Counter Logic Gaming has a history of performing unevenly at big League of Legends tournaments, and Worlds is no exception. Founded back in 2010, the veteran LoL team exited the 2015 World Championship before the knockout phase, finish 2-4 during the group stage. After falling to Albus Nox Luna in Sunday’s match, they now have the distinction of losing to a wildcard in three consecutive international tournaments.
Now tied with the Russians and ROX Tigers for first place in Group A, CLG will have a lot of work to do against stronger opponents like G2 Esports. As is often the case with a messy upset, much of the attention is on CLG’s sloppy play and inability to keep up with their arguably lesser opponents, but the glory should go to Albus Nox Luna’s rag-tag band of long-haired Eastern Europeans, who, despite only reforming from the ashes of Hard Random as late as last autumn, are now asserting themselves on the biggest stage League has.
One of the match’s biggest moments came when Albus Nox Luna caught CLG asleep at the wheel and were able to sneak a Baron kill in the 27th minute, giving them a bonus aura to push with and a gold lead they would maintain up through the end. From there, the Russians were able to push their advantage until a brutal team fight in the 40th minute gave them the momentum they needed to break CLG’s base and launch the second biggest upset at Worlds 2016 so far.
It was INTZ e-Sports who had the first in their epic clash with Chinese favourites, EDward Gaming. In the aftermath of both performances, its clear this could be a turning point in the traditional hierarchy of regions that gives little space or thought to teams comings from outside North America, Europe and East Asia. As shoutcaster Trevor “Quickshot” Henry noted immediately following the game:
I made a mistake, I should not have said wildcard region. With how well Brazil and the CIS have performed, they’re stepping up, they’re showing pound-for-pound they can go toe-to-toe with some of the best teams in the world. This was CIS beating North America, that’s what it boils down to.
Kirill “Likkrit” Malofeyev, the team’s support player, had nothing so grandiose to deliver, adding simply, “In Russia we just play the game…we just try to do our best and entertain you guys as much as possible.”
You can watch the full match below.