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With the 2022 League of Legends Mid-Season Invitational on the Horizon, the Turkish Championship League’s fastPay Wildcats are one of 11 regional champions from around the world that are getting ready for the biggest international event of the spring. While MSI 2022 isn’t the final stop for the season, the tournament is key for seeing where each region stands in the global hierarchy.
After missing out on the 2021 League of Legends World Championship, fastPay Wildcats are one of the few teams competing at back-to-back MSI tournaments — particularly with the same roster.
fastPay Wildcats (TCL) MSI 2022 starting roster breakdown:
- Top: Soner “StarScreen” Kaya | Signed in April 2019
- Jungler: Hakan “Ferret” Mert Çakma | Signed in May 2019
- Mid: Tolga “Serin” Ölmez | Signed in January 2020, formerly a member of AURORA Academy
- Bot: Anıl “HolyPhoenix” Işık | Signed in December 2020, formerly a member of Fenerbahçe
- Support: Berk “Farfetch” Badur | Signed in December 2020, formerly a member of Fenerbahçe
How they got here
The fastPay Wildcats had a very mixed 2021 campaign. After winning the 2021 TCL winter split, the team earned a spot at MSI 2021. However, after a terrible performance at that event, IW returned to Turkey and proceeded to play poorly in the 2021 TCL summer split.
They ultimately went from 14-4 in the winter season to 8-10 in the summer split, missing playoffs and their chance of going to worlds. In the 2022 off-season, the organization trusted that their poor summer performance was a fluke and decided to use the same exact roster in the 2022 TCL winter split.
The team returned to their winning ways, but it didn’t start off that way. IW began the 2022 winter season with a 2-2 record. But after Week 2, they rattled off 10 straight wins and ended the season with a 14-4 record once again, which was good enough for the first seed entering playoffs.
With a first-round bye, IW squared off against the fifth-seeded, Team AURORA, in the semi-finals where they proceeded to sweep them in 3-0 fashion. Awaiting the team in the finals were the TCL Worlds 2021 representatives, Galatasaray Esports, who were the second seed in the playoffs. The series turned out non-competitive, as IW swept GS in three straight games to punch their ticket to MSI for the second season in a row.
IW were simply dominant in the TCL during the 2022 winter split. The team had three members on the TCL All-Pro team, including the MVP of the league, Holyphoenix.
Players to watch
IW starts and ends with their 2022 TCL winter MVP, Holyphoenix. He has had a long career inside the TCL and has been an on-and-off player. However, when he is on, he is the best bot laner in the region.
This split, in particular, was Holyphoenix’s breakout party, even though this is his eighth year in pro play. According to Oracleselixer.com, Holyphoenix led all bot laners in KDA by a considerable margin. Although he isn’t at the top in the laning phase stats, the one stat that is eye-opening when it comes to Holyphoenix is his kills. Holyphoenix led all players in the league in kills during the 2022 TCL winter split with 113. The next closest player had only 86, nearly 30 fewer kills in the same amount of games.
IW’s mid laner, Serin, had a fantastic playoff performance in the finals against GS. During the three-game series, Serin went a combined 24/5/22 as IW cleanly swept GS. In the playoffs overall, Serin had the best KDA among all players.
How IW can succeed at MSI 2022
fastPay Wildcats can leave MSI 2022 with an improvement over their last trip as long as they secure two wins. The good news for them is they have RED Canids in their group, who are seen as a worse team. The bad news is that they also have PSG Talon and Royal Never Give Up to contend with.
With that said, Turkey has historically been one of the better wild card regions, and this version of IW seems to be better than last year’s. For IW to make it out of their group, they are going to need to take down PSG Talon and RED Canids.
That isn’t impossible, but like all the wild card region teams, it’s going to take IW playing at their best to separate themselves from the pack and make it into the Rumble stage. That starts with Holyphoenix and Serin being the carries they were during the TCL winter season. If they play well, they have a chance at making it out.
ASU alum with a B.A in Sports Journalism, Warren is one of the premier TFT Journalists in the scene and is a decent TFT player as well who has peaked Challenger and has had multiple accounts in Master+ over all sets. Warren also specializes in other esports content including League of Legends, Valorant, Smash Bros, and more.