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Turkish Delight: Closer a sweet spot for GGS

While Golden Guardians have had a slow start to the 2020 Spring Split, Closer has been a bright spot. He has been an aggressive playmaker while helping to maintain good objective control. When Golden Guardians have looked strong, he has been leading the way. However, people had their doubts coming into the season as a minor region import.

Royal Youth at the 2019 World Championship – Riot Games

In late November as other teams were making waves in free agency, Golden Guardians announced their new Jungler Can “Closer” Çelik, an import from the Turkey Championship League. Big names like Meteos, Broxah, and Clid were moving from team to team, so an emerging region import was a bit of a surprise. The first glimpse most westerners would have gotten of him was at the 2019 World Championship Play-In stage. Closer qualified for the tournament with Royal Youth, who won the TCL Summer Playoffs. Royal Youth finished second in group D behind LCK powerhouse Damwon, and advanced to the knockout stage. There they faced Clutch Gaming and were promptly sent home after three games. It’s hard for any player to look like a superstar on a team that finished 1-6 in total games, but Closer was able to show his early playmaking abilities as well as solid objective control.

A Strong Start

Photo by Colin Young-Wolff/Riot Games

Fast forward to Spring 2020 and GGS has a roster that many people think will end at the bottom of the standings. Just like Ryoma and Eika, people questioned if Emerging Region imports like Closer deserved spots in the LCS. Çelik did his best to silence the doubters with an impressive game one against veteran jungler Meteos and 100 Thieves.

As Jarvan IV, Closer boldly invaded at level two and almost solo killed Meteos on his wolves, putting him behind for almost the rest of the game. He helped turn this pressure into three dragons and had several aggressive engages, with one ultimately leading to the dragon soul. With a solid lead and Meteos below 25%, GGS looked to capture the elder drake and march to the nexus; however, some good teamfighting from 100 Thieves ended with a gray screen for Closer and a dragon and nexus for Meteos. Although it was a heartbreaking loss, Closer was already making a good first impression.

Victory at Last

Game three versus Evil Genuises matched Closer against 2019 MVP Svenskeren. This didn’t slow Closer down as he had several flashy plays on Lee Sin leading to key picks. Once again he helped facilitate good objective control with two dragons, a rift herald, and two barons before the game was over. While Hauntzer was a split pushing nightmare, Closer looked for the classic insec on anyone who stepped into range. Eventually, GGS was able to choke out EG for their first victory, and once again Closer showcased his aggressive playstyle on the main stage.

Photo by Paul de Leon/Riot Games

Speaking of the main stage, this Monday showcased Golden Guardians versus Team Liquid on Monday Night League. Although playing with a substitute jungler, Team Liquid still has one of the most talented lineups in the LCS. Once again, a strong early game combined with objectives helped Golden Guardians build a lead. A counter gank mid helped secure a crucial double kill, and two rift heralds extended the gold lead further. Still, the game remained close – that is until GGS had a masterful baron sneak amidst several Team Liquid recalls. Piloting Lee Sin once again, Closer had a key kick onto Doublelift to help break open the TL base. Although the end was scrappy, Golden Guardians was able to come out on top versus a talented veteran team.

Room for Improvement

With a record of 2-4, it’s safe to say that Golden Guardians have not had the perfect start. Several games have gone far from smoothely, and it shows in some of the stats. That being said, Closer has been one of the keys to the successes that GGS has had. Something the scoreboard does not always show is the decisiveness of players. Many times in the past good teams have been crippled by the inability to commit to a play. Sometimes it’s better to take a lower percentage fight instead of doing nothing, as long as your team is going together. Even in losses, GGS continued to try and make plays instead of opting into a “do nothing and lose” strategy. Closer has been that decisive spark for GGS so far this spring. Whether its a Lee Sin kick or a Jarvan flash combo, he has been looking to make plays time and time again. As the season goes on, look for Closer to continue to improve and be the spearhead of GGS success.


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