Yu Ping closed his eyes and focused on his breathing. Varus is the diametrical opposite of Ahri in terms of playstyle. He is an immobile, attack damage Champion who wants to snipe down opponents from a distance, while my Ahri is an in-your-face ability power assassin. But the first couple of levels will be skill based, especially since he went with Cleanse. But after Level 6—
《Welcome to Summoner’s Rift!》
Yu Ping opened his eyes and smiled. He mumbled, “But after Level 6, I’ve got my jumps and then there’s nothing he can do to me anymore. I just need to get there without falling behind.” He turned his head to look at his teammates. They were all focused on their screen, clicking their mice to buy items and have their Champions move down the different lanes. They’ve got this. I need to make sure I do too, because this game is going to come down to mid. If I take out Varus, we win the 5 vs 4 that remains. He clenched his fist and said over the team’s voice chat, “Standard opening.”
Across the stage in Team Shanghai’s soundproof booth, Lin Feng bought his starter item and then had Varus run towards the mid lane outer tower. Hmm… Winter Collegiate Cup. Teamplay. But I first need to win my lane. I’m playing against an Ahri and Yu Ping is a decent enough Midlaner. I have to be focused. Her Charm can kill me and after Level 6 positioning becomes far more important because of her ultimate. I’ve got Cleanse, but that is to make a play and not to escape from one. He panned his camera towards the Red team’s Blue Buff Camp, which was hidden from him by the fog of war. Their Gragas is most likely starting here, which means I need to hover closer towards the top of my lane at the beginning and then slowly rotate towards the bottom side as he runs up for his Red Buff…
The minions marched into the lane and started fighting each other at the halfway point. Lin Feng had his Varus join them, firing arrows at minions while keeping an eye on Ahri. He paid close attention to her movements, searching for habits and potential mistakes.
She just needs to— Lin Feng suddenly narrowed his eyes. Yu Ping’s Ahri had stepped forward to last hit a caster minion. He pressed down on the Q key, making Varus pull on his bowstring, charging up for an attack. And then he waited, patiently. The range of the shot kept increasing, so Ahri couldn’t outrun it. When the two minions between Ahri and Varus were almost dead, Lin Feng released his finger. A crimson blight arrow pierced through the minions, killing them, and then penetrated Ahri!
Lin Feng grinned and rolled his shoulders. It was pivotal for Varus to hit these long ranged Piercing Arrows if he wanted to win the lane. They were the primary damage dealers of his kit. Lin Feng rolled his neck and mumbled, “Not too shabby. Looks like I’ve still got it today.”
Lin Feng pressured on the lane, pushing it forward to Red Team’s outer tower. The first minute since the Jungle Camps had spawned passed, so he started repositioning towards the bottom side of the lane. He continued pushing the minion wave from there while also keeping an eye on the top side brush. I’m pushing it. We’re 4 minutes in. It’s about time for Gragas to come in for a gank. If he’s coming mid. Hmm… He clicked on his minimap, moving his camera towards the top lane. He followed up right away with the spacebar to focus his camera back on Varus. The top lane was revealed to him for less than a second, but it was long enough to give him an idea about the way in which Team Beijing’s Darius was pushing the lane. Lin Feng repeated this process to check on several locations on the map, until he spotted Gragas. He’s mid, just a bit late.
Team Beijing’s Gragas ran into the mid lane from the top side brush. He aimed at Lin Feng’s Varus with Body Slam and used Flash to cover a bigger distance. Yu Ping’s Ahri followed up on Gragas with a Flash-Charm combination. The manifestation of pure love in the form of a pink heart flew at Varus, forcing him towards Gragas.
Chu Fang heard the audience erupt. There was such power behind their cheers that it felt like a knock to the back of his head. He grimaced and looked at Team Shanghai’s soundproof booth, clenching his fists until his knuckles were white. Come on, Lin Feng! Don’t let them get you! COME ON!
The gank came as no surprise to Lin Feng. He’d prepared for it before the game even began. The skills from Gragas and Ahri were layered well enough that he had to use his Flash to get away from them. The veil of light fell over his Varus, carrying him back towards his outer tower just as the Body Slam and Charm arrived where he stood a moment ago.
Team Beijing’s Gragas clapped his hands together and exclaimed over the team’s voice chat, “Damn! So close! I thought for sure we had him!” He shook his head in disappointment and added, “I was so hoping he’d let your Charm hit him and Cleanse it and then try to run away… Then I could’ve knocked him right up! But he Flashed. Sadge.”
Yu Ping glanced at his Jungler and replied, “It’s fine. We got his Flash and he’s missing a full minion wave at least, that’s plenty.” He then turned his attention back towards his screen. He narrowed his eyes and focused on Varus. You would’ve never gotten hit by the Gragas Body Slam. You knew this was coming, didn’t you? You’re a far better player than he’s expecting you to be. We’ve all watched you play… But that pressure you put on your opponent… Seeing it and experiencing it are two entirely different things. This is going to be a real challenge. He smiled when that last sentence appeared in his mind. He nodded and mumbled, “You’re exactly what I’ve been searching for.”
The fans, the caster and even the players had most of their focus on the mid lane. They all knew that the outcome from that lane would for a large part determine the outcome of the entire game. That wasn’t to say nothing happened in the other lanes. Zeng Rui and Tang Bingyao were trying as best as they could to stay even with Team Beijing’s Botlaners. But their choice of Champions, Braum and Jinx, wouldn’t start shining until they had their first items. Team Beijing countered this with their Leona and Lucian pick. These two Champions were very strong from the first minute of the game.
Zhang Hongyi was grinning, excited. He said to his ad-carry, “We’ve got this! Zeng Rui sucks! I’m goin’ in!” He then had his Leona dash in on Tang Bingyao’s Jinx, who countered the engage by stunning Leona. But the time Tang Bingyao spent defending against the Leona was time Team Beijing’s Lucian used to get in some damage on her. She retreated back towards her outer tower safely, but lost a bit of health.
Zhang Hongyi laughed and shouted at his computer, “If that’s all you got, you better start packing, SUCKER!”
Across the stage in Team Shanghai’s soundproof booth, Zeng Rui grimaced. I should’ve jumped faster there and given Tang Tang a shield. She wouldn’t have lost so much health. It’s just… I used that shield a few seconds ago. It was still on cooldown. He massaged his temple. Focus, Zeng Rui. Focus! He glanced next to him at his teammates, all four of them staring at their screen. Like them. Focus. Don’t let Zhang Hongyi get to you. He took a deep, long breath and then asked over the team’s voice chat, “Zhang Hao. How you holding up?”
“Holding up so far,” Zhang Hao replied, tense. “Not sure how long I can handle this though…”
Zeng Rui nodded and said, “Do your best. BunBun won’t have much time to help you. Just stick to your outer tower if you have to.”
“Will do!” Zhang Hao agreed.
At 5 minutes, Gragas returned to the mid lane for another gank. He waited in the brush above the lane for Lin Feng’s Varus to walk within range of the skill. But Varus never got close enough. Team Beijing’s Jungler grumbled, waited a bit more, and then activated Body Slam. His Gragas barreled into the lane, stopping just short of Lin Feng’s Varus. And behind Varus he discovered An Xin’s Evelynn. His eyes grew round and wide and he cursed, “Fuck!”
“Back!” Yu Ping ordered over the team’s voice chat, using a defensive Charm to stop Lin Feng and An Xin from engaging.
All the way over in Shanghai, Su Xue sat behind her computer. Her stream was running and she was watching the Winter Collegiate Cup broadcast with her viewers. When Gragas engaged, her heart rate sped up and she put her hands to her mouth. And after the gank failed, she breathed out in relief. She wiped her forehead and exclaimed, “PFEW! That was so close! Did you guys see?”
「thank god he’s still alive! bunbun really saved him there」
「GRAGAS PUT A TENT IN MID!!」
「Y NO COUNTERKILL!?!?!? COME ON LIL BRO< PICK UP YER PACE!!!!」
「they just knew the gank was coming! How did they know? Bunbun sat there for a good 10 seconds early!!!!」
Back in Beijing, Lin Feng exclaimed, “Told you they want me dead!” He then grinned and continued, “Good thing I knew this was coming and had you sit behind me! No way I’d fall for such an obvious plan! I’m way too good for that. Right! Speaking of which, you can go take the Wraith Camp, but… get back here after. They’re gonna try this again in like a minute.”
An Xin looked at Lin Feng and winked at him. She replied, “Won’t it be easier if I just stay with you then? Nice and tight and since I’m invisible, no one will see it! All they’ll see is you kis—”
“Great idea!” Lin Feng interrupted. He pinged on top of his Varus and continued, “I’ve got a plan! Come, sit here! Right on top of me! Don’t leave! You’ll love this!”
At 6 minutes, Yu Ping’s Ahri reached Level 6. Yu Ping chewed on his tongue and scrunched his eyes. I could engage. Varus is still Level 5 after missing that minion wave after the first gank. He does have Cleanse. That might screw me over. Shit, I can’t think about this for too long. I need to do something. He pursed his lips and moved his head left and right and finally clicked next to his outer tower. His Ahri followed the command and retreated, then started recalling back to base. I’ll just recall for now. When I get back, I’ll look for an opening to kill him.
Evelynn was a Champion who walked the shadows. She only revealed herself when she attacked or used a skill. She’d been sitting in the mid lane, patiently waiting. Yu Ping couldn’t see this, but the audience could. They were growing progressively confused about this choice by Team Shanghai, especially when she didn’t leave even after Yu Ping’s Ahri recalled back to base.
“What’s the Eve doing?”
“She’s just sitting there… Did her mouse stop working or something?”
“A bug? Something like that? She’s stealing all the experience from Varus!”
“This is gonna ruin mid for Lin Feng!”
“GO AWAY EVE! LET VARUS GET EXPERIENCE!”
“Are they trolling…?”
There were only a few people in the audience who were starting to see what was happening. They were the experienced and high ranked League of Legends players, like Qiu Yijie from Fudan University. He was watching the Finals together with his teammates and Zhejiang University. He shook his head and said, “Eve’s playing the long game… That kind of patience is so impressive.”
Sun Ruinian shook his head and added, “It is. Yu Ping is going to be in for one nasty surprise.”
Back in Team Beijing’s soundproof booth, Yu Ping scrunched his nose and tilted his head. The minion wave is gone. Why is he still Level 5? Did I forget about a minion? Maybe it happened when Eve ganked before? In which case he needs three more minions at the most. That’ll be it. He grinned when he noticed Lin Feng’s Varus continuing to push despite his Ahri returning back to the lane. He’s trying to get those three minions. Too greedy! I’ll make you pay for that!
“Gragas. Mid. Now!” Yu Ping ordered over the team’s voice chat. He then focused on Lin Feng’s Varus and narrowed his eyes, mumbling, “Now you’re trying to back, huh? Too late. Far too late. Watch this!” He pressed on his R key, activating Spirit Rush!
Lin Feng laughed when he saw Ahri dashing towards him. He charged up a Piercing Arrow and aimed at a caster minion behind Ahri. The crimson blight arrow shot through Ahri and then the minion. The experience from killing the minion brought Varus to Level 6. He learned Chains of Corruption!
Yu Ping’s Ahri dashed a second time with Spirit Rush and arrived right in front of Lin Feng’s Varus. She followed up by blowing a kiss at Varus. Charm! Yu Ping’s fingers were gliding across his keyboard, activating Ahri’s damage abilities Orb of Deception and Fox-Fires. But there was no one faster than Lin Feng when he knew exactly what his opponent was doing. He fired Chains of Corruption at Ahri, paused for a brief moment to let the Charm hit and then cleansed its effect. After which he sidestepped the Orb of Deception.
“W-what?” Yu Ping muttered. He clicked on Lin Feng’s Varus, making Ahri auto attack him.
Lin Feng grinned. He cast Hail of Arrows, and while his Varus took aim he shouted over the team’s voice chat, “BunBun, I CHOOSE YOU!”
Yu Ping felt his stomach drop. He stared at the Evelynn stepping out from the shadows. It finally all made sense to him. That’s why it took him so long to hit Level 6… FUUUCK!