The story behind the TCL No. 1 seed's run to Worlds.
Papara SuperMassive has gone through controversy, a rebrand, and a mini-roster rebuild in its 2020 season in the Turkish Championship League leading up to its World's qualification. SuperMassive, as the organisation was known before rebranding to Papara SuperMassive after signing a sponsorship deal with the Turkish digital wallet company, is no stranger to international events. The organisation attended both MSI and the World Championships in 2018, and is looking to improve on that run by making it to the group stage of the tournament.
Papara SuperMassive started its 2020 campaign with controversy after its support player, Mustafa Kemal "Dumbledoge" Gökseloğlu, released a statement online detailing years of homophobic behaviour by other players in the TCL and his team, most notably his bottom lane partner Berkay "Zeitnot" Aşıkuzun. The aftermath of the allegations saw Dumbledoge leave the team, and Zeitnot release a statement of his own denying the allegations.
From there, the team would have its Academy support Emre "Fastlegged" Fraser play for a few games before signing Bahadır "Japone" Çolak just a few days later to play out the rest of the season. The squad would go on to place third in the regular season, before getting knocked out in the first round of the TCL Winter Playoffs.
Before the TCL Summer Season even began, Papara SuperMassive would lose its coach, Şükrü "CristoL" Aykut Yeşilkaya, to fellow TCL side Galakticos and Japone to 1907 Fenerbahçe Esports.
The organisation then decided to bring back some of the players that had brought them to international competition in 2018. Lee "GBM" Chang-seok and No "SnowFlower" Hoi-jong rejoined Papara SuperMassive in June with GBM as a coach for the team, and SnowFlower reuniting with Zeitnot in the bottom lane.
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Journeymen jungler Lee "KaKAO" Byung-kwon would also join the team at the same time. He had previously been a part of the TCL team Dark Passage in 2017. All three Korean players have bounced around multiple different teams since their original stints in the TCL.
GBM continued playing in the Turkish league after he left Papara SuperMassive, linking up with Royal Youth and Galatasaray Esports before transitioning into a coaching role for LCK side Griffin. SnowFlower returned to Korea for the 2019 season to play for KT Rolster before returning. KaKAO also returned to Korea after his spell in the TCL, signing with Jin Air Green Wings, APK Prince, and Seorabeol Gaming in his time there.
TCL 2020 Summer
The team's first few games in the Summer season were a little rough. While waiting for visas and the new additions to arrive, Papara SuperMassive decided to field its entire Academy roster for the first four games. That roster only managed one win, putting the team at a 1-3 record before its starring players had even stepped onto the Rift.
The starting roster's first game together in an official TCL match was against Galakticos, against the team's former coach. Galakticos had a better start to the season, coming into the match 3-1, but was still defeated by the newly minted Papara SuperMassive. That game was the start of a six-game winning streak for the squad that would propel them to third place in the regular season, and the third seed in the TCL Summer Playoffs.
The team would walk into the finals matchup, sweeping Galakticos in the semi-finals, and take the title after a tense five-game series against 5 Ronin. KaKAO was given the MVP award for the finals, but it was Zeitnot who carried the last game, finishing with an 11/1/7 scoreline and securing a pentakill on Caitlyn.
Chances at Worlds
Papara SuperMassive are in Group A of the play-in stage, with LEC and LCS teams MAD Lions and Team Liquid expected to make it out. Along with the rest of the smaller regional teams in its group, Legacy Esports and INTZ, Papara SuperMassive is hoping to shock expectations and make it to the main stage for the first time in the organisation's history.
The team plays meta style, picking early games junglers with mages in the mid lane. It also drafts mostly scaling champions in the bottom and top lane, while giving SnowFlower a champion that he can roam on. KaKAO and SnowFlower try to have an impact in the early game, roaming for kills and dives, while Zeitnot and the team's top laner İrfan "Armut" Berk Tükek gather gold and scale.
In the round-robin stage of play-ins, the squad should be able to hold its own. The team has no glaring weaknesses, and the TCL is a best-of-one league, so it is used to these conditions. From there, if the team does not qualify directly into the group stage, finishing first in Group A, it does have a slight advantage in the bracket format.
This team is full of veteran TCL and international players that have played in multiple best-of-fives in multiple different leagues. The team's greenest players, its mid-laner Onur "Bolulu" Can Demirol and Armut, already have international experience at Worlds and MSI on other TCL teams. If there was a team from a smaller region that could upset Team Liquid and MAD Lions and make it to the mainstage of the World Championship - it would be Papara SuperMassive.
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