Crude! Ugly! Terrible! A bunch of rabid dogs! The crowd could think and say whatever they wanted about High School 13’s performance, but it didn’t change the facts. It was effective. They were winning the game, and convincingly so. Their team composition that looked risky in Champion Select due to their lack of a beefy frontline showcased its strengths and never really got in danger of collapsing! This was reminiscent of Season 2 and 3 in the Ionia server’s solo queue. Players were still finding out what the best team compositions were and tried the strangest concepts in the process. Most didn’t work. Players were flamed, abused, and told to uninstall the game! But every now and then, something special was discovered. Such as compositions that focused solely around comboing ultimate skills, which High School 13 leaned towards in this game. Or compositions where one Champion would split push a different lane while the rest of his team fought back the five on the other team.
There were a lot of less popular team compositions in League of Legends. Sometimes, there’d be a patch where one of them rose to fame. So too the backdooring strategy. It all began after a European team made it work on the highest stage. Suddenly, every League player wanted to try their hand at it and show everyone how good they were. It was the days of Jax pushing down in top lane, never coming to help his team. Or Master Yi running around the map with the movement speed from Ghost and just being a nuisance. Shaco, the Demon Jester, throwing down boxes and spamming the laugh emote to piss his opponents off. To drive them mad!
Beyond all of that. There was something more that could decide team compositions. Pure skill. That was what happened in the North High versus High School 13 game. Lin Feng helped his team pull ahead. They were stronger. And from that moment on, nothing else mattered. They could do whatever they wanted, be however brave they felt like being, and there was nothing that North High could do to stop them. North High lost the game when they let the Twitch get fed. They just couldn’t get close enough to him to stop him. And his ultimate decimated their ranks. It was even fair to say that the game was lost before it even began. Because Lin Feng was on High School 13’s team.
Zeng Rui lost his interest in the game. He didn’t care for the rest of the game, or what would happen from High School 13. He’d been worried about Lin Feng. The stories told to him gave him every reason to! And Lin Feng really did surprise him. That Zyra was playing extremely well. But that was just it. The Zyra did all the playing. There were no other members on the team, not really. The Twitch was decent. But that was it. The others all relied completely on the Zyra to have any kind of impact on the game. Without the Zyra, they would’ve lost to an already weak team. Zeng Rui could only come to one conclusion. High School 13 might win this game, might qualify for the main tournament, but they weren’t contenders for the title. They just weren’t good enough as a team for that.
Zeng Rui snorted while looking at the players from High School 13. The Toplaner was a joke. A terrible player and an even worse team player. The same held true for the Midlaner. Both of them were gatekeepers in Diamond 5, at best. More likely, they were stuck somewhere in Platinum and blamed their teammates for their mediocre skills. Then there was the Jungler. Zeng Rui didn’t even feel like wasting his breath on that guy. A wreck of nerves with zero impact on the game. If that guy ever made it out of Gold, then that was completely on his teammates. He didn’t belong at the Shanghai 16 School Tournament. Except for in the bleachers to watch the game, far away from any keyboard or mouse. They’re only winning because of that Zyra and Twitch. Mostly the Zyra. She’s carrying. Not even very great either…
Zeng Rui didn’t just find fault in the individual skill of the players on High School 13’s team, but also in their team synergy. They were like a group in solo queue, with zero coordination starting from the moment they entered Champion Select. Their strategy going into the game was flawed, and quite honestly, terrible. The execution wasn’t much better, with the shot caller saying nothing but “Go in! Go in!” or “Fight fight fight!” These were the tactics of a team in Silver, full aggression with zero thought, and not of a team about to qualify for the Shanghai 16 School Tournament!
“Dumbfuck…” Zeng Rui muttered. His team had won the Shanghai 16 School Tournament last year. He knew what it took to lift that trophy. And High School 13 didn’t have it. He didn’t have to worry about this dark horse. They wouldn’t be competing for the title. Their individual members were subpar and their shotcaller didn’t make up for this either. A good shotcaller helped his team improve their teamwork and synergy. This Zyra did none of that.
In the last edition of the Shanghai 16 School Tournament, the Finals were Shanghai High School versus Shanghai International School. The deciding factor didn’t lie in a difference in the skill of the individual members, though it had to be noted that Shanghai High School had one additional Challenger. But comparing teams based on the average rank of their members was the mark of a fool. Shanghai High School won because of Zeng Rui’s meticulous research and precise commands during the game, and his teammates executing on them flawlessly. All his teammates could be at a lower rank. It wouldn’t have changed the outcome of the match. His research was what had changed the outcome.
Thinking back to last year and then the possibility of having to face High School 13 this year, Zeng Rui laughed. Ha. They? What a joke. High School 13 were like farmers moving to the big city. They were completely out of place! There was no challenge in beating them! Except. Zeng Rui looked at the ad-carry. She was playing fairly well. They’d have to watch out for her and shut her down early. Then there was that Support. Mr. Dumbfuck.
The Riven who had solo carried his team to a win versus Tonji Affiliated High. That was an achievement. Something to actually watch out for. And also the kind of tactic Zeng Rui detested the most. Teamwork! Strategy! Those were the most important in League of Legends! Not some guy showing off his skills on Riven in the top lane. But it didn’t matter how he felt about it. Lin Feng had shown he could solo carry a game. That was a skill Zeng Rui would have to watch out for. Prepare for. Something he couldn’t look down on. Let’s see what role he plays next game. Maybe I can learn something more from that…
However, Mr. Dumbfuck didn’t play the second game. He actually sat out. Lin Feng got up from his gaming chair after the first game and said to Wei Dong, “The next one is all you!” He patted his friend on the shoulder and added, “I’ve given us the head start, now go and finish it. Don’t let me down!”
Zeng Rui couldn’t believe what he was seeing. Is he stupid? Is he actually stupid? Did his mom drop him? Did he hit his head on the concrete? Lin Feng was the best player from High School 13. By a long shot! They only won the first game because of him! And now he was sitting out. He was leaving the second game to the others on his team. If that game started like the first. If the rest of his team didn’t step up their game. That would be a loss. High School 13 would be in danger of losing their spot in the main tournament! What in the world is he thinking… This makes absolutely no sense!
The first game against North High gave High School 13’s esports team all the confidence they needed. Ouyang especially made all the difference. There were no shakey plays from him. He went in for ganks full of confidence, and this confidence paid off. Everything he tried kept working. There even seemed to be a hint of something called team synergy blossoming in this game! This led to kills in the early game, and by the 10th minute, High School 13 had a lead of 6 to 3 kills. Five minutes later, this gap had increased to 10 to 5 kills.
Wei Dong was no Lin Feng. He didn’t act like he was either. He played to his own strengths and showed that if you put in the hard work, anything was possible. He’d transformed from the unconfident Support who hid behind his own outer tower to the confident Support who engaged for Tang Bingyao to capitalize on. They were becoming a phenomenal bot lane duo!
However, it wasn’t the bot lane synergy that was making the difference in this game. It was Yang Fan in mid lane. He played Twisted Fate, and unlike North High’s Midlaner last game, he did manage to push out the lane. He roamed bot and top and made plays all over the map, making full use of his ultimate–Destiny! His prediction of the future saw High School 13 go 2-0 and win this best of three series.
At 20 minutes, the game went from bad to worse for North High. Tang Bingyao hit Tristana’s power spike. Her damage soared and she had the range where it became impossible for the players from North High to jump on her. She became the killing machine North High couldn’t put a stop to.
Standing amongst the crowd, Shanghai High School’s Jungler said to Zeng Rui, “I guess that’s the game. Look at those guys from North High. They look like they’ve already given up.”
Zeng Rui nodded. He’d lost interest in the last game already. There was only the matter of Lin Feng. He wanted to research this player. But Lin Feng wasn’t playing, so there was no point in him staying here any longer. He turned around and walked away. “Trash facing Trash. Come on, let’s go.”
The game ended at 31 minutes. High School 13 won. The crowd wasn’t as big anymore. Most of them weren’t all that invested in this game. But that didn’t kill the excitement of the players from High School 13! They jumped up from their seats and started cheering and hugging each other! This was a dream come true! Something a lot of them never considered possible! Ouyang, Yang Fan, Ren Rou, and Chen Ze. They were half the team. The long time members of the esports club and the first to have given up. But now they were back. And they were back with a vengeance! High School 13 had officially qualified for the Shanghai 16 School Tournament!
Lin Feng struck his victory pose. The others saw it. They knew what was coming next. Lin Feng laughed and pumped his fist into the air. “Awesome! Next up is first plac–
“Dammit, Lin Feng! You need to stop saying this kind of stuff in front of so many people! It’s not funny! You’re not funny! You’re embarrassing all of us!” Ouyang complained after jumping on Lin Feng and covering his mouth again.
Yang Fan adjusted his glasses and smiled. “I don’t know, Ouyang. I think I’m with Lin Feng this time. We’re going to get first. I really believe it. We can do it!”
Sietse's Stream of Consciousness Rant
Sietse Thought: Shanks and Devs are obsessed with my love life and are forcing me to write this. This is not voluntary. I’m being held hostage! But I can’t say more about that, or they’ll get upset. So here goes. The end of the year is quickly approaching. The weather is getting worse, with rain most of these days. Today for a change, we could spot the sun between the clouds every now and then. And the rain that did fall was nothing more than a drizzle. Probably one of the last days this year to go to the beach. I live real close to the beach, so that’s always one of those places that’s fun to go to. Beautiful and all. I even went there with Shanks. That was also a fun day.
Now, back on the subject. So we’re going to the beach and there is this friggin protest going on. People waving a flag I’d never before seen in my life were everywhere. It had this weird bird (I think?) in the middle and then many other colours. They seemed very upset about something, but were chanting in a language I don’t speak. It felt kind of intimidating. We tried to push through them while also trying to keep our distance. Corona measures seem to only be taken seriously when it’s convenient. That’s maybe why cases are soaring and we’re going fast to a full lockdown. We’re already not allowed to buy alcohol after 8 PM! Can you believe that? No alcohol after 8 PM! Absolute insanity.
Anyway, we were talking about something else. The beach was nice. It was kind of cold and windy, but with the occasional appearance of the sun, we could survive. We were wearing coats and all dressed up in winter clothes, of course. That didn’t stop two absolute heroes to take off their clothes and run down the beach screaming their lungs out before jumping into the ocean. It was the craziest shit ever. We literally stopped walking and were just looking at them running towards the water. We figured they had to be messing around. But why take their clothes off then? But those guys actually went for it. They dove into the water. And they kept swimming for a bit. The water must’ve been freezing! But hey, whatever makes them happy, right?
Dammit. I’m losing focus again. You guys should really try harder to keep me on subject. Now I lost my train of thoughts. Where were we? Right. We were sitting down for a bite to eat. Outside of course. There are corona measures in place and eating inside was basically impossible. Now this was where the horror show started. Have you ever tried to enjoy some food near the beach? There are birds. A lot of them. Have you ever seen a hungry Seagull? Those animals are crazy monsters. Those guys don’t give one fuck. If they see something they want, they’ll come and get it. Got some nice food in your hands? They will swoop down and take it. And those animals are strong. No joke. They’ll take whatever you had your hands on a moment ago.
Oh, right. I should actually talk about the lovely girl who was with me on this date. She looked absolutely amazing! I should tell you about that! It was… wow. Actually. This is getting pretty long. Let’s talk about that another time. Next time, we’ll get into the details we didn’t get into today. There’s some real spicy bits. You guys will love it.