Wildcard Magic: Albux Nox Luna Qualify for Worlds 2016 Quarterfinals

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Albux Nox Luna, the International Wild Card team from the CIS region, shook the LoLeSports world when it became the very first wildcard team to make it to the quarterfinals in the history of Worlds. The underdog team’s level of performance and confidence impressed many, even upsetting the tournament favorite ROX Tigers. The team has definitely made a statement, especially after an inspiring speech from the team’s support Likkrit, saying “being an underdog doesn’t mean being a loser.”

 

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The wildcard team was placed in Group A with the ROX Tigers (#1 seed Korea), CounterLogic Gaming (#2 seed NA), and G2 eSports (#1 seed EU). ROX Tigers are the favorites of the tournament and are expected to win Worlds this year. Analysts thought G2 eSports would most likely place 2nd in the group, with a possible upset from CLG… until ANX happened. What happened?

Albux Nox Luna showed through their performance in the group stage that they can keep up, giving teams like the ROX Tigers and CLG a run for their money. Though the other 3 teams had their own issues and inconsistencies, we cannot discredit ANX for their impressive micro and macroplay.

Their drafting phase was fairly standard and they played meta compositions, though they would interestingly prioritize Lucian and take him in the first or second rotation in 4 out of 7 games. The team would draw out bans like Brand and Anivia, being very comfortable and strong picks for Likkrit and Kira respectively.

In terms of playstyle, jungler PVPStejos often got things started and provided very strong lane pressure for the team, helping to secure first blood in 6 out of their 7 games.

The ANX laners would hold up well even against players like Smeb, Pray and Gorilla, showing us their mechanics are on par with most regions. Their vision would also impress especially in their first game against CLG, getting picks on unsuspecting players.

Sneaky objectives are probably the most exciting trademark of the team. They are able to take Baron and Elder Drake under team’s noses and these would catch the opponents offguard.

 

As with any team, ANX have their weaknesses. They have shown tendencies of over-aggression, taking fights they shouldn’t and not knowing when to back out.

In the 3 games that ANX lost, they were unable to secure significant early game leads. G2 eSports’ only victory was secured against ANX with late game powerhouses like Irelia and Ryze. If you can absorb the early game pressure PVPStejos provides and transition into a mid-late game power spike with your team composition, then ANX may have a difficult time securing a victory.

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Going into the quarterfinals, Albus Nox Luna will be facing H2k-gaming. This team is known to have dominant laning phases, and the jungle matchup between PVPStejos and Jankos the “First Blood King” will definitely be exciting. The wildcard team still leave certain questions unanswered. Can the team win games even when they fall behind? What if PVPStejos doesn’t get the lanes going? How wide is aMiracle’s champion pool? For now, all I do know is that ANX have proven to be a very impressive team overall, and H2k-gaming better not let their guard down. A new First Blood king might be in town.

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