Casters Bickering and Missing Great Plays

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Rollfire and Silent Reed were arguing about An Xin’s Evelynn. They questioned her moves and pointed out aspects of her game that were subpar. The audience nodded along, slowly letting their focus be pulled away from the game. All they knew was Evelynn. Her every move was scrutinized and judged by Rollfire. Silent Reed would say a couple of words in An Xin’s favour. But An Xin’s Evelynn simply wasn’t all that impressive. The audience agreed with Rollfire and completely missed what happened in the game until the voice announcer blasted through the speakers.

You have slain an enemy!

“A KILL!” Silent Reed exclaimed in reflex. Huh? What happened? Where did the kill… She looked up at the large LCD screen that was already showing a replay of the fight, including the voice chat from Team Shanghai. She said into her microphone, “Let’s watch the replay!”

At 7 minutes into the game, Zeng Rui’s Thresh wandered up the river towards the mid lane. Blue Team’s Lux didn’t have Flash available after using it a little earlier. Nor did she have wards to protect herself from the gank. Zeng Rui’s Thresh walked into the lane and hooked her with a Death Sentence. Then he reactivated the skill to dash at her. “Go in, Lin Feng!” he shouted over the team’s voice chat as he Flayed Lux backwards.

Flay briefly knocked a Champion up. This allowed Lin Feng’s Yasuo to target Lux with Last Breath! He blinked on top of the Lux and suspended her in midair! Then he erupted with a flurry of slashes, his sharp blade cutting through Lux’s health bar! For the final attack he raised his katana high above his head before hacking down on Lux and slamming her to the ground!

Lux had a sliver of health remaining. She ran away and threw out a Light Binding behind her. The cage of light flew in a straight line at Yasuo, who dashed through a nearby minion to both dodge the skill and line up for Steel Tempest! He stabbed out with his blade and nicked her! Then he targeted Lux with the Sweeping Blade into Steel Tempest combo! He dashed through her and swept out in a wide arc with his katana!

The voice announcer’s kill message rang out, followed by Lin Feng saying over Team Shanghai’s voice chat, “Nice job, ZengZeng! That was a great roam! But you didn’t need to. I would’ve killed her anyway!”

The replay ended and the game on the large LCD screen returned to real time. Silent Reed sat at the caster desk, glancing at Rollfire to see if he had something to say. Do something! Anything! Open that stupid mouth of yours! She shook her head, annoyed. Fine! I’ll do it all by myself! She forced a smile and shouted, “WOOOOO! What a play! What a play! The Thresh found the opening where Fuzhou Tech wouldn’t suspect him to make a play in the mid lane. And… WOOOOO!”

Silent Reed breathed in, trying hard to hype herself up. Why can’t this guy help me? Fuck this! She breathed out and continued, “I’ve got some juicy intel on this Thresh! He’s a Challenger on the Ionia server! That would explain how he makes these perfect plays, don’t you think, Rollfire?”

Rollfire shrugged and replied into his microphone, “It was a good roam. But let’s be honest here. That kid in the mid lane was right. Lux is playing far too aggressively for the situation. Thresh or no Thresh, it would’ve been a kill.”

The players from Zhejiang University were sitting in the player seating area, trying their hardest to watch the game between Fuzhou Tech and Team Shanghai. But there was a commentator who through his lack of talking distracted them constantly. They glanced over their shoulders at the caster desk and then back at the large LCD screen showing the game.

“What’s wrong with that caster? Why is he so annoying?”
“I don’t know. Really killing the mood though. Maybe it’s his time of the month…”
“Dunno, but he’s being a massive dick. He should eat one!”
“To be honest, I thought the Thresh roam was really impressive. I didn’t see it coming.”

Sun Ruinian listened to his teammates and then glanced over his shoulder at Rollfire. They’re right. He’s a dick. Just because you don’t like a team doesn’t mean you should talk them into the ground… Show some sportsmanship, dick. He closed his eyes and took a deep, calming breath. Let him be a dick. We won’t be like that. We’re going to give Team Shanghai the attention they deserve. And from the looks of it, that’s a lot. We’re going to be up against them in the quarters if it goes on like this. Hmmm… He watched Zeng Rui move and replayed the previous roam that led to killing Lux in his head. He cross referenced that information with his own experience playing with and against Zeng Rui on the Ionia server. He was a B+ Support last year, and he’s only getting better. A lot better. Talking about general game skills, not role specific, he might even be as good as I am. That makes him at least an A-! No one should look down on players that good, especially not Dickfire at the caster desk. He glanced over his shoulder at Rollfire again, annoyed.

Rollfire glared at the large LCD screen, his nose twitching. An organizer had just told him through his earpiece that he had to tone it down. Who cares what the fuck they want! They put me on this stupid game! He gritted his teeth and shook his head. Fuck! I need this gig. I can’t make them too upset. I’ll just tone it down a bit. Find my spots. Mock them when I can! He nodded and grabbed the microphone. He said, “Looks like Fuzhou Tech has got their work cut out for them. But that might all change really quickly! Jarvan IV is going to the Blue Buff Camp and Lux is doing the same. If she gets the Blue Buff, she’ll have all the mana to harass Yasuo. Even the mid lane isn’t over yet! This game is still wide open!”

“Oh, Oh! There!” Silent Reed exclaimed, pointing at the large LCD screen. Right. They can’t see what I’m pointing at. She laughed a bit and then said, “Evelynn is moving towards Blue team’s Blue Buff Camp as well! It looks like she’s going to invade! Oh my god, there’s a Red ward in the brush there! She has full vision on the Blue Buff Camp! It’s going to be an invade! Will she get the steal!?”

“Such perfect timing by that Eve!”
“That is such a dirty ward she placed there!”
“This is so impressive. Go steal the Blue Buff!”
“GoGoGo Evelynn!”
“Best ward on the Blue Buff Camp ever!”

An Xin’s friends from High School 13 were also in the stands cheering her on. Liu Yue jumped to his feet and exclaimed, “BunBun is going for her classic invade! This is going to be so much fun! WOOT WOOT!”

Yang Fan adjusted his glasses and said, “Rollfire made a big mistake looking down on BunBun. He’ll get a good hard slap in his face for his arrogant words. Our BunBun is a Super Challenger in the Jungle!”

Ren Rou nodded and chimed in, “Serves him right for being mean to BunBun! She’s the best Jungler at our school!”

“She totally is!” Liu Yue replied, laughing. He then cupped his hands around his mouth and shouted, “Our BunBun is the best Jungler! WOOT WOOT!”

Ouyang grinned and jumped up to his feet. He wrapped one arm around Liu Yue and threw the other up in the air, screaming, “BROPHINA! BROPHINA, TEACH THIS DUMB IDIOT ON THE CASTER DESK HOW TO JUNGLE!”

The caster desk was placed right next to the stands. Silent Reed looked into the crowd at the young man who’d managed to shout over everyone else and then turned to look at Rollfire. He’s steaming! He’s losing it! I can see the smoke coming from his ears! She placed her hand over her mouth and tried very hard to stop herself from giggling. I can’t do this. Stay professional. Don’t laugh at him! Don’t laugh at him! She took a deep breath and focused back on the game. “Evelynn is already closing in on the Blue Buff! She has perfect vision! And she’s pinging on it! Is this for the Yasuo? Are they looking to do something more than steal the Blue Buff!?”

The large LCD screen above the two soundproof booths zoomed in on the Blue team’s Blue Buff camp. Jarvan IV was attacking the Blue Sentinel and Lux had arrived to attack it as well. They looked oblivious to Team Shanghai’s Evelynn standing off to the side in stealth. This was one of the advantages Evelynn brought to the game. She was invisible unless revealed.

Sun Ruinian raised an eyebrow and nodded. Impressive. She has her timings down. And these are the kinds of plays you’d expect to see from an Evelynn. I’ll have to re-evaluate her. Didn’t expect her to play like this after watching her farm the Jungle before. And after Dickfire told us how bad she is… He glanced over his shoulder at Rollfire and shook his head. What a dick.

“I don’t think they know! I don’t think they know the Evelynn is right there!” Silent Reed exclaimed. “They don’t have a clue! Oh my god! What a mistake! WARD! PUT DOWN A VISION WARD!”

Rollfire snorted and said, “That’s a mistake by Fuzhou Tech. And it looks like they’re going to get punished for it. That Evelynn gave them a false sense of security early on and now they don’t see the obvious Blue steal. If that was the plan all along by the high school kids, then that is somewhat impressive…”

“Holy shit shit shit! It’s going to be a steal!”
“I can’t watch this. Lux has the vision ward in her inventory! She just has to place it down!”
“Tell me when it’s over! I don’t wanna see this!”
“I know I shouldn’t have applied to Fuzhou Tech! Now I’m stuck supporting this shit team!”
“Oh my god! Look at the Yasuo. He’s going to help Eve…”

The Blue Sentinel steadily lost its health until there was only a sliver remaining. Lux cast Lucent Singularity! An anomaly of twisted light wrapped around the Blue Sentinel and charged him up with electricity! She moved forward to auto attack the monster and discharge the electricity. But this small gap between the skill and her auto attack was too big. An Xin’s Evelynn revealed herself from stealth and targeted the Blue Sentinel with Smite. A monstrous hand slammed into the Blue Sentinel and claimed its life!

“SHE STOLE IT! THE EVE STOLE THE BLUE BUFF!” Silent Reed exclaimed. And the crowd reacted to her, just like they had to Westwind. People jumped to their feet and threw their arms in the air! They cheered and screamed in Team Shanghai’s support! Silent Reed smiled and shouted, “The high schoolers are winning! AND THE YASUO! THE YASUO!”

“What the fuck happened there?” Fuzhou Tech’s Support asked over the team’s voice chat.

The Lux player snarled, “The Eve—”

“Yes yes! But why didn’t you place a vision ward down? You have it in your inventory!” the Support continued.

“Well, tha—”

“WATCH OUT FOR THE YASUO!” the Jarvan IV player interrupted.

Lin Feng’s Yasuo appeared around the outer wall of the Blue Buff Camp, right near Fuzhou Tech’s Lux. The Lux retreated back along the wall towards Jarvan IV and cast a Light Binding behind her! It was a panic reaction. Yasuo had the skill Wind Wall. He cut upwards with his sword, commanding the winds to protect him! The Light Binding disintegrated before it reached Yasuo!

“Sweeping Blade,” Lin Feng mumbled as he pressed down on the E key quickly followed by the Q key. His Yasuo dashed through the Lux and then swept out around him with his blade! Steel Tempest! Gusts of wind gathered around the tip of his blade, a storm slowly brewing. Jarvan IV was in range and Yasuo cast Sweeping Blade again to dash through his next target! He then linked this skill with Steel Tempest for a second time! His katana swept through Jarvan IV and a storm gathered at the tip of the blade!

“What’s he doing? Why is he dashing away from the Lux?” Silent Reed asked. She moved the microphone a bit closer to her lips and looked out at the audience. “Does he want to kill the tanky Jarvan IV?”

“Maybe those early kills got to his head,” Rollfire chimed in from the side. He grinned and continued, “Now he won’t get either of them! He threw away a surefire kill!”

The large LCD screen showed exactly what Rollfire predicted. Jarvan IV used his flag toss combo to get away from the Yasuo, jumping over the wall next to the Blue Buff camp and running away together with Lux! “See?” Rollfire asked, laughing. “He forgot to take Jarvan IV’s skill cooldowns into account! Now both Jarvan IV and Lux are getting away!”

“This is going to cost them…”
“They could’ve had both of them!”
“Maaaaan, so embarrassing!”
“I wouldn’t wanna be in their booth right now, haha!”
“Kids gonna be kids.”

Lin Feng smiled. It’s too easy at this level. Just too easy. He’d placed down a ward along the edge of the Blue Buff Camp on his approach. Now he had perfect vision as Lux and Jarvan IV tried to run away together. They were practically standing on top of each other in the thin pathways of the Jungle. Lin Feng glanced down at his skill bar. He’d cast Steel Tempest twice in a row already. His next attack would launch a tornado. He pressed down on his Q key and said over the team’s voice chat, “I’m going in! Give me the follow up!”

Yasuo swept his katana forward, unleashing terrifying winds onto Summoner’s Rift! They gathered together and spun around each other, forming a massive tornado that barreled through the Jungle! It chased down Lux and Jarvan IV and hurled them up into the air! This unlocked Yasuo’s ultimate skill, Last Breath! He Blinked towards the two Airborne Champions and kept them suspended there, attacking them with a flurry of strikes! Then he raised his katana high above his head and hacked down with all his might! Empowered by wind and with the help of gravity, he slammed Lux and Jarvan IV back to the ground!

An Xin’s Evelynn flashed over the wall separating her from the fight and then cast her ultimate on Lux and Jarvan IV! Agony’s Embrace! Venomous Tendrils erupted from the ground to lash out and impale Lux and Jarvan IV, hampering their health and draining their movement speed!

Lux was on the brink of death after eating these attacks. Lin Feng’s Yasuo struck her with Steel Tempest. The clean cut of the blade sheared away the remainder of her health. He followed up with Sweeping Blade, dashing through Jarvan IV and then struck him with an auto attack! Steel Tempest came off cooldown a second later and a clean cut pierced Jarvan IV! His health bar emptied out!

Double Kill!

“THEY GOT THE DOUBLE KILL! YASUO GOT THE DOUBLE!” Silent Reed exclaimed, smiling. They’re so much better than during the Shanghai 16 School Tournament! It’s really fun to see them progress! “GO TEAM SHANGHAI!”

“Oh my god! How did he hit both of them!?”
“Eve did bloody well as well!”

“Tell us what you think!” Silent Reed said to Rollfire. Let’s have a little fun here! Annoy this annoying ass! She giggled and continued, “Wasn’t that amazing? And you were totally mistaken! He didn’t let them get away!”

Rollfire glared at Silent Reed and felt his nose twitching again. Don’t think I don’t see what you’re trying to do! You’re trying to get my rating down so that you get more invitations to cast games! But it won’t be that easy! This was just a lucky play! Or skilled… He moved his lips around and furrowed his brows. Fuck me! Why couldn’t he miss that tornado? All he had to do was miss that damn tornado! He opened his mouth to say something, but then saw Silent Reed giggling again. He could also hear the crowd cheering in the background. They don’t want to hear anything from me. They’re already fired up. He took a deep breath and closed his mouth. Fuck, I’ll get back at you for this!

Sun Ruinian watched the replay on the large LCD screen in silence. His teammates were cheering for the Yasuo and Evelynn, as was everyone else in the venue. But he didn’t have the time for that. That Yasuo knew what he was doing from the start. He needed a bit of luck to have Jarvan IV and Lux stack on top of each other. But everything else… His mechanical abilities, judgement, confidence… how is it all so good?

Sun Ruinian glanced at Zhejiang University’s Midlaner and pursed his lips. Shit. That Yasuo is better than our Midlaner. A lot better. I can only give so much credit to luck. That play was all Yasuo. Luck or no luck, he got the two kills. And this wasn’t even the first time this game! What rank wou—

Goalie. Sun Ruinian looked through the glass of the soundproof booth at Lin Feng. We gave Goalie an A+. He’s the best of the best. No one is as good as he is in the mid lane in this tournament. If the rest of that team comes together, they might even win this entire tournament! He glanced up at the large LCD screen again. But this Yasuo. He might be as good as Goalie… He knitted his brows and mumbled, “Or maybe I’m looking too hard into this. Maybe there was some luck and he’s only A-… Only A-, what am I saying? We can’t beat that.” He chewed on his lips and shook his head. I need to come up with something to deal with him. We can’t expect to play our game and just magically beat him. He’s good. Really good. Too good.

Downfall: Rise


You guessed it. This was another merged chapter. The corresponding RAWs are 311+312! 

Downfall: Rise

It was late August when the developers of Downfall announced their next major patch. They hyped it up and promised their fans that Downfall: Rise would deliver on everything the fans of the gaming franchise asked for. From fascinating new professions to some of the most difficult new raids. They showcased tids and bits over the next few months, but just that was enough to have the fans go crazy! They watched and read the various content streams and searched for anything that might give them a head start once the patch went live. This was especially true for the players aiming for the leaderboards. A world first on any of the bosses in the new Void-grade Raid would net them fame, sponsorships and money. In that order.

TheRiseCrew was a new guild on the scene. They’d made a name for themselves by setting a speed record in an Ancient-grade Raid and were expected to make big waves once the first ever Void-grade Raid was released. And there was a good reason for this. Their three main members were streaming day and night, offering their tens of thousands of fans an inside look into the lives of true gamers. And it was impressive. The amount of hardwork and research that went into min-maxing statistics and the sheer amount of time put into reviewing what information there was available on the new raid was simply stunning. It was hard to imagine there was any other group quite as dedicated.

There were a few hiccups in November and December. But come the new year, Downfall: Rise was on schedule for release. Only a few more months. Time every top guild spent refining their tactics in existing Raids and preparing for possible scenarios in the new one. All of their hard work, of course, was based solely on the few insights the game developers had allowed. But the tension was rising. Everyone could feel the moment was almost there! And right as the hype hit its highest record, the game went into a 24-hour patch.

TheRiseCrew had bought a gaming house on the outskirts of New York. Their gaming house stream ran 24 hours a day, seven days a week. But they were currently offline on their personal streams. The reason was simple. They’d done their homework. They were ready for the patch to hit. And right now, while the game was undergoing that patch, they prepared everything in the real world.

Sietse called with the girlfriend and told her the next few weeks were going to be rough, but that they could take the day and spend it together. She agreed. And so they went, and he left his social media behind. For a couple of hours until the release of the patch, he was unavailable. A rare moment in his otherwise busy schedule to reset his mental game and come fully prepared to the raid.

It wasn’t that easy to turn away from the game for the other two core members, Shanks and Devshard. They stuck around their computers and tried desperately to find the latest hints of the patch. They were certain there was something they were missing. And Shanks was. An exam that was vital for his final grade. He threw the game aside and spent the next hours cramming for the test, closing himself off completely from everything else. He trusted Devshard would take care of the rest, as promised. But Devshard had forced himself too much. He didn’t even realise it himself, until he woke up five hours late for an appointment he’d completely forgotten about.

The months of preparation, the careful planning and frantic training, it was all for nothing. Sietse returned home minutes before the servers went live. The agreement was that Devshard would have the raid members ready, but they weren’t ready. None of them. They weren’t even aware they were on the roster for that day. Nor did Shanks have a single clue what was going on. He just figured he had to be there, ready to buff the raid members so that they could deal the damage and slay the boss!

The servers went live. Sietse sat behind his computer, his stream live again. Tens of thousands people were tuning in, eager to watch the latest patch of Downfall: Rise! They demanded to see the new raid and to witness TheRiseCrew to claim their second world record and their first world first! But that wasn’t what they saw. Sietse was preparing what he could, but was limited in his options and could only adjust to what lay ahead. On the other end, Shanks randomly popped up. Always present, but never actionable. But that was all acceptable. Shanks, Sietse and 17 other raid members were there, several hours later than the agreed upon time. There was only one person missing. Devshard. The main healer. The one role that couldn’t be replaced. There was no one else with his particular set of skills. And so the raid was put on pause.

Sietse sat behind his computer, chatting with the other 18 raid members and the people in his stream chat. He was trying to pacify them, even when the first world first was announced in the game. “Just a little longer now,” he said to the camera. “We just got word from Devshard. He’s almost ready.” He glanced at the clock on his monitor. The minutes ticked away before turning into hours. “It won’t be much longer now…”

– Written by Sietse

Super, Outstanding, Dazzling, Magnificent, Awesome Sign Off Message:

We need help! Your help! Devshard has gone missing! All we know is that he’s an Indian doctor! So search for that Waldo style!

Wait! I’ve just received a piece of valuable intel! Someone has told me that he will appear before if enough people simp him! For him? I don’t actually know how simping works, I just know that if we all scream very loudly SIMPINGFORDEVS that our odds of finding him will increase exponentially!

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