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.
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.
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.
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.
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?
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?
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.
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?
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
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 firstname.lastname@example.org.
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