While the audience was watching the fight happening in the top lane and getting hyped over that First Blood that Lin Feng picked up, there was another fight taking place down in the bot lane. One far more fierce than the one that happened in the top lane. The bottom lane was the weak link in High School 13’s overall team composition. Despite the fact that both Tang Bingyao and Wei Dong had improved greatly in the training before this tournament and during it, there was too much of a skill gap between them and Shanghai High School’s bot laners. The bot lane was definitely going to be the hardest lane to win for High School 13, even with all the experience and bot lane synergy that Tang Bingyao and Wei Dong had gained.
The largest disparity in this bot lane matchup was between the Supports. Zeng Rui was a Challenger and one of the best players at the high school level. Wei Dong, on the other hand, barely qualified for Diamond on days when he was playing at his absolute best. A difference in skill that great wasn’t something that could be overcome through positive thinking and determination. But it could be overcome with help from everyone else on the team.
Tang Bingyao and Wei Dong knew this was going to be a difficult game for them. They’d planned for it, and spent most of their prep time before the Finals practicing defensive plays and strategies. The game plan was simple. As long as they could keep things relatively even with Shanghai High School’s bot laners and avoided getting killed, they’d have some flexibility. But if they got rolled over quickly, then there wouldn’t be much that anyone in the other lanes could do to help them out. To maximize their defense and survivability, Wei Dong had gone with the champion Morgana. His job was to always be on guard and use Morgana’s Black Shield to protect Tang Bingyao’s Tristana from any crowd control spells aimed at her. Conceptually, it sounded easy. But in practice, it was anything but simple. Wei Dong had to accurately predict where Zeng Rui was going to be and when he was going to use a crowd control skill in order to block it. Unfortunately, that was also where the difference in skill between Wei Dong and Zeng Rui was most pronounced.
In the middle of bot lane, Zeng Rui’s Thresh squared away and faced the Tristana and the Morgana. Then he pressed the Q key–Death Sentence! His Thresh sent a hook hurtling at Wei Dong’s Morgana! Zeng Rui smiled to himself. He knew how this played out in Wei Dong’s head. It was the positioning that tricked poor Wei Dong into thinking that his Thresh hook was coming for the Tristana. So Wei Dong’s Morgana had thrown up a Black Shield to protect Tristana, leaving herself completely open. Zeng Rui knew that Wei Dong was probably cursing himself and panicking, trying to switch the Black Shield over. But it was too late. The hook was already in Morgana. But Zeng Rui had no intention of pulling or killing the Morgana.
Zeng Rui immediately pushed down on his Q key again, which made his Thresh dash towards the Morgana. That put him right in the attack range of Tang Bingyao’s Tristana. He hit her with an Exhaust, and Flayed her back down to the ground when she tried to Rocket Jump away. Zeng Rui’s Thresh created enough of an opening for Shanghai High School’s Jinx to Flash in and fire three grenades at the Tristana with Flame Chompers! One of them exploded underneath the Tristana, stunning her instantly. That was it. The Fat Lady belted out a mournful aria for the Tristana, as Thresh and Jinx piled on and killed her before the stun elapsed.
《You have been slain!》
Tang Bingyao slumped back in her chair a little as her screen turned grey. You have been slain! The message echoed in her head, shredding her confidence. She bit her lip and watched as Shanghai High School’s botlaners chased poor Wei Dong’s Morgana. Fortunately for them, he managed to narrowly escape from between the jaws of death. But he had to blow his Flash to do so.
Wei Dong quickly glanced over to Tang Bingyao and said over the team’s voice chat, “Sorry, that was my bad.” He’d made two mistakes, one right after the other, which led to Tristana dying. The first was miscalculating where the Thresh hook was headed, and letting his Morgana get hooked. The second was panicking and trying to quickly switch the Black Shield onto himself. If he’d figured out that Zeng Rui was targeting Tang Bingyao, he could’ve saved her by giving her the Black Shield. He might’ve died, but still would’ve been better than the ad-carry dying.
“Mhm… It’s fine,” Tang Bingyao replied, chewing on her lips. It’s not fine. She looked at the bottom lane. It was hard enough going in. Now that the Jinx had a kill and a full minion wave over her, it was damn near impossible. Tang Bingyao didn’t know if she had it in her to turn this around. But if things kept up this way, she was going to get buried. She wouldn’t just lose, she would get rolled over. Humiliated. No! She clenched her fists. I’m not going out like this! Steely resolve burned in her eyes. I’m not losing this!
Tang Bingyao pressed down on the W key as soon as her Tristana respawned in the fountain. The little yordle aimed her cannon at the ground and fired off, launching herself into the air and towards her lane. Then she ran as fast as she could. Tang Bingyao panned the camera over to the bot lane and watched the Jinx last hit yet another minion. That was one more she would have to catch up on. She bit hard on her lips and mumbled to herself, “I’m not losing this! Mhm!”
Tang Bingyao reached her outer tower, where Wei Dong was waiting for her. Shanghai High School’s Botlaners had zoned him out of lane. And they kept that going once she was back. She could barely get close enough to the Blue minions to last hit them. The Jinx kept pushing her further and further away by firing off long range missiles. Tang Bingyao knew how to play around that. Technically. The only thing stopping her from doing so was the Thresh. Zeng Rui wasn’t even using any skills. He was putting a ton of pressure on Tang Bingyao simply by moving around in the lane. She kept catching herself almost walking into a possible Death Sentence from him, forcing her to walk in a different direction. But the Jinx would be waiting for her there. No. At this rate… Tang Bingyao was chewing on the inside of her cheek, looking lost. Her Tristana ran back and forth in lane, not straying far from the outer tower, giving Shanghai High School’s Botlaners a bigger advantage with every passing second. No! “I won’t give up,” she mumbled to herself. I just need to try harder! I… I can’t let the team down. Mhm.
Everything was going great for Lin Feng in the top lane. He had his Wukong pressure the Irelia while he chanted, “Bring me a real challenge. Bring me a real challenge.”
To that end, Shanghai High School’s Irelia was attempting to bring him a real challenge. She was a good player who climbed all the way to Diamond 1. Right now, though, she was trying everything she possibly could to prevent losing this lane. She’d managed to get the minion wave all the way back to her tower, and then froze it just outside the tower’s range. It was not an easy task to pull off, since Lin Feng’s Wukong was doing everything possible to disrupt the wave freeze. But she managed to do it, and she also found a few opportunities here and there to attack Wukong.
Her go-to trick was dashing to a minion near the Wukong with Bladesurge and killing it. This reset the cooldown on Bladesurge. Then she’d auto attack the Wukong before using Bladesurge to dash back to a minion who was closer to her tower. Then she’d run underneath the safety of the tower, making it difficult for the Wukong to do anything back to her without risking a tower-dive death. And she also had her Equilibrium Strike ready and waiting as a card up her sleeve. If the Wukong ever tried to counterattack or trap her, she could just stun him underneath her tower.
Lin Feng watched the Irelia dash back and forth, amazed at her mechanical prowess. “Wow! So fancy!” he whispered to himself. Then he giggled a little before saying, “Yeah! More of that! Push me harder! Make me work for it!” Irelia was playing her little trick flawlessly. He couldn’t engage her, because the only way he could was with a towerdive. Then she’d just stun him and kill him. It’s fine. I’m not in a rush anyway. We can take it slow! The Irelia could try anything she wanted, she could pull every trick in the book, it wouldn’t make a difference. She could not change the fact that he was very much in command of the lane. But… since I’m not going to get any further with her right now…
Lin Feng knew that getting another kill on the Irelia was going to be more than a little difficult right now. And it wasn’t worth the risk. So Lin Feng decided to do what any good Toplaner would do in this situation. He started looking for opportunities elsewhere on the map. One of his summoner spells was Teleport, and he hadn’t used it yet. More importantly, Irelia had used her Teleport to get back into lane after he killed her. That meant that her spell was still on cooldown, and she couldn’t use it to follow him.
Lin Feng panned his camera to the bot lane and spotted an opening. He asked over the team’s voice chat, “Do the Jinx and Thresh have Flash?”
“The Thresh still has his, but the Jinx doesn’t,” Wei Dong replied.
“Perfect!” Lin Feng said, grinning. “I’m coming bot!” But first, he had to do something about the minion wave in the top lane. He pushed it out hard, thawing and then shattering the minion wave freeze that the Irelia had worked so hard to create. Then he recalled back to base. He spent his gold to upgrade his items and then teleported to a ward in the bot lane.
Shanghai High School’s Thresh and Jinx were pushing the minion wave in bot lane all the way to High School 13’s outer tower. But they had no idea that Wei Dong had warded one of the brushes along the bottom side of the bot lane. Recently, Wei Dong had turned into somewhat of a specialist when it came to warding. He wasn’t as mechanically gifted as other Supports nor was he the best shotcaller. But he was an expert when it came to placing deep wards for Teleport ganks. A red pillar of light descended on the ward.
Zeng Rui spotted it. He shouted, “Retreat!” over his team’s voice chat. Then started running back towards the Blue outer tower. The Jinx lagged behind him, so he threw his lantern at her. She clicked it and dashed to his side. Zeng Rui commanded, “To the tower! To the tower! I got this!” He then moved towards the brush to intercept the Wukong. The Teleport animation finished and a moment later, the Wukong walked out of the brush and towards him. But then the Wukong abruptly stopped walking and stood still.
Zeng Rui pressed down on his E key–Flay! Jinx was behind him, the Wukong was in front of him. It was beyond obvious. He is trying to get past me with Warrior Trickster! His Thresh sent a chain scythe flaying forward, hoping to knock back and slow the Wukong who he thought was running past him in stealth.
The audience could clearly see what was happening on the large screen above the stage. They were watching in spectator mode and could see Champions hidden with stealth. But they weren’t watching an invisible Wukong running past Thresh. They were watching a Wukong stand in place, tricking the Thresh into wasting his Flay!
“WHAT? That actually worked! Hahaha!”
“Holy crap… 300 IQ move right there!”
“WOOOWW! How even… DANG!”
“That Wukong has over 9000 IQ!”
“HAHAHA! Best Support my ass! That Thresh SUCKS!”
“LOL! How do you even fall for that! What a noob!”
“DAYUM! WHAT A PLAY! That Wukong… DAYUM!”
Lin Feng pressed down on the E key–Nimbus Strike! His Wukong leapt forth from a springboard of clouds and dashed in on the Thresh. Then he charged past the Thresh and slammed down on the Jinx’s head with his enchanted staff–Crushing Blow!
Zeng Rui reacted almost instantly. He had his Thresh turn around and throw his sickle at the Wukong–Death Sentence! But Lin Feng saw this coming too. He was even waiting for it. The moment the animation started, he slammed down on the W key–Warrior Trickster! His Wukong split into two, the clone replacing the real body. The Death Sentence hit the clone, while the real Wukong was already pressing forward in stealth. Lin Feng grinned and said in his best impression of Wukong, “Improve your skills! Then find me again.”
That thundering… Zeng Rui stared at his screen, his eyes wide in shock. He couldn’t even finish his thought. This wasn’t a dumbass move. Crap. Crap! CrapCrap! He rushed to help the Jinx, though he’d already used all his skills.
Westwind jumped to his feet and clutched his microphone tightly in his grasp. “DID YOU SEE THAT? DID YOU ALL SEE THAT?” He waited for a second. He allowed the audience to start cheering. But they barely did. There was somewhat of a stunned silence. “I can’t hear you!” he shouted, which made the audience get a little rowdier. “I CAN’T HEAR YOU!” That did it. A few people in the crowd shot to their feet and started cheering and whistling, which in turn saw more people getting up. Before long, more than half the crowd was up on their feet, throwing their arms around in the air and screaming at the top of their lungs, “WIN-FENG! WIN-FENG!”
Silent Reed wasn’t one of them. She sat, stunned. “This Wukong is nuts. Bananas. Crazy,” she mumbled. “That was an insanely risky move to play. And he did it against Zeng Rui of all people! That’s a once and then never again kind of move, if you ask me. Zeng Rui won’t fall for it again.”