MSI 2022 Preview Series: Istanbul Wildcats

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With only six days left until the start of this year’s Mid-Season Invitational, all champions are ready to begin their arduous journey where they will finally see the trophy. Yesterday we took a detailed look at the LCK representative, T1, and Chinese juggernaut, Royal Never Give Up, from different angles. Another champion that will try to leave their mark on the MSI 2022 as a minor region representative will be Istanbul Wildcats, who claimed the TCL title by not giving a single match in the grand finals.

Istanbul Wildcats will represent Turkey at MSI two years in a row after having a rough season in the summer. As the name sounds familiar, Istanbul Wildcats is a Turkish super team based in Istanbul. The organization was formerly known as HWA Gaming before rebranding with fastPay. We have watched them in the MSI 2021, where they were not able to qualify for the groups due to their inferior performance on the play-in stage. This time Istanbul Wildcats intends to get rid of bad luck and achieve remarkable success on the international stage.

Istanbul Wildcats are your TCL 2022 Winter Champions

IW’s starting lineup remained the same from last year. TCL 2022 Winter champion kept all of their players who played in the MSI 2021 even though they underperformed throughout the tournament except the team’s veteran carry player, HolyPhoenix. Their starting roster includes Starscreen, Ferret, Serin, and the best Turkish bot lane duo, Farfetch – HolyPhoenix. Fans hope that IW has learned from last year’s disappointing run, and they don’t make the same mistakes. Players know each other well as they have been playing together for two years. Several members of the team were promoted hand-in-hand from the academy team to the main roster. Istanbul Wildcats are the most dominant team in recent years of the Turkish Championship League.

Although IW made an awful start to the 2022 TCL Winter, they bounced back from the second half of the season and completed the regular split in first place with a phenomenal run. Wildcats wiped out Team Aurora in the semifinals, then faced off against Galatasaray Esports, who claimed the trophy in the summer season and represented TCL in the World Championship. The Grand finals were one-sided, contrary to expectations, and Istanbul Wildcats proved that they are currently the best Turkish team. After securing their spot at MSI 2022, IW’s starting lineup started practicing on the Korean server.

Istanbul Wildcats will meet Royal Never Give Up, PSG Talon, and RED Canids Kalunga in group B. They will have to beat PSG and RED to make their way to the rumbling stage. If they can steal a match from RNG, that would be great for Wildcats.

Berat Ozkan
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