Su Xue stared at her monitor in shock. T-that’s… that was supposed to be Lin Feng’s LeBlanc! She mumbled, “He snatched her away…”
Zephyr who was co-casting the series between Team Guangzhou and Team Shanghai glanced at Su Xue and asked into his microphone, “Snatched away? What do you mean?”
“O-oh, right,” Su Xue replied, laughing awkwardly. I’m not streaming. These people don’t know Lin Feng like my viewers do… They probably don’t even know that Lin Feng is super good at LeBlanc! She looked at the microphone and briefly hesitated. It wasn’t quite what she was used to in her usual set up, but it wasn’t all that different either. She leaned in and said, “So Lin Feng, Team Shanghai’s Midlaner I mean, he’s got quite a few Champions he’s good at. But LeBlanc is definitely at the top of that list! That’s why I was a little surprised to see Champion Select go down like this.”
Zephyr looked at Su Xue and smiled. Finally a co-caster who’s done her work! Well done. He then said into his microphone, “Ahhh, I see! So we’ve got two LeBlanc mains here! Lin Feng will know exactly how to counter her then! This could become a very exciting game!” He briefly paused, long enough to let this line of discussion end, and then asked Su Xue, “You’re from Shanghai, right? Have you watched any of the East China Regionals games? Do you know a bit about Team Shanghai? You know, stuff most other people wouldn’t know.”
“Uhhh, yeah, you could say that…” Su Xue replied, hesitantly. She licked her lips and smiled. Know them a bit? I live together with Lin Feng! BunBun has stayed over at our place and Tang Tang has even slept in my bed! I don’t think there’s much I don’t know about these kids! But I can’t say that. That’d be unprofessional. Hehe, Tang Tang did look cute in my Jinx pyjamas! She shook her head and said, “But let’s focus back on Champion Select. Looks like Team Shanghai is replying to the LeBlanc pick with Gragas and… Talon!?”
“Yep, that’s Talon!” Zephyr chimed in. He flipped through a notebook he kept on the caster desk and then continued, “He’s a strong Champion, just like LeBlanc is. But where LeBlanc is ranged, Talon has melee auto attacks. There’s no hiding for him. If he wants to get a high creep score, he’ll have to go all in. This is promising to be an explosive mid lane!”
“Mm-mhm!” Su Xue said, nodding. I’ve seen Lin Feng play Talon before! We played it together on stream! His Talon is so good! It’s right up there with his Zed and LeBlanc! He does all these weird things that don’t make any sense and then suddenly he’s Legendary! She clenched her fist and shouted, “Lin Feng from Team Shanghai is welcoming Goalie’s challenge! This is going to be a great fight!”
“Look at that!” Zephyr suddenly exclaimed. He pointed at his monitor and continued, “Team Guangzhou’s second pick is Draven! They’re really going at it! First LeBlanc and now Draven! They’re both really strong early game Champions that can completely snowball a game! It’s clear that that’s exactly what Team Guangzhou is planning to do in this game!”
Su Xue scrunched her eyebrows and mumbled, “Yeah…” She then took a double-take of her monitor. Something strange is going on here. If it was just LeBlanc, okay. But Draven? I’ve been researching Team Guangzhou and Seo all night last night! I don’t remember him ever playing Draven! But Tang Tang does play Draven. It’s her favourite Champion! Don’t tell me… Are those stupid assholes trying to beat us– uhm, Team Shanghai, with our– uh, Team Shanghai’s favourite Champions? What a bunch of arrogant pricks! Screw them. Seriously, screw them! I hope they get their asses whooped!
Lin Feng sat in a gaming chair in Team Shanghai’s soundproof booth. Zhang Hao and An Xin sat to his left and Zeng Rui and Tang Bingyao to his right. He looked from them back to his screen and then back at them again. He scratched the back of his head and said over the team’s voice chat, “Looks like they’re BMing us right away, huh?”
“Their ad-carry, yes,” Zeng Rui replied. He then shook his head and continued, “But not Goalie. He’s known for his AP assassins, like LeBlanc. Their tactic every game so far has been to gank Mid early and help Goalie snowball, followed by Goalie tagging along with his Jungler to roam around the map. You–”
“Ah, whatever. It’s fine!” Lin Feng interrupted, waving his hand. “It doesn’t matter what they’re going to try, I’ll stomp them all the same!”
Zeng Rui opened his mouth to respond, but then paused. He glanced at Lin Feng and chewed on his lips. The thundering asshole… He’s got that look. I know that look. He nodded and replied, “Okay.”
Lin Feng looked at Tang Bingyao and asked, “Are you ready too? Is the hand all good yet?”
Tang Bingyao reflexively grabbed her hand and winced a bit. Her pinky wasn’t alright. It wouldn’t affect her gameplay too much, but there was damage there that needed time to heal. She gritted her teeth. I won’t give up now! I’m going to beat that jerk! She forced a smile and replied, “Mhm! I’m good!” She then moved her mouse over Corki, a helicopter pilot with unlimited ammo, and locked him in.
Collegiate Cup Round of 16
Team Guangzhou (Blue) vs. Team Shanghai (Red)
Top: Irelia vs. Lissandra
Jungle: Jarvan IV vs. Gragas
Mid: LeBlanc vs. Talon
AD-Carry Draven vs. Corki
Support: Thresh vs. Braum
The large LCD screen showed the lineup for the first game in this best of five series. Su Xue and Zephyr talked the fans through the different Champions and the records each player had on said Champions. The game finished loading. The blues, greens and greys from Summoner’s Rift revealed themselves. The spectator camera focused on Blue team’s base, where the five Champions from Team Guangzhou spawned.
《Welcome to Summoner’s Rift!》
The game got underway. The players bought their starting items and moved down the lanes and into the Jungle. They warded along the river and then retreated back to their own sides. Su Xue watched this happen, her heart beating fast every time opposing Champions got near each other, but nothing happened. She finally grabbed her microphone and said, “Looks like we’re starting without any invades happening. Both Junglers are starting on the bottom side of their Jungle! And in the mid lane… they’re already fighting?”
“Yeah! The minions aren’t even there yet!” Zephyr exclaimed. He raised an eyebrow and added, “LeBlanc definitely holds the advantage at Level 1. Her range just makes the difference. What’s this Talon doing!?”
“Staying even, I guess…?” Su Xue mumbled. She scratched her cheek and analyzed, “LeBlanc indeed has the range advantage. All she has to do is walk away and keep firing auto attacks at Talon. The only way to retaliate for Talon is to jump on LeBlanc, but that’s incredibly dangerous this early on in the game. Without his ultimate, he really has no way to escape if things turn south. All Goalie has to do is land LeBlanc’s Ethereal Chains… But the minions are here! The minions are here! And they’re somehow still even!”
Zephyr nodded along and concluded, “That was exactly what I was going to say! Perfect analysis, EveningSnowfall! One more thing, though. I think we really want to see what the Junglers are going to do this game. If one Midlaner gets a good gank early on, that could decide the lane right there.”
Qiu Yijie, Fudan University’s Midlaner and team captain, sat in the player seating area with his teammates. He relaxed back in his seat and looked up at the massive LCD screen, listening to the commentary from EveningSnowfall and Zephyr. As he listened to them, he started shaking his head. He said to no one in particular, “Wrong. Wrong, wrong. A lot of these ‘counters’ only hold true in lower ranked games. At this level, between LeBlanc and Talon, it comes down purely to skill.”
EveningSnowfall’s voice blasted from the speakers installed all around the stadium. “LeBlanc’s Sigil of Malice and Talon’s Rake have the same range. If she wants to use this skill for poke, which many LeBlanc’s like to do, she will first have to bait Talon to use Rake…”
“Exactly,” Qiu Yijie mumbled. Even at Level 1 Talon isn’t behind. It all comes down to skill. If he can throw his daggers when LeBlanc uses her sigil, he does more damage. But LeBlanc can then follow up with an auto attack which he can’t. And that’s how they end up even. He watched his understanding of the match up play out on the LCD screen, with both LeBlanc and Talon losing a portion of their health. Level 3 should be fun though, when they’ve got their main three skills unlocked.
Goalie sat up straight in his chair and cracked his neck. You’re really disappointing me with your Talon. Show me some skill! When we hit Level 3, I win. Do something like a good Talon would before then! Come on! CHALLENGE ME! He had his LeBlanc move forward, just a bit too far. Do it!
Lin Feng glanced at his experience bar. There was still a bit to go to Level 3. The current minions weren’t enough to get there. He smiled. Let’s have some fun with you! He flicked his mouse over a minion and cast Cutthroat! Talon blinked behind the minion and cut its throat! Lin Feng’s finger was already on the W key. He flicked his mouse over LeBlanc, who was right in front of Talon, and pressed down on the key. Rake! Talon threw out a number of daggers! Then he pulled on the strings attached to them to get them back!
The blink from Cutthroat into Rake was too fast for Goalie to respond to. But the second half of Rake, where the daggers flew back, wasn’t. Goalie cast Distortion! His LeBlanc jumped to the side, just out of reach from the daggers. She then waved her staff and cast Sigil of Malice on Lin Feng’s Talon!
Lin Feng’s Talon was in the middle of enemy minions and didn’t have any escape skills. He had to run back, all the while Goalie’s LeBlanc auto attacked him. The damage was minimal, but it added up. By the time he retreated back behind his own line of minions, LeBlanc had dealt as much damage to him as he had to her.
“That was beautiful!” Zephyr exclaimed from behind the caster desk. “That was a textbook exchange right there! The way LeBlanc dodged the second half from Rake there! That’s how you win this matchup!”
Su Xue nodded, glowering, and chimed in, “Correct. Goalie played that… well. Really well. He baited out the engage, got the dodge with Distortion and from there it’s all LeBlanc. Talon can only run away and eat the damage and hope that he gets back to his outer tower before he dies. It’s really hard for the Talon to beat LeBlanc here early on. He really needs his ultimate! When he’s got his ultimate skill at Level 6, everything changes! But he has to get there without dying…”
“Talon is really lucky there that LeBlanc’s auto attacks don’t nearly hurt as much as, well, Talon’s!” Zephyr said, laughing.
Su Xue glanced at him and nodded. Underneath the table she clenched her fist. Come on, Lin Feng! Don’t let this asshole beat you! I know how good you are! Show it to everyone else as well!
While Su Xue was worrying that Lin Feng might not beat Goalie as easily as he’d made her believe he would, Lin Feng himself was smiling in excitement. He looked at his screen, at the LeBlanc, and laughed. Thank you for making this fun! I won’t underestimate you. And I will smash you!
At 4 minutes, both Midlaners hit Level 3. Goalie had been expecting this, and had been preparing for it by freezing his minion wave outside his outer tower. There was nothing Lin Feng could do about it. Talon’s only ranged attack, which was sometimes the only way to secure the last hit on a minion, was Rake. This was a cone attack. When he hit multiple minions and Goalie’s LeBlanc did not, the minion wave would start pushing towards the Blue outer tower. From there it was an easy feat to freeze the minion wave.
Lin Feng found himself in an awkward situation where he could only watch from a distance as Blue minions died. He got the experience, but he didn’t get the gold. This situation couldn’t persist. Goalie’s LeBlanc would gain the gold advantage, use it to buy items and then kill him. So he gritted his teeth and decided to push. One quick engage to break the freeze and make the Red minions crash into Blue team’s outer tower.
Team Guangzhou’s Jungler, Jarvan IV, was waiting in the brush right above the mid lane. He knew Lin Feng’s Talon had to break the freeze. This was exactly what they’d prepared for in their practice run the night before. So when he saw Talong run up the lane, he briefly waited, waited, then he ran out from the brush and into the mid lane!
Jarvan IV’s reveal was Goalie’s go-sign. He slammed down on his keyboard, linking LeBlanc’s skills together. His Leblanc jumped towards Lin Feng’s Talon, crossing the Red minions. She followed up with Sigil of Malice and Ethereal Chains! The sigil struck Talon and appeared above him, waiting for the Ethereal Chains to set it off.
Lin Feng pressed down on the D key! Light flashed into existence around Talon and carried him a short distance back towards his side of the lane. The Ethereal Chains behind him failed to connect! He started running towards his outer tower.
Jarvan IV was coming from his left and threw his standard landed right in front of Lin Feng’s Talon. Then dashed towards it. Lin Feng smiled, pressing down on the S key. Talon stopped, stood dead still. Jarvan IV flew past him and missed the knock up. “Perfect,” Lin Feng mumbled. He then had his Talon run the last bit back towards his outer tower. He escaped the gank with minimal damage taken.
“Oh my god!” Zephyr exclaimed. He opened his eyes wide and shook his head, mumbling, “What was that… How…”
“That’s Lin Feng for you!” Su Xue blurted out! She grinned and continued, “He had to dodge both the flag-toss combo from Jarvan IV and the Ethereal Chains from LeBlanc to come out alive there! And that’s exactly what he did! The Flash was good, but that pause was brilliant! That Jarvan IV got duped so hard!”
Lin Feng stared at his screen and grimaced. Talon isn’t the best early on, especially with ganks…. And now I don’t have Flash either. I’m gonna have to be a bit more careful. I just have to be patient. When I’ve got Flash back, I’ll also be Level 6. It’ll get really fun then!
While Jarvan IV failed his gank in the mid lane, An Xin ganked the top lane. She had her Gragas run up the river, past a ward. Team Guangzhou’s Irelia spotted her and turned around. She didn’t even last hit a dying minion as she instead ran back towards her outer tower. But An Xin expected this. She kept running and then activated Body Slam! Gragas’ fat frame barreled forward! Irelia was still a good way away. So she flashed. A veil of light fell over Gragas and carried him, as well as his momentum, a short distance. He then slammed into Irelia and knocked her up!
Zhang Hao’s Lissandra cast Glacial Path! A claw of ice broke through the ground and carved a path across the Rift! When it arrived underneath the knocked up Irelia, Zhang Hao reactivated the skill. His Lissandra blinked to the claw’s position and then raised her hands and screeched, “Ring of Frost!”
Team Guangzhou’s Irelia fell back to the ground only to find spikes of ice shoot from the ground into her feet, rooting her! Gragas threw a barrel at her and drank another one empty. The first exploded and the second boosted Gragas’ next auto attack! Team Guangzhou’s Irelia saw her health drop. But the root from Ring of Frost didn’t last long. She still had some health remaining. She flashed away. But right then, just as she appeared on the map again, chunks of ice slammed into her and drained the final bit of her health bar.
“Nice gank, BunBun!” Su Xue exclaimed. She pumped her fist into the air and added, “Team Shanghai has got the lead in top now!”
“Yeah, nice gank! Uh, BunBun…?” Zephyr said, confused. He glanced at Su Xue, asking for an explanation with his eyes.
“Oh, uh, right,” Su Xue replied. She coughed awkwardly and explained, “Team Shanghai’s Jungler. I meant An Xin! Yes. Yes! An Xin’s Gragas did a brilliant E-Flash combo to knock Irelia up! From there it was an easy kill. Irelia really wasted that Flash.”
Zephyr grinned and chimed in, “That was a great play indeed! And I have to say, EveningSnowfall, props to you! You’ve really done your homework! You sound like you know everything about Team Shanghai!”
Su Xue laughed uncomfortably and said, “I guess, a bit. It’s nothing, really!”