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Picks & Bans: Underdogs of BJK
BY eSports Team - May 05, 2015

Originally posted on lolesports.com by Taylor ''Riot RoboTayCo'' Cocke and Leah ''SpiNN'' Jackson

Hailing from one of the strongest Wild Card regions around the world, Beşiktaş e-Sports Club has an uphill battle when it comes to competing at the Mid-Season Invitational. But coming from a relatively lesser-known part of the League of Legends world, they have the surprise factor on their side. Given the right picks, they may be able to shock the world and pull off some upsets.

But it's going to be tough. After KaBuM!'s shocking victory over Alliance at the 2014 World Championship tournament, you can bet no one is going to be sleeping on the team from Turkey.

TAKE WARNING

During IWCI, Isak "Energy" Pettersen Fjell picked up Ahri just about every time it was available. And for good reason -- his Ahri play is incredibly strong. In fact, BJK went 6-1 when Energy managed to get his hands on the Nine-Tailed Fox during the IWCI tournament. The fast-roaming style of Ahri fits perfectly into BJK's skirmishing team play. He loves to wander around, forcing brawls and picking up kills for everyone on the map.

 

Without Ahri, however, BJK can look inconsistent. With Energy on any other champion, they went 3-3 and struggled to find the fights they were looking for. He's not nearly as dangerous when on mages, taking losses on Orianna, Lulu, and Nidalee.

Obviously, such a reliance on a single champion is a huge, glaring weakness for Energy, particularly because he'll be facing off against one of the strongest collection of mid lane talent we've seen at a tournament in a very long time. During the IWCI Finals, he showed off his Turkish Champions League regular season pocket pick Diana, implying that his AP assassin pool could be a bit deeper than it seems at first glance. His teammates are going to have to provide enough threats to draw bans away from him.

CRY HAVOC!

The most likely secondary carry threat looks to come from Berke "Thaldrin" Demir out of the top lane. A player that has fully embraced the power of Hecarim, he's been nabbing it just about any time it's available. Game 4 of the IWCI Finals showed exactly why. The bloodbath of a game led to him turning in a massive 12/6/20 KDA on the Shadow of War and, ultimately, the victory.

 

As a result, Hecarim is one of the most-banned champions against BJK. If the Turks are on the Blue Side, expect to see it banned away from him for fear of a first pick.

Thaldrin excels on top laners that are able to cause chaos. Whether he's trampling over squishies with Onslaught of Shadows on Hecarim, dropping opportune Equalizers on Rumble, or just Twisted Advancing on Maokai, he's always looking for ways to melt the health bars of the opposing side's back line. He's not afraid to give away deaths for his troubles, and that makes him dangerous. He's a player always looking for the big play to turn around a team fight, and his teammates are often right behind him.

AGGRESSIVE, OR TOO AGGRESSIVE?

That reckless play style doesn't stop with Thaldrin, either. AD carry Tomáš "Nardeus" Maršálek loves to pick up aggressive AD carries that can fling themselves face-first into the opposing team to find kills and win skirmishes.

He's shown a huge preference towards Lucian, grabbing him in six of the thirteen matches during IWCI. On the Purifier, he plays a risky style, weaving in and out of team fights looking to burst someone down. When he's playing to his full potential, it works, netting him tons of kills and keeping him relatively safe. But often -- perhaps too often -- it leads to him getting caught out and giving up potentially game-losing deaths.

 

When he needs to stay a bit more safe, he's got Sivir in his back pocket. Like many teams around the world during the 2015 Season, he's picked her up due to her ability to use On the Hunt to get in and out of fights effectively and safely. More often than not, he's enabling his engage-thirsty teammates to get in and make the havok happen so he can follow up and clean up. Much like that of his Lucian, though, his Sivir-engage trigger finger can get a bit itchy, occasionally leaving him precariously out of position.

If teams are looking to establish a strong bottom lane presence, it could be worth it for them to take away Nardeus' Lucian. Those afraid of fast and furious engages could look to his Sivir for a ban.

KEEPING THEM SAFE

Interestingly, one of the more banned out players on BJK is not a carry, but their support Mustafa "Dumbledoge" Kemal Göksel. As arguably BJK's best player, both his Morgana and his Janna were consistently banned out at IWCI, forcing him onto his equally solid Thresh. His play was so good at IWCI, he saw bans in every one of their 13 games, save for a single matchup against Bangkok Titans.

 

Morgana may have rarely found her way through the Ban Phase against BJK, but when she did, Dumbledoge showed us why. Eschewing many of the typical items you see on squishier supports, he's known for building her full damage, effectively gaining BJK another AP carry to, well, bring the pain. In Game 2 of the IWCI Finals against INTZ e-Sports, he managed to scrape together enough gold to grab himself a Zhonya's Hourglass, a Luden's Echo, and a Needlessly Large Rod. Needless to say, he didn't see the Fallen Angel for the rest of the series.

The perfect counterpart to Nardeus, Dumbledoge excels at saving lives. Much like Samsung White's Imp and Mata in 2014, his main job is to keep his hyper aggressive AD carry alive. And whether he's on Morgana, Thresh, or Janna, he's more than up to the task. when he strays from those champions, though, bad things happen. At IWCI, he chose once to play Leona, and Nardeus ended up dying 10 times. His peeling skills are the real deal, and teams looking to punish poor positioning from the Turks are going to have to be well aware of the name Dumbledoge.

ANOTHER SUPPORT

Essentially Vice President of the Keep Those Crazy BJK Carries Alive Corporation, Muhammed "Theokoles" Işık has found his home in the Cinderhulk meta. More often than playing Nunu, Sejuani, and Gragas, he picks up slack for Dumbledoge when he needs it.

His supportive instincts run so deep that he'll often be seen grabbing Locket of the Iron Solari, Mikael's Crucible, or even Banner of Command so Dumbledoge doesn't have to. In team fights, he'll often aid in the initiation, but then immediately begin peeling and cleansing crowd control for the squishier members of his team. So far, it's worked incredibly well for BJK in the heavy CC world of Patch 5.7.

 

Unfortunately for BJK, the vast majority of their losses at IWCI came when Theokoles wasn't on one of the three aforementioned champions. In their four losses throughout the tournament, he played Rek'Sai twice, Udyr once, and Gragas once. He may not be the most high-profile member of the Turkish team, but the numbers show that he might just be the most bannable. Teams looking for a bit of an experimental ban strategy against BJK could look towards a triple ban against their jungler.

The Mid-Season Invitational starts up on May 7, so make sure to catch BJK on Lolesports as they take on the rest of the world in Tallahassee, Florida.