17 minutes on the game timer. The Dragon Pit.
Both the Red and Blue teams gathered there for a team fight, feeling each other out. The tension was palpable. But neither team found an opening to engage. It turned into another deadlock, with both teams attempting to bait each other into breaking formation.
Then, all of a sudden, it started. Blue Team’s Thresh found an opening. A blind spot behind the wall of the Dragon Pit that placed him within attack range of Jinx. Thresh made the decision to go for it and initiated the fight with a Death Sentence. His chain and sickle whirled through the air and wrapped around Jinx! But instead of pulling Jinx to him, Thresh used the skill again to pull himself towards Jinx and Janna. And when he landed in front of them, he knocked the bottom lane duo for the Red Team up with Flay!
Yasuo was ready and waiting. The second that Jinx and Janna got knocked up by Thresh’s Flay, he blinked over to them with his ultimate—Last Breath! Then he unleashed a flurry of slashes on both Jinx and Janna before sending them flying back down to the ground with a mighty downward slash of his katana. And Lulu and Sejuani waited right below where Jinx and Janna were plummeting to the ground to receive them. They were soon joined by Thresh, who arrived just as Yasuo landed.
Four Champions from Blue Team—Thresh, Yasuo, Sejuani, and Lulu—ganged up on the helpless Jinx and Janna. The combined and focused damage quickly killed Jinx first, and Janna followed her into death soon after.
While this was happening, Orion sent his Zed deep into the Blue Team’s backline to try and kill their AD-Carry, Tristana. Which is why Tristana could not join the assault against Jinx and Janna. She was too busy trying to escape from Zed. Once the other four Champions from Blue Team finished with Janna and Jinx, they started chasing after Zed in an attempt to rescue their comrade Tristana.
But before they got far, Gragas popped out of the brush in the river and barrelled straight into Thresh with a Body Slam. He followed up with an Explosive Cask and shredded what was left of Thresh’s health. The surprise ambush resulted in the death of Thresh. But the other three Champions from Blue Team pounced on Gragas and tore him to shreds. They achieved vengeance for Thresh.
Still. Gragas, the Jungler from the Red Team, had accomplished what he set out to do. He delayed the rest of Blue Team long enough for Zed to continue pursuing Tristana. Unfortunately, the sacrificial play did not work out. Tristana managed to escape from Zed using a combination of her skills, Flash, and Heal. Zed found himself empty-handed and wallowing in impotent rage in the Mid lane.
At the end of it all, the team fight at the Dragon Pit boiled down to a 3-1 trade between the two teams. Thresh had valiantly lost his life, but his sacrifice allowed the Blue Team to take out Jinx, Janna and Gragas. Which also made it possible for the Blue Team to easily kill the now uncontested Dragon and secure the buff for themselves. The balance of the game had shifted. The scales were starting to tip towards the Blue Team.
The Warriors’ Gaming House in Seoul, Korea. Orion’s forehead dripped with cold sweat. He watched Tristana run to safety, well past the point where his Zed could reach her. Then he glanced over at Yasuo, clenching his mouse so tightly that the plastic creaked. This is a problem! That stupid Tristana slipped through my fingers. When the next fight rolls around, she’s probably going to get Quicksilver Sash from the shop. God dammit! Once she gets that item, we can’t lock her down with any crowd control skills. There’s also buffs and protection from her Support, Lulu, to deal with. Shit! Shit! Shit! Diving the backline and taking out Tristana is going to be significantly more difficult now. Fuck!
Then there’s that Yasuo to worry about. Hook2. He’s getting fed hard and becoming a nightmare during team fights. This situation is spinning way out of control! All this because I was stupid enough to get tilted and lose my chill after that duel with Yasuo.
With that thought, Orion’s mind replayed the memory of that fight. When it got to the point where Yasuo outplayed him, Orion felt a chill running down his spine. Be honest here, Orion! You underestimated this Hook2, whoever he is. You can tell yourself that it’s not your fault for underestimating him. You can tell yourself that you didn’t think there was anyone in China beyond Daybreak Hermes who could compete with you in terms of skill and mechanics. You can tell yourself that the whole thing was so far outside of what you expected that you can’t be blamed for it. But none of that matters. You let your guard down and underestimated your opponent, and you lost. That’s on you!
Lin Feng, on the other hand, had far less on his mind. As his team’s advantage snowballed, he grew calmer and any distracting thoughts in his mind faded. He was completely focused on the game in front of him, and the way he played as Yasuo grew even more stable. With his newfound Zen state of mind, Lin Feng left no openings that his opponents could exploit.
We’re ahead right now. But it’s not an overwhelming advantage and this is Korean Challenger. At this level of play, a turn-around is always possible. Especially considering I’m playing against Orion. He’s more than good enough to turn this whole game around from a small mistake. But time is running out…
Wait! No! Yes. I’m running out of time. But that’s no reason to starting taking unnecessary risks and playing sloppy. Finishing the game quickly is important. But winning this game is necessary!
With that thought, Lin Feng’s eyes flashed with a sharp light. I’m going to keep this going until victory is mine!
Lightless Heart looked at his camera and spoke to all the people watching, “This has been one of the highest intensity games I’ve seen in a while! So much has happened and so quickly. It’s a lot to take in, so let’s do a quick recap of the state of the game right now! Just the highlights so you guys all have the same big picture overview that the players do. So at 19 minutes, the entire Blue Team grouped together and ran it down Mid lane. They took out the Red Team’s Outer Tower and then continued to push until the Inner Tower fell too. Then they split up.”
“Two minutes later, that’s 21 minutes on the game clock, Blue Team managed to take out the Red Inner Tower in the Top lane. At this point in the game, Red Team was pushed back onto a defensive footing. Blue Team managed to expose the inhibitors in both Top and Mid lanes. If either of those inhibitors falls, then Red Team is in some serious trouble.”
“But Blue Team didn’t push forward to take one of those inhibitors. Instead, they fell back and went over to the Dragon Pit. Since Red Team was scrambling to make sure the Blue minion waves didn’t take out one of their inhibitors, it was basically uncontested. Blue Team managed to secure another Dragon at 23 minutes!”
“ALL IN ALL, OUR HERO HOOK2 AND HIS TEAM HAVE A GIGANTIC LEAD!” Lightless screamed at the over-a-million viewers on his stream. “Right now! Well. Right now, Hook2 has pretty much won his last game of the night and secured his place in history. But…”
“He doesn’t have a lot of time left,” Shi Hang said, glancing at Aurous. They were still in the Team Rapids Gaming House, watching the stream.
Aurous frowned and nodded in agreement. He pointed at his watch and said, “10 minutes. He’s gotta end the game in 10 minutes or he won’t make it. The ranked ladder will reset. If Orion or anyone else on the Red Team tries to drag this game out beyond 10 minutes, all of this will be for nothing. Even if he wins, it won’t count. ”
Shi Hang’s eyes flashed with a sharp light. “I know it. You know it. He definitely knows it. I’m sure he’s thinking about it right now, trying to figure out how to make use of every second he has left! If I know Lin Feng at all, then everything comes down to this next teamfight!”
23 minutes since the start of the game. Red Team started to pivot to a defensive strategy. They’d given up on maintaining control over most of their jungle and started setting up a perimeter of defensive wards around their base.
“Really? You didn’t think I’d notice that you’re stalling for time?” Lin Feng muttered as he narrowed his eyes. His gaze flickered with cold intensity for half a second as he ran through the options in his mind. Then he came to a decision and burst into action. He pinged on the pit where Baron Nashor had spawned. This location was similar to the Dragon Pit, but on the other side of the map towards Top lane. There, the powerful Baron Nashor waited for Champions to challenge and defeat him.
As soon as he sent the ping, Lin Feng muttered, “Fine! You don’t want to come out? Well, I’ll just force you out!”
Over in Taiwan, Read XIII had just gotten up and left to make some instant noodles. He was back five minutes later, just as Lin Feng dropped a ping on the Baron. Read XIII dropped his noodles and grabbed his headset. “WHAT THE FUCK?! Why is he trying to force Baron this early? This is beyond crazy aggressive! He’s baiting himself and his entire time into a pincer attack! They’ll be stuck with the Baron at their backs and Orion in front of them! What the fuck is he thinking, Fatty?”
“It’s the only choice!” Tian Tian replied in the QQ voice call. “If he doesn’t want to let the game drag out, the best way to force them out is by making a play for Baron! Orion’s team can’t just let them take Baron uncontested, because it’s game over if they do. They’re going to have to come out of their base and try to stop Lin Feng’s team. Which is what he wants. He’s trying to win the game with the next team fight!”
Read XIII was doubtful. “Red Team switched over to Scrying Orbs. They can see him. Which means… If Maple doesn’t actually start Baron, there’s no way they’ll come out. If this game drags out for another few minutes, it won’t count!”
Tian Tian remained unfazed. “It’s fine! Trust Lin Feng! He already knows all of this and he’s got a plan! I know he does!”
Red Team’s Jinx dropped a Scrying Orb down on the Baron Pit at 24 minutes. The Orb revealed all the Champions from the Blue Team. Locked in battle with Baron Nashor.
Orion’s eyelids twitched, a slight chill running through his spine. Well, I’ll be damned! Looks like Hook2 is way more decisive than I realized. Why do I keep underestimating him? Stupid! But now he’s left us with no choice at all. Even if he’s just baiting us, we have to go down and try to stop them. But this ain’t a risk-free gamble that he’s making, trying to force Baron this early! Hook2 thinks he’s Kaiji or something. It’s a stupid gamble to try and end the game faster! But this gamble’s going to cost you, Hook2! I’m going to use this opportunity to completely turn this game around!
Lin Feng’s plan was simple. He knew that pretending to start Baron wouldn’t work. The Red Team wouldn’t go for a bait that obvious. He also decided that the whole pageantry of the Baron objective was pointless. Setting up vision and clearing out wards wasted too much time, and that was the one thing he didn’t have enough of right now. Besides, there was no point in doing that. He already knew where all the Red Team Champions were, and he was doing this to bring them to him. So he wasn’t really concerned about a surprise ambush happening. Which meant there was only one real option here.
Lin Feng decided he would just go for it and start Baron for real. He sent his Yasuo right at the giant worm-like monster and started slashing into it. The rest of the Blue Team followed him. Because they were forcing this fight earlier in the game than it was meant to be done, they weren’t doing significant chunks of damage to Baron Nashor. It was slow going. But they also had Lulu’s protection and Sejuani tanking, so they also weren’t taking too much damage.
With this approach, Baron Nashor’s health steadily declined. But Lin Feng didn’t actually care if they took down Baron or not. That wasn’t even remotely his concern. His focus was on the minimap on the bottom right corner of his screen. The Red Team’s Champions had popped up on one of his wards, and they were rushing towards the Baron Pit!
An Xin, who had been quietly watching the entire game, finally opened her mouth and softly said, “This is the last fight, right Lin Feng? Are you ready?”
Lin Feng took a deep breath and nodded. “Yeah. This is going to be the last fight.”
An Xin was more than aware that Lin Feng only answered the first part of her question. But she said nothing and continued to watch quietly.