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Robogod: “What we got out of this tournament is experience”

Tom Matthiesen

The Mid-Season Invitational has come to an end for the Istanbul Wildcats and their Head Coach Barış Mete “Robogod” Sevinç. Finishing last in their group with a 1-5 score, the TCL champions return home without a trophy, but with a lot of experience. Important experience, as for four of the five players on the roster this was the first-ever international tournament.


Unfortunately for Robogod and his Istanbul Wildcats players, the Mid-Season Invitational has come to an end. Image courtesy of Riot Games.

Robogod, joined us for an interview at the end of the Group Stage. He explained how he tried his best to help his players prepare for MSI, and where he thinks it went wrong for his team.

Hotspawn: Thank you so much for joining, Robogod. Unfortunately, you end last in the group with your team and don’t make it to the next stage. What did you say to your team, at the end of the day?

Robogod: After we lost the game against PSG Talon, the morale was obviously down. But I wanted them to do better against the Brazilian representatives, paiN Gaming. However, the team is still super young and inexperienced. This was their first international experience, besides HolyPhoenix, at least, who has been playing internationally for a long time. So I’m not mad at them. I don’t have any bad feelings or anything towards them. They just get experienced and they hope to do better in the future.

Hotspawn: As you said, you have four players who are new to the international stage. Something we don’t often hear about from coaches, is how they prepared their players for such an event. How did you go about it?

Robogod: We actually prepared really well for the tournament, but all our preparation was done online. Since the team is super young and their professional experience also coincided with COVID, not only do they not have international experience: they don’t really have that stage experience at all. There are two parts to preparation: the psychological preparedness and then also the preparation for the stage. I tried to help them as much as I could for the psychological preparedness, but there isn’t much to do when you are not prepared for the stage. That is something they just weren’t prepared for. They got more stage experience through this tournament.

Hotspawn: How did you prepare yourself to travel to an event like this, making sure that you are in the right state to coach your team?

Robogod: Well first of all, my preparation wasn’t that difficult. I have played League of Legends for eleven [years], I have been playing since the beta. I have a lot of experience in the game. But preparing the players is more important and more difficult than preparing as a coach. Analyzing the meta, seeing which picks are more powerful, is not that difficult. How the players prepare for those picks, though, is more important. You can play the champions in solo queue and you can play them in scrims, but competitive matches are the best way to prepare yourself for the new meta. So that’s why I think that preparing as a coach, both for myself and other coaches, should probably have been easier. Preparing yourself for a new meta and the international stage as a player is more difficult.

Hotspawn: Throughout the tournament, your players gained a lot of experience. How was it for you to help the players that are new to the international stage, with them learning as the tournament progressed?

Robogod: We basically prepared through scrims. We played against not just high-tier teams, but against mid-tier teams and bottom-tier teams as well. We were doing really well: we were taking games off top-tier teams and we were stomping tier two and tier three teams. The thing the team wasn’t prepared for is that scrim performance and stage performance can be vastly different from one another. I kind of knew that things could have turned out this way, but the team and the players were not ready for it.

The best way for them to learn about it was basically to gain experience this way, to play on the stage. That’s how you learn that stage performance and scrim performance don’t necessarily correlate with each other. So although I don’t really enjoy saying this, what we got out of this tournament is experience, basically.

Hotspawn: The Turkish fans have been passionately supporting Istanbul Wildcats throughout MSI. What would you like to say to them?

Robogod: Thank you everyone for supporting us, first of all. We did our best and through our performance, especially in the preparation stage, we found out that the Turkish teams are actually powerful. In the next tournaments, based on our experience this year, I’m pretty sure that a Turkish team can easily get a good performance on the Worlds stage or on the next MSI stage. So whomever qualifies: please support them. Please know that they have the potential to be successful.

As for today: we did the best we could, but this was the unfortunate result. We prepared as well as we could and we played our best. Again, thank you for supporting us.

The Mid-Season Invitational continues on Friday, May 14th, at 3 PM CEST live on the Riot Games official Twitch channel.