Rare Praise

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Vayne had just flashed through the Ashe’s Enchanted Crystal Arrow and dropped down right behind her. Lin Feng didn’t sit back and congratulate himself on a brilliant maneuver or glance at chat. His eyes were locked on the game. He wasn’t done yet, not by a long shot. Before the flash had even ended, Vayne had the heavy crossbow in her hands, ready to fire. A heavy bolt thrummed through the air and pinned the Ashe to the wall in front of her. Condemn! Vayne followed this up with another auto attack, and a third silver ring appeared around the pinned Ashe. All three rings exploded, dealing bonus true damage! Lin Feng’s play wasn’t just avoiding Ashe’s ultimate. He had chained Flash, Condemn, Silver Bolts, and auto attacks into a spectacular combo that he executed in less than a second! Ashe literally had no time to react after she fired her Enchanted Crystal Arrow!

Nightsong was impressed by the Vayne’s play, but not to the point where he forgot that he was still playing a game. He was Vayne’s support and his ad-carry had just engaged the Ashe. His Blitzcrank was in Overdrive and charging towards the stunned Ashe without any conscious thought from him. This was the same combo play they’d been doing since the start of this game. The instant that the stun from Condemn had ended, his Blitzcrank’s hand was wrapped around the Ashe. Blitzcrank pulled the Ashe back towards himself, and then knocked her up with Power Fist! Nightsong smiled. Their Vayne-Blitzcrank combo play was great at the beginning. But after running it a couple of times, it was seamless. This Vayne is great, feel like I’m playing with a teamma– Nightsong glanced at the minimap in the mid-thought. Something was happening!

Two of the wards in the bottom lane had lit up! One glowed blue and the other was red. Teleport! Two champions were teleporting to bot lane. The summoner spell Teleport was one of those used almost exclusively by top laners. Top lane was the longest lane on the map, and moving back into lane after going back to base or dying was a priority. Right now, both of the top lane champions were teleporting down to bot lane. Blue team’s Rumble and Red team’s Irelia!

“Hot diggity dog! Woooooooo! Alright, alright, alright! We gotta party going on in bot lane, boys!” Lin Feng shouted while laughing. This game was getting more and more fun for him. He wasn’t even slightly surprised this was happening though. This was a real game he was in, an actual high ELO game. Every single person in this tier had impeccable map awareness. There was never a point during the game where they didn’t have an eye on what was happening all over the map. All three of the other players on Red team knew that bot lane was in trouble during this game. So when Lin Feng engaged the Ashe, he knew there was a huge chance that other players on the Red team would show up to bail her out. He was ready for this. Which is why he didn’t back off when Irelia decided to show up. Vayne continued to attack the Ashe who had just been knocked up into the air by Blitzcrank. By the time she hit the ground, she was nearly dead.

Both of the teleport animations finished one after the other. Red team’s Irelia had shown up in bot lane first, and Blue team’s Rumble followed two seconds later. Irelia dashed towards the Vayne with Bladesurge, dealing damage with the collision. Then the Irelia followed up with a fast Equilibrium Strike! Or she tried to, anyway. The attack sliced through empty air! Vayne was already gone and completely out of sight. Lin Feng had dodged with a well-timed and empowered Tumble, and his Vayne had melded into the shadows right after because her ultimate was still active.

The Nami put two and two together real fast and threw down a Vision Ward! The ward revealed Vayne to the Red team, but it was still a little too late. Lin Feng didn’t use the brief window of stealth to escape. Vayne had continued to attack the Ashe. By the time the Vision Ward went up, another auto attack from Vayne was whistling through the air towards Ashe. The silver bolt pierced her and all three of the silver rings around her exploded, leaving her lifeless corpse on the ground!

《You have slain an enemy!》

Once again, Lin Feng didn’t stop to cheer or tell the chat how his kill was awesome. He didn’t have the time to relax. There were still two more enemy champions around, one of whom could easily kill his Vayne. He clicked on the Irelia to target her and started attacking. The first silver bolt landed. Then he cancelled the last part of the attack animation by backing up two steps. Another silver bolt pierced the Irelia. Vayne moved a step back and a step to the left this time. Over and over, Lin Feng flawlessly kited around the Irelia while the thrum of his Vayne’s crossbow created the rhythmic melody for the dance.

Blue team’s Rumble had teleported onto a ward placed in the river, just outside of the entrance to the middle of bot lane. That was the closest ward that he could teleport to. He ran into bot lane quickly, chasing after the Irelia, and then down bot lane to where the Vayne had just killed Ashe. By the time he got there, Vayne was kiting around and attacking Irelia. He wasted no time getting into range and throwing his ultimate skill–The Equalizer! A barrage of rockets rained down on the Irelia and Nami in a straight line, like a bombing run. The area they landed on boiled and erupted, turning molten from the payload of caustic jet fuel, which burned away the flesh of the two enemy champions caught in it.

Nami was still level 5, which meant that she still hadn’t gained her ultimate skill. The ultimates could only be gained at Level 6, they were locked before that. There was nothing she could do to help Irelia at the moment without her ultimate, and her already low health was now dropping dangerously low. There was only one thing she could do right now, and that was to preserve her own life. She quickly made up her mind and flashed away from the Irelia and towards her outer tower. There was nothing cowardly about it, she couldn’t save the Irelia’s life so the best thing she could do was save her own life.

In a truly unfortunate twist, the Irelia’s Flash was still on cooldown. She’d used it back in Top lane a little while ago. Not having Flash was what truly doomed her, since her movement speed was decreased while she was caught in the Rumble’s ultimate, and that meant she would constantly be taking damage while trying to escape it slowly. To make things worse, Rumble had caught up to her by now and applied a second slow by shooting two harpoons at her. She needed to escape! But every step was painfully slow. The real cherry on this shitshow sundae was that the Vayne continued attacking her. Silver rings appeared and exploded, over and over. Burning, slowed, constantly taking true damage, the Irelia started making peace with her eventual death. Then her screen went grey.

《Double kill!》

The people watching the stream saw everything, from Lin Feng’s spectacular Flash combo to the top laners teleporting into the Ashe’s death and then the double kill with Irelia. The entire play bloomed before their eyes, and the sheer excitement of the moment rendered them breathless. Once the Irelia was slain, they started talking again. For the first time since this game had started, everyone had something nice to say about Lin Feng and his Vayne.

Wooooah! Nice mechanics! Almost as good as Nightsong!
that rumble ult was so sickkk!!!!11!

The Blue team won the 3vs3 team fight in bot lane. They picked up two kills, while the Red team failed to secure even one. But the Blue Team didn’t just stop there. Since Rumble was already at bot lane, they decided to go kill the dragon. This was salt on top of a grievous wound for Red team. Their top laner and ad-carry were waiting to respawn, and Nami had recalled back to base to recover her health. They had no one who could contest Blue team for the dragon kill. They could do nothing.

Back in London, at the 5-star hotel where Hermes and Nightsong were staying. Both of them were sitting at a desk, behind their laptops. When the double kill was announced, Hermes pushed himself against the back of his chair and stretched. He looked at Nightsong and said, “That Vayne, eh? He’s doing pretty good.”

Nightsong rubbed his eyes and chuckled. “Damn straight. I don’t know if ‘pretty good’ is correct. The little shit is doing fantastic with Vayne.”

“Wait. What? I was just messing with you! Look at you, saying someone else is playing Vayne well. I thought you were going to tell me ten things he did wrong in the last 30 seconds and how you would’ve done better. Hahaha! Hang on! I know what happened! Truck-kun must’ve gotten me on the way to the airport and now I’m in a different dimension, a parallel universe. One where Nightsong is an arrogant shithead.” Hermes said and then  laughed again. He’d been playing with Nightsong for a while now. Long enough to understand what kind of guy his teammate was. Nightsong was friendly and went with the flow for most things. Except when it came to League of Legends. That’s where all of Nightsong’s hidden pride and arrogance came out, especially when someone else was playing his role or his champions. It wasn’t undeserved or unearned arrogance though. He had every right to be proud. He was one of the top three ad-carries in China! He had gone toe-to-toe with Mote, the ad-carry for SSK when that team won Worlds last year, without buckling during the off-season. Nightsong was most definitely a god-tier ad-carry!

Chinese fans everywhere thought there were two Chinese professional players who deserved a chance to make it into the Seven Kings. The first was Roundy, the Uncrowned Eighth. His fans argued it was ridiculous he wasn’t already part of the Seven Kings! Right behind Roundy was Nightsong. He was phenomenal at the game and could go toe-to-toe with the best players in the world. Since last season, he was even publicly acknowledged as the number one Vayne in all of China! So when he judged another player’s Vayne, he was doing so at the standards that he held for himself. He almost never had anything good to say about another player’s Vayne.

Nightsong shrugged. “I’m the realest, and I’m just being real. I’ve been next to that Vayne this whole game. He’s good, that’s all there is to it. Just keep watching, you’ll see what I’m talking about.”

10 minutes into the game, Hermes had poked the Kassadin he was against nearly to death. And right now, it was time to go in. His Ignite had just come up, and his ultimate was ready to go. It was time for him to start setting the stage for the kill. The first thing he did was push the minion wave up a little.

Kassadin was a melee champion, so he had to walk right upto the minions in order to last hit them. This is what Hermes had taken advantage of. Every minion that Kassadin went to get the last hit on, it was just a little bit further out from the Red team’s tower than the last one. Just far enough from each other so the Kassadin only took baby steps, never feeling like he was overextended. He kept going, until he finally realized exactly how far out he’d gotten. Which was too far out. This was the moment that Hermes had been waiting for so patiently. Veigar went in and twisted the edges of space to create a cage–Event Horizon! Any champion that tried to pass through it would be stunned.

Earlier in the season, Veigar had been nerfed slightly by Riot Games. They had made a change to Event Horizon. The skill used to cast instantly. Now, there was a brief delay between the activation animation and when the cage would form. This window allowed any champion who would be caught in Veigar’s cage a chance to escape unscathed.

When Kassadin saw the activation animation for Event Horizon, he reacted instinctively with his ultimate–Rift Walk. The skill allowed him to blink through space and land a small distance away, similar to Flash. But he could also deal damage when he landed. Right now, the Kassadin had decided to blink towards the part of the river that connected mid lane and bot lane. He had completely avoided the stun from Veigar’s Event Horizon and saved himself from death!

Lin Feng chuckled. My timing couldn’t have been better! Holy shit! I can’t believe this Kassadin decided to blink this way. Vayne, shrouded in darkness, burst out of the river brush and straight at the Kassadin! Lin Feng decided that bot lane was going well, so he pushed the minion wave out and went roaming to mid. Just as his Vayne got to mid lane, he saw Veigar casting Event Horizon. And then the Kassadin had helpfully decided to save him some walking by blinking closer. Lin Feng chuckled again. The timing couldn’t have been more perfect! Alright Kassadin, let’s what you’ll think of this! Lin Feng pressed down on the E key–Condemn! Vayne took the heavy crossbow from her back and shot a giant bolt at Kassadin. The impact lifted him off the ground and carried him through Veigar’s newly formed cage, stunning him!

The people watching the stream had no words. Just no words. It took them a minute to process what just happened. Veigar’s Event Horizon, the cage that it formed, didn’t count as a structure. So Vayne’s Condemn couldn’t pin enemy champions to it. And without pinning, the skill couldn’t stun. But any enemy champion who passed through the walls of Event Horizon’s cage would be stunned. Which is exactly what Condemn had done. So Lin Feng had just come up with a way to use Condemn to stun an enemy with an unpinnable structure.

WHAAAAT!?!?!??!?!!? That works!?
This guy gets me hard. He single?

Hermes was surprised, then startled. He’d was planning on resetting and trying something else when the Kassadin blinked away. But then the Kassadin had come right back. Stunned and neatly packaged. He pushed down on the W, Q, R keys in sequence, the Veigar combo. Dark matter coalesced into a ball in the sky above and then rained down on the Kassadin, dealing magic damage–Dark Matter! Veigar followed this up with a bolt of dark energy from his staff–Baleful Strike. That was just the appetizer. Veigar charged up an even bigger bolt of dark energy that blasted the Kassadin away–Primordial Burst, his ultimate!

《An enemy has been slain!》

Hermes was in a good mood after picking up the kill that he thought was lost. Such a good mood that he decided to say something nice to the Vayne that had brought his runaway Kassadin kill back.
OldWorn:Nice play, bro.

Travel Delays :(

Shanks Thought: So, I’m finally back at campus. What was originally supposed to be a 5-hour journey became a grueling 10-hour one. I was delayed multiple times, with trains up ahead of us breaking down, power lines being damaged, having to transfer to buses, etc. I heard public transport in the UK was bad, but this is ridiculous. Speaking of which, I also encountered these kinds of delays when I visited Sietse in Holland earlier this New Year. The Dutch are wild, guys. You think the 4th of July in the USA is crazy? The entire city was filled with smoke from them shooting off fireworks nonstop. Sietse tells me it was fog, but I refuse to believe it. I could still hear the fireworks banging on the window well into 3 AM.

Sietse Thought: These kinds of delays that Shanks experienced in Holland was a one-time very special situation. I think he brought with him some kind of bad voodoo from England. We’d gone to the city and watched JoJo Rabbit (hilarious movie btw) and it was already getting late when we were planning to go back home. So we look up when the next train is going and find there is none. All rides were cancelled. We called an Uber and on the way home were googling for why the train wasn’t going. Turned out that a train had raced off the tracks. In all my years on this planet, this was the first time I’ve ever seen this happen. I’ve taken countless train trips on this track. But Shanks comes and the train derails. Like, what are the odds?

Devs Thought: I just want to say that I was the one who came up with the idea for these translator thought things. And for the last couple of days, Shanks and Sietse have gone out of their way to have private conversations that I can’t be a part of on these things. It hurts my feelings. They know that I can’t be a part of these conversations, and then they type them out anyway. Today, on VC, they were laughing about how they were excluding me. Why they gotta be so rude? Don’t they know I’m human too? 🙁 🙁 🙁 🙁

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