“Damnit! Roundy really fucked this game up…”
“How could he let himself get schooled by a rookie?”
“This didn’t look anything like the God Roundy from the LPL. He looked terrible!”
“I don’t know man, his whole team looked like hot garbage.”
“Maybe they’re jetlagged?”
“Yeah, maybe they flew in late! That’s the only thing that makes sense!”
In a private booth in the NetCow Cafe, the members of High School 13’s esports team were chatting about the KG versus Legend game. They didn’t flame God Roundy like the stream chat was doing, but they also didn’t have anything positive to say about him. He had lost to a rookie. Demon had made God Roundy look like the rookie!
Lin Feng took a deep breath. He listened to his friends discussing Fatty, but he didn’t participate. He didn’t see any point in trying to explain to them how wrong they were. It wouldn’t change anything. All that mattered was that he knew the truth. He understood how unfair all this hatred towards Fatty was. This game wasn’t Fatty’s fault. It was KG’s coach’s fault! Who even drafts such a terrible team comp… The strategy KG used in this game was short-sighted and inflexible! They decided that it was better to play a 4vs5 with a mediocre Tristana than it was to play a 5vs5 with a strong team. There were so many flaws in this plan that he didn’t even know what he disliked most about it.
For KG’s gameplan to work, their Tristana had to get fed. She went to top lane to have an easier time farming minions, and Rek’Sai farmed the jungle camps closest to her to offer help. This was how the early gank started. A gank that failed. Tristana didn’t rocket jump into a power spike, but away to safety. Rek’Sai then gave away a kill to Legend’s Jinx, sealing the lane. The Jinx, who already had the early game advantage over Tristana, was now too strong. So KG decided to send Tristana down to bot lane, where a large minion wave was building up. This was the minion wave Fatty needed for his Gnar to catch back up to the Darius.
The Gnar fell further behind to help the Tristana get ahead. All the minions in bot lane were left for her, while Fatty went up to top lane where he was minion starved. Legend froze the minions near their own outer tower and zoned him out. He could barely get in range to get experience and then got tower-dove a few minutes later. The game went from bad to worse to disastrous for Fatty. He found himself laning against a fed Darius again. His teammates were frantically trying to help Tristana scale. They left him alone. He had to fight Legend off on his own. The Darius and the rest of Legend gladly made use of this. They bullied him and killed him and made him look like he didn’t belong on the professional stage. He was the sacrificial lamb for the Tristana who was completely useless the entire game. She didn’t make a single play.
In a skybox in the Wembley Arena, Nightsong and Hermes were watching the KG versus Legend game. When KG’s Nexus exploded, Nightsong clicked his tongue and threw his hands up in the air. “I’m telling you, Hermes. That’s KG’s problem. They tunnel in way too hard on this ‘protect the ADC’ bullshit. It’d work if I was the ADC, maybe. But Konjac isn’t me, he’s just not good enough for them to focus around him! His Tristana was completely limp-dicked! He got his whole team stroking him off with all this attention, and he still couldn’t scale up! I feel bad for Roundy, dude. They pretty much told him to fuck off. Who even does that? If they didn’t cuck him so hard, that game would’ve been a hell of a lot closer.”
“Yeah, I have no idea what KG’s coaches were thinking.” Hermes nodded. “Their back line was shit and they starved their front line of resources. It’s like KG was setting him up to fail the whole time.”
Lin Feng shared the same view as Nightsong and Hermes on the KG versus Legend game. Don’t they want to win? He understood Fatty. His old friend didn’t handle stress well. So it made no sense to Lin Feng why KG would force a game plan that had this potential outcome. And now, Fatty would collapse under the torrent of abuse that would come his way from the fans. You need to give Fatty some confidence! Not chop his legs off with an axe… What good is this going to do? Think you’ll win now? If Fatty started tilting, then that would affect all of KG for the rest of Worlds. This move was self-sabotage!
Lin Feng remembered how Fatty would hide on the toilet when his nerves got the best of him. He figured it was the same now. The game was lost and everyone was blaming him for it. Odds were that he was balling his eyes out curled up on a toilet. Alone. While his teammates were off doing other things. What Fatty needed right now was a friend. Someone who was there for him so he wouldn’t be alone with his thoughts. His thoughts were a dangerous weapon when he was anxious and helpless.
Lin Feng wanted to scream in anger. He balled his fists until his nails dug deep into the flesh of his palm, but he was oblivious to the pain. I should be there! He bit his lips. If he could, he would buy a plane ticket and fly to London! He had to be there for his friend! But he couldn’t. Many years ago, he’d sworn to always be there for Fatty. But today, he couldn’t be there for him. All he could do was sit in front of a TV at an internet cafe and watch Fatty suffer.
I’m sorry. I’m sorry! Lin Feng looked at the TV. They were showing how Fatty’s facial expressions changed after every next play that didn’t go his way. The analysts were going over it, searching for anything they could talk about. Lin Feng couldn’t listen to it anymore. He felt a lump in his throat as he pushed his chair a little further back. He looked down at the ground before turning his head away from his friends completely. He put his hand over his face, trying to hide the tears that had welled up in his eyes. WHY! Why am I so useless? Why can’t I be there for my friend? Why…
The second match of Worlds was in Group B. It was Korea’s Fate versus North America’s COG. It was a boring match. There was no big upset or any other big surprises to speak of. COG was a strong team. Their players played well. But they simply weren’t as good as Fate. Fate had an Emperor Midlaner in Moon. He led his team to a 35-minute win over COG. The game could’ve ended sooner, but COG held on and Fate didn’t brute-force their way into COG’s base. They played the slow and mechanical game.
The third match of Worlds was in Group A again. It was Europe’s Legend versus North America’s Flash. Phoenix hadn’t been as prolific in his first game, mostly due to the choices made by KG. But in this second game, he showed everyone why he was an Emperor. He went 9/0/4 on his Veigar and absolutely decimated Flash. They didn’t stand a chance! The only reason they didn’t surrender was because this was Worlds, and teams didn’t surrender at Worlds.
It was time for the second Chinese team to take to the stage in the fourth game of the day. In Group B it was China’s Hand of God versus North America’s COG! The Chinese fans were a little hesitant to cheer for their team after KG’s performance, but that quickly changed. HoG showed the world from minute 1 why the LPL was a region to be feared! Nightsong got excited with his Jinx! He tore through the enemy team and picked up kills left and right. Hermes couldn’t stay behind either. He traveled across the map with his Twisted Fate’s ultimate skill and helped lead his team to a clean victory.
At 33:45 minutes into the game, HoG destroyed COG’s Nexus. The LPL had won its first game at Worlds! The Chinese fans had held their breath until the last attack hit the nexus. Now they could finally breathe. They started laughing and many took to the internet to post messages on forums and streams.
「HOG IS AMAZING!!!」
「i knew we could count on hermes!」
「I told you guys, didn’t I? Look, here, I posted it before the KG game. KG is useless. They have some “Uncrowned Eighth”… What is an “Uncrowned Eighth” good for? Nothing! You need a KING like Hermes to win at Worlds. KG is shit, long live Hog!!」
「GOD ROUNDY STINKSS!!!!」
「GO HOGGG!!! MAKE US PROUD! WIN WORLDS!!!」
「That was the world champions playing!!!11!1 lezz fucking goooo!!!」
「hahaha maybe kg should look at this game for some inspiration」
「if only kg could play like hog. life would be good」
It was time for the fifth match at Worlds. This was the third match and last match in Group A on day 1. KG would get their chance at redemption after getting stomped in game 1. Their opponent was a wildcard team. No one considered the wildcard teams a threat. Many felt that these wildcard teams were invited to experience Worlds, and not to compete. The members of the caster desk on the official Chinese stream had their own thoughts on this game.
Qinghe leaned on the desk on his elbow, smiling. “This should be a nice game to get some confidence back for KG. What do you two think?”
Stone nodded. “Should be an easy win. They’re up against a wildcard team and they’ve done amazing in the LPL all year. They can do this.”
Lolo smiled at the camera and said, “KG might not have had the best start to Worlds, but there is no way they lose this game! I believe they will show us why they are representing China at Worlds!”
Qinghe stepped up to the TV behind him and said, “Oh, looks like our viewers agree! I’m seeing many supportive messages coming in here.” He read through some of them and then turned back to the camera. “Ok, ok. I think I got the gist of it. KG just had some bad luck in game 1. They got countered by Legend and just lost control. This is a new game. KG and God Roundy will show us how good they are.” He looked at Stone and Lolo and then back at the camera. “It seems we all agree! The game is starting soon, so let’s watch KG win this one!”
However, the game didn’t go anything like the Chinese League of Legends fans or casters expected. It seemed like the game against Legend wasn’t an exception. KG was even struggling against a wildcard team! And not just a little. They kept going in for fights and kept losing them. Every play they tried only saw them falling further behind. It took them 15 minutes to get their first kill on the board. By then, they had already given away 7 kills to the wildcard team! This game wasn’t just going a little bad for KG. They were losing. They were actually losing to a wildcard team!
The three Chinese commentators for the game were struggling to find the words. They wanted to say something positive, but there wasn’t anything positive to say. KG was playing horrendously! Lolo still tried. “Maybe with this kill they can start turning the game around.” But it was weak. KG was 7 kills behind already. The game hadn’t even transitioned into the mid game yet!
“I think KG just has an off-day,” Stone chimed in. “You know, one of those days where nothing you try works. They happen to the best of us! But this game isn’t lost yet. I believe in KG! They’ll win this game for the fans!”
Qinghe nodded, his mouth hanging slightly open. He was actually speechless. It wasn’t often that he saw a team of KG’s caliber completely lose it. He watched the game, half of the time forgetting to entertain his audience. This was so bad, he didn’t know what to say. His quick wits and jokes were gone. He looked helpless.
The game lasted 41 minutes. Once the team fights started in the mid game, the match became a mess. Both sides screwed up consistently and gave away their lead. They tried to finish it multiple times, but somehow the other team would miraculously hold on. Neither side had a single tower left standing. But finally, in the 41st minute of the game, KG managed to win a team fight around Baron Nashor. From there, they charged down mid lane and into Red team’s base, where they destroyed the nexus and claimed their first win at Worlds.
No one was cheering. KG had won. But not a single Chinese fan was cheering. This display was embarrassing. KG was supposed to be a top tier team, yet they were struggling to hold their own against a wildcard team! Instead of complimenting KG, the Chinese fans took to the online forums and started flaming. The main point they made was that every single player in KG should have their professional contract ripped apart. They weren’t worthy to represent China!
In the NetCow Cafe, the members of High School 13’s esports team were watching the stream. It was already late at night and they’d started to wonder why they were still watching. KG’s performance was disgraceful. It wasn’t representative of a team who wanted to compete at Worlds.
“They might as well go home. What a fucking terrible game,” Ouyang sighed.
The others nodded. They were tired. This game had killed all their excitement for Worlds. If these were the kind of matches they were going to have to watch, maybe it was better to just not watch them. The only positive note was HoG. HoG had put in a great performance!
Lin Feng didn’t chime in. He understood perfectly well why KG had almost lost against the wildcard team. In fact, he was kind of surprised they pulled out a win in the end. The reason was simple. Fatty and the rest of KG had tilted off the face of the Earth!
Do Online Friends = "Real Friends"?
Shanks Thought: I have relatives who look at me weird for having so many online friends. They think the friendships you make online aren’t real. How can they be when you haven’t met these people face to face before? But many of the friendships I’ve made online are way more real and long-lasting than the ones I’ve made in high school or university. Though, one of the huge downsides is that it’s hard to be there for them when you’re an ocean or continent away.
Sietse Thought: We all have online friends. We talk with each other about our problems, but we’re too far away to make an impact beyond listening to them. I had a friend a few years ago who was struggling with a lot of things in life. She would call me up crying and just unload. I really wanted to help her. But what was there I could do? All you can do is listen. And I did. But I felt so frustrated that there wasn’t anything more I could do. That feeling of helplessness is how I see Lin Feng here. He wants to give his friend a big hug, but he can’t. He can’t even call him up. All he can do is watch his friend eat himself up.