Lin Feng sat behind his computer in the soundproof booth. Over the bezel of his monitor he could see the crowd cheering. He smiled. It’s only a small tournament. The stage will grow. Time to give them a little taste of what I can do! He looked back at his screen. His Zed was one minion away from reaching Level 6 and unlocking his ultimate skill. Fizz is at least three minions from a level up. This is my window! He stuck to his normal movement path and moved to last hit a caster minion. Just make it look like it’s nothing. He grinned and placed his finger on the Ctrl and R keys. The combination of the two buttons let him learn a new skill and pushing the R key again would activate his ultimate skill.
Zed cut through the caster minion’s health with his bladed gauntlet! Lin Feng pressed down on the keys, his fingers gliding over the keyboard in practiced motion. Death Mark! Four shadows dashed at Fizz and marked him! Any damage dealt to Fizz in the next three seconds would deal an additional burst of damage. Zed switched positions with one of the shadows! He then cast another Living Shadow, both of them imitating the skills the main body cast. Too easy! Lin Feng laughed as he used Zed’s two damaging abilities. Shadow Slash! All three versions of Zed slashed out around them, cutting into Fizz and hemorrhaging his health! He followed up with Razor Shuriken! The three Zeds all threw a razor sharp shuriken that sheared away at Fizz’s health bar! And finally, the mark triggered. A portion of all the damage Zed just dealt to Fizz was repeated!
《You have slain an enemy!》
“IT’S A SOLOKILL IN THE MID LANE!” Silent Reed cried out into her microphone. She stared at the screen with her eyes wide open. How did he get so good!? He’s way better than in the Shanghai 16 School Tournament! She shook her head and continued, “ZED KILLED FIZZ!”
“OH MY SHIT! WHAT A PLAY!”
“SNAP! That was fucking insane!”
“Holy MOLY! What the pepperoni!”
“I can’t believe this! He just… WOOOOO!”
“SICK! FUCKING SICK!”
Rollfire glared at the LCD screen. Come on stupid Fuzhou Tech! Do something! ANYTHING! Start winning this game! He suddenly started smiling. He grabbed his microphone and said, “Don’t celebrate just yet! Look at what’s happening in the bot lane! They’re collapsing on the Gnar!”
Zhang Hao’s Gnar was struggling to keep his own in the lane swap. He had to fight against an Alistar who could land strong crowd control skills and a Kog’Maw who absolutely couldn’t be given any kills. Kog’Maw was a hyper-carry. It was almost impossible to stop him once he got a couple of kills under his belt. But he first had to get those kills, and against a Gnar that was incredibly difficult.
Gnar was partly a ranged Champion. This gave him a lot of wiggle room in a lane swap situation. He could sit behind his tower and Hop around if the opponent tried to engage him, throwing out auto attacks. And then there was Mega Gnar. When his rage meter filled up, Gnar transformed into a large monster with monstrous damage, health and crowd control skills! It was so difficult to play against this combination of skills all in one Champion that right after his initial release, Gnar had an almost 100% ban rate in professional League of Legends. It wasn’t until several months down the line that people learned how to play against him. Mini Gnar was slippery, but vulnerable. The trick was to bait out Mega Gnar, retreat and wait for Gnar to transform back to his original form, and then jump on him!
Fuzhou Tech employed this very tactic. Kog’Maw and Alistar harassed Zhang Hao’s Gnar and made him fight for every last hit on a minion. This filled up Gnar’s rage meter a little at a time. All the while, Fuzhou Tech’s Jungler had his Rek’Sai move through the Jungle in the direction of the bot lane. He cleared camps and knew roughly how many seconds he had until he had to arrive in the bot lane.
Zhang Hao’s Gnar transformed into Mega Gnar! He gained a massive stat boost and held free reign over the lane as Kog’Maw and Alistar retreated! But the transformation only lasted for a little while. The rage meter bottomed out and Mega Gnar reverted back to Mini Gnar. Right then, Rek’Sai arrived in the bot lane. He worked together with Alistar and Kog’Maw to chase down Gnar all the way under Blue team’s outer tower. They didn’t stop there. They knew they had the damage. The three Champions from Fuzhou Tech dove Gnar under his outer tower. They linked their crowd control abilities together perfectly and allowed Kog’Maw to free fire his way to his first kill of the game!
《You have slain an enemy!》
“And they got the turnaround kill!” Rollfire exclaimed, grinning. Finally! Now keep building on this! I don’t even care anymore! Just beat these stupid representatives of this stupid organization and let this stupid bitch next to me who was hired by the same stupid organization be wrong!
“That was a sweet towerdive!”
“Fuzhou Tech is finally doing something back!”
“WOOOOOOO! FUZHOU TECH IS BACK IN IT BOYS!”
“I’M FROM FUZHOU TECH!”
“Fuzhou Tech to win it all!”
Sun Ruinian sat at the front of the stands, right next to the stage on which the soundproof booths stood. He glanced over his shoulder at Rollfire and rolled his eyes. Dickfire is going at it again. What a dude. He shook his head and looked back at the LCD screen showing the game. Shi Hang is the best Zed in China, I’m sure of that! But this Midlaner is also playing a really mean Zed. They might even be at a similar level… Team Shanghai’s Midlaner is really, really good. He looked at Gnar’s corpse lying underneath his outer tower. Zuo Cheng can’t win the mid lane. He just isn’t good enough. We have to recognize that and look further. We need to find something to abuse. Every team has their weak link. For Team Shanghai, that is their Toplaner. That Gnar is not all that good. C+ grade at best. Maybe worse. I need to watch him some more. If we can create a tactic to focus him and pull ahead from there, we might not even need to worry about their Midlaner. We can win the game through the top lane!
Zhang Hao kicked against the back of his desk, frustrated. He grimaced and said over the team’s voice chat, “Sorry. That was my bad. Shouldn’t have happened.” I’m the worst player on the team. I know that! That’s why I’ve been working so hard to improve! I need to get better for the team! They need me to hold my own! And then I give away a kill to the one Champion that absolutely can’t get fed! Why can’t I improve like Tang Tang? Or play like Lin Feng!? Why are they just getting so much better while I’m struggling to improve at all! I need more time but I don’t have any time! And every training I see them pulling further ahead of me! What am I, HOW am I supposed to kee—
“It’s fine,” An Xin said over the team’s voice chat. She glanced at Zhang Hao who sat next to her and smiled. “It’s just one kill and Kog is still weaker than Tang Tang’s Ezreal. That’s all thanks to you. You’re doing a good job.”
Tang Bingyao nodded and added, “Mhm. I have more CS. You’re doing good to keep him down.”
“What are you guys even worrying about?” Lin Feng asked over the team’s voice chat, confused. “You have me! I’m playing Zed! HaoBro can feed that Kog’Maw 50 kills and it won’t matter! I’ll just assassinate him before he can get any damage off! One shot! BOOM! KILL!”
An Xin shook her head. Idiot. But then she giggled and added, “Don’t forget about me. My Fiddlesticks is really good, you know!”
Zhang Hao looked at the players sitting next to him and felt the muscles in his shoulders relax a bit. They’re right! Lin Feng’s Zed can Death Mark Kog’Maw and kill him. He already has two kills and is only getting stronger! And if BunBun gets a Fiddle ultimate on the Kog’Maw, he’s dead too! It doesn’t even change anything if there are four other players from Fuzhou Tech around! She’ll just kill them all! It’s okay! The rest of the team has my back! I just have to work my ass off to have their back as well when they need it! Trust! It’s all about trust!
The situation was very tense in Fuzhou Tech’s soundproof booth. They were struggling to stay in the game, and their tournament life was on the line this game! The shotcaller on their team was their Jungler. He was playing Rek’Sai and keeping an eye out on everything that was happening. He’d talked to his team about their failure to properly ward during the first game and how they had to change that around this game. But their ward coverage at only 8 minutes into the game was abysmal. He said over the team’s voice chat, “We gotta care for the Fiddle! Don’t forget to ward, guys! Buy vision wards and normal wards, and place them down! I want to see a wall of vision in the river and our Jungle!”
The players from Fuzhou Tech agreed and started looking for opportunities to recall back to base and buy wards. All the while, their Jungler kept reminding them of their gameplan. “Fiddle has hit Level 6 for sure by now. Aside from Zed, he’s their biggest threat. But we can make him completely useless if we get our wards down! Just like in the last game! If we’d warded properly, they would’ve never stolen the Blue Buff and won the game on the back of that! I don’t want to see us making the same mistakes again! Let’s focus on this! The longer we drag this game out, the stronger we’re going to get! They need to find the jump on us, and not the other way around! And they can’t find that engagement if we have a strong wall of vision set up! We’re winning this game!”
Over the next minute, Red wards started popping up around the map. The fog of war was slowly being dispelled from Fuzhou Tech’s Jungle. They knew exactly what was going on there and even had a decent idea about what was going on in the river. This didn’t go unnoticed by the audience or the casters. Rollfire especially was thrilled to see Fuzhou Tech taking his advice to heart. He laughed and said through his microphone, “A good wall of vision will keep the Fiddlesticks away! This game is very much in the grasp of Fuzhou Tech!”
The players from Zhejiang University’s team were finding themselves agreeing with Rollfire. The Jungler nodded and said, “At least Fuzhou Tech knows what they’re doing. It’s fine that they’re a little bit behind right now. They just need to keep up vision and drag the game out. They’ll win this, fed Zed or not.”
“Exactly,” the Toplaner agreed. “Zed and Fiddlesticks are the two carries for Team Shanghai as it stands. And Fuzhou Tech can eliminate Fiddle through warding alone. Use Alistar for Zed and this is going to be an easy win for Fuzhou Tech in the late game. Maybe sooner if they give Kog’Maw as much farm as possible and help him scale faster.”
The audience had been discussing Fiddlesticks on and off since the Champion was locked in. The consensus was that they really wanted to see a good Fiddlesticks ultimate. But with the way the game was progressing, that outcome was starting to look less and less likely. Rollfire was one of the few people greatly excited by this development. He sat up straighter in his chair and was actually engaging with the audience for a change. “I can hear your murmurs! And let me kill the dream! No, it’s not happening! Fuzhou Tech has their line of vision up! Fiddlesticks won’t get a good ultimate off! And if Team Shanghai tries to force anything here, Fuzhou Tech has the perfect lineup to counter them! This game is quickly changing!”
“Maybe Fiddlesticks can bait Fuzhou Tech into a dragon fight?”
“Right! Fuzhou Tech’s dragon vision isn’t that great! Fiddle can get his ultie off there!”
“That’s like the perfect spot for his ultimate too! Fuzhou Tech won’t be able to escape!”
“Shit, I really want to see that happen now!”
“Didn’t you guys hear what Rollfire said? It’s not happening!”
“He’s been wrong before! Please let him be wrong again! I want to see a good Fiddle ultie!”
The game clock continued ticking. It struck 9 minutes when Team Shanghai gathered around the Dragon Pit. They waited and even walked through a couple of wards from Fuzhou Tech on purpose. But Fuzhou Tech didn’t bite. They ignored the Dragon and the potential fight with Team Shanghai, and instead focused on farming minion and jungle camps elsewhere on the map.
“A sensible choice!” Rollfire exclaimed from the caster desk. He looked out over the audience and explained, “You might think that Fuzhou Tech has a strong team to contest Dragon with Rumble and Fizz. But you can’t forget that Kog’Maw hasn’t scaled yet. He needs levels and items. Contesting this Dragon is an unnecessary risk for Fuzhou Tech. By giving up on it they aren’t losing out on much while also not opening themselves up to the risk of a Fiddlesticks ultimate! They need to use this time to farm and scale. There will be more Dragons to contest. Fuzhou Tech will get their shot!”
Silent Reed knitted her brows and said, “That’s how the game is shaping up. Fuzhou Tech is showing some really strong decision making here!” Come on Team Shanghai! Prove this asshole next to me wrong! She blinked, surprised. Wow! I started cheering for Team Shanghai just because of how annoying Rollfire is! But please prove him wrong! I don’t want to see him be right! You guys are just as capable of seeing the bigger picture as Fuzhou Tech! Please tell me you have a plan in mind! I want to see you win!
“Take Dragon,” Zeng Rui said over the team’s voice chat. “If they don’t want to fight, we’ll just take the fight to them. Let’s see how much they’re willing to give up. We’re going for the mid tower next. And BunBun, start taking their Jungle Camps. We’re going to make them put up a defense somewhere!”
An Xin smiled and replied, “That sounds good! Let’s see how long their patience will last!”
Team Shanghai followed the goals set by Zeng Rui. They took the Dragon at 9:40 minutes and they destroyed the outer tower in the mid lane 40 seconds later. An Xin’s Fiddlesticks disappeared into Fuzhou’s Jungle and started claiming camps, while the rest of the team moved around the map in search of their next objective. The scale was slowly tipping in Team Shanghai’s favour, but Fuzhou Tech wasn’t giving up. They evaded fights at all costs and focused on scaling up their Fizz and Kog’Maw. And little by little, it was working. Team Shanghai didn’t get the push they really wanted and Fuzhou Tech was digging itself deeper and deeper into the game.
The players from Zhejiang University watched the game develop from their seats in front of the soundproof booths. And the more they watched, the more they found themselves agreeing with Rollfire. The Support raised an eyebrow and noted, “It’s looking pretty bad for Team Shanghai. They’ve got the outer towers and some Jungle Camps, but what more can they realistically get? The inner towers are easier to defend because they’re closer to the base. And Fuzhou Tech is just farming minions.”
The Jungler nodded and said, “It looks like Team Shanghai is pushing their lead. But really they’re desperate to find an opening. They’re fighting a battle against time! And in the entire game so far, Fiddlesticks hasn’t found a single opening for his ultimate yet! That’s pretty bad for them. If they can’t find something soon, they’re out of this game. It’s going to end up being a 4vs5 game where Fiddlesticks is completely useless! And Kog’Maw will just shred through Team Shanghai’s lineup!”
Sun Ruinian listened to his teammates but didn’t participate. He stared at the large LCD screen above the soundproof booths and tapped his chin in a slow, steady rhythm. This can’t be it from Team Shanghai, right? They didn’t expect to just get an opportunity thrown at them, right? That Midlaner is too good to come unprepared! Something is going to happen, I can feel it. How are they going to force this play? What do they have in mind? They really can’t afford to let that Kog’Maw or Fizz get too much stronger. It’s going to be so hard to come back from that. He chewed on the inside of his cheeks and looked through the glass windows of the soundproof booths. They still look calm, I think. They must have something prepared.
Back on the caster desk, Rollfire was having the time of his life. The audience was following along with everything he said and they were now all convinced that Team Shanghai was doomed to lose this game. Let’s just add a bit more to it. I will make this stupid organization regret putting me on this dumb game! He grinned and said through the microphone, “Team Shanghai is done for if they don’t push for the win right now! They can try and push for little advantages all they want, it won’t matter a thing in the late game! Fuzhou Tech’s team is coming online! They’re getting the levels and items and will soon turn this game around! Just watch Kog’Maw rip through Team Shanghai’s Zed and Fiddlesticks! It’ll happen! Trust me!”
Silent Reed bit on her lips. He can’t be right! Stupid asshole! But it looks like, it looks like he is… She closed her eyes for a brief moment to settle the turmoil in her stomach. Then she flashed them open and said, “You’re right! Team Shanghai needs to end the game as soon as they can! Fuzhou Tech is slowly catching up. One decisive fight is all that Team Shanghai needs here to finish it and claim the series! It’s a very open game that can go either way!”
Rollfire sneered and asked, “Force an engage? Ha! As if!” He turned to look at the audience and shouted, “It’d be a wonderful story to see the underdog high school team win it all! But that’s just not realistic. This isn’t the little kids league they usually play in. This is the Collegiate Cup! Expecting your opponent to screw up isn’t a tactic that is going to work here! Team Shanghai screwed themselves over in Champion Select and they are feeling the pain now! Fiddlesticks simply doesn’t fit in the meta, nor in Team Shanghai’s team composition! And Fuzhou Tech is playing a lot better than in Game 1. They’re clawing their way back from an early deficit and will soon get the complete turnaround fight! And then, then!” He briefly paused, drawing all attention towards him, and then added, “And then we’re going to an all deciding Game 3!”