The player seating area was split up between regions, which meant that Fudan University and Zhejiang University were sitting right next to each other. The players from both teams were rooting for Team Shanghai, and right now were applauding Zhang Hao for picking up first blood on Team Guangzhou’s Irelia in the top lane. But then their joy fell flat again. They turned their attention back to the mid lane and furrowed their brows. Lin Feng wasn’t winning. In fact, the gank earlier by Jarvan IV had put Goalie in the driving seat.
Zuo Cheng slammed down on the armrest of his chair and shouted, “Lin Feng beat cap! I can’t even get anything going against him! There’s no way this asshole from Korea can! It’s all due to that J4 gank! That’s it! Damn gank!”
Qiu Yijie glanced at the Midlaner from Zhejiang University and slowly shook his head. He then turned back to look at the large LCD screen and scrunched his nose. “This is a tough one,” he mumbled. “Goalie can play as aggressively as he wants, and that’s exactly what he’s doing.”
“Screw him!” Zuo Cheng exclaimed. He clenched his fists and continued, “I know how good Lin Feng is! We’ve been scrimming against them! You guys don’t know; you only played him when he was sick. But I’m telling you, he’s so much better than Goalie! I don’t believe for a second he’ll give anything away against that asshole from Korea!”
Qiu Yijie glanced at Zuo Cheng and smiled. He said, “I hope so.”
“You hope so? You hope so!?” Zuo Cheng shouted. He pointed at the large LCD screen and continued, “You see how he’s staying in lane even without Flash? Goalie is trying so hard but he can’t even force Lin Feng to recall back to base! I’m telling you! Lin Feng is the best!”
“Mm-mhm,” Qiu Yijie replied, nodded. “I hope so.”
Zeng Rui sat behind his computer, staring at his screen, every muscle tense. Draven and Thresh was a combination he often played with Tang Bingyao. He knew exactly how to attack with that duo, how to play the lane to his hand. But he’d forgotten how difficult it was to defend against it. His entire focus was drawn towards protecting Tang Bingyao’s Corki, rather than landing poke, putting pressure or placing down wards. We’re losing it like this. Their Jungler was in mid, but did he go top? Or is he coming bot? I need to find an opening and check, but Tang Tang is squishy right now and Draven hurts. He always hurts, that’s why Tang Tang loves playing him! Dammit! They’re good.
Tang Bingyao sat next to Zeng Rui. She glanced at her pinky finger and winced. Stop hurting! I need to focus! She looked back at her monitor. They were in the middle of the lane fighting over last hits. She suddenly noticed that the Red minion she was hiding behind was about to die. Behind that minion stood Thresh, already winding up his Death Sentence. She glanced at Draven and saw the blue swirl beneath his feet and the crimson hue around his hands. Blood Rush! He’s engaging on me! They’re– She flicked her mouse to the right, her pinky finger dragging over the mouse pad. She yelped in surprise and pain, then clenched her teeth and flashed. The mottled flash of light carried her Corki away from Thresh’s Death Sentence.
“Sorry,” Tang Bingyao mumbled over the team’s voice chat.
Zeng Rui forgot to breathe. Every muscle in his body stood tense. He cast ‘Stand Behind Me’ on Tang Bingyao’s Corki. His Braum jumped to Corki and raised his shield just as a Spinning Axe came flying at Corki. It cleaved into his shield but the damage was negligible. Behind him, Tang Bingyao’s Corki retreated safely. He breathed out and said, “Stay focused. Focus.”
“Mm-mhm! Sorry,” Tang Bingyao repeated. She had her Corki go back into the laning, glancing at the game clock at the top right corner of her screen. 6 minutes in and we’re up 1-0. We’re struggling, but we haven’t given Draven any kills yet. There isn’t really a problem unless Draven gets a kill. Her Corki fired a missile from his helicopter, claiming the life of a Blue minion. I lost a few minions, but that’s fine. I can–
Team Guangzhou’s Thresh flashed forward and flayed Tang Bingyao’s Corki and Zeng Rui’s Braum backwards with his scythe and sickle. Draven was following right behind him, boosted by Blood Rush. A Spinning Axe was already hurling through the air, aimed at Tang Bingyao’s Corki. Up from the river, Jarvan IV rushed into the lane and dashed at Braum and Corki with his flag-toss combo.
“RUN! RUN!” Zeng Rui hollered over the team’s voice chat.
Tang Bingyao was already doing as much, straining her right hand for a second time in a minute. She activated Valkyrie! Corki went into overdrive, flying a short distance and dropping bombs to create a trail of fire behind him! The bot outer tower came closer, closer! Until an axe knocked Tang Bingyao’s Corki out of his skill. Tang Bingyao deflated. Seo had just used her trick of using Stand Aside to knock someone out of a gap opener/closer against her.
“Oh my god! Did you see that Stand Aside!? Corki is a goner!” Su Xue exclaimed at the caster desk.
Zephyr nodded and continued, “Corki didn’t get anywhere and doesn’t have Flash either! Jarvan IV is on him and auto attacking and Thresh will have his Death Sentence back in a moment! Draven is also just free hitting her right now…”
Tang Bingyao stared at her monitor. It was still vibrant shades of blue, green and grey. But she knew that was going to change. At the corner of her screen, she saw Zeng Rui running back to the outer tower. He knew too. She bit on her lips and clicked on Draven. Her Corki fired a missile, dealing a little bit of damage. A final Spinning Axe then cleaved into her Corki. Her screen faded to a dull grey. The voice announcer boomed through her headphones.
《You have been slain.》
Lin Feng was struggling in the mid lane. He was behind on two minions of experience, which had happened due to Jarvan IV’s gank earlier. And though he wasn’t at risk of dying right away, his health was dropping lower. He focused on his screen and counted minions. Goalie’s LeBlanc was going to hit Level 6 soon. When she did, she could kill him. He had to be ready for that moment and thread the thin line between recklessly giving away a kill and staying as even as possible with LeBlanc.
Lin Feng miscounted by a single minion. Goalie’s LeBlanc hit Level 6 and cast Distortion. She jumped underneath Red team’s outer tower, on top of Lin Feng’s Talon. She followed up with Sigil of Malice into Mimic: Sigil of Malice, the second one setting off the first one. The unquenchable flames from Ignite started burning on Talon’s skin. And finally came the Ethereal Chains, fired from point blank range. Lin Feng didn’t have Flash or any other skill to escape. He still tried to sidestep the skill, but he wasn’t fast enough. The chains connected and slowed him. A brief moment later, they locked him down with another pop of damage.
《You have been slain.》
“WOOOOO!” Zephyr screamed into his microphone, followed by the audience cheering until their lungs gave out.
Su Xue watched this, stunned. She glanced at a screen showing Team Shanghai’s soundproof booth. Lin Feng was taking a deep breath, but didn’t look upset to her. She then focused on a different monitor that gave a look into Team Guangzhou’s soundproof booth. Goalie was grinning. She gritted her teeth and clenched her fists. What is this! You were going to stomp your lane by minute 10!– Shit! I’m casting! She took a deep breath and then cheered, “Woooo.”
Zephyr waited for the audience to quiet down a bit before saying into his microphone, “Team Guangzhou are turning it around! From 0-1 down to 2-1 up! They’re really showing the value of the two Koreans on their team! Goalie and Seo are killing it!”
“Yeah…” Su Xue said, nodding slowly. “This is looking bad for Team Shanghai. LeBlanc and Draven need those early kills to snowball. They’ve now both gotten those kills… This game is going to spiral out of control if it goes on like this.” She clenched her fists until her knuckles were white and stared at the monitor showing into Team Shanghai’s soundproof booth. You promised me! You promised me that you were going to stomp those arrogant assholes! Make them pay for what they did to Tang Tang! I’ll whoop your ass if you don’t follow through on it! Please! Show everyone the real Lin Feng!
Lin Feng sat behind his computer, grinning. The worried thoughts from Su Xue didn’t reach him, nor did the cheers from the crowd or the analysis brought by the casters. He knew he was dead the moment LeBlanc hit Level 6. It was a small mistake, but one he knew was possible and he was willing to make. He could’ve recalled back to base earlier and played it safe, but that just wasn’t his style. Goalie played aggressively and was forcing Lin Feng to match him on mechanics. That was a challenge Lin Feng was happy to take.
The dull grey colours faded away from Lin Feng’s screen. Vibrant blues, greens and greys replaced it. Lin Feng moved his head to the rhythm of a song stuck in his head, grinning. Goalie was an A+ player. Goalie was one of the most talented players and could become one of the top few players in the world given time. But Lin Feng was better. He knew he was.
The gank from Jarvan IV was expected to Lin Feng. An Xin had even asked him if he wanted her to stick around mid and help him out, but he’d refused that. Falling behind a bit before Level 6 was fine. After getting his ultimate skill, everything was going to change. Goalie LeBlanc could be up a kill and some CS, it wouldn’t change a thing. When he hit Level 6, the lane was going to be his.
Lin Feng laughed. When it comes down to mechanics, no one beats me. No one. Come at me, Goalie! Show me everything you’ve got! Make me fight for this! And whatever you do, don’t make it too easy, because I really want to enjoy how hard I’m going to stomp you! I can’t wait to wipe that cocky smirk off your face!
At 8 minutes, Team Guangzhou’s Irelia farmed minions underneath her outer tower. Zhang Hao’s Lissandra had taken full advantage of the bonus gold from first blood. He had the item advantage and range advantage and used this to whittle Irelia’s health down to below a quarter. Right now, he was watching her while keeping an eye on his skills. More specifically, on Glacial Path. He counted down the seconds until it came off cooldown. When it finally did, he cast the skill.
A claw crafted from ice broke through the ground, smashing up rocks and dirt! It carved a path straight ahead towards Blue team’s outer tower! When the claw reached Irelia, Zhang Hao cast the second half of the skill. His Lissandra blinked to the claw and then cast Frozen Tomb on Irelia! Spires of ice ruptured from the ground and pierced Irelia, locking her up! He followed up with an Ice Shard and Ring of Frost! The freezing temperature and chunks of ice drained Irelia’s health until it ran empty.
《You have slain an enemy!》
“Nice!” Zeng Rui exclaimed over the team’s voice chat. “Good work!”
Zhang Hao was beaming with joy. He replied, “Thanks! I can’t believe how badly the Irelia played that! Like she thought I wouldn’t towerdive her! She really underestimated me there! I had plenty of damage to kill her and get out of the tower’s range! I only took like two tower hits! That was nothing and I got the kill! Top lane is mine! I’m really ahead now! I’m helping!”
An Xin smiled and said over the team’s voice chat, “Zeng Rui is right, that was a great play. Great job, Zhang Hao!” She briefly paused, panning her camera over the three lanes, then added, “Get ready in bot, I’m coming in a few.”
Tang Bingyao nodded and replied, “Mhm! Okay!”
An Xin finished clearing the Wolf Camp in the bottom half of Red team’s Jungle. She then moved towards the Jungle exit that led into the river. There was a ward near the Dragon pit and another one closer down to the bot lane. Those were the ones she knew about. She stayed above them, hovering dangerously close to a ward at the mid lane, and snuck into Blue team’s bottom side Jungle. She then had her Gragas run along the back of the Dragon pit until she arrived in the tri-brush right above Blue team’s outer tower.
Team Guangzhou’s Botlaners never saw An Xin coming. They were pushing their advantages by pushing the minion waves into Red team’s outer tower and forcing Tang Bingyao’s Corki to miss last hits. When they finally spotted An Xin, she was already right behind them, Body Slamming towards them! Seo activated Flash just in time. The veil of light fell over him and carried him past the Body Slam and back towards his own outer tower. But the Thresh wasn’t so lucky. He got knocked up into the air, after which the three from Team Shanghai made short work of him.
“Fucking noob!” Seo yelled over the team’s voice chat. He glared at his Support and asked, “Why didn’t you Flash that? Fuck!
《An ally has been slain.》
Team Guangzhou’s Support stared at his dull grey screen. He didn’t know what Seo had said, he didn’t speak Korean, but he could hear the venom in the words. He shook his head and mumbled, “Sorry, my bad.”
“What can I do with a Support like this!?” Seo exclaimed, throwing his hands up in the air. He then focused on his screen again and made sure the three from Team Shanghai didn’t continue to chase after him.
At the caster desk, Su Xue jumped up and shouted, “WOOOOO! Nice going, B– An Xin! And Corki got the kill! That’s Tang T– Bingyao for you!”
Zephyr nodded and said, “That was a great gank by Gragas! Team Shanghai’s bot isn’t out of danger yet, but they’re back in fighting shape! I feel it’s safe to say that bot is officially even again! This can still go either way!” He briefly paused and then continued, “But I don’t get why this Gragas isn’t going mid. Team Shanghai’s Midlaner clearly needs help against Goalie’s LeBlanc. Why isn’t Gragas coming to help him…?”
The Team Shanghai fans in the audience had been asking themselves the same question. But it was now that Zephyr had said it out loud that others also started joining in. A murmur swept through the crowd, quickly gaining momentum.
“Yeah… Why is Gragas ignoring mid?”
“I don’t know. Doesn’t make any sense! Their Jungler is a girl and their Midlaner a dude… Maybe something happened and they’re now mad at each other? That does sound like something typical that might happen…”
“They better put their personal problems aside if they wanna win. There’s no way Talon is getting back in this lane after that solo kill from Goalie!”
“Talon was basically screwed the moment Jarvan IV came for that gank at the start. Gragas should’ve been there for the countergank. That’s how they could’ve stopped this. Now they’re just spiralling out of control.”
“Goalie is an A+ player. Maybe it’s just a difference in skill. I don’t know. But Team Shanghai needs to do something before LeBlanc takes off and solo carries this game!”
“LeBlanc’s going in!” Zephyr cried out, interrupting the conversation taking place in the stands.
“A large minion wave is crashing into the mid lane and she’s going to jump in with Distortion… Now!”
“Mid is dead again…”
“That’s our Goalie, he’s built diff’rent!”
“I STAN TEAM GUANGZHOU!”
Goalie’s LeBlanc jumped underneath Red team’s outer tower with Distortion. The splash damage smacked into Lin Feng’s Talon and set off the Sigil of Malice already on him. The explosion of magic drained Talon’s health down to below half! Goalie smiled. Ethereal Chains into Mimic: Ethereal Chains to finish the kill and show everyone what a stupid noob this dog is! He pressed down on his E key. LeBlanc waved her staff, chains materializing around her and firing towards Talon!
Lin Feng’s fingers were paused on his keyboard, waiting for those chains. When they came, he started linking together his skills. He started with Cutthroat! Talon blinked behind LeBlanc, dodging the Ethereal Chains, and dug his dagger into her back. He followed up with Rake! A volley of daggers cut through LeBlanc, then he tugged on the strings attached to the daggers to pull them back. He then finished his combination with an auto attack and Ignite! Unquenchable flames blazed to life on LeBlanc’s body and sapped her health away!
Goalie’s pupils constricted and a chill ran up and down his spine. He cursed, “Fuck!”