Credit: İstanbul Wildcats

MSI Preview: Turkey’s new hope, fastPay Wildcats, on the verge of regional breakthrough 

Istanbul Wildcats (also known as fastPay Wildcats) is a relatively new organization in the League of Legends scene, but it makes up for it with its budding legacy. Founded in 2019, the TCL representatives have won their second domestic title and secured a place in the 2022 Mid-Season Invitational. 

These wildcats are not debutants in the international scene, but their 2021 MSI showing was brutal: their 1-5 record in the group stage gave them no hope of making it, but their victory against eventual semifinalists MAD Lions was noteworthy. 

Since the play-in format was introduced to international competitions (2017), the TCL have only made it past that stage once: the 2017 World Championship. But such a long drought may end at last. 

Given the format change, as the top two seeds of each group advance to the Rumble stage, Istanbul Wildcats have a chance of finally breaking the curse and making TCL history. 

Source: Leaguepedia

Path to MSI 

The expectations placed upon fastPay Wildcats were high before the season started, and they have delivered. Even when they experienced a tough start in the spring split, Istanbul Wildcats were always seen as favorites in their region.

As they rediscovered their form after Week 4, they have dominated the league, finished first in the standings with a 14-4 record, and lifted the TCL trophy after two playoff bo5s. 

The team centered its play around veteran bot laner Anil “HolyPhoenix” Isik, as his aggressive laning has netted them huge advantages, and as his experience becomes a huge factor during stressful situations ingame. 

Players to watch: mid laner Tolga “Serin” Ölmez and AD carry Anıl “HolyPhoenix” Işık

The fastPay Wildcats stand tall in their region as their carries lead the fray. How different they are: one is a budding talent, the other an established veteran.

Serin is the team shining star after his insane development this split. He is the playmaker of the team, and he creates a lot of opportunities for his team using his map awareness. He is one of the most exciting young talents for the region and he can evolve into a superstar. 

As for veteran Holyphoenix, well-known even to international circles, he brings a 10-year competitive experience to the table. He is the Wildcats’ central focus in most games as his insane mechanics, aggressive laning and solid teamfighting have been their saving grace. 

Beyond that, the AD carry is considered as the star name in the TCL region. Aging like fine wine, he is improving with every split that passes. 

Jaxon’s prediction: Contender for Rumble stage spot

With a weaker PSG Talon compared to previous years, and the
CBLoL’s RED Canids in their group, Istanbul Wildcats are in a good spot to qualify for the Rumble stage and break the curse at last.

Special thanks to casters Ercan Bozkurt and Aykut Özgan for contributing to this article.

Yohan Markov is among the most prolific of all analysts and writers covering League of Legends esports. A long-time veteran of the scene, Yohan has the in-depth knowledge of LoL required to break down the biggest pro games, combined with the lengthy experience covering Riot Games and its many regional leagues needed to break down what's happening and why in the LoL esports world.