Zhang Hongyi from Team Beijing wasn’t cheering with the other people in the Tianhe Stadium. He reclined back in his chair and laughed. “That’s right,” he said. “That’s the useless kind of play that Zeng Rui is known for!” He turned his head to look at Yu Pin and asked, “Did you see that gank? You really want to worry about this team with a player like him? He’s so far up his own ass that he can’t even tell he’s smelling shit anymore!”
Team Beijing’s Jungler leaned forward, smiling schadenfreude, and chimed in, “That’s karma for you! They’re going to lose because that moron thought he could just Jungle, like it doesn’t require any skill… News flash, it does! Jungling isn’t easy! It takes practice and skill and talent! That dude has none of it!”
Yu Ping nodded, slowly. He looked down from the large LCD screen at Team Shanghai’s soundproof booth. Through the glass panels he could see five heads full of hair popping up above the monitors. They aren’t reacting like Team Guangzhou… Are they really not tilting? They should have tilted from that top gank. Mid failed at preventing Twisted Fate from using his ultimate and the Jungler made a horrendous gank… He glanced at his teammates and said, “I don’t know what’s gotten into them, but it’s pretty obvious they aren’t playing their main roles. Dangerous game they’re playing…”
The cheers and applause for Goalie’s gank in the top lane quieted down enough in the stadium where the players in the player seating area could hear the members from Team Beijing discussing the game. Most nodded in agreement, then started chatting with their own teammates about how it did indeed look like Team Shanghai was throwing this game by playing a suboptimal team composition. But there were a couple of teams, specifically those who played against Team Shanghai before, who knew the sheer raw talent that Lin Feng possessed.
Qiu Yijie from Fudan University looked around at the people making fun of Team Shanghai and muttered, “Lin Feng got a penta last game and these guys are already making fun of him. Guess I shouldn’t be surprised. They hate it that he got a penta and they’re just hoping it was a fluke. But writing him off this game, that’s just dumb. He’s playing ad-carry. Give him until late game, when he can start carrying.”
“He’s shown his skills already too,” Sun Ruinian added. “The teamfights are going to be really interesting. I can see him carrying them hard, kind of like how he carried from the mid lane… with a penta.”
Zuo Cheng clenched his fists and said, “That Morgana, the girl? She’s playing quite well too to be honest. She’s better than I am, I think… But I mean, she’s going even with Goalie! How many Midlaners can do that? Two! Her and Lin Feng!” He wrapped his hands around his mouth and shouted towards the stage, “GO BUNBUN! KICK ASS!”
Zephyr repositioned in his chair and watched the monitor. For the first time in three games, there was a real lull in the game. Team Guangzhou knows they can’t fight Team Shanghai right now because of the Morgana and Rumble ultimate combo, but Team Shanghai doesn’t have the Champions to force a– Wait, I need to say this, not think it. He grabbed his microphone and turned his head enough where he could see both Su Xue and the monitor. He said, “The second Dragon is spawning in a couple of seconds, but it’s already obvious Team Guangzhou isn’t going to contest it. How about you run us through why, EveningSnowfall?”
“Okay, okay!” Su Xue replied, cheerful. She looked at the monitor and nodded at herself. I know why! It’s because Team Shanghai has Morgana and Rumble– Talk! I need to cast! She coughed, then smiled and analyzed, “That’s because Team Shanghai has Morgana and Rumble! These two Champions have skills that are especially hard to deal with in the early mid game, which is around now, the 15th minute of the game! Team Guangzhou is probably going to wait this out for another 5 to 10 minutes, so that they can get enough gold and buy some magic resist.”
The Dragon spawned and Team Shanghai moved towards the Dragon pit as a unit. They warded and searched looking for potential places where the teamfight might start, but Team Guangzhou completely ignored the Dragon. They stayed in their lanes and continued to farm minions, allowing Team Shanghai to take the Dragon uncontested.
Zephyr said into his microphone, “EveningSnowfall is absolutely right! A little extra bit of analysis also shows us that Team Shanghai doesn’t really have a Champion to engage. Sure they’ve got Jarvan IV, but then what? He can towerdive and no one can follow up. What they really need is something like a Leona or a Lee Sin. Or something else like that. Too bad they don’t. The balance of this game is starting to tip towards Team Guangzhou.”
“Yeah…” Su Xue mumbled, frowning. She continued, “It looks like Team Shanghai is going to try and push mid lane now though! And the mid outer tower is almost down! It is down! They just tore through that! Oh my god that came out of nowhere!”
“Those last two hits it needed,” Zephyr replied, laughing. He then pointed at the monitor and added, “But see there? Now they’re at the inner tower and Team Guangzhou has put up their defenses. There’s nothing Team Shanghai can do here but waste their time. They’ll recall back to base in a bit without having gained anything.”
Zeng Rui’s Jarvan IV couldn’t do anything but look menacing in front of Team Guangzhou’s inner tower. He stared at his monitor and watched Lin Feng’s Kalista hurl spears and An Xin’s Morgana conjure some dark magic, but neither did much damage. He sighed and said over the team’s voice chat, “BunBun’s Flash is on cooldown, so her flash-ult combo isn’t going to work, and I don’t think we can towerdive this…”
Zhang Hao glanced at his minimap and replied, “I would really like to get that wave in top lane…”
“You’re right. You’re right,” Zeng Rui mumbled. He shook his head and ordered, “Let’s fall back. Zhang Hao go get the wave in top, Lin Feng get bot.” He had his Jarvan IV run into his own Jungle and started clearing Camps, starting with the Wolf Camp and then going up to the top side Jungle to take on the Wraith Camp. All the while he kept his eyes locked on his minimap, searching. Thinking. This is a tough game… I’m not a Jungler and Tang Tang isn’t playing great as Support either. Well, she isn’t a Support to begin with and her pinky probably hurts a lot right now. BunBun’s a great Midlaner and all… but she’s not like the thundering dumbass and we’re really missing his flair right now. We need him to do something…
Zeng Rui panned his camera towards the bot lane, where Lin Feng was farming minions a couple of steps in front of his inner tower. Why are those two Botlaners from Team Guangzhou letting him push a bit…? He panned his camera towards the mid lane, a sensation he couldn’t yet place swirling in his stomach. Twisted Fate is still mid. His ultimate is up soon, but he’s still— His eyes grew round and wide. “GANK! BOT! GANK! GANK!” he shouted over the team’s voice chat.
A large red, yellow eye appeared above each of Team Shanghai’s Champions, the telltale sign of Twisted Fate’s ultimate skill–Destiny! Zeng Rui clicked on the bot lane inner tower, frantic. Run you stupid Jarvan! Get down there! He ordered over the team’s voice chat, “Zhang Hao! Get down there! Help Lin Feng! BunBun, you too! Tang Tang! Where is Tang Tang? Why is she in base? Get to Lin Feng! HELP LIN FENG!”
Lin Feng let his hand go off his keyboard and scratched the back of his head. He said over the team’s voice chat, “Guess I’m fucked, eh?” He chuckled and placed his hand back on his keyboard. Twisted Fate teleported in behind him and Team Guangzhou’s Irelia was teleporting on a Blue minion. And now… He glanced at his skills. Most were off cooldown, but none were going to save him from a four man dive. His teammates weren’t close enough to save him either. Crap.
Team Guangzhou’s Thresh flashed forward and Flayed Lin Feng’s Kalista backwards, then threw a Death Sentence that connected. From behind him, Tristana Rocket Jumped into the fight and on the far side Goalie’s Twisted Fate was running in with a Gold Card in his hand. They combined their crowd control skills well enough that Lin Feng couldn’t move at all, and he chose not to use Cleanse. He didn’t believe he could escape even if he did. The damage stacked up and before Team Guangzhou’s Irelia finished teleporting to the bot lane, Lin Feng’s Kalista died to Seo’s Tristana.
《You have been slain.》
“WHAT A GANK!” Zephyr exclaimed into his microphone. He briefly paused, his full focus on the game, then added, “And it’s not over yet! Braum has arrived! He hits Twisted Fate with Winter’s Bite! Twisted Fate is slowed! Rumble finished his teleport! He’s using his Flamespitter! Are they going to get the return kill?”
Su Xue sat on the edge of her seat, nervous. She clutched her microphone with both hands and screamed, “Morgana is also coming down! Team Shanghai can turn this around! Twisted Fate took a couple of hits, they might kill him! The others know! Look, there! Tristana Rocket Jumped away and Thresh is running! Irelia is with them too! It’s just Twisted Fate in the back and he’s slowed by the Winter’s Bite from Braum!”
“Aah. But they’ve got Thresh,” Zephyr said. He clicked his tongue and continued, “He just has to throw— Yep, there, see? He just throws his lantern, Twisted Fate clicks it, and they’re gone. They got the kill and they got out. Beautiful gank. Like I said, beautiful.”
“AAAAND HE SCORES!”
“Team Guangzhou looks like a different team… They look strong!”
“Goalie and Seo going to carry hard now!”
“Can’t believe how stupid Team Shanghai was to change their lineup…”
“Who even picks Morgana mid? Such a troll pick, lawl.”
The cheering for Team Guangzhou didn’t last long, especially not in the player seating area. Team Shanghai’s changes between the second and the third game were too significant. The other competing teams started arguing again that they’d never seen such an arrogant group of kids and that they were getting what they deserved; an assbeating.
Zuo Cheng looked around him at his fellow competitors and grimaced. He said to his teammates, “I want to tell them wrong! I know how good Lin Feng is and how good BunBun is and how good…” He shook his head and sighed. “Team Guangzhou is completely dictating the pace of the game at this point. They’re picking off players from Team Shanghai where they can and beyond that they’re just waiting for their Tristana to scale. This is going to become a very ugly game for Team Shanghai if things keep going…”
“Looks like it,” Sun Ruinian agreed. He took a long, deep breath and said, “Team Shanghai needs to be ready to counter Twisted Fate’s ultimate. They can’t just let him move around and do what he wants. If they still want to win, that’s what they need to do.”
“We can’t drag this, guys. We can’t!” Zeng Rui said over the team’s voice chat, worried. He glanced at An Xin from the corners of his eyes, hiding the skepticism. She isn’t the thundering dumbass. She isn’t fucking Maple! And I don’t even think Maple can force a play here! How can he? It’s Morgana! She is the most passive thing ever! That’s why she’s a Support! She’s a Support! He breathed in and forced himself to calm down. BunBun said it’d be fine. She doesn’t look worried now, so why should I worry? Why am I worried? When have they ever let me down? Never! Right. But what do we do? What should I do? I’m the shot caller and I’m all out of ideas… I just don’t know. I don’t know… Shit I hate this feeling! I need to be in control! This isn’t control! This is… Dammit!
“The third Dragon is spawning in a minute,” Lin Feng said. He then scratched the back of his head and complained, “They keep focusing on me, so damn annoying. That’s why I don’t like playing ad-carry. It’s just too squishy and I can’t peel like I can with my Midlaners! But I should be good after the next fight. I just need a few more items. Just a little bit more, and then I’ll carry this game for you guys!”
Zeng Rui felt his eyelids twitch. Where does he always get his confidence from? Complaining one minute and then casually talking about carrying in the next! What is this ridiculousness? It’s stupid and it’s… it’s… He did get a penta last game. He looked across the long desk at his teammates. Lin Feng looked a more serious version of his usual cheerful self, Tang Bingyao was nodding and Zhang Hao was visibly trying to look happy. BunBun… What’s going on with you? He looked at her, searched her expression and posture for a tell, but came up empty. She looked like a blank slate. There was no frown or smile on her face, nor any tension in her shoulders. She looked calm, yet not relaxed. What’s going on in her head?
“Okay,” Zeng Rui said. “Dragon. Move. Ward. Let’s do our thing and fight for it.”
Zeng Rui didn’t need to say the words. Everyone was already moving, working together without needing him to tell them how to exactly move. He’d told them often enough; they knew what he wanted. He smiled when he saw it, then focused. He panned his camera and searched for Team Guangzhou’s players, and then he looked for openings they might abuse and how to counter them.
The Tianhe Stadium buzzed to life. The last few minutes of gameplay, aside from a gank on Lin Feng’s Kalista, had been rather dull. Nothing really happened because Team Guangzhou played it so defensively that it was impossible for anything to happen. But on the large LCD screen, all the fans and other competing teams could see the movements from both teams around the Dragon pit. Team Shanghai was throwing around their weight, getting in the wards they wanted. But Team Guangzhou was there too, searching for a way in.
Zhang Hongyi from Team Beijing grinned, laughed. Cried from joy. He said to his teammates, “Team Guangzhou’s already won this one! That’s what Team Shanghai gets for exploring the depths of their ass cavity to such an extent! Goalie’s fed, Seo’s getting there and that Morgana is more useless than my two year old cousin on Zed!”
Goalie said over the team’s voice chat in broken Chinese, “Wait. Near Dragon.” He then turned to look at Seo and continued in Korean, “We’ll let them set up their vision. We’ve got my ult for our vision. And if they’re stupid enough to actually start Dragon, we’ll pile on them and win.”
Seo chuckled and replied, “Sounds good. Lee and Irelia can jump the backline and we can crush their frontline and then we’ll crush their hopes of making it to the next round and then we’ll crush their faces!”
“Good. Throw a Scrying Orb on the Dragon pit for me,” Goalie said over the team’s voice chat.
“Sure, sure,” Seo replied. He glanced down and placed a Scrying Orb on the Dragon pit, revealing the powerful monster and Braum and Jarvan IV from Team Shanghai. He shrugged and continued attacking the minions in the mid lane, saying, “Looks like they haven’t started yet.”
“Be ready. Soon now,” Goalie said.
Seo nodded and had his Tristana kill the last Red minion in the mid lane. He then clicked towards the Dragon pit. His Tristana walked through the brush below the mid lane into the river. He knew there were Champions from Team Shanghai near the Dragon pit, but he couldn’t see them right now. He scrunched his eyebrows. Shouldn’t one of them be in front of me? I don’t— His eyes shot open. SHIT! I need to ward the bru— His stomach dropped. A Dark Binding appeared from the brush to the left in front of him. SHIT-FUCK!