Of all the smaller regions, Turkey has been consistently punching above its weight. Not only have its teams given quite a few international performances above peoples' expectations, but have spawned some of the most promising young prospects in the game. This year Can "Closer" Çelik and İrfan "Armut" Tükek have been making waves in the LCS and LEC. Both contend for the best in their role, and helped their teams to championships.
Onur "Bolulu" Can Demirol may continue the tradition. Galatasaray Esports' mid laner and TCL's Finals MVP is a promising young player. Inven Global had the opportunity to talk with Bolulu, to discuss the development of the TCL, his playstyle, and his goals for the future.
You’ve had almost complete domination over your region. What has your team been doing in order to be conditioned for the much stronger competition here?
I think even though we're all individually really good on the team, the source is in how we work together and interact with each other. From the first scrim we played until now, we've always improved. Even if it's been small, we've always had improvement and tied to fix our mistakes.
Everyone had a common goal, everyone had a good attitude, good work ethic, and we just work well together. I don't know how to explain it. The personalities work well together—how we want to play the game. And we have in-game leaders, and everything's just going well. I think our coach Irean is doing an amazing job to make this happen as well. He's been always 100% in making the team go forward, so big props to him as well.
Your team has an interesting mix of experience. Players like Zergsting and Crazy have a bit more experience than you, but you’re the only one with prior international experience. Who do you feel is guiding the team the most at the moment?
I feel I have room in this team to have a big say and implement how I want to play the game. And I don't think it's more about experience, I think we work really well together. And I mean, honestly, when I went to international stages, I've always had the regret and haven't been happy with my performance — like at last Worlds.
Maybe my playstyle was enough to crush TCL, but when we came to the international stages, it was not enough, my champ pool and my gameplay. But after that, I felt like I learned and improved a lot from that international experience. I have grown as a player so I feel that I have more experience, to be honest, even though people have played longer than me.
How do you feel the TCL region has progressed? Is it about the same as last year? What have been the biggest changes?
I think it's not about improving as a region. I think that this roster came together very well. But I think that Turkey has put more attention and investment into younger and younger talents and younger players, and building full Turkish rosters, rather than just getting two imports all the time like before. So the Turkish players and the region are growing in that sense. The Turkish players themselves are better.
Usually, it was like you had three Turkish players and then you just got really good imports, and they just carried. But now, I feel like everyone contributes. So in that sense, I think we've improved a lot since last year. If you look at last year, when we had imports like KaKAO and SnowFlower, KaKAO was a hard carry and just wanted to play the game around himself. And yeah, that works. But now we're playing more as a team with a plan. And people playing together communicate better. So in that sense, I think we're a better team right now than before.
Last year, you played with Armut, who is returning again this year. What are your impressions of how Armut has changed as a player?
I think that he's made an incredible improvement, to be honest. I think after his insane Worlds performance, he just went upwards from there. I think he's just keeping on grinding, keeping on improving, and I'm just really happy to see him play, and just smurf on everyone to be honest. I'm really happy for him. I'm proud of him.
Several Turkish players have found success in the bigger regions like Closer as well. As one of the biggest stars in Turkey for some time, what has kept you in the region?
So I think that both Closer and Armut had a really good Worlds performance. And I felt like they were more ready to enter another region. But last year, and the year before that, at MSI  — I was a rookie at MSI, and after that, at Worlds, I think I didn't have a good performance. And I think it has a lot to do with my playstyle, champion pool, and... personality, let's say.
I was always the one that was sacrificing my resources for other lanes and playing supportive stuff. And even though I had a lot of impact on the game, it didn't look like that. But now I felt like I am aware of my flaws. And I took this year to really improve on that and add a lot of champions to my pool and just grew as a player overall. I think that now, I'm really ready to play against anyone, in any region.
So yeah, I think that's what kept me in Turkey, to be honest. I did have a bad performance in Worlds because people exploited my flaws on other teams.
Would you consider joining the LCS or LEC?
Yeah, I mean, right now, I feel a lot more confident in myself and as a player, and I feel like I'm really ready to make that next step. So if the opportunity shows itself, if there's an opportunity for me, I'm more than ready to take that step.
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