Road to Worlds: Albus Nox Luna
A GAMURS exclusive series, taking a look at the 16 teams going to Worlds from the beginning of their qualification and see just how their road to worlds went. Today, we look at Albus NoX Luna, formerly "Hard Random" of the LoL Continental League (LCL)
The Masters of the LCL
When in Russia...
For those unaware, the LoL Continental League is a tournament for the Russian/CIS region. This league takes over the StarLadder Series and will follow the same rules/format as the EU/NA LCS. It is one of eight leagues featured in the International Wildcard Circuit and the domain of Albus NoX Luna, formerly known as 'Hard Random' in the Spring Split 2016.
Albus NoX Luna (ANL) roster for Worlds at the time of writing consists of Dmitry "Smurf" Ivanov, Alexander "PvPstejos" Glaskov, Michael "Kira" Garmash, Vladislav "aMiracle" Scherbyna and Krill "Likkrit" Malofeev.
LCL Spring Split 2016 and Spring Playoffs
The Hard Random Legacy
ANX, known as Hard Random (HR) in this split would start off in the newly formed LCL league as favourites due to their overwhelming domination of the StarLadder series. It was a chance for all teams to stake their claim as the best of the best to go forward into the playoffs with a shot at going to the qualifier for the Mid-Season Invitational. The league used the familiar best-of-one format with the top four teams going into the playoffs, similar to how the EU and NA systems used to be.
The Spring Split would see HR dominate for the majority of its games, earning a 12-2 record to be crowned the first ever split champions of the newly-formed LCL and easily walk into the Spring playoffs as the No. 1 seed, having only lost those two games against 3rd-placed Natus Vincere CIS and 4th-placed Vega Squadron throughout the entire split as a whole.
The Spring Playoffs would see HR play against Vega Squadron where, after a lacklustre showing from Vega, HR won 3-0 to walk into the finals to meet Team Empire and bring the LCL its first ever final. Team Empire would maek the hearts over HR fans skip a beat after taking a game, but it was not meant to be as HR took the other three games to see them go into the International Wild Card Invitations as the LCL's first ever representative.
The International Wild Card Invitational
Going out on a whimper
This would be HR's last ever appearance on the world's and continental stage as a whole before they changed into ANX and they were looking to end it by heading to MSI 2016.
The International Wildcard Invitational for MSI took the top team from the leagues in Brazil, CIS, Japan, Latin America North, Latin America South, Oceania, South East Asia and Turkey to battle it out for a spot to attend a world's stage event. In this instance, it would only be the winner who would be getting to MSI and HR were one of such teams hoping to make their mark on the world's stage early.
It would be best-of-one in the round robin, with best-of-five series only coming in as the final four teams fought it out to decide which team would make it to MSI in China.
The stage would be close knit until the very end with only two teams able to fight it out for that all important space on the MSI circuit. Three teams would find themselves being tied for first place, leading to a tie-breaker situation between Supermassive eSports, Hard Random and INTZ e-Sports. HR was the first to strike, taking out fellow Worlds IWC team INTZ e-Sports, but they could not get past SuperMassive and lost in an unconvincing fashion 3-1 to just miss out on the holy grail of the split.
They were forced to head home defeated, but not forgotten.
Summer Split 2016 and Summer Playoffs
Birth of the Tiger
On May 23 2016, a few days before the official start of the LCL summer split, Albus NoX Luna would be born from Hard Random's Legacy. And if HR were a force to be reckoned with, their was a true tiger-like roar in the LCL with this team.
Where HR would impress in their summer split, Albus were to go one step further. HR only lost a single game in the best-of-one matches to the team that would finish fourth, Natus Vincere CIS. They would nearly become the first team in the LCL's recent history to go undefeated, a feat not even possible in most leagues around the world, and looked to carry on their impressive form into the summer playoffs.
Tornado Rox would be the first team to know the tiger's bite in the first round of playoffs, as Albus stomping their way into finals 3-0. If they felt the finals would be a textbook win, however, Vega Squadron were not going to let them go on that easily. Vega would take the first game, cornering the tiger and proceeding to continue the carnage all the way into the second game to leave Albus tilting on the exit after such impressive form. However, ANX pounced and fought and made their dominance known by taking the next three proceeding games to take the series 3-2 and reach the International Wildcard qualifiers.
The International Wildcard Qualifiers
Go big or go home
As any other team of the eight regions attending qualifiers, this was the moment you fought for. ANX were looking to secure their face and get their newly formed organisation into Worlds at the first ask, but they had a mountain to climb. ANX were lucky to survive, finishing fourth in the table having lost to both INTZ e-Sports and Dark Passage. They were, however, the only team in the entire tournament to take down Lyon Gaming, who finished first in the group stage.
ANX, finding their stride, would see them put up against Lyon Gaming of LatAM North. ANX were the only team to be able to find a way past Lyon, so would the tiger strike again?
Lyon Gaming would be the first to strike, however, ANX would strike right back to take the series 1-1. It would be a grueling set of five matches that would leave everything to the final game. However, with Lyon faltering at the final hurdle and an impressive ANX side showing up, the tiger would be able to dethrone the lion and take that all important place into Worlds 2016.
And that, ladies and gentlemen, is Albus NoX Luna's "Road to Worlds!"
As we head into Worlds 2016 in North America, we ask you guys which team you are supporting in the competition? How far do you think they can go? Let us know on twitter @GAMURScom.