Robbing the Crown: An interview with Royal Bandits Head Coach Marcus “Blumigan” Blom

Teams rise and fall all the time in League of Legends, but it’s rare a new team makes much impact in the scene. Royal Bandits of the TCL is seeking to break this mold with their standout performance this split. The team currently sits second with an 8-4 record. While we know of the standout talent on the roster (HolyPhoenix, Cepted, etc.), it’s the man behind the scenes who is driving this insane performance: head coach Marcus “Blumigan” Blom.

A former support sub and analyst for Fnatic, Marcus has shaken up the traditional state of the league with his strong drafts and focus on coordinated team play. We sat down with him to get his take on the TCL, his thoughts on imports and what led him to this point.

Recently you were an analyst on Fnatic. How did your work for them help prepare you for coaching Royal Bandits?


“I became a much better coach/person during that short time” (image courtesy of Marcus’ Twitter)

Marcus: It gave me a lot of good experience to see how an organisation that’s known worldwide works. Their playstyle was pretty unique back then (the infamous “animal style”) with way less macro than other teams but it was a really interesting split overall. It didn’t really help me to improve my knowledge in particular but I was really amazed how much authority their Academy Team coach (Kubz) had, and I’m really surprised he hasn’t found a home in NA yet.

If there was anything that prepared me for this split, it was being Head Coach (HC) for Dark Passage during the Summer Split. I went there for Worlds and came home ashamed of our performance. There was a lot of ups and downs during Summer Split, but I don’t regret going to DP a single moment. I became a much better coach/person during that short time.

You went from player to a Head Coaching position fairly quickly in your career. What attracted you to coaching, and what was that transition like?

Marcus: I was never really attracted to playing the game itself. I enjoyed trolling people in SoloQ and I never had good mechanics. The only reason I even hit master in SoloQ was because of pure macro/game knowledge and that interested me way more than going for outplays. I never planned to work with esports at all, it just happens that a friend of mine knew I had really good game knowledge and asked me to come help coach his team.

Coaching was a pretty new concept back then in 2015. There were coaches, but the infrastructure was no where near where it is today.

When I played in teams before I always thought coaches were a meme and that I could do it 1000 times better myself. There was not really a transition because I can assure you I am probably one of the worst players to have ever played in TCL and I never considered myself a pro/semi pro player in the EU Scene either even when I got paid – just saw it as a hobby back then.


We saw a large number of Korean imports coming into the league this year, with some very high profile signings such as KaKAO, Chaser, and CoCo among others, including your own Cepted and Malrang. How do you feel this has impacted the competitiveness of the region moving forward?

Marcus: Their work ethic is completely different to western players and they have a lot of game knowledge that they’re bringing to the region. Before this year, Turkey was a lot of “clown fiestas” and people fighting for nothing. This year with improved coaching staffs, players and overall infrastructure with organisations investing more to mimic FB last year success it’s way more macro based which helps the Turkish players improve a lot as well.


“I’m sure Turkey is the best wildcard region by far right now” (image courtesy of Marcus’ Twitter)

What do you think is the strength of the region in comparison to others internationally?

Marcus: Fast phased games. We scrim a lot of LCS teams and they are all really impressed at how fast we are able to snowball games and want to continue to scrim us. Turkey have a really low game average compared to other regions. We happen to have the shortest average times of all teams in the world – obviously for better or worse. We win really quick and lose really quick. I’m sure Turkey is the best wildcard region by far right now, but MSI will tell.


Turkey is almost a world away from Korea, how has it been for Cepted and Malrang adjusting to living there, and how do they get along with the team? Have there been any struggles (linguistic, culture, etc.) in helping them ease into it?

Marcus: I would say that Royal Bandits have done everything to make them feel comfortable. I know for a fact Malrang loves Turkey and wants to stay here for a long time. We instantly hired a translator who gives them a lot of English lessons. From the very start they have been included with team activities and participate in conversations just like any other player. I know they miss the food sometimes, but there are Korean restaurants in Istanbul too. I know this has been a problem for other teams, but for our part the transition to another region been really smooth.

With its quadruple round-robin format this year, the TCL has the longest regular season of any of the leagues, playing 27 games in a split. How has it been adjusting to three games a week, both for yourself and the players?

Marcus: I don’t think it matters too much. I prefer Bo2/Bo3s, but it’s understandable from a viewers perspective. I really don’t think we would lose to any team in a Bo2/Bo3/Bo5, but time will tell when playoffs comes around. Only problem is lack of scrims at times, because we are already +2 GMT and we almost always have played first game off the day so we can’t get warm up scrims all the time.


“If any team can beat SuperMassive its us” (image courtesy of Marcus’ Twitter)

What do you think it will take for Royal Bandits to win the split and make MSI?

Hard-work and dedication to our goal. If any team can beat SuperMassive its us. We know our problems and we know how to fix them. We’ve still got five more weeks to go of the regular split, and we’ll make sure we come into playoffs prepared to take them down.

As a closing thought, what would you tell to League of Legends fans across the world that are new or unfamiliar with the Turkish scene?

Tired of seeing SPY, SKT or TSM playing their 65 minute games? Want to see insane flex-picks and unique champions? Check out TCL.


You can keep up with Marcus and the team on his Twitter, and on the Royal Bandits Twitter as well.

The TCL 2018 Winter Split continues this Saturday, February 24th. 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

Featured image courtesy of Marcus’ Twitter

TCL Week 3 Power Rankings

Our TCL Week 3 Power Rankings saw two trends rising. First, the top of the standings started settling, and secondly, the bottom has jumped around wildly. The week started out with some close matches,but the back half seemed to really be stomps. Please remember that these rankings put stronger emphasis on more recent performances that later. With that said, lets get into the rankings!


1. BAUSuperMasive (-)

TCL Week 3 Power Rankings

BAUSuperMassive remains the only undefeated team nine games into the split (image courtesy of Zeitnot’s Twitter)

The Blue Owls solidified their place at the top of the standings this week after handily taking down both the Royal Bandits and 1907 Fenerbahçe. Both games were a lot more one-sided than the kill count would lead you to believe, with only four turrets and a single dragon lost between the two games. Their match against Dark Passage looked a lot closer, but a phenomenal performance by ADC Zeitnot led the team to a resounding victory. With the entire roster firing on all cylinders, it’s looking like nothing can stop SuperMassive from taking the first half of the split uncontested.


2. Royal Bandits (-)

It was a rough week for the Bandits, as they took their first week with a losing record, going 1-2 on the weekend. A loss to BAUSuperMassive is understandable considering their form, but losing again to HWA Gaming is just unacceptable for a team striving to get on top. That’s two losses to HWA in three weeks, which is concerning as either the team doesn’t take them seriously, or HWA hard counters them. Both are worrying trends going forward. Thankfully for the Bandits, they stay at two after an equally bad week for Fenerbahçe in which the Bandits also took care of them in their lone win. Hopefully they use the next two weeks to fix this up for their next match-up.


3. 1907 Fenerbahçe (-)

TCL Week 3 Power Rankings

Chaser has to started to become more and more melded with his team (image courtesy of FB Twitter)

Poor Fenerbahçe was so close to the top two this week, but losing to both teams above them keeps them locked in third. They’ve really cemented themselves at this spot with all four of their losses coming to the two teams above them. This doesn’t mean, however, that the team is bad, especially with how strong their wins have been. The Yellow Canaries have been growing stronger week by week, and as Chaser acclimates to the team this will only accelerate. With matches against DP, HWA, and Galakticos this weekend, FB will be looking to get back on pace and prepare themselves for their next matches against the top two.

4. Team AURORA (+2)

Team AURORA seems to have finally figured things out this week, going 2-1 on the week, including a win over Dark Passage. Mid-laner Naru and ADC Rain are really putting their carry pants on, but it was a change in the support position that seems to have set them on the right path. Rogu has been benched, at least for this week, in favor of of former DP substitute Farfetch, whose performance on Morgana was absolutely incredible (0/2/16). A look at his history shows this is definitely a pick teams will want to ban against him in the future, but already he’s proven an effective upgrade. We’ll see if this was a one off weekend, or marks a turn for the team, this week as they take on Youthcrew, HWA, and Royal Bandits.

5. Dark Passage (-1)

Dark Passage faltered a bit this week, going 1-2, with losses to AURORA and SuperMassive. Their win over Youthcrew was also a bit weak, with 5 turrets, two drakes, and Rift Herald being given up. While they did manage to pull out the win, those aren’t the sort of objectives you’d expect a team gunning for playoffs to give to what was, at the time, the bottom team in the league. This upcoming week won’t be any easier, with matches against Fenerbahçe and Royal Bandits, followed by what should be an easy win over Galakticos. If they struggle in this last game, concerns might start growing for this teams hopes for the split.

6. YouthCrew (+1)

TCL Week 3 Power Rankings

Xico subbed in and put on a monster performance on Cassiopeia against HWA Gaming (image courtesy of Lolespor twitter)

Woah, are those wins I see? In seriousness though, Youthcrew looked so much better this week, even after they started it on a bad loss to Dark Passage. Their next two games against HWA and Galakticos were absolute stomps from start to end, thanks in part to returning midlaner Xico, who has subbed in for Coco and looke dominating on Cassiopeia and Azir. Apparently communications were at the heart of the teams problems, and with those fixed the team looks set to finally start pushing up the ladder. With matches against Royal Bandits, AURORA, and SuperMassive this week, it’ll be a good test to see if they have what it takes to push for playoffs, or if they’ll be left rot in relegation.

7. HWA Gaming (+1)

The good news for HWA Gaming: they looked dominating in their wins against Galakticos and Royal Bandits. Armut and friends seem to finally have put the puzzle together for how to pull out wins! The bad news: they got crushed by Youthcrew, who most other observers (excluding myself) had rated lower than them. While both sit at 3-6 on the weeks end, the loss to YC puts HWA up just one spot. If the team keeps improving like they did this week, however, they could soon see themselves shooting up the rankings. This is especially true if they continue to be the kryptonite to Royal Bandits Superman.

8. Galakticos (-3)

TCL Week 3 Power Rankings

For a team based around space, they sure do seem to lack star-power (image courtesy of Galakticos Twitter)

Welp that time out of the gutter was short lived. After a hot 2-0 start to the split, Galakticos appears to have frozen solid, having gone 0-7 since then. These losses aren’t looking very close either, and the teams mostly rookie background is clearly on display. The team reminds me a lot of the NA team Golden Guardians, with the same issues of weak lanes and lack of good macro. The difference though is that Galakticos is full of rookies, and has actually gotten some wins this split. The org needs to make some changes, mostly bringing in a veteran to guide the rookies, or they’ll be staring into the auto-relegation abyss.



The TCL 2018 Winter Split continues this Saturday, February 10rd. 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

Week 2 Power Rankings

TCL Week 2 Power Rankings

Week 2 ended Monday morning for the TCL, and boy have these last two weeks been surprising. While many pre-season teams have lived up to their hype, or lack of it, a few surprises were in store, with one thought to-be strong roster falling flat on their faces. On the other hand, one team we didn’t expect to even take a win has managed to find the middle of the pack. With that said, lets get underway with out Week 2 Power Rankings!

As a note these rankings will cover Weeks 1 and 2, as I had prior obligations to take care of for Week 1, but expect weekly power-rankings going forward.


1. BAUSuperMasive (+4)

Power Rankings Week 2

GBM is back in form (image courtesy of GosuGamers)

GBM seems to have finally returned to his LCK form, leading the BAU-boys to a phenominal 6-0 start to the season. The whole line-up is firing on all cylinders right now, and has the Winter title in their eyes. This weekends match-up against league number two Royal Bandits will be their real test as to the strength of this roster. As the first match this Saturday, its looking to be a great start to this weekend!


2. Royal Bandits (-)

Week 2 Power Rankings

HolyPhoenix looks better than ever (courtesy of HolyPhoenix’s Twitter)

Outside of an off start, losing to bottom-side HWA Gaming, Royal Bandits have been off to the races. Malrang and Cepted have looked to already have developed strong synergy with their Turkish counterparts, putting on quiet a show these past two weeks. HolyPhoenix and Dumbledoge have looked great, as expected, and Broken Blade has even put up some strong numbers. The early loss to HWA is the only thing keeping them from first right now, and they’ll be fighting for that spot when they take on BAUSuperMassive this weekend.


3. 1907 Fenerbahçe (-2)

Fenerbahçe had a very rough start to the season, going 1-2 on the first week, and starting with two straight losses. The second week was much kinder to The Yellow Canaries (a Turkish nickname for the org), with a solid three game sweep of the opposition. The team seems to have struggled out of the gate with their communication, but its quickly coming together, and it wouldn’t surprise me to see them 3-0 the weekend, even with RB and BAU closing it out. Stumbles happen with new rosters, but not many get back on their footing so quickly

4. Dark Passage (-)

Dark Passage is setting itself up as the gatekeeper to the upper-echelon of the league. The teams beating them are looking for the title, and the ones losing are trying to avoid relegation. This is not to say though that the team is bad, far from it: they’re good, just not currently title material. Lucete as garnered some nice synergy with KaKAO, and the duo has made quick work of the lower half teams. While they likely won’t be pushing for the title this Winter, the team should be utilizing this time to build synergy and improve, and could make a deep run come the end of Summer.

5. Galakticos (+3)

Power Rankings Week 2

J1mmy really showed why he was so hyped these past two weeks (image courtesy of Leaguepedia)

I owe these boys an apology. I thought they’d be dead last and winless this split. But they surprised me and everyone else with a quick 2-0 start to the split with wins over YoungCrew and AURORA. J1mmy, the legend, and Rare both stepped up and brought strong performances to the team. Unfortunately, the team seems to have fallen off a cliff since then, going 0-4 in their next four games, and while a win against HWA seems likely, this team still looks like it has a long way to go before it’ll be a playoff contender. The team should spend the next few weeks building their synergy up and pushing to at least avoid the promotion tournament, and could make a decent run come Summer if they keep improving.

6. Team AURORA (-)

The good news for AURORA: the team isn’t the worst in the TCL. The bad news: there’s not much else going for them. The team has looked average at best, and everyone seems to just fade away in games they lose. Wisdom in particular seems to disappear on anything not named Jarvan so far, and Naru seems to struggle to find consistency (godly one game, feeding the next). The team needs to rely on Rain, who if given the tools to protect him, could potentially carry these team further up the standings, and has performed admirably so far.

7. YouthCrew (-4)

Week 2 Power Rankings

Does CoCo have what it takes to carry his botlane? (Image courtesy of EsportsTalk)

The biggest drop and disappointment so far, YouthCrew just can’t seem to get it together. With a single win over HWA as their lone victory, the team seems to struggle to find an identity. While the top half of the map has looked fine, the bot duo of Madness and Zzus have just looked dreadful. Combined, they have a total scoreline of 10/25/31 in six games, which gets even worse when you pull out their win against HWA, dropping them to an abysmal 6/24/21. Either the bot side comes together/the rest of the team picks up the slack, or YouthCrew could be looking down the barrel of the promotion tournament and relegation.

8. HWA Gaming (-1)

Week 2 Power Rankings

Can Ninja light the fire under his team going forward to bring them some wins? (Image courtesy of EU Lolesports)

HWA took a surprising win in their first game of the split against Royal Bandits with a nearly perfect game. Unfortunately that’s about the only positive thing they’ve had going for them. They’ve been unable to get even close to the same performance since then, and seem to really struggle in shotcalling. Armut in particular has looked lost or forgetful of his abilities, as shown in their Sunday match against FB where he had the chance at a well placed four man Gnar ult that would win them the fight, but refuses to use the ability. In fact, I only saw him use it once all game, and that was to escape at the end. Their import, Ninja, is just not looking good right now either, and unlike YouthCrew they lack starpower to fall back upon. If the team can return to the form they had that first game, they might win the whole split, but with the way they’ve played since, I’m becoming increasingly doubtful.



The TCL 2018 Winter Split continues this Saturday, February 3rd. 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

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!


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

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.



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



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



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.





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IEM Gyeonggi: The Good, The Bad, and The Ugly

This season’s third leg of Intel Extreme Masters, taking place in Gyeonggi, was one of ups and downs. “Uncertainty” is a word that comes to mind; there was uncertainty in which League of Legends teams would compete after several qualifiers declined to participate. The quality of each roster after many teams underwent massive overhauls in the off-season, and the players’ individual skill level coming back from vacations into a somewhat new meta is unclear.

The announcement of Samsung Galaxy, Immortals, Team Liquid, Kongdoo Monster, Giants Gaming, J Team, Vega Squadron, and Dark Passage left many fans wondering how these teams would match up. Will Samsung be able to show, yet again, that they truly are a top international team? Have Immortals’ and Team Liquid’s roster changes better prepared them to face non-North American competition? Can Kongdoo Monster follow up on their showing at the KeSPA cup?

Of course, fans and analysts alike knew that the teams coming into this tournament would look a bit unrefined due to new players having limited practice with one another and a lack of preparation time since most pros are coming off of a break. Setting these variables aside, as the matches progressed, there were clear strengths and weaknesses visible within all of the organizations. Here are the players who truly stood out, for better or for worse, at IEM Gyeonggi 2016.

The Good

courtesy of Riot eSports

Joshua “Dardoch” Hartnett

Although his KDA was middling, Dardoch had the highest Kill Participation of all Junglers at the event: 77.2%. It was apparent during Immortals’ games that he was calling the shots. He visited lanes frequently, taking advantage of enemy blind spots and over-aggression. The high points that come to mind are games 1 and 2 of the Semifinals versus Kongdoo Monster. In the first game, Dardoch locked in a surprise Gragas pick. He enabled kills in all three lanes and Immortals took the Infernal Drake within the first 10 minutes. Kongdoo did come back to win, but there was nothing more to ask for from a Jungler. In game 2, Immortals put Dardoch on Hecarim and he proceeded to go on a rampage. A 5.33 KDA, 5.68 CS/minute, and 88.9% Kill Participation — I would award him the MVP of that game, and of Immortals’ roster at IEM Gyeonggi.

Jin-sol “Ssol” Seo

The only ADC that stood out to me at the tournament, Ssol put on an Ezreal clinic. Overlooking his one silly over-aggression of the entire showing, the Kongdoo Monster marksman showed strong mechanics and understanding of his damage. His overall KDA for the tournament was 4.54, but when only focusing on the seven out of ten games he played on Ezreal, that KDA goes up to 5.77. Pair that with a win-rate of 71%, I am surprised this pick did not get banned away from him more. Although, he did go 17-2-8 against Giants in the Group B Winners match while playing Jhin. I am looking forward to watching Ssol play against other LCK bot lanes this Spring after his performance at Gyeonggi.

Kang “Ambition” Chan-yong

The most impressive player at IEM Gyeonggi was Ambition. It is no coincidence that Samsung Galaxy was able to take home the trophy at the end of the day. This squad proved to be dominant in their games and a lot of it had to do with Ambition’s veteran experience and true control of the map. I cannot find any stellar statistics to back up my claim, so I guess you will have to just go watch the games. He went five for five on his Lee Sin, and put up a 5.67 KDA on a pocket Kha’Zix for Game 2 of the Finals. The Samsung Jungler did not skip a beat in matches against Dardoch, Son “Punch” Min-hyuk of Kongdoo, and Kim “Reignover” Yeu-jin of Liquid. Ambition allowed his laners, especially Lee “Crown” Min-ho, to truly shine against their opponents.

The Bad

courtesy of Riot eSports

Chae “Piglet” Gwang-jin

Piglet looked mediocre at this tournament. A 4.2 KDA is not bad; it is middling. 62% Kill Participation is a similar statistic. But his CS Difference at 10 minutes averaged -5.4. That ranks him tenth worst out of all players at IEM Gyeonggi and second worst among the ADC’s, specifically. In Team Liquid’s series against Dark Passage, Piglet finished his games 7-1-8 and 14-1-4. He made those games look easy. Giants’ bot lane, however, seemed like a more even match-up. The preliminary Best-of-1 and the later Best-of-3 showed Piglet’s inconsistency: 1-5-5, 8-4-6, and 7-0-13. I would even argue the third match-up was completely enabled by Matt “Matt” Elento’s aggressive Thresh plays. Finally, Piglet seemed completely out-matched against Samsung Galaxy, going 3-3-5 and 0-6-2, which knocked Liquid out of the tournament. I don’t think many expected such dissonance from this veteran AD Carry.

Olof “Flaxxish” Medin

Honestly, all of Giants Gaming did not look too hot at this tournament. But, of all the players on Giants, Flaxxish looked the worst, especially when compared to Na “NighT” Gun-woo and Elias “Upset” Lipp. Leaving IEM Gyeonggi with a 1.8 KDA, 44.4% Kill Participation, and 7.4 CS behind on average is pretty bad. Add to that the several solo deaths he had in the top lane and it does not paint a pretty picture. Part of the blame should be put on Kim “Mightybear” Min-su, but he was only playing these few games on loan from Team Vitality. Hopefully, the Jungle-Top synergy gets better when Giants sign someone else. Either way, Flaxxish needs to do better if the team is going to find success in the 2017 EU LCS.

Cody “Cody Sun” Sun

You know how I said Piglet had the second worst CS Difference at 10 minutes among ADCs at IEM Gyeonggi? Well, Cody Sun was the worst–an appalling -6.8, or 7th lowest of all players in the tournament. Formerly known as “Massacre,” Cody Sun came into Gyeonggi with the rest of Immortals’ new roster. To be fair, this was his first international competition, but it just was not there for him. His Support, Kim “Olleh” Joo-sung, did seem to over-extend regularly and did not seem to be on the same page, but Cody Sun looked afraid to fight at all. This bot lane was a glaring weak spot for the Immortals’ roster. Hopefully, more time, practice, and experience brings these players together in a more cohesive way.

The Ugly

courtesy of

Evgeniy “Drobovik” Belousov

Although neither Wild Card team won a single game, Vega Squadron did have the more difficult group. Regardless, Drobovik had a tough time in the mid lane. He finished with a 1.0 KDA, -9.3 CS Difference at 10 minutes, and 26.2% Death Share over 3 games. Seemingly out-classed by Crown, Pobelter, and Chieh “FoFo” Li, there are no highlights from Drobovik at this tournament. J Team even gifted the 100% pick-ban Syndra to the Russian mid laner, but FoFo was still able to go 5-0-8 on Ekko. If this team wants to stand a chance in the LCL in 2017, then they will certainly need to shore up their play around Mid.

Furkan “Immortoru” Tekeş

If Drobovik stood a chance against any mid laner at IEM Gyeonggi it would be Immortoru of Dark Passage. Viewers could not help but feel sorry for this guy. Playing Mid for the Turkish squad, he finished at the bottom of the barrel with a KDA of 0.4 and averaged 450 gold behind his opponents at 10 minutes. Competition within Mid in Group B was not easy. Lee “Edge” Ho-seong of Kongdoo Monster, Team Liquid’s Goldenglue, and Giants’ NighT all had solid performances at various points in the tournament. But this was another case of a player looking a tier below the rest of the field. Dark Passage better hope the other teams in Turkey sport lesser mid laners or there will be a tough road ahead.

Anıl “HolyPhoenix” Işık

Rounding out the “Ugly” portion of IEM Gyeonggi is HolyPhoenix, also of Dark Passage. The ADC finished the tournament with the lowest KDA, 0.5, and Kill Particiption, 56.3%. Compared to his stats from the 2016 TCL Summer Split, the Turkish marksman struggled against the international competitors. This was particularly apparent in their two games against Team Liquid in the Group B Losers bracket. Piglet, who looked shaky against other opponents, popped off in both games by dominating HolyPhoenix and Rogue in bot lane. Finishing 0-6-0 and 2-7-3, HolyPhoenix’s performance was devastating for his team at this event.

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