The Phoenix, Luminosity Gaming
There is a saying that ‘Sometimes you just have to die a little in order to be reborn and rise again, as a stronger and wiser version of yourself’. This is exactly what happened to Luminosity Gaming at the FACEIT League 2015 Stage 3 Finals. They were struck down harder than anyone expected at the hands of FNATIC, losing 16-0. But then like a Phoenix, they somehow came back and made a run that made everyone’s jaw drop. No one in their wildest dreams expected things to go the way they did , not the fans, not the analysts and certainly not any of the elite teams that were left in the dust in the process. So let us take a look at how this almost fairy tale like run took place
It all started with Luminosity Gaming facing up against the Swedish giants in Fnatic. Fnatic themselves had recently made a roster change replacing Pronax with G2’s now former star Dennis. The map was de_Dust2 and it started off with an A push in the pistol round by Luminosity, but they were stopped by a vicious 4k by Olof "olofmeister" Kajbjer. That somewhat set the tone for rest of the map, as Olofmeister reached his peak form and others chimed in for the demolition. The Brazilian side tried their best to adapt, trying different strats and constantly switching around formation, but nothing worked. The raw firepower from FNATIC was just too much and Luminosity was on full tilt mode by mid game. As a result the map ended in an embarrassing 16-0 defeat for the Brazilian team. But little did we know that this was going to be the seeding grounds for probably the greatest underdog run in CS GO history.
After losing to FNATIC, Luminosity Gaming found themselves facing an even scarier opponent in the current world champions EnvyUS in a B03 series. Everyone including myself thought it was going to be a quick beat down by the French side due to their insane firepower. But at the very first map Luminosity showed that they were no longer the team that got stomped by FNATIC by putting up an impressive 10-5 CT side on de_Mirage and then took it a step further on the Tside, showing excellent entries and solid execution, closing it out 16-6. However on the 2nd map EnvyUS answered back on on de_Cobble, showcasing one of the most impressive T side's I have ever seen, closing the map out 16-8. At this point everyone was thinking that the first map was probably just a fluke and there was no way Luminosity Gaming are going to win de_Inferno, a map where EnvyUS has shown great results before. But to everyone’s surprise Luminosity actually won the half from the T side, with a score of 8-7. Then they followed it up with a win on both the pistol and the first gun round, I like to think this is when KennyS probably just remembered his time in Titan and realized that he has to step up again to take the team to victory. Surprisingly there really were a round of two where you saw shades of KennyS’s god form. Unfortunately for the French giants, that wasn’t quite enough and Fallen answered back in style with a triple with a saved AWP. After that it was just a few clean rounds from the Brazilian squad that resulted in an 11-16 victory for them. Even with this huge upset though, most people weren’t convinced that Luminosity could be a legitimate candidate to win the whole thing, it was shrugged off by most as a freak occurrence. But only it wasn’t.
The big run
Finally came the big day, with the Brazilian squad starting off against CS GO's legendary Swedish team NIP, also the overwhelming crowed favorites over everyone else. The game started off with de_Mirage, a map where Luminosity gaming had shown great results against EnvyUS the day before. The pistol round somehow went the way of NIP, mainly due to Forest being the god he is with the weapon. But things quickly turned around as the Brazilian squad won the next round thanks to a mix buy and some mistakes from NIP. From there Luminosity gaming had found their footing and went on to dominate the old legends on the CT side, ending the half with a score of 12-3. The Ninjas then started to form a comeback with Get_Right all of a sudden showing up again, but in the end FNX and TACO were able to do enough to just power through and end the magic at 16-10. Moving on to de_Cache, everyone was still expecting a NIP win. But Luminosty Gaming once again started off strong, this time on the T side, earning 9 rounds before ending the half. This put NIP in a very difficult situation and the Brazilian squad kept building on the lead until they reached match point.They probably would have even closed it out then and there, if it wasn’t for Get_Right and Allu stepping up in spectacular fashion. Especially there was this one round where Luminosity Gaming had the bomb planted against Get_Right in a 1v3 situation, yet the Swedish Legend still overcame the odds and won the round. Which acted as the seed to NIP making a comeback and taking the map to Overtime where they won 19-21. By now people had finally started to take Luminosity gaming seriously and tensions were rising high. Moving on to the 3rd map we got de_Cobble as the decider and this is where Luminosity gaming really broke apart from their shells and just dominated the Swedish legends, taking the map quite comfortably with some really solid performance from Fallen, Coldzera and FNX.
Now Luminosity Gaming had taken down EnvyUS and NIP in a best of 3 series, making their next match against TSM much more interesting than any thought it would be. However as opposed to the other matches where Luminosity gaming had started out strongly, TSM took them down on their home map in de_Mirage 16-5. As we moved to de_Overpass it looked like this was going to be the end for the Brazilian squad as TSM quickly got up 5-0. Then on the 6th round Fallen stepped up big time and turned things around by winning a 1v2 clutch, finally putting LG up on the board. This set of a spark on every one on the LG squad and they just ran with the momentum all the way to 9-6, winning the half from what looked like a grim situation early on. The momentum stuck with the Brazilian squad on the other side, as they won the pistol round and then went off close out the map at 16-6. Stunning TSM and the spectators alike. The decider for the series against TSM turned out to be de_Inferno, a map where they have taken out the likes of FNATIC and NIP. Starting off on the T side, Luminosity were able to seize the pistol round and then take the following 2 rounds, making it a standard 3-0. TSM answered back by winning the first gun round but then fell short again on the next, this started a really weird back and forth round trading for a small period but it was eventually Luminosity that stabilized first and that allowed them to build a very impressive lead of 8-4. By now TSM had learned their executions and habits, so they were able to grab 2 more rounds before ending the half 9-6. LG continued their pistol round win streak on the CT side but fell on the next to TSM’s force buy. This allowed TSM to gain some ground at 10-9, but Luminosity quickly adapted and kept the pressure up. Device started out well but also had some weird rounds whereas Luminosity’s Coldzera and Fallen were the ones stepping up to keep things equalized. Luminosity Gaming eventually got to match and map point but TSM were able to dig deep and pushed the game to Overtime. During OT LG was able to finally outshine TSM’s individual performance with their own and ended up winning the grueling series with a score of 2-1. Now they had achieved a B03 win over 3 of the elite teams in the word, which when you look back and see them getting 16-0’d feels quite ridiculous. But the run wasn’t quite down, there was one more titan to take down.
The final battle, ending where it started
There is something special about facing an opponent who destroyed you at your weaker state, curiosity and fear sets in on whether you are now strong enough or are they still superior?
The final battle started off between Fnatic and LG on de_Train, one of the few maps where LG didn’t get to show much in this tournament. Once again the Brazilian squad was able to secure the pistol round and start out strong on the T side. The momentum was solid and Luminosity carried the half to a 7-8 score in their favor. After switching over to the CT side LG once again showed off great defense and individual performances as Fer, Coldzera and Fallen all stepped up when needed, closing out the map 9-16. Moving on to Cobblestone it was FNATIC who had the superior start this time, finally putting a dent on LG’s rather insane pistol round win record. Fnatic took this early lead and transformed it into a 9-6 half on their favor. The Brazilian squad showed some life after switching on to the T side, despite once again losing the pistol round, stringing some rounds in between FNATIC’s pressure. Unfortunately in the end the early lead for FNATIC proved to be too big and they closed out the map 16-11. Finally we reached de_Inferno, a map where they were able to stun the likes of EnvyUS. LG looked like they were going to start off strong again, but soon FNATIC started gaining ground on the T side. Olofmeister once again showed up as the great player that he has been throughout this year, almost manhandling the Brazilian squad in many situation. By the time LG even stabilized properly FNATIC already had 8 rounds on board, but they were able to secure the last 2 rounds and end the half at 9-6. FNATIC however were showing no signs of slowing down as they acquired the CT side pistol round and then won the next gun round as well, this put Luminosity in a very difficult situation and even when they got into an advantageous force buy situation at the A site the duo of Krimz and Olofm proved to be too much to handle. Krimz started to show his trademark B site holds, slaughtering the LG squad like lambs for dinner every time they showed up and whatever was left out was cleaned out by Dennis and JW. It wasn’t until 14-6 were the Brazilians able to put a round on the board on T side, still at a 7 round deficit. But Flusha immediately halted the momentum by hitting a 2k and then JW and Olofm cleaned up the rest, putting FNATIC in match point. The crowd cheered LG! LG! LG in hopes of seeing a miraculous comeback but it was almost impossible with LG’s economy in shambles. LG tried their best to make the Tech9’s work and even got an entry on to the B side, somehow putting themselves in 1v1 between Coldzera and Olofm. Despite the valiant effort however, it was Olofmeister who came out on top and closed out the map. LG’s amazing run had come to an end, but does it take away anything from LG achieved in this tournament? No it does not.
They were able to take out 3 world class teams and almost won against their demons in FNATIC. Despite having almost no time to practice with a new lineup, they showed us some amazing Counter Strike. Hopefully this lineup sticks together and takes their results to a more consistent level. It really would be sick to finally have a Brazilian team among the elites, some might say they are already in it, but realistically speaking we should not burden them with too many expectations. This team has great potential and we have all seen it in this tournament, but using it properly to produce more consistent results is going to be a different thing entirely. Here is hoping that the phoenix lasts for a long time to come