Istanbul Wildcats Win Second Straight TCL, Make Worlds 2022
Istanbul Wildcats, after their victory at the grand final of the TCL Summer Playoffs have earned the final berth at the 2022 League of Legends World Championship. They will slot in as the twelfth and final team to participate in the play-ins, which kick off on September 29.
Strong TCL Performance
Only one team from the Turkish Championship League (TCL) will receive entry to the Worlds Play-Ins. Istanbul Wildcats seeded second in the regular season with 14 wins from 18 games, and qualified directly to the semi-finals. There they swept Super Massive Blaze 3-0, then came up against Fenerbahce Esports at the grand final.
Fenerbahce had a brilliant, unexpected run in the playoffs, beating Dark Passage top seed NASR eSports to book their place in the final. But the Wildcats had other ideas; though Fenerbahce put up a tough fight, they eventually pulled through with a 3-2 result.
In three out of the last four international LoL events since 2021, the Wildcats have been the TCL’s primary representatives. They only missed out on the Worlds last year, with Galatasaray Esports making the cut over them. At this year’s Mid Season Invitational, held in Korea, they were knocked out after a 1-5 result in the group stage. Across all their international matches, they hold a record of 2-10.
After the conclusion of the LCS on Sunday, the North American teams were finally able to decide their seeds. Tournament winners Cloud9 and runners-up 100 Thieves have qualified for the main event, while third placed Evil Geniuses are confirmed for NA’s single spot at the play-ins.
Wildcats will join five other teams – DRX and Royal Never Give Up seeds number four from Korea and China respectively. Second Vietnamese seed Saigon Buffalo, fourth European seed MAD Lions, and the top Latin America seed Isurus make up the rest of Group B.
Group A includes Europe’s number three Fnatic, Southeast Asia’s seed number two BeyondGaming, Japan’s top seed DetonatioN FocusMe, and Evil Geniuses, North America’s third seed from the LCS. LOUD, first time winners of Brazil’s CBLOL, and Chiefs Esports Club of Oceania make up the rest of the play-ins’ Group A.
Worlds 2022 Play-Ins
The Worlds play-ins will last six days between September 29 and October 4, held in Mexico City. The bottom two teams from each group will be eliminated. The top team from each group will progress directly to the Main Event, while the teams placed 2nd-4th will head to the knockouts. Only two of these six teams will make it to the World Championships.
A total of 24 teams, including the ones qualified to the play-ins, will have a shot at this year’s worlds. Since the LCL, Russia’s biggest League of Legends tournament was cancelled, their slot was awarded to Europe as they have been the region with the best performance during international events over the past two years, without already having 4 slots. The Unicorns of Love qualified last year for the play-ins last year from the LCL, but now their slot has been taken by the MAD Lions, seed number four of the LEC.
Last year’s World champions, EDward Gaming, have qualified to the main event as China’s seed number three. They join CBLOL champions JD Gaming and runners-up Top Esports, who qualified through the first place seed and championship points respectively. EDG were knocked out in the semi-finals, but snuck in through after huffing and puffing their way through the Regionals.
At last year’s Worlds, the top four seeds were all from the LPL and LCK. Aside from EDG, the 2nd-4th seeds DWG KIA, T1, Gen.G have all made a return to this year’s Championship too. Gen.G in particular are coming off a higher after winning the LCK for the first time in their history.