Blue coloured spotlights flashed over Shanghai High School’s side of the stage. They were the Blue team in Game 1 of the Shanghai 16 School Tournament Finals. The players from Shanghai High School and High School 13 went into Champion Select, and started as always with the ban phase, where they could ban three Champions each. Shanghai High School used these bans to target Lin Feng. Their first ban was LeBlanc, a Champion Lin Feng had used to great effect on multiple occasions. Then they banned Fizz, and finally they banned Yasuo. They were three assassins. Three Champions that could win a game on their own. Three Champions that Lin Feng loved to play.
Westwind sat at the caster desk. He looked out over the overcrowded venue. The audience exclaimed in surprise to the bans. It seemed like no one expected Shanghai High School to single out the mid lane. Westwind grinned. He grabbed the microphone from its stand on the desk and shouted into it, “There you have it! Shanghai High School recognizes that Lin Feng is the real threat on High School 13! But we’ve seen Shanghai International do the same thing in the Semifinals. The real question here, people, is this: How deep is Lin Feng’s Champion pool? I think it might be… TOO DEEP!”
Silent Reed looked over at Westwind standing next to her and said, “I don’t know if they’re singling out this Lin Feng guy. Zeng Rui banned three strong Champions in the current meta. I think he just doesn’t want to deal with those three Champions. It probably has nothing to do with who their opponent is. Don’t forget how good Zeng Rui’s team is.”
Zeng Rui had come up with a strategy for his team to shine, rather than shutting Lin Feng down. He saw no point in changing an entire strategy in reaction to one opponent having a good couple of games. The bans of LeBlanc, Fizz, and Yasuo had nothing to do with Lin Feng and everything to do with Shanghai High School’s Midlaner. Zeng Rui recognized, especially after the Semifinals, that Lin Feng was a very good Midlaner and that he was the only real threat on High School 13’s team. So they had to shut him down. The best way to go about that was to give his own Midlaner, who was incredibly skilled, every advantage he could get before the game even started. He performed better against non-assassin type Champions, so Zeng Rui decided to ban out the strongest assassin type Champions in the current meta.
Zeng Rui didn’t worry about Tang Bingyao and her Draven either. She was a good ad-carry, but she wasn’t anywhere near the level of Lin Feng. On top of that, Shanghai High School’s bot lane was their strongest lane. They had a Diamond 1 ad-carry and Zeng Rui was a Challenger Support. There wasn’t a doubt in Zeng Rui’s mind that they would win the fight in bot lane. They would stop Tang Bingyao before she could achieve anything with her Champion. The only variable Shanghai High School had to worry about in this game was the mid lane. They had to shut Lin Feng down.
An Xin looked across the stage at Zeng Rui, smiling. She’d seen her fair share of Champion Selects and knew exactly what Zeng Rui was up to. I’m almost impressed. Decent plan to ban out Lin Feng and beat Tang Tang in lane. It can work, I suppose. Heh. If Lin Feng was going mid that is… She giggled as she helped her team decide on the final Champion to round out their team.
Game 1 of the Shanghai 16 School Tournament Finals:
Shanghai High School (Blue) versus High School 13 (Red)
Top lane: Irelia versus Twisted Fate
Jungle: Xin Zhao versus Rek’Sai
Mid lane: Orianna versus Wukong
AD-carry: Jinx versus Tristana
Support: Thresh versus Morgana
After both teams had locked in their Champions, the players had a minute to confirm their Summoners Spells and switch Champions around between the team members. High School 13 used this time to have Lin Feng and Chen Ze constantly switch their Twisted Fate and Wukong back and forth. The crowd watched it happen and laughed. Westwind made a joke about it, saying how it would bite High School 13 in the bum if they didn’t get it correct at the last second. And then the last few seconds of the Champion Select counted down. It wasn’t allowed to switch the Champions around anymore. Chen Ze was playing Twisted Fate while Lin Feng was playing Wukong.
“WHAT?” Westwind shouted into his microphone. “Are you guys seeing what I’m seeing? Is this FORREALS?” The audience roared in reply. They were seeing the same thing he was. High School 13 had given the Twisted Fate, a mid lane Champion, to their Toplaner! And they’d given Wukong, a top lane Champion, to their Midlaner! Westwind clutched his microphone and shouted, “WHAT DOES THIS MEAN? Was it a mistake? IS IT? I KNOW! Let’s get a close up on that Midlaner and Toplaner! Get them on the big screen!”
The cameraman had the same idea as Westwind and was already in the process of doing that. Every player had a camera on their computer that was pointed at their face. The one for Lin Feng and Chen Ze were enlarged and broadcasted on the large screen. Chen Ze looked a little nervous, but not anxious, while Lin Feng was carelessly laughing about something. This wasn’t how a team who’d screwed up their Champion Select in the Finals of a big tournament would act. Everyone knew that.
Silent Reed looked at the large screen, shaking her head, and said, “That’s just dirty. I don’t know what they’re playing at here, but that’s just dirty. They’re sending their Midlaner top and their Toplaner mid. Let’s just ignore that and focus on the other lane. Both Jinx and Tristana are strong meta picks. They can really pop off in teamfights with their resets. And Zeng Rui was allowed to choose his Thresh. I think that is a mistake by High School 13, though their Morgana pick is a strong counter…” she rambled on, but no one was really listening to her. The audience had their attention on the large screen, which still showed Chen Ze and Lin Feng.
An Xin had come up with the plan of sending Lin Feng to the top lane and Chen Ze to the mid lane after spending some individual time with the members of High School 13’s team. She’d learned that Chen Ze wasn’t just a good Toplaner, but also a good Midlaner. It was this little piece of information that formed the basis of the strategy she came up with for this first game in the Finals. She glanced over at Zeng Rui and found him staring back at her, glaring. She giggled and then said to her team, “He looks mad. Good. Alright, the rest is up to you guys. Win this one.”
Lin Feng struck his victory pose and said to An Xin, “Don’t worry! I’m really good at Wukong too!”
An Xin looked over and happened to catch a glimpse of Lin Feng’s screen. She smiled her murder smile and said, “Are you going to play Wukong with those runes and masteries?”
“Eh?” Lin Feng turned back around to look at his screen and noticed An Xin was right. With only three seconds until the game was starting, he switched around his rune page and masteries. Then he laughed and said, “Woops! Almost forgot! That was close!” He was carefree, unworried about absolutely everything. His teammates stared at him in shock. One murder smile from An Xin was enough for them to never make the same mistake again. But it didn’t seem to have that same effect on Lin Feng. It was almost as if he enjoyed it when she looked at him like that.
An Xin ignored Lin Feng and turned her attention to Tang Bingyao. “Tang Tang, you’ll have the hardest job of the team. Try your best at bot! We trust you.”
“Mhm.” Tang Bingyao nodded. She knew that Shanghai High School’s strongest lane was their bot lane. Zeng Rui was a really good player and it was incredibly difficult to play against him. She’d never played against a Challenger before, not that she knew of at least, and was both eager and terrified of this game. Eager to tackle her biggest challenge yet. And terrified to screw it up.
“It’s fine! Tang Tang will carry us!” Lin Feng laughed. “She’ll win the lane easily!”
“Just make sure you win your own lane, you big idiot,” An Xin said, rolling her eyes.
Lin Feng patted his chest and said, “Consider it won!”
“Is that so?” An Xin asked. Then she smiled her murder smile and said, “If you lose, I’ll have your ass.”
The rest of High School 13’s team felt shivers running up and down their spines. There was nothing worse than getting looked at like that by An Xin. They turned their heads away, pretending like they didn’t hear or see the conversation between Lin Feng and An Xin. Anything was better than ending up in the middle of that. But Lin Feng didn’t see it like that. He grinned at An Xin, who murder-smiled back at him. She walked off the stage, keeping eye contact, and sat down next to Yang Fan and Ren Rou. Then she noticed Lin Feng mouthing something to her. She leaned forward, matching her mouth to his, until she mumbled, “I’ll crush this Irelia within five minutes.” She sighed. You big idiot…