The top 16 teams from around the World gathered to compete for the first ever $1,000,000 major hosted in North America. Amongst them, Luminosity Gaming, a team from Brazil who came to North America thirsty for victory.
Group stages at the MLG Arena proved to be no issue for Luminosity as they were the first team to advanced out of Group A with a 16-12 victory over Mouseports and a convincing 16-5 win over NiP. Luminosity was hoping that this time, their group stage performance would be nothing more than a preface to their Championship story.
Everything from the stage, the crowd, and the incredible production by MLG at the Nationwide Arena amplified the desire to become World Champions. Virtus Pro was Luminosity’s first challenge in the top 8 and Virtus came to win. After being up 15-11 Luminosity couldn’t close out the map and Virtus brought it into overtime, and subsequently won the Cache 17-19 off a stellar performance by Byali. Luminosity wasn’t to be shaken, they came firing back taking Cobblestone 16-10 and advancing to the semi-finals with a win on Overpass.
The stage was set for an intense battle between Liquid and Luminosity, but to add to the pressure for Luminosity, the crowd was cheering for home crowd favorite, Liquid. From glass shattering cheers to ground shaking USA chants, Luminosity wasn’t just facing the skilled duo of Hiko and s1mple, but the entire Nationwide Arena. Liquid excelled from the start, pushing themselves to match point on Mirage with the score of 15-9. With Liquid only dropping one round on their T side at this point in the game, Luminosity didn’t seem to have the confidence to prevail against the NA semi-finalist’s onslaught, but what happened next was nothing short of miraculous. Coldzera stops a B take from Liquid with an awp shot, into a jumping no scope collateral, into another no scope on a terrorist dropping out of apartments, winning the round and shifting the momentum in favor of Luminosity. The crowd fell silent and Luminosity struck back, not dropping another round on their CT side. They took the map into overtime and finished off Liquid, ending map one in favor of the Brazillian’s 19-15. Next map Liquid once again got off to a hot start and all of Luminosity’s previous momentum was lost. They once again found themselves facing match point having only 6 rounds of their own. It takes a lot to be a championship team, aim, knowledge, and trust in one another to name a few. Yet, something that isn’t mentioned too often is resilience and Luminosity is arguably the most resilient team in the World, next to fnatic. Luminosity did the impossible in the semi-finals, being down 6-15 they grouped together and rallied, winning 9 rounds in a row to get into overtime and eventually taking the second map 16-19. Luminosity had done it, they had made it to the Grand Finals with a series score of 2-0.
Envyus, Virtus Pro, NiP and Fnatic, are all teams that have the honor to call themselves Major Champions. That prestigious group was about to induct a new member, the winner of Navi vs Luminosity. A familiar rival, Navi is no stranger to high stakes competition. They are a top team in the World consistently, and their hunger for a Major title has been growing exponentially. Luminosity was about to face their biggest challenge yet. They took the stage one last time, and with them rose hundreds if not thousands of Luminosity fans fighting alongside them. The match begins, the audience roars and with the help of Flamie, Navi soar to an early lead and an 11-4 half on Mirage. If there is anything we learned from Luminosity’s matches this tournament it’s to never count them out. More clutches, bomb defuses and intense rounds were had in the battle of these two finalists, yet Luminosity was able to claw their way back into Map 1. In round 30, the final round of regulation, Luminosity was down by only 1 point, the score being 14-15. Fer comes up huge with a kill onto Guardian, he jukes out Zeus in his own smoke thus allowing Coldzera to get the kill, leaving Luminosity in a 4v2 situation. The bomb gets defused, bringing the game into overtime. After an intense battle and Coldzera piercing through Navi’s team, Luminosity take Mirage and are just 1 map away from being World Champions.
Fer, FNX, Fallen, Taco, and Coldzera, the five members that make up Luminosity, gave up their lives in Brazil in an attempt to etch their names in esports history. After countless hours, days, weeks, months they were finally 1 map away from achieving that dream. Next up, Overpass, a map that Navi and Luminosity have a long history of intense battles on, and Luminosity knew it was their time. Fer cut through Navi with his shotgun/submachine gun weapon choices, Taco and his auto sniper chipped away at Navi inching Luminosity closer to victory round after round, Coldzera and his smart positioning led him to an early 12 kills with 0 deaths, FNX with his deadly aim pushed the half to end 13-2 in favor of Luminosity and finally, Fallen’s dedication, resilience and of course his awp etched the final letters into the history books that now read “Luminosity, MLG Columbus 2016 Champions”
The team erupted from their seats, met by owner, Steve Maida and family on stage in celebration, forming a huddle that looked all too familiar, resembling the same huddle they had before every match. Only this time they weren’t discussing tactics, or the opposing team but how they had just made history here in Ohio, and how from now on they will be known as Major World Champions.
Luminosity Gaming founder, Steve Maida, had this to say:
"When I signed this team in the middle of last year, I did so purely to help them and offer my support after hearing about their less then ideal conditions. After a short while I could see the passion, determination and unprecedented work ethic these young men had for their craft. My desire to be the best is an attritbute they passionately shared. I never in my wildest dreams thought in that moment that they would be World Champions several months later. I'm so incredibly proud of them, and happy for them. It's an incredible thing to witness everything they've endured day in and day out, the lack of recognition, the racist comments, the dissapointment of coming so close but yet so far, roster changes that involved removing life long friends, etc and to see them triumph here, is just amazing! The crazy part is, this is just the begining for them! "
The time to soak in victory will be short, as the teams’ next challenge is around the corner at Dreamhack Malmo, Sweden from April 12-17. With fnatic and NAVI unfortunately weakened by injuries, World Champions - Luminosity must be the favorite to be victorious.
The final standings at the MLG Major Columbus:
1. Luminosity - $500,000 2. Natus Vincere - $150,000 3-4. Liquid - $70,000 3-4. Astralis - $70,000 5-8. Virtus.pro - $35,000 5-8. CLG - $35,000 5-8. fnatic - $35,000 5-8. NiP - $35,000 9-12. G2 - $8,750 9-12. Gambit - $8,750 9-12. FaZe - $8,750 9-12. mousesports - $8,750 13-16. Cloud9 - $8,750 13-16. EnVyUs - $8,750 13-16. Splyce - $8,750 13-16. FlipSid3 - $8,750