“You’re too picky,” Lin Feng grumbled. He leaned back in his chair and looked at Su Xue sitting next to him. It wasn’t his fault these games were easy. Plus, just because they were easy, that didn’t mean there wasn’t anything worth recording in them. He’d made some great plays that she could definitely turn into a cool video. If only she could look past the full games and zoom in on the skill he showed.
“No, but if you’re winning so hard every game… the viewers are going to get bored!” Su Xue argued. There had to be tension! It couldn’t just be stomps! He had to fight a little for the win! Now that was exciting to watch. “It’s only fun to watch these videos if it can still go either way. And then you pull on the long end and bring home the win!” She paused and thought for a moment, browsing through her recordings. Then she looked at him and smiled. “I know! How about you let yourself get pressured in the early game. You can let yourself fall behind a little, or something, and then you make a big comeback in the late game! That’d be exciting and fun to watch!”
“Nope! Not gonna work!” Lin Feng refused, wildly shaking his head. “I’m too good! These guys can’t pressure me.”
“Aww, come on! You’re so good, I’m sure you can do it!” Su Xue pleaded. She looked at Lin Feng, putting on her best attempt at making puppy eyes. “Just one game? Please! Games with an underdog making a last second comeback are always more exciting to watch! Will you do it for me? Please! Pretty please?”
“Ahh…” Lin Feng looked at Su Xue and scratched his hair. “I don’t know…”
There was hesitation in his voice. It was all Su Xue heard. An opening. A way in. She jumped on it and directly proposed, “How about this. As long as you do this teeny tiny thing for me, I’ll order two extra chicken cutlets for you later tonight!”
Food made Lin Feng move. His eyes lit up. They started shining. Almost radiating! He sat straight in his chair, leaned a little towards Su Xue, and countered, “Three! I’ll do it for three!”
“Two. Take it or leave it,” Su Xue shot him down. She had his attention. Two would be enough. She knew.
“Okay! Deal!” Lin Feng agreed. He still hadn’t had bargaining lessons from Tang Bingyao. He hadn’t even brought it up to her yet. But he wasn’t thinking about that at all. There was only one thing on his mind. The picture of two chicken cutlets. Juicy. Hot. Delicious.
“Hey, are you going to play, or what?” Su Xue asked.
Lin Feng blinked and looked up at Su Xue. Right. League. Then food. He looked at his League client and clicked through the menu to queue up for another ranked game. Hmm, if we want a comeback victory, I’ll probably have to feed a little. I don’t see any of these guys beating me. Hmm, let’s see.
There was a small town in Northeast China where there were more potholes than asphalt on the streets. The apartment buildings were old and in disrepair. Some sections had even broken down completely. In an apartment where the walls were dark with water damage, Old Huang paced back and forth. He was Smut Sentinel, a rising content creator most known for his commentary videos. But it didn’t matter how well he did, his fans always demanded more. More specifically, they wanted to see better gameplay.
Old Huang had invited Cup Noodles, a good friend of his, to help him out with this problem. However, the videos they’d recorded so far weren’t anything he could use. Either Cup Noodles lost. That one game. Or he stomped his lane and won the game. Zero suspense. It was all too easy for a Master player to win games in Gold and Platinum. But that was just it. Without suspense, there was nothing drawing the viewers to the edge of their seats. He needed something exciting! Something exhilarating! Something that had his fans beg him for more of the same!
The deadline for his next video was fast approaching. Old Huang browsed through all the recorded gameplay. Useless. It’s all useless. He bit his lips, then banged his fist on his desk and shouted into voice chat, “Dammit! Noodles, why can’t you make these games a little more exciting! These stomps are boring. Make them entertaining! If you can’t even do that, then what are you good for?”
“Screw you too!” Cup Noodles shouted, equally frustrated but for all different reasons. He was trying to help his friend, but there wasn’t a single thank you. Only complaints. “What do you want from me? Am I not doing what you asked me to do? Look. Look at this match history! I’ve been carrying in Gold and Platinum games! That’s what you asked for! It’s not my fault you had to put the bar so goddamn high for your stupid videos!”
Old Huang puffed out some smoke and shook his head. Then he took another puff of his cigarette before saying, “Listen. I get that you’re stomping Golds and Plats. That’s normal, right? But no one cares about that. Talk to me again when you can stomp in Diamond. That, or when you can make these stomps in Gold and Plat look more exciting. More fun to watch. Maybe throw a little in the early game and make an epic comeback in the ultra late game. Or do something. Anything to make these games fun to watch. Right now, they’re just boring. I’m falling asleep for fucks sake!”
“I get that! Fuck!” Cup Noodles cursed. He took a few deep breaths, forcing his annoyance down. “But how am I supposed to do that? I’m an ad-carry… If I fall behind, that just means the other ad-carry is going to snowball. Suddenly, we’re reliant on the other lanes, and odds are they’re losing too. Then what? There’s nothing for me to turn around then. It’ll be a loss. I’m no fucking wizard!”
“I don’t care! Just figure it out!” Old Huang shouted, pisssed off.
“Really? Is that how you’re going to be? You know what you’re asking for, right? This is such a specific set up. Like. We have to find a stronger team to play against. But not so much stronger that we lose everywhere. Then we need a mid and top on our team that can help. Then we need them to be in on it. Make sure they don’t go Legendary before the game is 10 minutes in. There are too many fucking variables for it to work,” Cup Noodles ranted. He shook his head, frustrated. Whatever. Let’s see what happens… He entered the queue for another ranked game.
It didn’t take long for the queue to pop. Cup Noodles entered Champion Select. He looked in chat, where it showed the other players on his team who’d joined the game. Four names. One jumped out. He leaned forward a little, double checking. “Uh, hey,” he said. He waited for a reply and then continued, “Look. That guy in third pick. Isn’t that…”
Old Huang could see Cup Noodle’s client through his recording software. He looked at the Champion Select. At the player in third pick. “CN•Maple…” Then it hit. He coughed, violently, the smoke he’d just inhaled burning in his throat. “Fuck! Him again?!”
Lin Feng was in Champion Select. They were going through the ban phase, but he didn’t care much for that. He was scrolling through the list of Champions. Su Xue had promised him two chicken cutlets, so he’d give her what she wanted. But what Champion is good to lose early with… There weren’t many Champions that fit his plan. It had to be one that was weak in the early game but became a monster in the late game. Of the hundreds of Champions, only a few fit this criteria. “Hmm, what to pick. What to pick.” Lin Feng rubbed his chin, scrolling up and down the list of Champions. Then he saw one. “Oh, I know!” He moved his mouse over the portrait and selected the Champion. It was a Toplaner. A jackal-headed man with a large staff that could whack any Champion back to the fountain in the late game! Nasus, the Curator of the Sands!
“Really? Top Nasus…” Su Xue mumbled a little louder than she intended to.
Lin Feng looked over at her and asked, “Isn’t that what you wanted? A late game comeback, right?” He started grinning, stupidly so, and continued, “Nasus is perfect for that! All I have to do is farm up stacks on his Siphoning Strike! Whack minions all game long and let the other team get ahead elsewhere on the map! It doesn’t matter what happens in the game. All I have to do is farm up enough stacks that I can whack them all back to the fountain! It’s an easy 1vs5 in the late game!”
Confident his plan was going to work, Lin Feng sat back in his chair and took a deep breath. This is going to be fun. Let’s see what the rest of the team is going to— eh? He squinted his eyes and looked at the Summoner Name of one of his teammates. “Paomian? Cup Noodles? Where have I heard this name before…”
While Lin Feng was surprised to find a name he recognized on the Korea server, Old Huang and Cup Noodles were also surprised. Just that they were surprised about something completely different. They knew CN•Maple as a Midlaner. One who’d crushed them. So they weren’t expecting to see him pick top lane. Nor were they expecting a Champion like Nasus. This jackal-headed master of the cane wasn’t the flavour of the month.
Cup Noodles suddenly started laughing. He slapped his desk with his palm and said, “Haha! This is perfect! Nasus is the perfect pick! It doesn’t matter how far we fall behind, he can make the comeback happen! Plus, that Maple guy is the real deal. He has the skill to make a comeback happen! This might really work! Haha!”
“Oh, damn! You’re right! This might really work!” Old Huang exclaimed. He puffed a few smoke circles, looking at the screen, and then added, “Yo, Cup. This isn’t a free pass to play like shit. Like, the optics of it are great. But you need to do the carrying. We can’t have this Nasus take all the spotlight. You need to be the hero in this game.”
“Chill! Chill! I’ll be fine,” Cup Noodles assured. “Remember, this is just Plat. I’ll hold my lane, easy! Besides, that Maple guy is on our team this time. We’ve got this!”
Blue versus Red
Top lane: Nasus versus Riven
Jungle: Elise versus Jarvan IV
Mid lane: Xerath versus Yasuo
AD-carry: Tristana versus Vayne
Support: Nami versus Thresh
《Welcome to Summoner’s Rift!》
“Woohoo! Let’s go! Let’s do this! Chicken cutlets!” Lin Feng exclaimed, drooling as the last two words left his mouth. He bought his starting items at the fountain shop and then moved towards the top lane. Then, a message appeared in all chat.
Zeal (Vayne):「CN•Maple? 이거 봐… 짱깨 한명 나왔보네」
“Huh? What do you think he’s saying?” Lin Feng asked Su Xue. “Hmm…” He typed a quick response.
CN•Maple (Nasus):「? ? ?」
Zeal (Vayne):「Nasus. Chinese?」
Zeal (Vayne):「좆같은 중국새끼들, KG는 쓰레기야」
Lin Feng shook his head and rolled his eyes. “What does this guy think? That I magically learned Korean in the last 30 seconds? Or is he expecting me to search what it means…” But he didn’t have to search for it. The Vayne followed up with an English message. It was short and easy to understand.
Zeal(Vayne):「fuck all chinese!!!」