The closed qualifiers of the VALORANT Champions Tour Turkey Challengers officially kicked off today, debuting the highly-anticipated BBL Esports squad for the 2022 circuit. After making two changes in the offseason, BBL are still one of the favorite teams in Turkey to secure a spot for VCT in February. And a fantastic 2-0 start vs. Galakticos installed even more hope in their fans.
Here’s a first look at BBL after their opening game in the VCT qualifiers and what you can expect from them going forward.
New look BBL
When BBL had to drop three players in the wake of the Twitch Bit scam, no one knew what would happen to the team that proved themselves as one of the best in Turkey in 2021. So, when Doğukan “QutionerX” Dural joined the team in December of that year, it raised as many questions as praise. Fans knew him, of course, from his fine performance as both a sentinel and a Jett player during his tenure at Kafalar Esports.
To round out their team, BBL added Melih “pAura” Karaduran, one of the most proven and talented Turkish players of all time, as their in-game-leader. As one of the veterans of the scene, he boasted stellar performances in both Team Heretics and SuperMassive Blaze, in both Turkey and the international scene. His addition rose BBL from a team looking to come back from the devastating loss of their three players to the main challengers. In 2022, they have the chance to prove themselves as one of the best teams in the EMEA region; all they have to do is reach out and grab it.
As with any team, new players often lead to inevitable role swaps and it’s no different for BBL, as both pAura and Hüseyin “aimDLL” Kabişteke share a similar agent pool. This was an easy solution on Split where aimDLL was moved to the Viper; an agent he also previously played on Bind, Icebox and Breeze. He proved more than competent against Galakticos. But the shocking change came on Ascent, when the sentinel main made his Kay/O debut. He finished the game with 214 ACS and a 1.21 KD. The changes between pAura and aimDLL were expected although it remains to be seen if the latter will reprise his Cypher/Killjoy roles on any of the other maps. But, the flexibility of aimDLL has been impressive so far.
BBL were somewhat slow with the meta back in 2021, rarely utilizing Astra in their agent pool. Now, with the departure of Semih “LEGOO” Selvi, Ali Osman “AsLanM4shadoW” Balta has taken on the new role. Fans were treated to AsLanM4shadoW’s Astra for the first time and he certainly did not disappoint — top fragging on both Split and Ascent as well as helping his side with crucial Cosmic Divides. AsLanM4shadoW looks comfortable on Astra, which could really help BBL if they go up against CIS and European teams in the future.
Despite only playing and winning one best-of-three, BBL have long been the favorites from Turkey when it comes to fan base and viewership, with their opener against Galakticos racking up more than 70k views on Twitch. If the new and improved squad are able to keep up their versatility, they could potentially be the favorites to progress out of closed qualifiers and into the VCT.
Now, all that stands between this new roster and a first place finish are three series. The first is against SuperMassive Blaze; a series to watch because it’s the first time BBL and SMB will face each other. The two teams have high potential and passionate fandoms. This is a chance for this new BBL squad to prove that they can continue the legacy of such an organization.
Upcomer’s Yinsu Collins contributed to this story.