Caster Curse?

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“It’s KG on the Blue team and Legend on the Red team! We start Worlds this year with a top game between Europe and China! I’m Qinghe, your host! And with me I got Stone and Lolo! We’ll be your commentators! But that’s enough about us. Let’s dive right into Champion Select! KG is first to ban a champion!”

“Yes! Let’s dive into it already!” Ouyang shouted back at the TV.

On the large TV screen in the private booth rented by Ouyang at the NetCow Cafe, the Worlds stream showed the Champion Select for KG versus Legend. There was a live video feed of three people standing behind the caster desk on the bottom half of the screen. Qinghe stood on the far left of the table, with a TV behind him, while Lolo and Stone stood a bit further down the table. They were the two special guests.

Everyone who’d watched the LPL at any time over the last few years knew who Qinghe was. He was the caster of the LPL! He had more experience casting competitive games than any other casters! He knew how to share his knowledge of the game and get the fans excited! And the fans loved him for it. They loved his quick wits and sense of humour. There was never a dull moment when he was on the caster desk!

The second caster on the desk was Stone. He played League of Legends professionally back in Season 1. After leaving the professional scene at the end of Season 1, he started making guest appearances on the caster desk. The fans had welcomed him with open arms. He gave them insightful analyses and explained the thought processes of professional players in an easy-to-understand manner. But this wasn’t why people wanted to see him on the desk. They wanted to see him on the desk for his unbelievable ability to deliver the caster curse! The Chinese fans called it honeyed words. Whenever he said something nice about a player or team, disaster would strike them!

The most famous case of his caster’s curse was way back in Season 3. Stone was commentating on a match in the LPL. He complimented the Blue team for the advantage they’d gotten in the early game. Not even half a minute later, a team fight broke out. The Blue team lost this fight and with that the gold lead they’d built up over the first 20 minutes of the game. Then he praised the Red team for mounting a phenomenal comeback. It wasn’t even 10 seconds later that they gave away an uncontested Baron Nashor, the most powerful monster on Summoner’s Rift. With the buff gained from killing Baron Nashor, the Blue team took control over the game again. In the next team fight, Blue team’s Vayne popped off and got a triple kill. Stone was a little hesitant but still gave a compliment. The caster’s curse struck again. Vayne was wandering through his own Jungle a minute later and got caught out by two players from the Red team and died.

This still wasn’t the end. By the time Red team won, the caster curse had struck another four times for a total of seven times! Seven times in one game! This was still a record today! As a direct result of this game, Chinese fans had nicknamed Stone “Prophet Stone”.

The third caster for the official Chinese stream of Worlds was Lolo. She was a vivacious young woman who enjoyed playing League of Legends in her free time. She also dabbled a little with streaming on Huya, mostly League of Legends games. She was most known for her occasional guest appearances as a shoutcaster during the LPL, just like Stone. But there was a pronounced difference in what they brought to the commentary. Stone was there to provide insights, game play predictions, and reasoning behind player decisions. Lola brought a more bubbly enthusiasm to the commentary. She didn’t have the deep game knowledge that Stone did, but she more than made up for that with the entertainment factor she added to the shoutcasting. It also didn’t hurt that she had fantastic knockers and a preference for skin-tight low cut dresses. Beyond the lighthearted moments she added to the commentary, she appealed to a very specific demographic of League of Legends fans.

While KG and Legend were taking their time deciding which Champions to ban, Qinghe steered the conversation on the caster desk to the upcoming game. “We’ve already talked a lot about the different groups this year at Worlds, and who we believe will make it through to the next round. But we haven’t really talked much about the individual games yet.” He turned to Stone and nodded at him, smiling. “Let’s take a look at the game in front of us right now, shall we? It’ll start in only a couple more minutes. What do you think, Stone? Who’ll win this game? Which team gets your vote?”

Prophet Stone grinned and took the bait. “Well, when I’m looking at the lineups of both teams, I have to say that Legend looks really strong this year. I think they will win this first game! Hehe.”

“Oh, did you hear that guys?” Lolo giggled at the camera, hiding her mouth behind her hand. “Prophet Stone has spoken! We can all relax now, KG is clearly winning this one.”

Qinghe started laughing, loud enough that it almost sounded fake. “Hahaha! Hahaha! You’re so right! Isn’t she guys? Lolo understands! Prophet Stone has spoken! We can rest easy! This game is KG’s to lose now!” He stepped aside and gestured at the TV screen behind him. Then he looked into the camera and said, “Let’s take a look at what some of you guys have to say about Prophet Stone’s prediction for game 1!”

HAHAHA my man stone is at it again
Everyone, take cover! T-minus 30 seconds until the curse strikes!
prophet stone carrying since season 2!!

These were the reactions the three casters were looking for. They knew the fans would eat up a simple joke like this. Besides, they didn’t want to give the fans false hope by saying they believed KG would win this game. Legend was a stronger team than KG. There was no way around this truth. They should have what it takes to win this game. It was to the point where even the three casters were hoping for a little bit of black magic from Prophet Stone. It would be a great start to Worlds if KG could pull a big upset in the first game and beat Legend!

In a private booth in the NetCow Cafe, Lin Feng and the others were engrossed in the stream. The ban phase had come to an end. The top tier meta champions in the current patch, like Mordekaiser and Gangplank, were banned. KG and Legend started choosing the champions they wanted to play. Most were standard picks. It was only the picks in Midlane that really stood out. Legend’s Phoenix had decided to go with LeBlanc, and in response to that, KG’s Flintlock chose Lulu. Lulu was originally a Support champion. But in the last few patches, she had turned into a realistic pick for mid lane to counter assassins like LeBlanc.

“I think Lulu is a smart pick. Don’t you guys agree?” Qinghe said. He looked at the other two casters and waited for them to nod. Then he continued, “Phoenix is a really good player. You don’t want him to go Legendary on his LeBlanc. It was smart thinking from KG to go with the safe pick.”

Stone looked at Qinghe and said, “KG doesn’t really have a choice here, do they? Phoenix is so good, you just have to be extra careful. The game would be over if he gets rolling on his LeBlanc. All Flintstock can do is play it safe.”

“WOOT WOOT!” Ouyang cheered at the TV. He jumped up and down as he ran little circles around the others. “The prophet is doing it again! KG has won! Easy game! Let’s skip it and go straight to the second game!” He suddenly stopped running around and laughing for a second, then added, “Let’s not skip it. I wanna see KG crush Legend! Haha!”

Liu Yue shot up from his seat and joined Ouyang, “WOOT WOOT! Keep complimenting them Prophet Stone! We believe in you!”

Lin Feng shook his head a little as he watched the others go crazy over Prophet Stone. If a caster curse really were a thing, KG wouldn’t need to pick Lulu. They could pick anything and have some fun… He looked at the two top lane champions. That lane deserved more attention. Demon had picked a top tier meta champion in Darius, while Fatty had locked in Gnar. Gnar versus Darius… Hmmm, I guess it’s doable. But it’ll be hard… He looked at the rest of the lineup, searching for something that would help KG bring this game home. Huh? Something looked off. There was something wrong with Blue team’s lineup. Gnar, Lulu, Rek’Sai, Tristana, and Nami… What are they doing? Where is their damage? Only Tristana can deal damage. But she’s a late game carry. What are they planning to do until then? Pray that Legend won’t kick their asses? Who drafted this team comp?

《Welcome to Summoner’s Rift!》

The first game of the League of Legends Season 5 World Championships was officially underway! The 10 champions spawned in their fountains. Both teams decided to do a lane swap. This meant that the Toplaners would play in bot lane and the bot lane duo would go up to top lane. Wards were placed all across the river, with a few just inside the other team’s jungle for some extra vision. When the Jungle minions spawned, the Toplaners both took the camp closest to their lane before recalling back to base, while the Junglers started on the Blue or Red Buff with the help of their Supports.

The game ended up in a standard laning phase. In the bottom lane, both Gnar and Darius arrived before the first minion wave died. They got a couple of last hits and were relatively even. Gnar had a slight advantage at Level 1 because of the range advantage of his auto attacks. Tian Tian quickly made use of this and started showing why people called him God Roundy. His positioning and ability to force Darius to miss minions was perfect. Darius tried to counter this by winding up and swinging his axe in a wide circle–Decimate! But Tian Tian sidestepped it and started throwing more auto attacks at the Darius.

KG wasn’t falling behind at the start of the game. Their lanes looked to be doing ok, and Tian Tian looked especially good. The Chinese fans watching the official broadcast felt their hearts racing. Perhaps KG stood a chance! They quickly took to the chat to share their hopes with the other fans.

gnar >>>> darius
i love you roundy!!1!!1
We can win this game! China number 1!!!!
OMG this is soooo cool!!!!!

Tian Tian started pushing the minion wave towards Red team’s outer tower. The ward he’d placed at the start of the game timed out. His vision of the river above his lane disappeared. But there were still a few minions to kill, so he stuck around.

Legend’s Jungler was Lee Sin. He’d spotted Roundy Round place a ward down in the river near bot lane at the start of the game. He knew exactly when it would time out. So he adjusted his jungle route to it. The moment the ward disappeared, he walked down the river to bot lane.

“Oh no! God Roundy you need to back! You’re going too deep!” Lolo cried out from the caster desk.

Qinghe was the calm voice of reason. He said, “We don’t have to worry. Gnar has a hop and Flash. It’ll be really difficult for Legend if they want to pick an early game kill on him. They’d better focus their time and energy on another lane.”

Lee Sin appeared from the river in bot lane. Darius used this opportunity to walk out from under his tower and towards the Gnar. Tian Tian saw this happen and quickly had his Gnar hop away–Hop! But the Darius was prepared for this. He flashed forward, then swept the Gnar out of his Hop mid-air before hooking and pulling him back–Apprehend!

The European fans in the Wembley Arena went wild with joy! This was a brilliant play from Demon! He’d perfectly predicted how Tian Tian would play and found a counter to it! There was nothing Tian Tian could do! He still had his Flash, but there was also the Lee Sin coming for him. Everyone knew what was going to happen. Be it the fans cheering in the arena, or the Chinese fans feeling their hearts drop at home, everyone knew that the Gnar would die. Even Lin Feng knew. He slowly shook his head. This isn’t good.

Shanks Can't Drink Beer

Shanks Thought: I want to take Sietse to an esports bar one day, just to experience the atmosphere. I’ve heard they’re popping up all over the place in big cities. I just hope we don’t get into any drunken brawls. Though, I can’t imagine grown adults fighting over two esports teams. But if it does happen, I’ll at least have a large Dutch man to protect me. I think I actually suggested we go to an actual bar, bar when I visited Sietse in Holland, but he turned the idea down. I’ve already forgotten exactly why. But I imagine it was after that disgusting beer he had me try during our dinner. I also hate the fact that you can’t just ask for plain tap water and ice in restaurants in Europe. No, you gotta make me pay 5 euros for a small shitty bottle of mineral water. As a North American, this deeply offends me.

Sietse Thought: Over the years I’ve heard Shanks get drunk on voice chat and he’s talked about drinking beer and cider. We have a lot of beer in Holland. So when he came to visit, I figured I had to introduce him to some of the diversity of our beers, right? I didn’t even buy him anything wild or crazy. Just a Leffe Blond. A really good beer. Now I could already see he was a little apprehensive about it. He started warning me he might not like it, but I was foolish enough not to think anything of it and told him to just give it a try. Man, I’ll never forget the face he made when he took the first sip. He looked so disgusted, like he wanted to spit it out and rinse his mouth. I tried to get him to take another sip, mostly for my own enjoyment, but he would have none of it. He gave the beer to me and told me to drink it, which I happily agreed to. Leffe Blond is fucking great!

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