This year at Worlds there was a lot of hype coming into it. Three North American teams qualified and it looked like there was a possibility of all three of them making it into the quarter finals. Korea and China looked super strong, followed by North America, Oceania and Europe. The wild cards barely registering on our radars like they usually do. Sometimes they take a game off of a lower tier team and mess up a bracket, but they'll never actually make it out of groups, right?
Well this year, that all changed. It started off with the Brazilian INTZ E-sports beating the number one seated Chinese team, EDG, in their first game and shocking everybody. No one saw this coming and after everyone just assumed that it was a fluke. That it was the one big upset for the whole tournament and everything else would follow suit as normal.
Well Albux Nox Luna had something to say about that. As a Russian team in the CIS even less was expected from them than INTZ esports. Brazil had shown up in the past and taken a game or too, but Russia had never really done well. Especially with their group, they were expected to lose every game. The number one seated teams from Korea and Europe, ROX Tigers and G2, were in their group along with the Worlds Veteran's CLG. How could a wildcard team possibly win a game in such a high skilled group?
Albus Nox Luna had not just one answer, but four games worth of them.
They managed to get two cheeky wins from G2 and CLG by using what the analysts and other teams called "cheesy and tricky" where they ran unconventional team comps and snuck Barons in situations where if they had been caught they would lose.
I beg to differ however. Just because something is different than what we are used to doesn't make it inferior. It's just different and perhaps even better. Their teams comps were unique and creative, especially the anivia and poppy combination that creates the perfect opportunity for poppy stuns anywhere. The off-meta brand pick also really showed up and helped carry Albus to victory. Rushing a baron when it's "impossible" to do one is actually the perfect time to do it. The other teams didn't have them warded and just were completely caught off guard and something can't be cheap if it worked two separate times against different teams. They were aware at this point and it still happened. I think it is safe to say that Albus Nox outplayed their opponents.
This whole argument comes to a front in the second game between Albux Nox Luna and the ROX Tigers. The number seed in the entire tournament versus the last seed. If Albus Nox could beat the best team in the world they would have a guaranteed spot in the quarter finals. And Albus Nox won. Fair and square. They used their ingenuity to sneak an Elder Dragon. They kept the ROX Tigers on the defensive since the beginning of the game since their early advantage and they closed out the game while both teams were full build and past 60 minutes. All argument that they just cheesed teams and ended the game before they could catch back up are null now.
Albus Nox Luna was able to outplay the best team in the world, post 60-minutes while both teams had full builds. If that's not proof, then nothing can be.
With this they join the ROX Tigers as the second-place team in the group and the first ever Wildcard team to make it out of the group stage.
I cannot wait to see how they perform in the Quarter finals.
All hail the 4-2 "Wildcards"! ALBUS NOX LUNA!!!