《An enemy has been slain!》
The announcer’s voice rang out, confirming that CN•HOOK2’s Yasuo had killed Orion’s Zed. But all of the viewers on Lightless Heart’s stream remained frozen in shock. Over a million people simply could not believe or understand what they had just seen. Everything that happened over the last three seconds in this duel between two Mid lane gods happened so quickly that no one could process the series of actions that had taken place.
The fight had blown all of their minds. And it was important to remember that most of these viewers had seen many LPL games recently. Including the amazing clash between Hermes and AyDeeCee that had happened just earlier this afternoon. But none of those games could hold a candle to what they had just witnessed. This was a dance of move and counter-move, of action and reaction, all while standing on a razor’s edge. This was what a 1v1 between two Midlaners looked like at the highest level!
Slowly, almost tentatively at first, the chat on Lightless Heart’s stream stirred to life. The viewers registered their shock, admiration, confusion, and excitement over the fight. Then the flood gates broke and the chat roared to life. The people on the League of Legends forums, on the other hand, wasted no time putting up clips of the fight. There were already posts detailing the actions and decision-making that Orion and CN•HOOK2 went through during the whole thing. Long posts detailing analysis and comparisons to previous fights were already starting to go up.
Lightless’ eyes were still wide open with undisguised shock and admiration. My god! I know I was looking forward to seeing what Hook2 could pull out in this fight… but… oh my god! I never thought his Yasuo would be this good! Or that he’d pull… whatever that was against Orion!
“What. A. God!” Hermes exclaimed. He sucked in a cold breath of air. “I’ll tell you this, Nightsong. If I was playing Yasuo against Orion’s Zed there, it would not have gone that way at all. I would not have been able to kill Zed. Hook2 stomped all over Orion with nothing but pure mechanics! Now we know that Hook2 can go toe-to-toe with a King! That’s a confirmed fact now.”
“God damn… did that really just happen…?” Aurous stared at the computer screen in complete shock. No words could describe the emotional storm raging through him right now. After a while, he finally calmed down. But he still couldn’t hide the tremor in his voice. Or the conflicting emotions in his heart. “Maple… he’s already this strong. When he returns to pro play, even Hermes will fold like a cheap deck of cards!”
Shi Hang smiled, “I don’t know about all that. It’s more that Lin Feng’s been pushed and backed into a corner harder than anything he’s dealt with in the last few years. He’s turned into a berserker. Actually! He’s turned into Tryndamere! Everything is being pulled out of him right now and he’s unstoppable for a short time. But he can’t keep this up consistently. Orion really does have terrible timing. Challenging Maple tonight, at the very end of the line. Idiot was basically begging to get his ass kicked!”
In Asssassins’ gaming house in Taiwan, Read XIII finally recovered from his shock. “Fucking hell! I knew it! Maple really is a freak!” he exclaimed, his entire body trembling with excitement. “Fuck fuck fuck! How the fuck is he so good! He’s been gone for 4 years. Then as soon as he comes back, he plays an insane number of games in a row in Korean Challenger and tops that off by shitting on a King! What is that about!? That’s not something a retired player should be able to do! Fuck! He’s getting way too good way too quickly!”
Tian Tian had a big wide grind on his face. He answered, “I TOLD YOU! No one can beat Lin Feng!”
Tian Tian was the only one who always believed in Lin Feng and was confident that he would come out on top. Even when everyone else doubted his chances in this game and lost hope. Tian Tian’s belief in Lin Feng didn’t stem from the fact that they were former teammates. No. It came from an unshakeable truth deep within Tian Tian’s heart that Lin Feng was always the strongest. In the face of that firm belief, nothing else mattered. Certainly not Orion. Or the Four Emperors. Or even Rake himself. Tian Tian knew that by the end of it all, Lin Feng would come out on top!
Back inside the hotel room in Beijing, Lin Feng decided to push out the minion wave after taking Zed down. His Yasuo took out two red minions with auto attacks, and then the next blue minion wave arrived. He watched as his minions pushed out all the way to the Red Outer Tower in the Mid lane, and then pulled his Yasuo back to the Blue Outer Tower. Then Lin Feng started to recall back to base. He only allowed himself to relax when his Yasuo was finally back in the safety of the Blue base, and exhaled a long pent up breath.
An Xin smiled and gently put her hand on Lin Feng’s shoulders soothingly, “That was a great fight. You were amazing, Lin Feng!”
The praise meant the world to Lin Feng, and his face lit up with a tired smile. “It was something else. Fighting Orion was not easy, at all. He’s probably the strongest player I’ve gone up against since starting to come back. I had to go all out and then pull out something extra! If I made the tiniest mistake or I was just a touch too slow… I would’ve been killed. But I won, An Xin! I won!”
An Xin smiled and patted his shoulder twice. Lin Feng finally relaxed enough to hear his own thoughts. I won! That’s all that matters here. Not just that fight, either. I’ve pretty much won this game. Lin Feng looked at Zed’s corpse in the Mid lane. From here on out, Orion isn’t a threat. Now it’s time to focus up and win this thing!
14 minutes from the start of the game, both Yasuo and Zed were back in the Mid lane and poking at each other. Orion was playing much more cautiously and all of his earlier confidence was gone. Gragas, the Red Team’s Jungler, decided to roam into the Mid lane for a gank. He hid in the bottom-side river brush until the right moment, and then Flashed forward and dashed into Yasuo with a Body Slam. The combo knocked Yasuo up into the air. But Gragas wasn’t done yet. He threw an Explosive Cask at the knocked up Yasuo and sent him flying back!
Orion was playing more carefully now, but that didn’t mean that he had completely given up. He sent his Zed in to follow up on Gragas’ attack, and Orion decided not to hold back at all. Zed went in with his ultimate—Death Mark! Four crimson Living Shadows converged onto Yasuo and left an ominous red mark over his head.
The situation looked dire for Yasuo. But he created some distance by dashing to a red minion behind him with a Sweeping Blade. But this was a tactical retreat, not a frantic one. Yasuo pulled back to create an opening. And Blue Team’s Sejuani and Thresh rushed into that opening when they arrived in the Mid lane seconds later. They were counter ganking!
Sejuani charged into Zed with an Arctic Assault and knocked him up into the air! Yasuo seized the opportunity presented by the knock up to unleash his ultimate—Last Breath! He blinked over to Zed who was still flying up into the air and unleashed a rapid flurry of attacks with his katana. And then finished the combo with a final downward slash that slammed Zed back to the ground.
Before Zed could get back up, Thresh was already there and waiting with a Death Sentence. His chain and sickle wrapped around Zed to lock the battered ninja down and stun him. Yasuo gracefully landed down near Zed and immediately slashed out with an auto attack. Then he pierced Zed with a Steel Tempest that seamlessly comboed into an auto attack. Next came another Steel Tempest that critically injured the already wounded Zed. That was more damage than Zed could handle, and he fell lifelessly to the ground.
While Yasuo and Thresh teamed up to sever Zed’s connection to the mortal plane, Sejuani had not been idle. She’d been keeping Gragas busy and away from Zed. And once Zed died, Sejuani locked Gragas down with a Glacial Prison. Then Thresh, Yasuo, and Sejuani combined forces to beat Gragas to death. The final blow was delivered by Yasuo’s katana, giving him the kill.
The chat on Lightless’ stream erupted into waves of cheering, interspersed with comments about how Yasuo had finally become fed, how Orion had been killed twice in a row, and how CN•HOOK2’s victory was on the horizon.
Over in Seoul, Moon was sitting in Fate’s Gaming House and watching Orion’s game dispassionately. Eventually, he sighed, shook his head and looked away. The outcome of this game was more than clear to his eyes. Orion’s tilted…