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Time is Running Out!

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VICTORY!

At 28 minutes, High School 13 breached Shanghai International’s base. They took down all three inhibitors and then started attacking the Nexus. Shanghai International did nothing to stop this. All five players on their team had tilted off the edge of sanity. They were off doing their own things, ignoring pings from their teammates, or recklessly jumping into 1vs5s. In fact, it looked very much like they wanted to lose this game. There was no one defending the base. A few stood at the fountain, waiting for the end, while Liu Zhengjie was farming minions down in bot lane.

The blue energy trapped in Shanghai International’s Nexus exploded outwards. It wrapped and turned around itself to form the victory emblem. This was the moment the fans at the venue had been waiting for. They were finally moving on to Game 3! This last game was over at 9 minutes after the second gank in bot lane. The next 20 minutes were a one-sided stomp by High School 13. And though that was fun to watch every now and then, the crowd was hoping to see something more during this match. High School 13’s students were the only exception. They were enjoying every second of this Semifinal. Their team, written off by analysts long ago, was on the verge of making it to the Finals! Better yet, they were about to knock out last year’s runners up and one of the favourites to win the whole tournament this year! High School 13 had never amounted to much. They were the school people easily forgot about. But that would all change today!

“GO GO GO! HIGH SCHOOL 13 FOR THE WIN!”
“WOOOOOOO THIRTEEN IS MY LUCKY NUMBER!”
“We’re gonna get the clean sweep, we’re gonna get the clean sweep!”
“STOMP THEM LIKE YOU STOMPED OUR HEARTS, TANG TANG!”
“Shanghai WHO? Shanghai WHO? Shanghai SUCK ME!”
“We are the Champions, my friends! And we’ll keep on fighting till the end!”

There were a decent number of students from High School 13 at the venue who weren’t League of Legends fans. Some of them didn’t even play the game. They enjoyed watching a game of football. Beer in both hands, jumping up and down to the beat of a song, singing until their voices gave out. They believed that that atmosphere was something special, unique to real sports. Today, they learned it wasn’t. The fast beating of their hearts as their team made another clutch play. The thrill when Tang Bingyao picked up her next kill. The pure bliss when their team soundly beat the tournament favourites. Even if some students didn’t understand League of Legends, they could understand what was going on. It was the universal language of sports. High School 13 was doing something really special, and they were here to witness it!

There was a short break between the second and third game of the series between High School 13 and Shanghai International. The players were given time to unwind from the last game and prepare for the next. Shanghai International’s players were in dire need of this moment of relaxation. They were down 2-0, a single game from being knocked out of the tournament. This was a situation they never expected to find themselves in. To make matters worse, they weren’t just losing, they were being toyed around with.

Yan Liang gnashed his teeth, looking around at his teammates, and said, “Dammit, guys! Come on! We have to get our shit together!” He pointed at the players from High School 13 and continued, “Are we really going to lose to those guys? Look at them! Look at that fucking idiot shouting at the crowd! They’re terrible players! We are so much better than them. All we have to do is focus. Focus and we win this easily!”

Liu Zhengjie looked at Yan Liang and raised his eyebrows. That’s rich coming from you… You fed that motherfucking idiot! But Yan Liang was still the team captain. So he calmed himself down and said, “You’re right. We can’t lose this! Now, their Midlaner is the issue here. He’s carried their team in both games. If we keep him down, we should win.”

The heat of the moment was behind them. Everything that happened during the game was forgiven. The players from Shanghai International were talking with each other again. The Support and Toplaner nodded in agreement. Focusing High School 13’s Midlaner did seem like the right call. They turned to look at their Jungler. This job would fall mostly on his shoulders. He was also nodding and said, “Don’t worry, guys. I’ll camp the ever living shit out of mid this game! I dare him to try and do anything!”

“It is time for Game 3 of High School 13 versus Shanghai International! High School 13 has already put one foot in the Finals! Let’s see if they can deal the killing blow to Shanghai International!”

Zeng Rui watched the two teams walk up the stage and sit down behind their computers. He raised an eyebrow, confused. It looked like High School 13 was making a change to their line up. Besides their coach, the guy with the glasses was also walking up on stage. Yang Fan. Platinum Midlaner. What are they thinking? Yan Liang is a Master Midlaner… Why would they do this? Uh? He expected Lin Feng to sit out this game, like he’d done in the earlier rounds. But Lin Feng sat down behind a computer, preparing to play. It was Liu Yue, High School 13’s Jungler, who made space for Yang Fan.

Westwind was hyping up the crowd for the third game, doing his thing, until he noticed Yang Fan sitting down and Liu Yue standing off to the side. He rubbed his eyes and looked again. Huh? He grabbed his sheet with information on High School 13 and said into the microphone, “It looks like High School 13 is going to change their winning strategy! They’re swapping out a player! It is, let me see… Ah, here! Liu Yue is sitting out next game! Replacing him is their Midlaner, Yang Fan!”

Silent Reed took the sheet from Westwind and read through it. She traced two lines in particular, frowning. Then she said, “High School 13 is replacing their Jungler with another Midlaner! I’m not sure what to think of this… Have they grown overconfident?”

The players from Shanghai International also didn’t know what to think of this substitution. Yan Liang and his teammates knew something fishy was going on. They raised their guards, vigilant. But no matter how they looked at it, it just didn’t make sense. There was no logical explanation why a Midlaner would replace a Jungler. But rather than worrying about the unknown, they focused on what they did know. They had to win this game to stay in the series. A reverse sweep wasn’t unheard of. That would have to start right now, though. They had to draft a strong team and force favourable lane match-ups.

Both teams had a clear plan going into Champion Select. The bans went through quickly, with both Annie and Draven banned again, followed by all 10 players locking in their Champion. Then they picked their runes, masteries, and Summoners Spells in the last couple of seconds before the game loaded up. When it did, the line-ups were revealed to everyone in the venue.

Game 3 of the Shanghai 16 School Tournament Semifinals:

High School 13 (Blue) versus Shanghai International (Red)
Top lane: Jarvan IV versus Fiora
Jungle: Olaf versus Rek’Sai
Mid lane: Lissandra versus Orianna
AD-carry: Jinx versus Tristana
Support: Thresh versus Morgana

There was a small upheaval during the Champion Select. This had to do with High School 13’s picks of Jarvan IV and Olaf. These two Champions could both play in the top lane and Jungle. So Shanghai International was forced to guess which Champion would go where. Westwind and Silent Reed went into great detail on this, intermittently focusing on the tense and frustrated expressions of Shanghai International’s players. But they completely misunderstood why Yan Liang and his team were upset.

Shanghai International’s team didn’t particularly care about the confusion surrounding the Jarvan IV and Olaf and who would go where. Their Toplaner was ready to face either. The thing that upset them was High School 13’s Midlaner. Their game plan was to make Lin Feng irrelevant. Yet now, Lin Feng had decided to play this game in the Jungle and not in mid lane! He forced them to trash their plans before they could even be put into action!

Zeng Rui wasn’t any happier than the players from Shanghai International. He was frowning, scratching his forehead in annoyance. After watching the last two games, he really wanted to see the thundering dumbass play another game in mid. I need to find out how deep his Champion’s pool is. But he wouldn’t get the chance, since Lin Feng had moved to the Jungle. Why does it feel like they’re doing this just to mess with me? Are they that confident about winning? This doesn’t make any sense. Where’s the logic in all of this? He looked up at the girl walking off the stage. Is this her—

An Xin walked down the stage, feeling as if a pair of eyes was trying to dig into her. She glanced over at the front row of the crowd and quickly noticed Zeng Rui staring at her. She’d done her homework, so she knew who he was. He looks confused. Guess it’s working. She smiled and winked at him, watching his eyes go round as he seemed to realize that Lin Feng switching to the Jungle really was in preparation for the Finals. Then she turned away from him and sat down next to Ren Rou.

Welcome to Summoner’s Rift!

The Champions spawned on the Rift. They bought the starter items from the fountain shop and moved out of their base. Lin Feng played in the Jungle this game. He liked to use cheesy tactics and was ready to pull one off. But the start of the game had something else in store. Shanghai International had gathered up to place a deep ward in High School 13’s bottom side Jungle. High School 13 had a similar idea in mind. They were gathering in a brush, ready to invade, when Shanghai International’s team just about walked into them. Lin Feng was the first to react. He pinged on the Red Champions and shouted over his team’s voice chat, “OH! Look! Them! Let’s fight! Wei Dong, ENGAGE! Kill them all!”

3
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Life is Sometimes Boring

Shanks Thought: I was talking to Sietse the other day about non-content. What’s non-content? Basically turning the most mundane aspects of daily life into content, or I suppose non-content. It sounds kind of silly, but there’s a YouTuber I really like called WowCrendor who makes a ton of videos like that. I watched one video of him just walking through a hardware store and simply describing the items he’s seeing. In another video, he threw hot water into the air when it was freezing outside. Except it wasn’t hot water, so the water didn’t explode into a puff of mist and just splattered on the ground and froze into a solid puddle.

But I digress. Anyway, I find these kinds of videos interesting. It lets you glimpse into the lives of your favourite YouTubers and content creators without any filters. No editing, etc. Or maybe you just want to get to know more about the person you follow. Like, Sietse always somehow has to interrupt what we’re doing to walk his dog. One of these days, I want him to actually record one of his dog walks and share it with us. I’d totally be down to watch it. People tend to underestimate how interesting their lives are anyway.

Sietse Thought: I don’t get why these guys are so obsessed with me walking my dog. I walk him three times a day. That’s normal. You don’t get a dog to ignore it. When you have one, you also have to take on the responsibilities that come with it. That said, I do think he would shine on the big screen. He’s a very happy guy that wants to be the focal point wherever he is. I’d feel really fucking weird walking through the park with a camera pointing at my dog for an hour, though. That just seems kind of creepy. Even better, I could go for a run and bring him with me. Then you can listen to me panting while watching the dog. If that isn’t quality content, I don’t know what is.

Dev Thought: So the issue with Sietse’s dog is that he waits until we’re in the middle of an important discussion to show up and tell Sietse that he needs to shit. And it isn’t like a one-off thing either. The dog constantly shows up when we’re in the middle of figuring out what it is that we’re going to do next or planning some big thing. That’s when Sietse goes, “Guys. I’m sorry to interrupt this but my dog needs to walk. I need to go in like 10 minutes.” Over and over and over again. Personally? I think the dog just needs some female companionship.

Also, don’t listen to Shanks. His daily life is genuinely not interesting at all. Like literally zero interest at all. He spends so much time doing things that no one should be doing for that much time, repeatedly. The dude actually sits there watching the laundry machine wash his clothes for like an hour. Every week. I don’t understand it. I’ve seen actual 2-year-olds display less interest in a washing machine than Shanks.

Shanks Addendum: I don’t get what issues he has me with my laundry. I don’t even do it that often, like once every two weeks. Devs is the one who told me this. It doesn’t matter if you think your daily life is boring. It’s the perspectives you and thoughts you can get out of it! So, if I wanted to, I could totally make watching laundry for an hour sound interesting. It’s 100% possible. I could talk about how I was in a daze, and the laundry machine reminded me of spinning water in a toilet bowl. On that night when I got really drunk at a party and hooked up with that one girl I thought I had no chance with…

Dev Addendum: I CALL BULLSHIT! Shanks is Unsullied! There is no chance this happened. No one invites him to parties, and he definitely does not hook up with girls at parties.

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