“Our mentality has to be a winner’s mentality,” BBL coach Epic on preparation for VCT EMEA 2024 cover image

“Our mentality has to be a winner’s mentality,” BBL coach Epic on preparation for VCT EMEA 2024

Esports.gg spoke with head coach of BBL Esports, Mehmet “Epic” Yıldız, prior to VCT EMEA 2024 Stage 1 commencing.

We are just days away from the VCT starting back up after Masters Madrid. Stage 1 of each international league begins, as teams fight for Championship Points and a spot at Masters Shanghai. In EMEA, coach Mehmet "Epic" Yıldız and BBL Esports are hopeful they'll earn a Masters berth.

Prior to the league beginning, we sat down with the coach of the Turkish roster. He discusses his promotion to head coach early on in 2023, the importance of off-season tournaments, how he can evolve this season, and more.

BBL coach Epic details the team's need to win in VCT EMEA 2024

(Image provided by BBL Esports)
(Image provided by BBL Esports)

"You’ve been with BBL for a while, but you’re just coming up on a year of being the team’s head coach. When you received that promotion, can you tell me what expectations the organization set for you?"

Epic: "They were expecting to me to do the best I can do, in my opinion. Because we were on a losing streak, and we just lost four games. We lost to Karmine Corp, which I think we should have won. And also Giants. It was tremendously hard, because we knew that we could have won that.

"But against FNATIC, and also NAVI, those were tough games. After that, as you know, they promoted me to head coach. Then the team's feelings changed and we just rebuilt the ambition and the chemistry. We had a lot of meetings as a team.

"When we get into the server, we always focus on just one game, not the playoffs. Let's say we have math exam. We'll focus on this, and the next week we have a physics exam. So, the next week, we're going to work on that lesson, and et cetera.

"And we just move step by step, and try to do our best. But I couldn't reach the goal that I aimed for, because we should have gotten into the playoffs. Also, last March we played against the FUT Esports. We should have won that. Because it was kind of a Turkish derby. We couldn't show our performance, as we have done. So, yeah, they were expecting me to get into the playoffs, but unfortunately I tried my best and it didn't happen."

"Okay, so last year in the VCT, would you call it a learning experience?"

Epic: "Yeah, we can say that actually. But the last year could have been not a learning year. It could have been the achievement year, because lots of team weren't playing good. We could have reached Masters, we could have reached Champions.

"Unfortunately, at the end of the year, all we can say is, 'Okay, it was a learning year.' You just win or you just learn. So, that was the point. That was the mentality. But this year, we had the two-loss streak. Against NAVI, and after that against KOI.

"We weren't expected to lose against KOI, but how many days? Six days later [from our conversation], the league will be starting. Our first match is against the Gentle Mates. So, if we start the league with winning, the momentum will totally change.

"And my roster's feelings and my roster's ambition will increase to the highest level. If we manage to win, and if we just learn to how to win, we'll get used to it. It will be an achievement year rather than a learning year."

(Image provided by BBL Esports)
(Image provided by BBL Esports)

"Alright, this year started well with a victory at Superdome. How important is it to participate in those third-party tournaments when the VCT is not active?"

Epic: "This is a good question, because the off-season is very important. This is the most important thing in VALORANT, because in VALORANT, you just can't play so many off-season tournaments. Superdome was one of them, even though there weren't any partnered teams.

"I have players who never got the experience of the stage, the LAN game. Elite and reazy haven't got much experience about this. So, that's why, in my opinion, I just wanted to participate as part of this off-season tournament.

"I didn't care about about who the opponent was. That wasn't the point. The point was to build the chemistry and get better. Make the chemistry better, and also the levels of the game plan, getting used to the stage. That was the point.

"And I think we managed that, because if you just jump into the tournament, and on paper you are at a higher level, you must win. If we didn't win that tournament, it would be bad. I know that, and we just managed to win. So, it's the most important thing, to participate in the off-season tournaments."

"So, the Kickoff tournament is behind you now. Masters Madrid is over. Many teams would see this as a clean slate, heading into the first Stage of the regular season. What level of competition do you anticipate for VCT EMEA this year?"

Epic: "It's been two years since the start of partnership, but this year is totally different. Karmine Corp wasn't successful last year. Heretics as well. But this year they just made a final off the Kickoff, which means they just changed something bigger. So, FNATIC, they lost to Karmine Corp. Which should not happen on paper, but it just happened.

"So, everyone can beat everyone. This league and this year, anytime, it can be everything. Maybe, let's say we can win against FNATIC, but we lose against the Gentle Mates. We can beat the highest level team, but we can lose against the lowest level on the team. So, we don't know what is going to happen, we are just going to play the game."

(Image provided by BBL Esports)
(Image provided by BBL Esports)

"What have you done to ensure the players on BBL can bring the fight to that competition?"

Epic: "You just have to start from the mentality, because our mentality has to be a winner's mentality, not not the loser's mentality. If you can manage to get used to having a winner's mentality, we can do everything. It's just starting with it in your mind.

"You just have to act and you have to practice, you have to play as a winner. Which means you have to do everything with discipline. And in the end, if you just do something and do your job, it can be for everything in your life, If you can do it with discipline, at the end of the day, we're going reach the highest moment and the happiest moment.

"This is a winner's mentality. So, we cannot wait to be happy to do something. We should do something even if it leaves us in pain. We just have to do it. The feelings, the emotions, I don't care about it. We just have to do it. And if we just manage to do that, in the end, we will have the happiest mental life.

"That's the point. Also the discipline that I mentioned to you, but not just the mentality in-game. If we check the top teams, their discipline is on the highest level. So, when we started to build this roster, our discipline was just decreasing day by day.

"But after we talk about it, after we did the meetings, we did VOD reviews, we just increased the level day by day, and it's been going like that. So first, the mentality has to be the winner's mentality. And second, the discipline in-game and out of the game has to be on a higher level. That's what I tell them every day."

(Photo by Michal Konkol/Riot Games)
(Photo by Michal Konkol/Riot Games)

"With the season starting, you obviously know your players best. What player on BBL do you think has a chance to make the most impact this year? To put up MVP numbers?"

Epic: "MVP performance? Actually, the last year was different, but if you just look at the total, the analysis, the Duelists are getting the MVP. But I don't know, QutionerX just seems like the MVP these days, which is our Duelist.

"We also got reazy, who is a really impactful player, but he has to prove himself on the stage. If he proves himself, he'll be there as well. There is also Elite, our Sentinel. He is so young, he has so much to learn. If he does something more to learn everything, he will do it as well. But this year, I'm expecting our MVP to be reazy or QutionerX."

"And lastly, as the season goes on, how do you want to evolve as a coach? What kind of improvements do you want to see for yourself, that in turn will drive the success of the team?"

Epic: "I have a bad habit, which is working too hard. And for hours. I mean, let's say we are practicing for eight hours each day, but after the eight hours, we should have to rest or go to the gym, or have to do something for our social life as well, to balance our mentality.

"We should keep that in balance, but I just can't stop myself from working. Which means I sleep less than eight hours. So, I think I should change that. But as I said, I can't change myself until we win, so we must win.

"I think that if we manage to win, and if we learn to win, I will do that. But until that day, I have to work hard. And this is my bad habit, I think, but the improvement of myself will be to balance the working and the social life."

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