Yu Ping’s voice drifted through the stunned silence that was the player seating area. Everyone was staring at the large LCD screen in disbelief. For the last couple of weeks, the Guangzhou Esports Association had gone to great lengths to promote their team. To show to everyone exactly how skilled Goalie was and that there was no one who could beat him. Until now, no one had beaten him. But this first game against Team Shanghai changed all that. Lin Feng’s Talon never looked in trouble against Goalie’s LeBlanc. Not really, anyways.
“Team comp. That’s all there is to it,” Shenyang University’s team captain mumbled. He repeated it, this time with a bit more conviction. “Team comp. That’s all there is to it.” He looked away from the large LCD screen at Yu Ping. He’s right. This is all team comp. He let go of the breath he’d been holding and said, “Team comp. That’s all there is to it.”
“Yeah! Team comp! That’s all there is to it!” another player shouted. He got up from his seat and looked around at the others in the player seating area. He continued, “Lissandra was the perfect counter for LeBlanc! And even if that failed, they had Braum protecting Corki. And if even that failed, they still had Gragas with his Explosive Cask! They had everything to deal with Team Guangzhou’s team! The guy over there is right! Team comp! That’s all there is to it!”
Zuo Cheng from Zhejiang University listened to the discussion and looked at the player who was explaining his understanding of what happened. And he laughed, long and loud. The people around him stopped arguing and all turned to look at him. He looked back at them and said, “You blind fools! Did we watch different games or something? Goalie got schooled!”
“Goalie’s an A+ Midlaner!” someone argued. “He’s almost in the percentage ranking! People of his skill level play in the LPL and might even make it to Worlds! Are you really trying to say this Lin Feng from Team Shanghai is better than Goalie? Don’t be ridiculous! It was a fluke, at best!”
Another player nodded and chimed in, “Did you guys see how much help that Lin Feng got? If it wasn’t for Lissandra and Braum helping him out, he would’ve never gotten so far ahead! Team Comp! Definitely! It was definitely that!”
Sun Ruinian watched the players around him argue about Lin Feng’s exact level of skill and about how Team SHanghai had secured this first win against Team Guangzhou. He chuckled and shook his head. All these guys know about Team Shanghai is that Zeng Rui is a decent enough player on the Ionia server. He’s the only one from their team who’s made a name for himself. And then there’s the four question marks. No one knows a thing about them, except that Lin Feng beat AyDeeCee. But what’s that when you compare it with all the hyping up that the Guangzhou Esports Association has done for Team Guangzhou? They’ve been shouting that Goalie is some kind of God! He sighed and said to Zuo Cheng, “Drop it. It’s not worth it.”
“But they’re blind!” Zuo Cheng argued. He turned his head to look at Sun Ruinian and continued, “You saw that game! Lin Feng was getting ganked and didn’t get any ganks! Yet he still won! That’s skill! He’s better than Goalie! But these… these idiots can’t see it!”
Loud protests erupted around them. Two players even broadened their tiny shoulders and flexed their miniscule biceps, trying to look intimidating. Sun Ruinian pulled Zuo Cheng down and smiled apologetically at them. It sussed the situation. He then turned his head to look at Zuo Cheng and quietly explained, “What did you expect? These guys have been under the impression for months that their biggest opponent this year is going to be Goalie from Team Guangzhou. Every game until this last one has only confirmed that impression. And now, suddenly, they see someone playing better. Of course they’re looking for excuses! What did you expect?”
“But Lin Feng was clearly better…” Zuo Cheng mumbled, deflated.
Sun Ruinian smiled and replied, “Yeah, he was. We know that and those guys …” he pointed at everyone in the player seating area. “… they know it too. They’re just not willing to admit it yet. Give it two more games. They’ll change their tunes.”
Zephyr pulled off his headset and leaned back in his chair, throwing his feet up on the desk. He glanced at Su Xue sitting next to him and said, “What a game! Who would’ve thought that Team Shanghai was gonna pull that crazy win! Nice job on all the research by the way!”
Su Xue took her own headset off and placed it carefully in front of her, making sure the wires didn’t get twisted. She then turned her head to look at Zephyr and smiled. She replied, “Thanks! I was really nervous there at the start, but I think I got the hang of it after those first few plays! It was a fun game to cast too! There was just so much happening all the time!”
“You’re a lucky one,” Zephyr said, laughing. He rolled his neck and continued, “Pretty straightforward action. There basically wasn’t a dull moment we had to fill and there weren’t any complicated teamfights either. Kind of surprised by that to be honest with you. Mostly with Goalie. He’s the one who usually leads Team Guangzhou. But that kid did not look on his A+ game there. I don’t know what it was, but he just looked out of it! I’m really hoping he’ll be back to his normal self next game. ‘Cause, I mean, someone of his status should really be beating every Midlaner he’s up against in this university tournament.”
Su Xue fought hard to keep the snort back. He really thinks Goalie is better than Lin Feng? How? She shook her head and replied, “I don’t know. I thought Lin Feng played it pretty well. I can totally see him beat Goalie again in the next game!”
Zephyr laughed and replied, “Sure, sure. Whatever, I’ma take a piss. I’ll be back in a minute.”
Su Xue watched Zephyr get up and leave the broadcast room, biting her lips to stop herself from laughing. Only after he closed the door behind him did a smile creep up on her face. He really believed what he was saying! He really thinks Goalie is better than Lin Feng, even after that game! This is going to be so fun next game! She glanced at the monitor showing Team Shanghai’s soundproof booth. The five players she knew so well were sitting in a circle, discussing something. They’re probably preparing their tactic for the next game. Come on, guys! Lin Feng! You can do this! Show everyone how good you are! I’m rooting for you!
Coach Yin barged into Team Guangzhou’s soundproof booth, furious. He looked around the room at the five team members and shouted, “What the fuck was that!? I thought you guys said you had this! You were going to beat them with their own Champions? You got your fucking asses kicked!” He paused, forcing himself to take a couple of deep breaths, then continued, “Goalie, what the fuck? That Lin Feng is trash! I watched it all with my own two eyes! That kid can’t play for shit! All he did was farm and wait for the rest of his team to carry him! I don’t give a fuck that he beat AyDeeCee or whatever. He’s not a starplayer. You are a starplayer, Goalie. Live the fuck up to that!”
The interpreter strung together a quick summary from Coach Yin’s outburst. He looked at Goalie, waiting for a response. But Goalie wouldn’t even meet his eyes. He sat behind his computer, staring at his screen. Furious himself.
“I don’t want to see that a second time,” Coach Yin continued, barking. “I want to see a focused team that is trying to win! We’ve got two Korean Challengers on our team for fucks sake! How are we losing to four no-namers and that Support idiot from the Ionia server? Get your heads in the game!” He focused on Goalie and concluded, “Goalie. Pick a Champion you’re good with. Lead the team like I know you can. Show everyone how good you really are! I know you’re better than this! Now come on!”
Goalie closed his eyes as he listened to the interpreter finally catching up to Coach Yin. He nodded and mumbled, “Yeah. Okay.” But his mind was somewhere else. He glanced across the stage at Team Shanghai’s soundproof booth and scrunched his eyebrows. Who is that kid? How… I was careless and got upset because he annoyed me yesterday. But still, he was good. There were a few moments where I felt like I was even playing against Rake– He shook his head violently, then slapped it for good measure. Don’t be stupid. You underestimated him and he was a bit better than you expected. Readjust. Calm down and focus. I’m the best player at this tournament. He looked over his shoulder at Coach Yin and said in broken Chinese, “I beat him. Trust me.”
“Good. That’s what I wanted to hear,” Coach Yin said. He then walked past Goalie and stopped behind Seo, who was staring at his feet, and asked, “Now you want to tell me what the fuck was going on with you last game? I thought you were a Korean Challenger. You looked like a boosted Challenger. Did that girl on Team Shanghai boost you? That it?” He briefly paused and then asked, “Are you really telling me she’s better than you are?”
“I’M BETTER THAN HER!” Seo screamed. He slammed his fist down on the desk and repeated, “I’M BETTER THAN HER!”
“Then show it,” Coach Yin replied.
Seo gritted his teeth, white hot fury dying his face. He slowly nodded and said, “I will. I will beat her. Crush her. Make sure no one remembers her face! Her ugly ass face!”
After a brief interlude, the players from Team Shanghai and Team Guangzhou got installed behind their computers again and moved into Champion Select for Game 2. The large LCD screen above their soundproof booths flashed to life and revealed to the audience the six banned Champions. Team Shanghai had gone for three meta Champions, while Team Guangzhou banned Lissandra, Braum and Talon.
“Looks like Team Guangzhou doesn’t want a repeat from last game,” Zephyr said into his microphone, his voice carried through the speakers to the audience.
Su Xue nodded and chimed in, “Yeah! Three Champions from the previous game are banned!–” She stopped herself when Team Shanghai locked in their first Champion. Riven. She scrunched her eyebrows and mumbled, “Riven? Is HaoBro really going with Riven…?”
Haobro? Zephyr glanced at Su Xue, confused. He glanced through his notebook at the names from Team Shanghai. Oh! He leaned towards his microphone and said, “That does look like a Riven top! Zhang Hao is Team Shanghai’s Toplaner, so he’d be playing her!”
Team Guangzhou’s Toplaner sat up straight in his gaming chair. A chill was still running up and down his spine, reinvigorated every time he thought about how Coach Yin had barged in after their loss in the previous game. We can’t lose again. We won’t! We’re going to beat these noobs! Starting with this stupid Toplaner! “Hmm, Riven, huh?” he mumbled. “Let me show you just how much better I am than you! You only won because of Gragas! But this game, this game is going to be mine!” He then clicked on the summoner portrait of Fiora and locked her in.
Team Guangzhou’s Jungler looked at Goalie and asked, “Who? Lee Sin?”
Goalie looked at Team Shanghai’s Champion. Riven… Why would they pick her first…? He took a long, deep breath and then replied, “Lee Sin.”
Team Shanghai were up next for their second and third pick. They went with Sejuani who was a tanky Jungler and Kalista who was one of Tang Bingyao’s best ad-carry Champions.
It was Team Guangzhou’s turn again to pick two Champions. Seo informed his Support he wanted something defensive, so the Support locked in Leona. He then nodded at Goalie and asked, “You want to pick now or want me to go first?”
Goalie shrugged and said, “I’ll go first. Won’t change my pick anyway.” He moved his mouse over Fizz and locked him in.
Zephyr grabbed his microphone and shouted, “It’s Fizz in the mid lane! Goalie is sticking to what he’s familiar with, ability power assassins!”
“I’m really curious to see what Lin Feng is going to play,” Su Xue replied absentmindedly. Her focus was still on the Riven pick. HaoBro never plays Riven. He doesn’t like the style! But Lin Feng does! Are they going to lane swap? Or– She finally realized it, her eyes growing wide. She leaned in towards her microphone and said, “What if… what if that Riven pick is a mid Riven?”
Lin Feng laughed when he saw the Fizz pick. He leaned back in his chair and mumbled, “Fizz, hmm? A bit interesting. Could be fun.”
An Xin glanced at Lin Feng and shook her head. Doofus. She then turned her head around to look at Zhang Hao and asked, “What you wanna play against Fiora?”
“Uhm…” Zhang Hao started, hesitating. He finally replied, “Mundo. Yeah, I’ll go with Dr. Mundo. That way you don’t really have to gank my lane. I’ll be able to hold my own.”
“That makes our team really AD heavy,” Zeng Rui noted. He mulled over it briefly and then added, “I’ll go with Morgana. That way, we’ve still got some AP.”
Su Xue jumped up from her chair, forgetting to grab the microphone, and shouted, “I was right! I’m right! That’s Riven mid!”
“But… How?” Zephyr asked, surprised. “What kind of team comp is this? Are you sure Riven is going mid? What if this is some weird Morgana mid and Riven top and Mundo Support? Or maybe it’s Riven Support? She does have her Ki Burst for some crowd control…”
“It’s obviously Riven mid!” Su Xue countered, grinning. Just wait until you see Lin Feng’s Riven! You’ll get it then!
“Team Zephyr or Team EveningSnowfall? Who is going Mid? Place your bets here!”
“Has to be Morgana, right? You want that AP damage and she won’t get much damage if she’s going Support!”
“Full AD teams have been becoming the flavour of the month, so who knows…”
“Yeah, I guess. Still, weird ass team.”
“Maybe their plan is to confuse Team Guangzhou into a surrender?”
“LOL. That’d be brilliant! Imagine Team Guangzhou surrendering ‘cause they don’t understand Team Shanghai’s team comp! Hahaha!”
“Right!? But let’s be realistic here. This has to be a stomp by Team Guangzhou. There’s no way they’re losing to that whacky ass team from Team Shanghai!”
Back in Team Guangzhou’s soundproof booth, Goalie and Seo were caught up in a similar discussion as the rest of the crowd. But they only had 70 seconds to decide on their final pick. With 20 seconds left to go, Goalie turned to look at Seo and said, “We’ll stick with our original plan. Doesn’t matter what they do. Lock in your Champion. And Seo?” He briefly waited to get his ad-carry’s full attention and then continued, “Calm down a bit. Play like I know you can.”
Seo closed his eyes and breathed in. He then opened his eyes, locked in Vayne and then breathed out. He replied, “Got it. I will.”
Zephyr turned his head and looked at Su Xue. He muttered, “Oh my god, you were right… You were right! It really is Riven mid! It’s really Riven mid!”
Su Xue smiled and replied, “Lin Feng has played Riven before all the way back in the high school tournament he played. That was long ago, but it was really good back then! So I thought maybe…”
“Wow!” Zephyr exclaimed. He shook his head and continued, “You’ve done more than just some homework. It’s like you’ve watched every single game Lin Feng has ever played!”
Su Xue giggled and replied, “You could say that.”
Back in Team Guangzhou’s soundproof booth, Goalie narrowed his eyes. Riven, huh? First Talon and now Riven? You’re trying to take the piss out of me, aren’t you? That’s what you’re doing. First acting like you don’t know who I am and now taking the piss out of me! But don’t think I’ll let you do that. I’ll show you what I do to people who look down on me! He gripped his mouse and tightened his grip just the right amount. Then he placed his other hand on the keyboard, feeling the touch of the keys against his fingers.
Over in Team Shanghai’s soundproof booth, An Xin looked at Lin Feng and asked, “Since you’re playing Riven, you should be fine, right? I won’t need to gank?”
Lin Feng ruffled his hair, grinning, and said, “Yep! Just camp bot! Or top… You can leave mid to me!”
Winter Collegiate Cup, Round of 16, Game 2
Team Shanghai (Blue) versus Team Guangzhou (Red)
Top: Dr. Mundo versus Fiora
Jungle: Sejuani versus Lee Sin
Mid: Riven versus Fizz
Ad-carry: Kalista versus Vayne
Support: Morgana versus Leona
《Welcome to Summoner’s Rift!》
The Champions from both teams spawned on the Rift. Starter items appeared in their inventory and then they walked towards their respective lanes. There were no early invades, with both teams throwing some wards down in the river but otherwise staying near their outer towers. This gave Zephyr and Su Xue a few extra minutes to discuss the unexpected matchup in the mid lane.
Zephyr leaned towards his microphone and analysed, “Riven is a relatively good pick against Fizz. She doesn’t have much to worry about, especially early on. If Fizz tries to jump on her, she can just stun him with Ki Burst. And from there, well, Fizz should be happy if he escapes with his life! But that doesn’t mean it’s hopeless for Goalie. Fizz has this great skill called Playful/Trickster. If he times it just right, he can hop on top of his pole and dodge the stun. Then he suddenly wins. It’s really the first game all over. We’ve got a skill matchup in the mid lane!”
Su Xue nodded along with Zephyr’s analysis. She then grabbed her microphone and said, “Right, right, I totally agree! You’ve given a great analysis! But…” She dragged the pause, making everyone want to hear what she had to say next. Then she continued, “I predict Lin Feng is gonna stomp Goalie and win his lane in the first 10 minutes of the game!”