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!
1. 1907 Fenerbahçe
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
Top: Broken Blade
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.
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
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.
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
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
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.
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