A game of League of Legends wasn’t over until one Nexus exploded. It was a simple fact that led to discussions that were still going strong five years after the game’s release. One side of the argument said that there was always a way back; no game was truly lost until the Nexus exploded. They continued to explain that the biggest reason why it often felt like a game was over before the Nexus exploded was because people gave up. But the ‘loss’ in someone’s mind wasn’t the same as the ‘loss’ on the board, and the one on the board wasn’t absolute until the Nexus exploded.
The other side of the argument explained that there was a point in the game where the game was still going on, but where there was no way in which the losing side could win unless the winning side made several large mistakes. These mistakes, this side argued, had to be of such magnitude and specificity that they only came to pass in less than 1 percent of all games in which the opportunities presented themselves. This percentage went down the higher the rank of the players on the board. So while the game wasn’t truly over, it was over in every other sense of the word.
This same argument broke out on the stands in the Chaoyang Sports Center. A group of people from Beijing refused to see that Team Beijing was losing. They pointed out possibilities they believed were there and argued that if Team Beijing exploited those opportunities, they could still win the game. Everyone else agreed there was a way for Team Beijing to win this first game of the Winter Collegiate Cup Finals against Team Shanghai, and that was by casting a curse on Team Shanghai that forced them to make a large number of mistakes.
Team Beijing hadn’t hired a witch and there was no cultivator who exited his closed door cultivation for them. They were forced to rely on their own ability. And their own ability simply wasn’t enough in this game.
To the surprise of absolutely nobody, Team Shanghai didn’t screw up. They played like they had all tournament. Calm and precise. They abused the long range from Varus to besiege the tower. When his arrows that never missed their mark culled the ranks from Team Beijing, Tang Bingyao’s Jinx moved in range of the tower and started firing with her minigun. She shredded through the protection of the tower and destroyed it in seconds.
FourEyesChan adjusted his glasses and said into his microphone, “My god. This is one of the most one sided games I’ve ever had to cast. Team Shanghai could send their Toplaner, Jungler and Support to the loo! Between Varus’ long ranged arrows that absolutely always smash their mark and Jinx just tearing through the towers… I don’t know what to say or how to cast this game. There’s really nothing to say, other than that congratulations are in order for Team Shanghai. They’ve dismantled Team Beijing. Well and truly dismantled them.”
“Mm-mhm!” Cherry mumbled, nodding. She looked at her microphone, trying to think of something to say but not coming up with anything. She finally leaned forward and said, “Let’s hope Team Beijing can put up a better fight next game. But for this one… We’ve got just a couple more seconds to go I think. They’ve already got two inhibitors.”
“And they just aren’t stopping!” FourEyesChan said. “They just keep going and going and with the blue buff Varus never has to stop and because Team Beijing isn’t getting any gold they can’t buy the items they need to stop him either. It’s hopeless. It’s over.”
“Good game to Team Shanghai…”
“Great game for a Team Shanghai fan. Not so great for quite literally everybody else…”
“GIVE THE NEUTRAL FAN A BETTER SHOW PLEASE!”
Team Beijing’s Jungler turned to his teammates and said through gritted teeth, “I know you told us to stay calm, Yu Ping. I know this. And I wanted to… I was going to! But come on! You saw that game! We were all there, huddling behind our stupid ass towers! You know why it ended up like this? Let me tell you why. It’s because Riot didn’t fucking nerf Varus! Everyone knew he was op as all fucks! Why didn’t they nerf him? Just explain this to me. Why didn’t they nerf him?”
Yu Ping closed his eyes and replied, “Please…”
“I know, I know!” Team Beijing’s Jungler exclaimed. “You’re right. You are, Yu Ping. We could’ve banned Varus. We probably should’ve! It’s on us. I just feel frustrated about it, you know? It’s such an obvious overpowered Champion. And that's why they won the game.”
Zhang Hongyi ground his teeth and growled, “Zeng Rui got so fucking lucky. We had him in bot and then the stupid Varus and his stupid arrows…”
“Don’t. Stop this,” Yu Ping said. He looked around at his teammates and continued, “Listen, guys. Yeah we lost. Yeah Varus was strong and destroyed us. We failed to shut him down early and paid for it. But it wasn’t just the Varus. Stop tunneling on him. This was a team effort by Team Shanghai—”
“Yeah right,” Team Beijing’s ad-carry mumbled.
Yu Ping glared at his teammates and said in a louder, more commanding voice, “If it wasn’t for the Evelynn camping mid, Varus would’ve never gotten strong like he did. If it wasn’t for Braum, the Jinx would’ve never gotten as strong as she did. If it wasn’t for Braum and Rumble layering their ultimates perfectly, we would’ve never lost the fight at the Dragon pit that badly. If it wasn’t for the Jinx getting kills and being far better than the B+ grade people say she is, we would’ve never lost as badly as we did.” He briefly paused and looked at his teammates for a bit. He then continued, “See how it wasn’t just Varus? See how it was a team effort in which each individual player contributed a vital part to Team Shanghai’s victory in that game? Yes, you’re right. By the end of it, it was just Varus harassing us and Jinx shredding towers. But to get to that point, it took a full team effort. Stop tunneling on the outcome and start analysing how they got there. If we want to win this series, we need to get over this Varus and improve together. As a team.”
The players from Team Beijing stared at Yu Ping. The anger and frustration they felt towards Lin Feng’s Varus slowly dissipated. One by one, they started nodding. And when they were all nodding, faster and faster, Zhang Hongyi was the first to open his mouth and say what they were all thinking, “You’re right, Yu Ping. You always are. That’s why you’re the best. Yes. We’ll stop tunneling. It was a team effort. Even…” He took a deep, long breath and said through gritted teeth, “Even Zeng Rui contributed to that victory.”
“Good,” Yu Ping said. He then focused his attention on his screen and added, “Then let’s get ready for the next game.” And time to make that asshole on his Varus pay! How dare that jerk underestimate me—ME!—by picking some weak early game Champion!
FourEyesChan grabbed the microphone from its stand on the caster desk and brought it to his mouth. He said, “Both teams have had a couple of minutes to unwind from the… the lack of action in game 1 if I’m being honest here. Let’s hope we get to see some more fireworks in game 2!”
“And we’re in Champion Select!” Cherry exclaimed. “Team Beijing is the Blue Team in this second game of the Finals, which means they’ve got the first ban… EVELYNN! THEY BANNED EVELYNN!”
FourEyesChan adjusted his glasses and analysed, “Smart ban. She helped Varus get through the early game. Which makes me wonder if Varus is going to be their next ban.”
“First up is Team Shanghai though! And they’re banning… Leona!” Cherry said into her microphone.
“AND VARUS! IT’S THE VARUS BAN!” FourEyesChan yelled into his microphone.
“They really did it! They banned Varus!”
“SCAREDY CATS! MEOW, MEOW!”
“CHICKENS! POCK, POCK, POCK!”
In Team Beijing’s soundproof booth, Yu Ping looked at his screen through narrowed eyes. They got the first choice of Champion and they went with Nidalee for their Jungler. Next up was Team Shanghai with two picks, then them again and then Team Shanghai again. It was in this round that Team Shanghai picked their Midlaner. Twisted Fate. He fucking did it again. This motherfucker. This little piece of shit! Yu Ping glanced across the stage at Team Shanghai’s soundproof booth. Are you really trying to say I’m so bad that you can’t even be arsed to take a decent early game Champion? You think I’m such a bad player that you can get by playing another weak early game Champion? Well. FUCK YOU! FUCK. YOU! He gritted his teeth in frustration and locked in Ahri. I’ll FUCKING SHOW YOU!
Zhang Hongyi glanced at Yu Ping and asked, “Wasn’t he supposed to play something more aggressive? Like Riven or Fizz?”
“He. Was,” Yu Ping replied, grinding his teeth.
Team Beijing’s Jungler interjected, “Huh? Nocturne? Their last pick is Nocturne?”
Winter Collegiate Cup Finals, Game 2
Team Beijing (BLUE) vs. Team Shanghai (RED)
Dr. Mundo vs. Irelia
Nidalee vs. Nocturne
Ahri vs. Twisted Fate
Ezreal vs. Sivir
Janna vs. Thresh
“Here we have it! The lineup for the second game!” FourEyesChan said into his microphone.
Cherry nodded and added, “And this is the first time we’re seeing Nocturne I think! With Twisted Fate and Nocturne, Team Shanghai’s got two global ultimate skills! Just imagine what they can all do with that!”
FourEyesChan grimaced and replied, “A whole lotta things. None of which are promising of an enjoyable game for anyone but Team Shanghai. We can only hope that Yu Ping learned his lesson mid and shuts the Twisted Fate down early.”
“Yep!” Cherry agreed. “If Twisted Fate and Nocturne are allowed to get going… Well, that’d be game, wouldn’t it?”
“It would,” FourEyesChan mumbled.
Sun Ruinian from Zhejiang University sat in the stands, listening to the discussion between the casters. He shook his head and said, “Yu Ping didn’t learn his lesson. If he had, he wouldn’t have picked Ahri.”
Zou Cheng grinned and chimed in, “He looks like a tilting man!”
Qiu Yijie from Fudan University glanced at Zou Cheng and replied, “Can’t blame Yu Ping. It’s hard not to tilt against Lin Feng. The way he plays… We both know how it feels to feel so goddamn powerless. Like it doesn’t matter what you do, he’ll stomp you anyway. But yeah… Yu Ping looks like a tilting man.”