The Rise and Fall of Luminosity Gaming in Black Ops 4

Coming off a top 6 finish in WWII, Luminosity Gaming was expected to be one of the top contenders for the CWL Championship in Black Ops 4. A strong performance at CWL Las Vegas with a 4th place finish earned them an automatic qualification for the CWL Pro League.

LG’s underwhelming performance in the first stage of the CWL Pro League – failing to win a game until midway through Week 2 – left many fans and critics asking questions. What happened after Vegas? How can a team with names such as Formal and Gunless fail to succeed? After a 3-2 loss to GenG on the first day of Week 2, however, LG caught fire, winning their next three games and entering CWL Fort Worth in great form.

CWL Fort Worth proved to be the peak of LG’s Black Ops 4 campaign. After going 2-1 in pool play, losing only to Splyce, whom LG met again in the Grand Finals, LG entered bracket play with a first round winners’ bracket matchup against GenG. Enter Classic and the Rampart.

Prior to the match between LG and GenG in the first round of CWL FW, players had been hesitant to use the Rampart, fearing that it was simply too slow for professional gameplay. Classic and LG, on the other hand, took the leap that helped them to win the tournament. LG opened with their original lineup – Classic using the Maddox – and dropped the opening Hardpoint on Frequency.

Map 2, a Search and Destroy on Gridlock, seemed heavily weighed against LG. Entering the map, GenG was 12-1 in SnD and boasted a 4-0 record on the map and mode. Additionally, in their 3-2 matchup in the Pro League, GenG won a Gridlock SnD 6 to 3 over LG. However, the introduction of the Rampart as well as stellar performances from Formal and Gunless allowed LG to take down the SnD kings on one of their best maps.

It seemed as if GenG had no answer for Classic’s Rampart and Gunless, who boasted a 1.30 aKD in the tournament, a theme that would be reproduced by every team that faced LG for the rest of the tournament. GenG’s strategy for muting Classic was similar to the strategy that teams often use to combat an opponent’s use of a sniper – use the same loadout as your opponent. Majormaniak used the Rampart (and rather valiantly, at that) but Classic proved to be the better player with the gun throughout the series.

The rest of the tournament seemed to be routine for LG. After defeating GenG 3-2 in the opening round of bracket play, LG went on to sweep E6 and earn 3-1 wins over Splyce in both the winners’ bracket finals and the grand finals. Gunless’ exceptional performance earned him tournament MVP as LG took home the trophy, looking like one of the most dangerous teams in Black Ops 4 entering the first cross-division section of the Pro League.

After a convincing tournament victory at CWL FW, many expected LG’s success to carry over into the Pro League. However, LG rode their tournament win into a 2-2 Pro League week 5. Although LG didn’t achieve the best record in the fifth week of PL, they were able to defeat eUnited while also falling to Envy and Heretics. Ultimately, week 5 proved that LG was beatable, but that they also had the ability to beat any team that they faced when playing well.

At this point, many considered LG to be one of the best teams in Black Ops 4. Many expected LG to overcome a mediocre cross-division performance in the PL to make a run at CWL London. However, the London tournament proved to be the beginning of the end for the team. In pool play at CWL London, LG went 0-3 in a rather difficult group, with a surprising loss to Denial and a 25% map count win percentage. LG began bracket play in the losers’ bracket, with a first round matchup against the CWL debutante Elevate.

After narrowly defeating the newly-formed Elevate, 3-2, LG was paired with FaZe Clan, the second of the two new teams in CWL and a widely-followed dark horse in the tournament, in the second round of the losers’ bracket. A very controversial Control victory in which Slacked, in a 1v2 situation, won the sudden death round with a Grav Slam double kill which arguably occurred after the final point had been captured by FaZe, helped LG to finally put down the dark horse that had been running rampant throughout the tournament.

LG went on to fall to Envy, 3-2, in the third round of the losers’ bracket, earning a very unconvincing top 8 performance in the tournament. LG managed to achieve only a 2-4 record at CWL London and, despite earning a top 8 finish, the team was widely criticized for performing poorly throughout the tournament.

Many blamed the Gentlemen’s Agreement (GA) of the Rampart for LG’s performance, claiming that Classic no longer had a viable role on the team without the Rampart due to his slower style of play. Others criticized the team itself, citing an uneven distribution of performances across the team in the tournament. Gunless and Formal were the only two members of LG to maintain an aKD over 1.0 at CWL London, with John, Classic, and Slacked all having below that mark. For John, the low aKD is understandable, however, given the fact that he plays the role of entry sub on the team, causing him to rack up deaths while having to find kills in very difficult situations. For Classic and Slacked, the poor performances were beginning to be used for an argument for roster changes.

Weeks 7 and 8 of the PL saw LG go 0-7, cementing the downfall of LG from Fort Worth and placing them last in Division A with the second-worst record in the entirety of the Pro League. As many called for a roster change, Luminosity answered with the surprising benching of Gunless in Week 8 as he was replaced by coach and substitute Ricky. Gunless’ poor attitude and lack of effort was criticized for toxifying the chemistry of the team, causing the extremely poor form that LG is currently exhibiting.

What’s next for LG? Is a roster change in order? Classic, John, Slacked, and Gunless are all contenders for potential roster changes, with LG needing a revival from their worst form in Black Ops 4.