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Orion You Glad to be CN•HOOK2 in this Deadlock?

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“What’s this? It looks like Yasuo’s heading to the bot lane!” Lightless exclaimed.”I think he’s going in for the gank! This is going to be good, guys!”

There were over a million viewers watching Lightless Heart’s historic stream, and they sent the chat buzzing with excitement and anticipation. The clash between CN•HOOK2 and Orion, only minutes ago, still continued to drown them in fear and hopelessness. Because it was clear that there was no way to pull one over on a player of Orion’s caliber. That was the truth behind facing a King. Despite CN•HOOK2’s incredible skills and gameplay, none of the viewers believed that it was possible for him to gain any advantage at all against Orion in lane. 

They were absolutely convinced of this after watching CN•HOOK2 and Orion poke at each other over the last few minutes until Zed and Yasuo both hit Level 6. It was obvious that both players were absurdly skilled, and evenly matched. Yasuo and Zed ducked and weaved through the Midlane, trying to predict each other’s next move and timing their abilities to where their opponent might be. It was a breath-taking dance upon the edge of a knife. One slip meant certain death. 

Sitting on the edge of their seats, wondering when that one slip would happen, if it would happen, that was more than the viewers could handle. The thought of CN•HOOK2 making a slight mistake that Orion would capitalize on to deal a mortal blow wrapped cold tendrils of fear around their hearts. It wasn’t a great feeling, and they made their sentiments known in the chat. Sitting through more agonizing minutes of this that stretched onto eternity was torture for all of the viewers. 

And then the game changed. CN•HOOK2 decided to roam to the Bot lane, and relief washed over all of the viewers. As far as they were concerned, the opponents in the bottom lane were far easier for CN•HOOK2 to deal with than Orion. Which meant that was a lane where he could get ahead of Orion and break the stalemate in Mid lane.  

It wasn’t that the players in the bottom lane were bad. They were all skilled at League and climbed to the very top of Challenger on the Korean server. But all of the games CN•HOOK2 played this night showed the viewers that most of those players posed no threat to CN•HOOK2! The viewers also understood by this point that CN•HOOK2’s map awareness and roam-sense was impeccable. If he decided to roam to the Bot lane, it meant he knew there was an opportunity there. And now that he’d decided to avoid playing an indefinite stalemate with Orion, this game was now winnable! 

Lin Feng sent his Yasuo running down the river towards Bot lane. Then he pinged to let the AD-Carry and Support on his team know that he was coming in for the gank. Then he slowed his Yasuo’s pace as he waited for Thresh and Tristana to create an opening for the engage. 

When Tristana and Thresh saw the pings from Yasuo and understood that he was roaming down to Bot lane for a gank, they started making changes to draw the Champions from the opposing team into a trap. First they started controlling the minion wave. They slowed the pace of their auto attacks until they stopped doing any damage to the enemy minions. They waited until an enemy minion was about to die before they attacked it to get the last hit. This pushed the wave back from the center of the lane towards the Blue Outer Tower. And slowly pulled the enemy Jinx and Janna towards the Blue Team’s side of Bot lane. 

When the game timer hit 6:40, Yasuo arrived in the Bot lane. He positioned himself behind the Blue Outer Tower and waited for an opening. Thresh understood that he’d be the one starting the engage, and pinged on top of Jinx. Then Thresh used Dark Passage and tossed a lantern over to Yasuo. Touching the lantern would instantly pull Yasuo over to Thresh’s side. Without pausing to give Jinx and Janna time to react, Thresh Flashed right at Jinx and landed on top of her, initiating the fight with a Flay. He whipped his chain and sickle at Jinx in an attempt to knock her back further towards Blue Team’s side of the lane while also slowing her! And just as the attack animation for Flay started up, Yasuo grabbed the lantern that Thresh had thrown out earlier and was instantly pulled to his side. 

Jinx was no slouch though, and didn’t sit there waiting to die. She reacted just as quickly and Flashed backwards just as Thresh unleashed his Flay, which allowed her to avoid the attack completely! Then she turned around and started racing towards the Red Outer Tower, while simultaneously throwing out her Flame Chompers behind her. The Chompers would either ensnare Yasuo and Thresh as they chased after her, or force them to walk around the trap. Either way, they would buy her precious seconds to get away from her attackers. 

Janna, Jinx’s Support, also reacted quickly to the gank. She sent a Tornado flying out at Thresh and Yasuo with Howling Gale, hoping to delay their pursuit even longer. Then Janna used Zephyr to summon an air elemental and sent it flying out at Yasuo to apply a slow on him. 

As all of this happened, Lin Feng remained calm. He saw the Tornado from Janna howling towards his Yasuo, with the air elemental from Zephyr following quickly behind it. But to Lin Feng’s eyes, they moved slowly. Almost unbearably slowly. Lin Feng’s mouse flew across the table and his fingers blurred across the keyboard as he went into action. First, his Yasuo dashed to a nearby enemy minion with Sweeping Blade to completely avoid Janna’s Tornado. Next, his Yasuo’s blade slashed out horizontally to create a Wind Wall. The air elemental from Zephyr helplessly crashed into it and dissipated into a gentle breeze. Finally, he used another Sweeping Blade to dash towards Janna and stabbed at her with a Steel Tempest! 

Jinx, noticing that Janna was in mortal danger, turned around and fired a plasma shell at Yasuo with her shock pistol Zapper. The plasma round, in addition to doing damage, also applied a slow. If it hit, it would give Janna enough time to recover and get away from Yasuo.

Lin Feng saw the attack, and again it moved slowly for him. He watched the plasma round from Zapper move towards his Yasuo frame-by-frame. In the state he was in, Lin Feng had more than enough time to react. Which he did quite easily by having his Yasuo dash to a nearby enemy minion with Sweeping Blade. An enemy minion that was coincidentally very close to the Jinx!  

Yasuo used yet another Sweeping Blade to dash straight into Jinx! Then he slashed into the Jinx with a basic attack. Just as the basic attack ended, Yasuo pierced through Jinx quickly with a Steel Tempest and then slashed out yet again with a basic attack. And then, Yasuo finished the combo with another Steel Tempest. This was the third cast of Steel Tempest, so the winds gathered around Yasuo’s blade whirled out at Jinx, knocking her up into the air! 

This was the condition needed for Yasuo’s Ultimate—Last Breath! It could only be used on enemies who were knocked up. Just as Jinx hit the highest point of her aerial ascent, Yasuo blinked over to her with Last Breath. Then he unleashed strike after strike on the helpless Jinx, each one holding her airborne for a little bit longer. Finally, Yasuo finished the attack with a downward slash that sent Jinx flying back down to the ground. Before the Jinx could get up, Yasuo gracefully landed down right beside her and beheaded her with a final basic attack!

《You have slain an enemy!》

While Yasuo had been busy with Jinx, Thresh and Tristana had not sat idly by. Thresh had followed right behind Yasuo and locked the Janna down. This gave Tristana the time needed to burst Janna down and kill her. 

《An enemy has been slain!》

The chat on Lightless’ stream erupted into fervent cheers as all of the viewers celebrated! It was a beautiful play to watch, and they’d been awestruck by CN•HOOK2’s Yasuo. The positioning, the dashes with Sweeping Blade, the precise application of Steel Tempest to maximize the knockup, all of it had been beautiful to see. And to top it all off, the gank had helped Blue Team secure two kills! One of those kills went to CN•HOOK2’s Yasuo, which meant he had a small advantage that he could build into a snowball over Orion!  Just as they started to celebrate the fact that CN•HOOK2 had finally found a decisive edge over Orion in the chat, the announcer’s voice rang out again. 

《An ally has been slain!》

The chat went completely silent. 

Lin Feng quickly panned his camera over to the Top lane to see what happened. Lulu, the Top lane Champion for Blue Team, had just been killed. 

When Lin Feng decided to roam into the Bot lane with his Yasuo, Orion decided to take his Zed into the Top lane for a gank. From the look of things, Red Team’s Rumble and Zed had ganged up on her and forced her back all the way to the safety of her Outer Tower. Then Rumble and Zed decided to dive into the Tower’s range to kill her. And it was Orion’s Zed who had gotten the kill.  

Lin Feng narrowed his eyes. Orion’s got just as much map awareness as I do right now. As expected of a King. That roam into Top lane was smart. Let’s see… the only thing that’s changed now is that Rumble has a significant CS advantage in Top lane. I got a kill and Orion got a kill, so we’re still going to be roughly even in the Mid lane. Alright. That’s fine. Let’s keep this going a little bit longer. 

The next few minutes of gameplay would prove Lin Feng’s assessment completely correct. The Mid lane had turned into a complete stalemate. 

Yasuo and Zed were locked in a frantic dance in the center of the Mid lane, neither budging an inch as they continuously probed each other for openings that weren’t there. Both Champions poked at each other while simultaneously trying to bait the other into making a mistake. But that didn’t happen, and they slowly whittled down each other’s health. The pace in the Mid lane was frantic, with even the most minute of details becoming significant as CN•HOOK2 and Orion searched for that decisive moment that would break the stalemate they were caught in.

As the health of both of the Champions slowly dropped lower and lower, every clash and minor poked provoked greater tension. Every single person watching Lightless’ stream held their breaths as they stared at their screens, afraid to blink and miss the decisive moment. 

Then all of them noticed Red Team’s Gragas slowly creeping towards the Mid lane for a gank, and they tensed up further as they worried about CN•HOOK2’s Yasuo getting caught and killed. But before despair could completely grip the chat, Blue Team’s Sejuani also started roaming up into the Mid lane. The general atmosphere of the chat pulled a complete 180 as all of them turned hopeful that Sejuani would help CN•HOOK2 create an opening that would allow him to kill Orion’s Zed.  

As the chat alternated rapidly between hope and despair, between the best case scenario and the worst case one, fast enough to give themselves whiplash, Red Team’s Gragas stepped back from the Mid lane and back into his Jungle. Sejuani also couldn’t find an opportunity to enter and also went back into her own Jungle. Chat erupted into confusion as neither of the outcomes they were predicting played out.

Lightless Heart noticed the straight confusion afflicting his viewers and smiled. He decided to clear things up for them, “Guys! What are you even thinking here? Look at those two! You think Orion is a shit player who is hardstuck at bronze? The guy is a King! And CN•HOOK2 is just as good as Orion. When you get to the level these two guys are at, you can easily predict where the enemy jungler is going to gank from and you adjust for that. More importantly, Orion and CN•HOOK2 are watching each other extremely closely. Any slight change in behavior from either of them would be instantly noticed by the other. Neither of them can set up a gank without the other figuring it out. That’s why the two Junglers backed away. If Gragas had gone in, he would’ve died. The same thing applies to Sejuani. The smartest move in that situation was to back away instead of attempting to force a gank and failing. Especially given the fact that Yasuo and Zed are both extremely mobile Champions who are difficult to catch.” 

While Lightless Heart spoke to his viewers, Yasuo and Zed continued to poke at each other and farmed minions. The only time the frantic dance between the two Midlaners found a brief interlude was when they back away to place wards down. And then it started up again at the same intense pace. 

Yasuo and Zed’s creep scores slowly increased, with neither one pulling ahead of the other. Eventually, the game hit the 10 minute mark and both of them recalled back to base to heal up and buy items. Then they returned to the Mid lane again. Their deadlock continued to rage. 

More than a million viewers in Lightless Heart’s chat complained about how their nerves were fried from all the pressure and how they were soaked in sweat. They talked to each other about how they would’ve already tried to force an opening if they were in CN•HOOK2’s shoes. Or how they would’ve slipped up and gotten killed by now. All of them knew that maintaining a deadlock at this level of play for this long was well beyond an ordinary player. It took nerves of absolute steel, and none of them could pull it off. 

Lightless Heart noticed the conversation taking place in his stream chat, and his expression turned serious. “They’re not going to drag it out much longer, guys. Right now, both Yasuo and Zed have their Flashes and Ignites off cooldown. And they’ve got more than enough damage to kill each other. This is it. We’re about to see this deadlock break and find out who is going to win this game!”

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Shop Rite & Positive Confusing Racism (I think?)

Dev Thought: Alright bois! You got just me today because Shanks is feeling bad about the terrible thing he did to that poor girl the other day. Seriously, what a stupid idea. I would’ve stopped him if I’d known it was happening. Unfortunately, I was only told about the stupid thing he was doing AFTER he’d already done it. Can’t put the toothpaste back in the tube retroactively, right?

Anyways, this is something that happened to me a few days ago. You guys need some context for it though. For those of you that don’t know, I live in New Jersey. Specifically, the part of New Jersey that’s 10 minutes away from Manhattan. It’s a quaint little town. Very quiet, there’s a nice ice cream place in the center of town, lots of Mom’n’Pop stores, there’s like five parks. It’s such a weirdly suburban place for being two steps outside of NYC. Unfortunately, the people living in NYC who pay way too much rent for way too little space have noticed that this place exists right outside the city. They have also figured out that they can come live here in NJ for significantly cheaper rent, nicer apartments, and not worry about parking.

So all these city people have started flooding into my super nice town. And my super nice town has responded by constructing large apartment buildings to house all of these people. But that’s changed the general make-up of my town. See, for the most part, this place has historically been SUPER WHITE. When my family first moved here several years ago, people used to look at us funny because we were literally the only brown people in the entire place. Since that time, more brown people and Asians have moved in, and the white people have grown accustomed to having us here. Actually, before I go on, let me add a minor correction. My entire town is filled with rich white people. Not the average middle class white people. I’m talking about skiing in Colorado, country home in Vermont rich white people. Just to put that into perspective for you guys, I drive a 2021 Hyundai Sonata. Which is not a bad car by any stretch of the imagination. It’s just a very affordable budget car. I specifically got this car because it can be easily repaired pretty much anywhere, especially in the more remote parts of the country I go to for rotations to learn how to practice rural medicine. My car also happens to be quite literally the cheapest one in my entire apartment complex. And also half the town. I’ve gotten pulled over multiple times by some very friendly cops who wanted to know if I was lost. I’ve also had some nosy neighbors call the cops about a “strange car in the parking garage”. Because they couldn’t believe that someone who lived in the same apartment complex as them would drive such a cheap car. My town is a weird place.

Now. There’s a super fancy Shop Rite that everyone uses as a local convenience store to quickly grab day-to-day groceries. Because Whole Foods is a little far. When the hurricane hit us a couple of months ago, it completely wrecked the Shop Rite. They had to close down for repairs and restocked, and they recently opened up again. I like Shop Rite because I subsist on a diet of Bagel Bites and Hot Pockets, and they stock them there. Now there is something weird about the Shop Rite that sits in the middle of my town. Ya see, all these snooty rich people that live here don’t work at the Shop Rite. But someone needs to work there, right? So my town imports people from the next town over to work at Shop Rite, the gas stations, all the jobs that the rich snooty people don’t want to do but need done.

Now that you’ve got all the background details, let’s get into things. The Shop Rite has recently finished repairs from the Hurricane and reopened. It’s been a tough few months without Hot Pockets, so I’m happy that I’m finally going to get the food that makes my brain go brrrrr. I drive out to the Shop Rite, and there’s a giant tent in the middle of the parking lot. This is new, so I park my car and wander over. There’s a bunch of people handing out fliers and yelling and being angry. I’ve never seen the white people in my town be angry before, so this was very interesting.

The entire debate and “awareness campaign” centered around the influx of people from NYC in the town. They wanted to stop the re-zoning of several commercial plots into residential ones to set up more affordable apartment complexes, and they wanted to stop the people moving out of NYC from coming here. I go up to one of the people who seemed in charge of this whole thing, a nice middle-aged white man who I’d seen at the ice cream place and at the Spring Carnival before. I ask him, “What up?”

He looks at me and goes, “This is an issue that’s important for you young people too! The future of the town is at stake! We need to force the Town Council to make changes before it’s too late!”

I go, “Okay. But what’s happening?”

He looks me dead in the eyes, completely serious, and goes, “All these city *iggers are coming in to steal jobs from our *iggers! We need to stand up for our *iggers because they understand us and how things are. These city *iggers are making noise about wanting to live in the town and work in the stores! It’s never been that way, not as long as I’ve lived in this town and I was born here! Our *iggers understand. They drive in from out of town, work, and leave town. They don’t make a mess or try to change things! We  like them, and these out-of-town *iggers from the city are trying to steal their jobs!”

I honestly did not know what to say, so I nodded and took the flyer in his hand. Then I walked into Shop Rite, got some Hot Pockets, and drove home. I still have no idea how to respond to whatever-the-fuck that speech was about. I can’t even tell if the sentiment behind it is positive or negative. I’m genuinely in awe of this man’s ability to seamlessly combine several layers of racism into one confusing clusterfuck. Also, that dude was kinda loud and dropped like 12 Hard Rs in his speech to me, and not one person batted an eye. I’m not sure if it was because he was doing this all day and the people around him were used to it by the time I got there, or if no one gave a fuck. But it didn’t seem like a particularly safe rabbit hole for me to investigate.

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