This game that Legend was playing against KG, it held far more significance than literally everyone realized. Literally everyone. Analysts, professionals players, shoutcasters, spectators, and even the most erudite of aquatic audiences who watched and argued on streams, all of them believed that Legend would win. Easily. It was a forgone conclusion, so much so that no one had even considered what would happen if they didn’t win. Everyone except for Phoenix. He knew, he’d been thinking about it for a while now. If Legend lost this game, then their last game against Flash suddenly became important again. Because if they lost to Flash, they would end up in a three-way tiebreaker with KG and Flash. All three of them would be at 4 wins and 2 losses. He didn’t want to see that happen. He had to win this game! But that was easier said than done. It was becoming harder and harder to do that with every passing second. He stared at his screen, indecisively considering the possibilities and his next move.
Phoenix hit the Tab key and looked at the score. The Riven had picked up a triple kill and sat at 6/0/0. She was fed. She’d snowballed. There was nothing they could realistically do to stop her, beyond stalling. Sitting in their base and hoping they could hold off long enough to mount a comeback in the super late game. But it didn’t stop there. That last teamfight, one where all of them got killed and KG had gotten an ace, that was where the Riven situation went from just plain bad to a nightmare. Uch… He sighed and rubbed his temples to soothe the pounding headache from this game.
Putting aside the Riven, there was also a fed Tristana. Tristana needed levels and items to become strong. But once she did, she was one of the best carries in the game. The last teamfight had brought her to that point. If that wasn’t enough to deal with, KG also had a Xerath, a mage champion with absurdly long range. Legend’s champions could hide all the way in their fountain and Xerath could still snipe them down with magic from outside their base! And it wasn’t like Legend could dash in and kill KG. The only immobile threat was the Xerath, and he was the weakest of the three carries! Not to mention that Rek’Sai and Thresh. All of the champions KG had picked, their team composition, were ones who scaled hard. The longer the game went on, the more difficult it would get to take them down.
No matter how Phoenix looked at it, his team was losing and he couldn’t think of a single strategy to turn this game around. He shook his head, once, then looked down at his hands. This game was finished. His team had lost, he knew it but he just didn’t want to admit it. There’s gotta be something we can do! But there wasn’t. The only way Legend could win was if KG miraculously decided to surrender for some unknowable reason. Anything short of that, the game would end in a victory for KG. KG had beaten them.
Phoenix bit on his lips and focused back on the game. He wouldn’t give up, not until Legend’s Nexus exploded! He would fight and do everything he could to turn this game around. Not everything was lost! They were still playing the game! Anything could happen! Maybe KG would screw up like they’d done only a week ago! That would see Legend pull out an easy victory. He didn’t care how small the chance of that was, just that there was a chance. And as long as there was a chance, he would fight. He would give it everything he had and play to win!
On Summoner’s Rift, Legend held on for dear life. They wouldn’t give up, even after losing the big teamfight at 15 minutes. Their towers fell and they lost control over the map and the pace of the game, but they were holding on. They stopped giving away kills and played completely on the defensive. All they had to do was drag this game out. Get to the super late game where every Champion hit the maximum level of 18 and the 6 items their inventories could hold. But they couldn’t. KG’s advantage was too big. God Roundy split pushed on his Riven and took down the inhibitor in top lane at 31 minutes. Their base was broken open. The game was lost. Phoenix knew it. All of Legend knew it. In their desperation, they went for one more teamfight. Dragon had just spawned, so they rushed over the map, through an ocean of KG’s wards, to fight for this objective and try to win something.
KG saw Legend running towards the Dragon pit. One final attempt of desperation. They wouldn’t let it happen! This game was theirs, and this Dragon would also be theirs! They rushed towards the Dragon pit and gathered in the river brush right above the alcove. Legend had it warded. KG knew this, but didn’t care. Legend didn’t seem to care either as they tried to take the Dragon down, standing practically on top of each other.
Tian Tian was the first to move. He dashed forward–Valor!–and then flashed. His Riven reappeared in the middle of Legend’s team. She raised her sword up in the air and let out a shout, a green shockwave erupting out around her–Ki Burst! She landed a perfect five man stun. A green energy wrapped around her sword and she started lashing out with a series of strikes–Broken Wings!
The Rek’Sai followed right after the Riven. She flashed into Legend’s team and Unburrowed, knocking all five Champions airborne. Another second Legend couldn’t react. And another second the damage dealers on KG could attack! Tristana put her bomb down on the Kalista–Explosive Charge!–while the Xerath activated his ultimate–Rite of the Arcane! This ultimate skill made Xerath immobile in return for several powerful electrical charges. The area of effect was just large enough to wrap around all five members from Legend. Their health bars disintegrated! Then there was the Riven again, with the second part of her ultimate–Wind Slash!
There was too much damage on the side of KG. Legend’s Yasuo, Morgana and Kalista died before they could even move. And the Fiora and Sejuani died right after, while they were trying to escape. KG didn’t turn to take the Dragon. There was no need. Super minions were making their way through top lane and were about to smash into Legend’s base. Following God Roundy’s Riven, the other four from KG walked through mid lane and into Legend’s base, then took down the two Nexus turrets and finally the Nexus. They won. KG beat Legend!
Phoenix looked at the red banner on his screen. Defeat. The Emperor of Europe had lost to the third seed from the LPL. Damn! He banged his fist on the table, letting his frustration out. I shouldn’t have… Dammit! I shouldn’t have lost focus like that! He believed that in their group, only Flash could put up any resistance against Legend. And even then, that was only out of respect for Chris who was one of the Seven Kings. Demon was a great Toplaner, and not any worse than Chris in his eyes. I should’ve done more. He’d taken the group stage for granted and had put his focus on the three Korean teams who he considered to be their only real opponents at this edition of Worlds. And because of that mistake. His mistake. They now had to beat Flash or end up in a tiebreaker. Whatever happened, they couldn’t lose this next game.
Demon tapped Phoenix on the shoulder. “Hey, dude. Come. We gotta go congratulate them.”
Phoenix looked up at his Toplaner and smiled, “Right. Let’s go.” He got up from his gaming chair and walked over towards the players from KG. Tian Tian stood at the far end. KG’s Toplaner. Phoenix was caught completely off guard by him. He’d outclassed Demon, something Phoenix never even considered possible. And then he outclassed Legend. His Riven was so good that Phoenix would even place him on the same level as the best Toplaner in the world! Heh. He shook his head and followed after his teammates to congratulate KG, all the while thinking of God Roundy.
This game reminds me of back then. Phoenix smiled towards God Roundy and made a small courtesy bow. “Well played, Roundy.” He thought back to Season 1 Worlds. That was when he’d first played against Roundy. And lost. Just that the reason he lost back then was different from now. In that game, it wasn’t Roundy who’d carried his team, but their Midlaner who had. That guy was something else. The thought alone of him sent shivers down Phoenix’s spine. A 15 year old who had shown him every corner of the Rift. Such a pity that that guy left. I would’ve loved to play against him again…
Phoenix started playing League of Legends in Season 1. He was already one of the best players in the game back then. But he was never number one. There were two other Midlaners who were simply better. One was a 15 year old Chinese talent and the other an 18 year old Korean talent. Phoenix grinned and shook his head as he thought back to Season 1 Worlds. The Finals that year was something special. A clash between the two best players the game had ever seen. Rake and Maple. It looked like Maple would take the win for the longest time, but it was Rake who made the winning play in the end. And then Maple disappeared. He just up and left. Such a shame… Phoenix sighed, deep and loud. I wonder what’s happened to that kid. It’d be great to see him compete again.
The Wembley Arena was quiet. A stunned silence. The European crowd couldn’t believe what they’d just seen. Their team, the one they hoped to see take home the trophy, had lost to KG. A team without even a King. The silence persisted as even the Chinese fans didn’t know what to do. They’d hoped and cheered for KG before the game started. They were screaming until their lungs gave out when God Roundy made his big play to Ace Legend. But winning a teamfight and beating Legend were two different things. The latter was something they never even considered possible. Finally, someone started clapping. It set off a wave of applause. Everyone, European and Chinese fans alike, got up to their feet and started clapping. Only Emperor teams beat other Emperor teams. Until now. For the first time in this year’s Worlds, a regular team beat an Emperor team. KG had done the impossible. They’d beaten Legend!
The professional players watching the games in the VIP viewing area were no exception. They were all clapping for KG. Moon struck his hands together, like everyone else. But his mind wasn’t on the stage. He looked over at the legend a few seats over. The one that had arrived at the start of the game, calm and relaxed. That man was now standing and clapping, still smiling. He’d never lost that smile throughout the game. Is he why Roundy is playing so good today? That could make sense… Right? He wasn’t sure. It felt like too much of a coincidence. But why would he come for Roundy? He had questions, but didn’t want to walk up to that man and ask them. Whatever. He shook his head and looked back at the stage where KG was enjoying the applause.
It finally dawned on the few Chinese people in the crowd what’d just happened. KG had won over an Emperor team! They started laughing, uncontrollably so, and clapped so hard that their hands started going numb. It woke them up a little. Enough to open their mouths and start chanting the name of their new favourite team, “KG! KG! KG!” The few broke the dam. Others started joining in and soon the entire arena was shouting, “KG! KG! KG!”
The people watching the various broadcasts of Worlds were in as much shock as those at the Wembley Arena. They needed a moment to settle their emotions and then flooded the chats.
「ITS THE GOOODDDDDDD 6666666」
「GOD ROUNDY >>> KG >>>>>>>>>>> LEGEND」
「omg dis for real? cant be right? someone wake me up before you go go」
「GOD ROUNDY HARD CARRY KKGGGGGGGGG!!!!!!!!!1!!」
No words could describe how the KG fans felt. Only a week ago, they’d given up all hope. They’d even taken it upon themselves to go to online forums and flame their team’s players. The five who’d destroyed all their hopes and dreams! They were furious. Full of rage and disappointment. Though mostly disappointment. They wanted to see their team do well and to see them screw up so badly felt like a low blow. Yet now, on the verge of being knocked out, they turned it all around. That rage and disappointment warped into such extreme joy that the fans didn’t know what to do with it. Jumping up and down their seats. Hugging their neighbours. Kissing the girl they had a crush on. Everything they would otherwise never do. The LPL wasn’t done for! There was still hope for them! This edition of Worlds wasn’t over! They could still win it all! The trophy could be theirs!
On the caster desk, Qinghe covered his mouth with his hands and pulled down. He couldn’t believe what’d just happened, but he’d been there shoutcasting it all. He watched it happen live with his own two eyes. “Wow…” He turned to the camera and shook his head. “Wow. I don’t know what to say. Just, wow. That was. Wow. KG deserves all the applause. That was something else. Wow.” He started clapping again.
Stone nodded and clapped. He smiled and didn’t know quite what to do. “Ahh…” He looked at Lolo and then back at Qinghe. “What do I say about that? That was just so, so good. God Roundy really lived up to his name. Can you imagine the pressure he was under? Like, after last week? I don’t know how he did that. He actually carried both games! Damn!”
The MVP during the group stage of Worlds so far was undoubtedly Tian Tian. His Riven and Hecarim alone were more than enough to nominate him for that award. He carried his team on his shoulders and made it possible for them to win what was supposed to be an impossible-to-win game!
The cameras had already panned over to the winning team. Every display in the arena, along with millions of phones, laptops, tablets, and monitors around the globe showed one scene. One moment that captured all of the glory and camaraderie and everything that League of Legends and esports represented. The players from KG jumping out of their seats and clasping each other in an enormous bear-like group hug. With a beaming Tian Tian at the very center of it. He was all smiles and laughter and sheer infectious joy!
“Right, now that KG managed to grasp victory this game… I’m guessing Team Flash is pretty shocked right now, huh?” Lolo interjected.
Over in Team Flash’s box, standing out in stark contrast to the cheers and applause, was a dark storm cloud in the very middle of the room. Right over where the players from Team Flash were sitting. They had an interesting mixture of expressions on their faces. From shock to disgust to fear to disbelief. But schadenfreude in its purest form, that could be found by looking at Chris’ face. He looked like he’d accidentally eaten the vomit that came from one dog after it had lapped up diarrhea from another dog. His dreams, and all of Team Flash’s dreams, of making it out of the group stage had ironically disappeared in a flash.