Photo Credit: Riot Games
The unthinkable happened yesterday as Albux Nox Luna became the first wildcard team to ever make it out of a group at Worlds. On top of that, they were one tie-breaker game away from taking first place in the group, over the best team from Korea, Rox Tigers.
ANX hail from the CIS/Russia area and are participants of the LoL Continental League, a CIS/Russia league. The team struggled to beat Lyon Gaming in the 2016 International Wildcard Qualifiers to gain their spot at Worlds. They were drawn into a group with Rox Tigers, Counter Logic Gaming, and G2 Esports as part of Group A. ANX’s first game at Worlds began poorly as they faced the scary-looking Rox Tigers who ran over the Russians in under 30 minutes. However, ANX did not let their loss deter them and won two decisive victories over CLG and G2 to comfortably share the lead with Rox Tigers in after week one.
Thursday, 10/6/2016, was the final group stage day for Group A. ANX’s first opponent of the day was CLG, who was the closest in contention to grab a qualifying spot. In a stunning show of dominance, the CIS team stomped the home court team and breezed to a victory. With the win, they were almost guaranteed a spot in the playoffs barring some sort of unfortunate results from the other games. ANX quickly put the final nail in the coffin by taking down the juggernaut Rox Tigers in an hour long thriller of a match. The win secured their spot in the playoffs, cementing ANX as the first wildcard team to ever make it out of a group stage.
Their final match was against the last place G2 and a win would secure the CIS team first place in the group. However, despite holding a narrow lead in the early game, G2 managed to come together and find their first win of the group to send ANX to a tie-breaker match against ROX Tigers for first place. The Koreans took their revenge and quickly smashed through ANX to coast to first place while leaving the CIS team with second place, but a great performance nonetheless.