English coverage of the Turkish Champions League, including weekly power-rankings, English castings, and more, when the league kicks off it’s 2018 Winter Split on January 20th, alnog with coverage of your other favorites leagues. If you have scoops you’d like to share with us, feel free to drop us a line at isaac.chandler.tgh@gmail.com.

As always, don’t forget to follow The Game Haus and myself on social media below:

 

You can like The Game Haus on Facebook and follow us on Twitter for more sports and esports articles from great TGH writers!

Isaac Twitter

GAM Levi locked in Nocturne jungle

Eight surprise champion picks that shaped Worlds’ group stage

The 2017 League of Legends World Championship continues into the knockout stage, yet there is so much to unpack regarding the group stage. The bottom two teams from each group have gone home defeated, and they will mentally replay every win and loss to make sense of it all. They will review their drafts, early game strategies, mid-game decisions and late-game execution.

Adaptation was a major theme of this year’s group stage. Each week, the teams who brought key innovations onto the stage defined the final standings. Pocket picks, surprise lock-ins and fulfilling match-up win conditions decided matches, which shaped teams’ chances to advance. Here are eight pivotal champion picks that shaped the first wave of 2017 Worlds.

GAM Levi Nocturne – Day 1 v. FNC

GAM Levi locked in Nocturne jungle at Worlds

Image from LoL Esports Flickr

After the first few matches included drafts that mostly went by the book, Gigabyte Marines decided to lock in Nocturne for Levi against Fnatic. This decision completely changed the tone of the 2017 Worlds stage. The surprise draft reminded audiences around the world why they fell in love with Gigabyte Marines at this year’s Mid-Season Invitational. Nocturne is such a feast or famine option that he is hardly ever played professionally. However, Gigabyte Marines set up Levi to reach level six in five minutes, and he carried them to a 24-minute victory. 

This game was significant for so many reasons. Firstly, it demonstrated that top teams from minor regions are completely capable of putting up a fight on the international stage. Other members of Group B cannot underestimate Gigabyte Marines. Secondly, this quick win gave Gigabyte Marines the confidence to continue bringing out “never before seen” drafts and strategies throughout the Group Stage. But, most importantly, the loss definitely shook Fnatic’s mentality for their matches in week one. Gigabyte Marines, and their successful Nocturne execution, set up Fnatic to start Worlds 0-3. 

G2 Expect Trundle – Day 3 v. FB

With Cho’Gath locked in for 1907 Fenerbahce’s Thaldrin, and Gnar and Shen banned away, G2 locked in the Trundle for Expect. This match was the first Trundle on the 2017 Worlds stage. With a little help from Perkz to secure First Blood, Expect pushed down first turret and helped Trick acquire Rift Herald. From there, he transitioned into split-pushing to win one-versus-one against Thaldrin.

While Expect was not the only major factor in G2’s day three victory, his pressure did result in G2’s first win after losing to Samsung Galaxy on day one. His Trundle game also set the precedent for Alphari, CuVee and Huni to gain wins with Troll King during group stage. Expect put Trundle on the board, forcing teams to consider him in future drafts, especially against super-tank top laners.

G2 Expect locked in Trundle top at Worlds

Image from LoL Esports Flickr

C9 Contractz Graves – Day 3 v. EDG

As one of the only junglers prioritizing high damage over tankiness and crowd control, Contractz surprised with a Graves lock-in on day three. Touted as a counter-pick to Jarvan IV, Graves still maintains fast camp clears and invasion pressure. The pick worked out similarly to Contractz’ Ezreal jungle. He farmed monsters rapidly, and he made sure to visit lanes to help poke out EDG’s laners.

More importantly, Cloud9 won their first game against China’s first seed. The same pick did not work out against EDG on day eight, but the first win basically prevented a tie-breaker match between the two teams for second seed in Group A. Even though no other players tried out Graves on stage, Contractz’ week one success with the pick turned out to be a saving grace for Cloud9’s advancement to quarterfinals.

LZ Khan Nasus – Day 4 v. FNC

What was not to love about this game? The top lane Nasus generated so much hype by itself, disregarding any memes about “dog champs.” Khan had already shown prominence on Lethality Jarvan IV, so everyone expected his Nasus to be nasty. Longzhu realized that Fnatic tends to abandon sOAZ in the top lane, so this champion would hard counter that choice. 

LZ Khan locked in Nasus at Worlds

Screenshot of LoL Esports broadcast

Khan did not disappoint. Longzhu destroyed Fnatic’s nexus in 20:52, the shortest match in the group stage. This victory solidified Longzhu at the top of Group B with a 3-0 record, and Fnatic at the bottom with an 0-3. Almost all of the drama of Group B’s week two would have been nonexistent without this stomp. The Nasus pick, in particular, reinforced the possibility of surprise picks on the international stage.

FNC Caps Malzahar – Day 5 v. IMT

Week two saw Fnatic on a momentous upswing. They won their second matches against Immortals and Gigabyte Marines, while Longzhu remained undefeated. The games played out to create a tie-breaker situation between Immortals and Fnatic, which is when Caps pulled out the first Malzahar of Worlds.

Malzahar is supposed to be a counter-pick to Ryze, which allowed Caps to neutralize Pobelter. The mid lane interactions allowed Fnatic’s other members to have the space necessary to gain advantages and push through neutral objectives. With this victory, Fnatic sent Immortals back to North America, and continued into their tie-breaker against Gigabyte Marines to finalize Group B’s standings.

MSF IgNar Thresh – Day 7 v. FW

MSF Ignar locked in Thresh at Worlds

Image from LoL Esports Flickr

This match-up against Flash Wolves was a breakout game for IgNar and Misfits. Their Thresh lock-in presented one of the first non-Ardent Censer supports at Worlds. It also proved that teams can opt for play-making champions in the bottom lane and find success. IgNar finished the game with a 0-0-10 scoreline, making the most of his roams and picks.

While Flash Wolves were not their main competition, Misfits started day seven with momentum. The unpredictability of IgNar’s champion pool allowed them to have flexible drafts, and to know that any member of their team is capable of carrying. Misfits cemented Flash Wolves’ fate in the group stage, since they fell 0-4 with this loss.

WE Mystic Caitlyn – Day 7 v. TSM

One of the most innovative strategies of the group stage, Mystic decided to race the Ardent Censer support build by drafting Caitlyn. Her combination of early poke damage, wave clear, and sieging allows Caitlyn to push in late-scaling AD carries such as Doublelift’s Twitch. Team WE executed the strategy perfectly, pushing through the game in just over 24 minutes. Mystic himself finished with a 10.0 KDA.

This game marked the turning point for TSM in Group D. WE pulled ahead to match Misfits 3-1, while TSM dropped below them at 2-2. This same strategy won WE their second match against Flash Wolves to finish at the top of the group. From a larger scope, this match also introduced another strategy to counter hyper-carries with enchanter supports. Caitlyn would go on to finish the group stage 4-0, including wins from EDG and Cloud9 on the final day.

FW MMD Renekton – Day 7 v. TSM

FW MMD locked in Renekton at Worlds

Screenshot of LoL Esports broadcast

Calling Renekton a “surprise pick” is a bit of a stretch. He is a staple lane bully champion for top laners. However, the 2017 Worlds meta has not seen him played much. Flash Wolves drafted Renekton for MMD to completely neutralize Hauntzer. Karsa and MMD killed Hauntzer twice within the first five minutes, which provided MMD with so much pressure that he zoned Hauntzer off of farm. MMD gained a 2,000 gold lead by 11 minutes, which transitioned into first turret, Rift Herald and complete dominance by the Flash Wolves.

The first seed LMS team had nothing to lose, seeing as they were already guaranteed to be eliminated. They took their only win off of TSM in this match, which forced the tie-breaker with Misfits to finish group stage. This single win, stemming from this single champion match-up, was the catalyst for Misfits to secure second seed in Group D. If TSM had won this game, then they would have graduated into quarterfinals instead of Misfits.

From the first day of group stage to the last, we have seen individual champion selections have huge impacts. Countering the meta, or countering specific team playstyles, these surprise performances influenced the standings. They allowed and denied entry into the knockout stage. Teams, players and the tournament itself are creating highlights, and even legacies to be remembered for World Championships to come.


Featured Image: LoL Esports Flickr

Other Images: LoL Esports FlickrLoL Esports broadcast

Team and Player Statistics: Game of Legends

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