Losing is Not an Option

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Lolo couldn’t believe what she was seeing! God Roundy was giving a great performance! Her mouth fell open. She closed it with her hand, then flashed a smile towards the camera. “Oh my! This is the God Roundy we all know and love! That was such a beautiful outplay. It gets my vote for best solo kill of the tournament!”

“Sorry sorry.” Qinghe said to the people at home. He wiped the tears from his face again. “I’m just so happy. I’ve followed God Roundy for the past few years. I know how good he is. Last week was painful. Really painful. But he’s back now. The god is back! God Roundy! The Uncrowned Eighth! HE IS BACK!”

The three casters didn’t know how to approach or prepare for this game of KG. They all hoped that KG would do well and win, just like the people at home did. But KG’s performance in week 1 was so disappointing that they didn’t want to raise the hopes of the fans too high. That would only lead to even greater disappointment if KG didn’t show up. They had to walk a fine line in the pre-game analysis, where they hyped the fans up just enough that they stuck around to watch the game, but not so high that they were expecting KG to win. In their efforts to deliver this message, they spent so much time focusing on KG that they started caring more about the game than they usually did. They cared about it to such an extent that they were even more worried about the game than the players from KG were! But that all changed after God Roundy’s outplay on Hecarim. Their worries evaporated. The restrictions they put on themselves were gone. No more curbing in the excitement. They could finally cast the game!

It wasn’t just the casters who felt liberated, everyone watching the Chinese streams did! First Blood had washed away all their worries! This was the KG they knew from the LPL! They weren’t any worse than the best teams in the world! The KG and God Roundy fans who were previously too embarrassed to show themselves came out of the woodworks and flooded the stream chats and forum boards.

God Roundy is back boyzzzzzzzz
finally. why didnt they play like this last week?…..
Third seed in lpl >>>>> third seed in na
「Chris is such a n00bbbb!!!!!1!!」

Chris stared at his screen. It was grey. His Riven was dead. FUCK! He gnashed his teeth as his cheeks burned red. It was such an embarrassing death, and the whole world had seen it! He let go of his mouse and keyboard, put his elbows down on the table, and let his head hang down. Then he started pulling his hair. M-my Riven… How did that fatso kill me? UCH… D-did I really get outplayed by that fatso? He thought back to the play and every move he made. I couldn’t kill him. Fine. But that towerdive should’ve been fine… This shouldn’t have… No matter how he looked at it, he should’ve been able to get out. Even with the Flash, it was still Roundy playing the Hecarim. He usually wasn’t this spot on with his mechanics, reflexes, or situational awareness. Fuck. He played that well. This was a play so few people could pull off that he hadn’t even stopped to think about it. There were maybe two or three players in the entire game this good. NO! That fucking fatso isn’t that good! He just got lucky. Yes. Luck. That’s all. I’ll get him next time.

Across the stage from Chris was KG’s set-up of five computers. The mood over there was completely different. The players of KG were screaming into their microphones in excitement.

“Good job Roundy!”
“That was awesome, man!”
“This is perfect! We shut the Riven down early! That’s a massive advantage! Let’s build on it, guys!”

It was only First Blood. This usually didn’t have too much of an impact on the game. However, this First Blood was a solo kill in a difficult matchup! Tian Tian had completely outplayed Chris! This was the confidence booster the members from KG so desperately needed!

As for the person in question, Tian Tian’s heart was racing as he tightly gripped his mouse. The hand on his keyboard trembled. The thrill had taken everything out of him. He’d predicted Chris’ next move, focusing so hard that he’d forgotten to breathe while waiting for the Ki Burst. Then he’d jumped into action with incredibly fast and accurate reaction speed. And now, now he could relax. He breathed out deeply as the pressure he put on himself left his body. The shackles of nerves tying him down snapped and broke. He stopped fighting against himself. That could wait for another day. Now, he was going to win this game!

Tian Tian sat up straight in his chair and looked at the Riven. Her corpse still lay under his tower. He smiled, his heart pounding in his chest. I-i really did it! His focus turned to the minions. The large wave was dying to his outer tower. He had to get as many last hits on them as possible! Lin Feng was right. I really can do this!

Tian Tian’s analytical abilities weren’t limited to just the game itself. This was a process he would begin long before the game even started. Take his Hecarim pick in this game. In the current meta, Hecarim top lane needed the Teleport Summoner Spell to be viable. The second Summoner Spell had a little more freedom, but most Toplaners went with Ignite for the extra lane pressure it offered. Tian Tian, however, had opted to go with Flash. This wasn’t a spur of the moment decision, but rather a well thought out plan.

Tian Tian had spent a lot of time watching videos of Flash’s recent games. Specifically on how Chris played the lane. During his research, he’d picked up on one of Chris’ habits. Chris liked to build up a strong minion wave and crash it into the opposing Toplaner’s tower. Then when the opposing Toplaner tried to clear the wave, he’d take advantage of the opportunity to engage on them. When Tian Tian noticed Chris attempting to do the same thing in this game, he set his plan in motion. Instead of trying to stop Chris, Tian Tian started helping him. He purposefully didn’t clear Chris’ minion wave and let it push into his own tower, all the while preparing for the opportunity to kill Chris. Chris took the bait. He towerdove and Tian Tian outplayed him to pick up the solo kill. This was a perfect example of how much good research of the opponent was worth.

Despite his many hours of research, Tian Tian didn’t have the confidence to base his choice of Summoner Spells on an eventuality. So he looked beyond this specific scenario to choose between Flash and Ignite. The advantages of Ignite were especially clear in the early game, while Flash became more valuable the longer a game went on. Since he wanted Flash for the early game and it was also a better choice for the team fights later in the game, the choice became obvious.

Back in Season 1, when there were no analysts on a team, it was normal for players to put as much effort into researching their opponents as Tian Tian still did. Now, in Season 5, most players didn’t bother with that anymore. They had analysts to do the research for them. This also meant that they only saw what the analysts showed them. Tian Tian, on the other hand, saw a lot more. He really knew his opponents, watching their games even when he sat on the toilet. This was a valuable habit, and even more so because no one knew he did this. Since they didn’t know this, they couldn’t prepare for it. Even his own teammates and coaches didn’t know about this side of him. Lin Feng was the only exception. He knew how much time and effort Tian Tian put into researching his opponents.

In the NetCow Cafe branch in downtown Shanghai, the game between High School 13 and High School 7 reached the 10 minute mark. High School 7 had worked hard the last few minutes to get back into the game, having their Jarvan IV show up top and bot to put pressure on the side lanes. It was a success. Both lanes got a slight gold and experience lead in their lanes. The complete opposite was true for mid lane. Yasuo was being toyed with by Lin Feng. It was to the extent that the audience crowding around the computers couldn’t believe what they were seeing.

“Uhh… Isn’t that guy a Master? What the fuck…”
“That’s what I heard too! How is he getting his ass kicked this hard?”
“Who is that Midlaner for High School 13? Also a Master? It must be, right?”

Despite it being obvious that the Yasuo was losing the lane, it looked a lot worse than it was. High School 7’s Midlaner kept his calm. His other lanes were doing well. As long as he could stay close enough to the minions so that he could pick up the experience and stay relatively even in level with the Zed, then everything would be fine. When the teamfights began, the rest of his team would win them and carry the game. All he had to do was show up and pick up a kill here and there to catch back up in items and become relevant again.

The Jungler of High School 7 roamed bot. High School 13’s bot lane duo was pushed under their tower and their Jungler had just revealed himself in the top half of the jungle. This was a great opportunity for a towerdive! The Jarvan IV didn’t worry about wards. There was nowhere to run for High School 13’s bot lane anyway. His team’s minion wave in bot lane was pushing into Blue team’s outer tower. He waited just outside of the outer tower’s range for the Support on his team, Leona, to engage.

Leona was a defensive support Champion with a lot of crowd control skills. The most powerful one was her ultimate–Solar Flare! She could call down a beam of solar energy and stun Champions! The Leona arrived at Blue team’s outer tower and waited for Kalista and Braum to walk close together. Then she threw down a Solar Flare!

“Wei Dong!” Tang Bingyao exclaimed, annoyed. The Leona was obviously waiting for them to stack on top of each other before engaging. Wei Dong had done the one thing he should never do in a lange against a Leona!

The Leona stunned the Kalista and Braum. Wei Dong frantically clicked his mouse and hit down on his keyboard but nothing happened. A flag-toss combo of the Jarvan IV knocked both his Braum and Tang Bingyao’s Kalista airborne before the stun broke. The Jinx was shooting them down with her rocket launcher. Kalista died in an instant, and he followed soon after. The crowd control was too strong. There was nothing he could do. It was a clean two kills for High School 7. He looked up at Tang Bingyao sitting next to him and mumbled, “Sorry.”

Lin Feng could hear the annoyance in Tang Bingyao’s voice. Bot lane was losing. Top lane was struggling again. And Liu Yue in the jungle was unable to put the same pressure on the lanes as the Jarvan IV did. They were falling behind left and right. Only mid lane was doing well. But this didn’t mean the game was lost. Anything but! The game was still even right now. However, the next big fight would be very important. If they lost that, the game would become very difficult to win. Lin Feng zoned out everything else around him. He had to focus and win for his team!

On the other side of the world, the game between KG and Flashed also hit the 10 minute mark. The minutes after Tian Tian killed the Riven had been relatively quiet. Only one big play had happened. A gank in mid lane. Flash’s Jungler, Lee Sin, had ganked KG’s Midlaner and helped his Kassadin pick up the kill. This brought the score back to one kill for both teams.

The Chinese fans started to get nervous again. After watching Tian Tian pick up an early solo kill, their hopes for a KG win were reignited. KG had started playing better in the few minutes after too! Everything seemed to be going smoothly. But then the Orianna died in mid lane. The game suddenly didn’t seem all that easy anymore. KG was still playing well, they had at least that going for them, but playing well just wasn’t good enough. If KG wanted to make it out of the group stage, they had to win all three of their remaining matches! One loss and they were out!

Come on KG! Don’t give this one away! You guys have to hold on! We believe in you!
STOP FEEDING ORI!!!!! just let the heca carry you!
we can still win! go kg go!!!!!
dont give up guys this is still a win for kg, just trust them
tell that to the ori! GO GOD ROUNDY! carry your shitmates!!!
Give me a K! Give me a G! KGGGGGGGGG

Prophet Stone was careful with what he said on the caster desk. He was terrified of jinxing KG. Qinghe and Lolo felt the same, as did the millions of fans in China. They were praying for a win. KG had to win! Their hearts were in the game. They started talking to the screen as though KG could hear them. Sometimes even screaming. There were some fans who put on their special t-shirt. They believed it’d bring their team luck. They’d do anything they could think of to help KG win this game!

Though there weren’t millions of fans watching, the situation in the match between High School 13 and High School 7 was very similar to the position KG found themselves in. But instead of commentators and fans worrying for them, there were only Ren Rou, Ouyang, and Yang Fan. Ouyang hid behind the other two, afraid that him looking at the game would cause his team to lose.

Both teams in both games gathered around the Dragon pit. This would be the first teamfight of the game. It was one of the most important few seconds of the entire game! One team would pull ahead, while the other would spend the rest of the game playing catch up.

Lin Feng stared at his screen. He couldn’t let anyone disturb him now. His team wasn’t good enough. He had to carry them, but he wasn’t sure if he could single-handedly win this next teamfight. And if he failed, the rest of the game would suddenly become a lot more difficult. Losing wasn’t even out of the equation then. For you, Fatty. I’ma win this fight for you!

Tian Tian was worried, just like Lin Feng was. His nerves started assaulting his mind again, and it looked for a moment as if he’d fall back in his old habit. N-no. L-lin Feng won’t forgive me. He forced himself to calm down and focused on the game again. There was no second chance after this game. This game was his second and last chance to make it out of the group stage! He had to win. He couldn’t let this game slip from his fingers! One mistake and it was over. I-i can’t screw up! I have to win!

Then, it happened. In two different games in two different tournaments, separated by over 5,000 miles of land and sea, High School 13 and KG both fell for an ambush. For KG, the bot lane duo was caught out, while for High School 13 it was the Jungler and Support. Four players from High School 7 had spotted them warding high up in the river and surrounded them.

Ren Rou and Ouyang panicked. Qinghe, Lolo, and Stone panicked. The millions of fans at home all panicked. High School 13 was trapped! KG was trapped! All their hopes and dreams came crashing down on them. It was over! After everything, this looked like the start of the end!

Subway Just Isn't That Good...

Shanks Thought: I read an article today about Subway bread being too sugary to be legally considered bread. Honestly, makes sense. I noticed that too when I tried Subway for the first time. I distinctly remembered it because I’d just moved to Canada. My uncle took me there for lunch one day and bought me a Veggie Delight. He said it would help me lose weight, and that it was healthy. The bread tasted like foamy plastic, the sauces were sickly sweet, and the vegetables… I think the vegetables had gone off because I was sick to my stomach and puked everywhere later that day. That’s when my deep hatred for Subway began. I’ve tried it a couple more times over the years, and it’s always made me kind of sick and nauseous. Doesn’t matter what kind of sandwich. Classic Cold Cut, Pizza Sub, Meatball Sub, Teriyaki Chicken, etc. This was during the height of their popularity, when they were doing their $5 footlongs and promoting themselves as ‘healthy’ fast food. So, seeing sentiments change in these recent years and more and more people dunking on them brings me great pleasure.

Sietse Thought: Since Shanks is shitting on Subway, I’ll try and say something super positive about them! It’s just that I’ve only had Subway once in my life. And that experience wasn’t exactly great. The sandwich was fine. It was nice and greasy and totally had too much bacon on it. Just that my family was having one of its fights over absolutely nothing. You know, the kind of fights where you’re wondering how it ever got to the point of family members being annoyed at each other, let alone screaming at each other. All we had to do was go to a storage place, it’d gone bankrupt and we needed to claim our stuff, and point out which containers were ours. The curator would take care of the rest. It took almost a full day, not because it was a lot of work, but because my family got bored (I guess?) and decided it was time to start screaming at each other. Now why were they screaming, you might ask. Because they couldn’t agree if one or two specific items in a box were ours, even though our name was on the box. It was so important whether a chair was ours or not, that three people started screaming at each other. So, the Subway definitely tasted like popcorn! That’s a super positive Subway story, right?

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