After five days of intensive training, YYg ushered in the third match of the summer season. The opponent was tSD, the team that was currently behind them in the rankings by several places.
Because tSD lost their last two matches -- 0 to 2, 1 to 2 -- right now they could only forcibly push down those teams that haven't won a single minor game to get ahead.
“This match is very important.” The day before the match, their coach gathered them together to review the two matches that tSD lost. “Even though they lost two matches, from the point of view of the minor games they won, their ideas are still very distinct, and there have been no small changes from the spring season.”
“I think they are consciously shifting their focus to the mid and top lanes. Although the Jungler still goes to the bot lane, the frequency has clearly decreased.” When it came to discussing competition strategies, Zhou Tian did not shirk her responsibility as the Jungler and diligently gave her opinion. “Looking at this version, the reasoning is good, but the teamwork is weak.”
“Another reason why they’re targeting the mid and top lanes is because the last two opponents happened to be toughest in the bot lane.” The second person to speak was Ying Yuanxia. “Rather than smashing against the opponent’s strengths, why not inhibit their weak points. But they definitely didn’t practice this playing style too much, and the cooperation between Top, Mid and Jungler was not as anticipated.”
The coach nodded his head. “So if you were to give tSD’s coach some ideas for the next match against our YYg, how should they formulate their strategies to maximize winning?”
At this point, Zhou Tian finally realized the reason why YYg always had the tradition of simulating games with the entire team plus the coaching staff and the data analytics group before fighting strong opponents -- the coaching staff felt that the players’ on the spot instincts were sometimes more critical than tactics.
And to keep the players’ performances steady, they needed to stabilize their mentalities and prepare them in advance for the majority of the situations that could arise.
To win over the spring season overlords tSD, they spent practically the whole day before the match on simulation games.
Everyone gave their own views, actually helping tSD to think of some feasible methods, as well as the corresponding counterattacks.
Perhaps because of this incomparably demanding experience before the match, and also because the opponent on the second day was her idol’s team, Zhou Tian tossed and turned that night for a long time before getting up.
She truly wouldn’t be able to sleep for the second half of the night. She decided instead to go downstairs and play two ranking games to calm down. After tiptoeing across the darkened hallway and staircase to arrive on the training floor, she discovered that inside the training room the lights were actually still on.
She thought it was because her teammates had forgotten to turn off the lights before going upstairs to rest. But when she opened the door, she saw Xie Yi sitting upright on a gaming chair in the center of the room, one hand on the keyboard and the other operating the mouse at lightning speed, looking exactly like on the day she first arrived.
“You...you haven’t slept?” She clearly remembered that everyone had gone upstairs at the same time.
“Can’t sleep.” Of course, he heard her come in from outside, but he did not move his gaze away from the screen in front of him, only curtly and directly responding with this sentence, both hands continuing to move.
Seeing this, Zhou Tian simply walked up behind him, intending to survey his battlefield situation.
But the moment she came to a stop, his screen turned grey. Looking at the current stats, 6-10-5, it was really a little miserable.
Zhou Tian: “...This round is already lost, how about you throw it and we can double rank?”
He didn’t answer, obviously wanting to continue the struggle.
Zhou Tian found this attitude somewhat strange, since in her limited experience, Xie Yi had always been sensible when ranking -- if he saw clearly that he couldn’t turn it around, then he wouldn’t waste time with strangers who'd become teammates only by chance.
This was the case the last two times the two had doubled up to level late into the night. But tonight Xie Yi was different from usual, stubbornly insisting on struggling, playing so impetuously that, within a few minutes of watching, Zhou Tian could see that he’d changed his operations at least three times.
Zhou Tian: “...”
Reason told her that at this time, it was better to not say anything at all. But as a teammate seeing him like this, she also didn’t have the heart to just sit down and play by herself. So she just kept watching silently.
In the end, Xie Yi still lost this game. Because he played too aggressively when defending the high ground, he was even abused into becoming a spring by the opponent.
After the Nexus exploded and the match finished, the spectating Zhou Tian’s mood became more complicated.
While she was hesitating over once again inviting him to double rank, he unexpectedly got up, turned around, and asked her, “Eat midnight snacks?”
Zhou Tian: “....You’re not fighting anymore?”
“Luck is not good, completely lost.” His meaning was to stop the fall before it was too late.
“....Oh, then why not go upstairs to rest.” Learning that he had played more than one game, Zhou Tian was once again concerned about his quality of sleep. “There’s a match tomorrow.”
He neither nodded nor shook his head, asking her instead, “What about you?”
“I can’t fall asleep.” Zhou Tian scratched her head. “I wanted to come downstairs and play two games to calm down.”
When she said the word “calm,” Xie Yi naturally reacted at once. She was actually exactly like him -- unable to sleep because of the match tomorrow.
The training room sank into silence for a bit. He lowered his gaze and scanned the dark circles under her eyes, finally saying, “Very nervous?”
Zhou Tian wasn’t ashamed to admit this, directly nodding. “I think the reason why I played so smoothly before was because the opponents weren’t strong, but running into tSD…”
Although tSD lost the last two matches, they were after all the champions of the spring season. The strength of all their positions could not be underestimated.
Or in other words, precisely because they'd already lost two matches as the overlords of the spring season, they would be even more prepared for the game against YYg tomorrow, striving their hardest to achieve their first victory of the season.
“Last season in the regular season, we double-killed tSD.” Xie Yi opened his mouth again. “But every time we met in the playoffs, we never won.”
This was the case during the spring season playoffs. YYg fell in the semifinals, and the ones who locked them out of the finals was tSD. At that time the commentators were going crazy with ridicule, saying that tSD deserved to be a team with a domineering name like the Sword of Damocles. Even if their regular season results weren’t too good, during the playoffs they could make all the teams sense extreme danger.
When Zhou Tian watched the live broadcast of the match at the time, she didn’t have a deep impression. Now that she had become an esports player, and even entered YYg, thinking back on it, she immediately understood Xie Yi’s abnormal mood tonight.
But exactly because she understood, she couldn’t say anything comforting.
The reason was because it was easy to say, hard to do. She herself couldn’t get over winning or losing, so how could she advise others?
So in the end she only sighed silently and met the gaze of the person in front of her, saying, “Do you still want to eat midnight snacks? I’ll treat.”
Ten minutes later, the two left the team base, going to a nearby seafood BBQ restaurant that stayed open until the morning.
There were almost no customers in the restaurant. The night shift workers were playing a board game around the table closest to the door. When they saw the two of them enter, they almost blurted out, “Why'd you come?”
But when Zhou Tian and Xie Yi sat down and ordered some of the most expensive items on the menu, their attitudes promptly changed for the better.
“This restaurant’s seafood is quite authentic.” Zhou Tian had a lot to say on this topic. After two bites, she couldn’t help commenting, “Worth the price.”
Xie Yi didn’t say anything, but he kept energetically moving his chopsticks, tasting all the dishes she’d praised, showing his endorsement through actions.
The two seemed to have reached a kind of tacit agreement, never mentioning the upcoming match from beginning to end.
After they finished eating and left, Zhou Tian stood outside in the shadow of a roadside banyan tree and heaved a sigh of relief. “Actually, when tSD contacted me, I had some regrets.”
Xie Yi didn’t open his mouth.
She didn’t need him to respond, continuing by herself: “At the time I thought, if they had come to find me before YYg, that would be great, not only could I become a professional player, but I could also go join the team of my number one idol. Maybe I could even inherit his mantle, and continue to lead tSD on their campaigns.”
“But after coming to YYg, I’ve actually never regretted it.”
Xie Yi moved the corner of his mouth, finally saying, “Why?”
“Of course it’s because anyone can see that YYg is stronger than tSD, and our play is more holistic as well,” Zhou Tian said without the slightest hesitation. “Who wouldn’t be nervous playing tSD? But if SAg can win against them, there’s no reason why we can’t.”
In the past few years, YYg had never won once against tSD in the playoffs. As a result, there was a saying in the circle -- tSD was YYg’s greatest bane.
As for why they were a bane, there were many divergent opinions in the circle. Some brought up mentality, others team style, their discussions all supplemented by some serious analysis.
Before Zhou Tian entered the professional circle, she had also seen this kind of analysis on all of the major forums, but she didn’t agree.
In her opinion, the ultimate reason why they couldn’t win was because they didn’t have enough strength. But the present YYg absolutely did not have this problem, so despite her anxiety, if she truly had to make an impartial prediction about the results of the match, she still thought that their side would be the ones to win.
“Compared to beating my idol’s team, there is nothing to regret in not being able to join my idol's team.” After saying this, Zhou Tian couldn’t help but smile. “I think that I can achieve this even more ambitious goal at YYg, what do you say?”
At this moment, Xie Yi actually had a lot he wanted to say.
He wanted to say mad newcomers like you could easily be sprayed, and also wanted to say that your method of chasing stars is a bit unique, and still wanted to say that if Ye Bo heard this, that person would most likely no longer recognize you as a fan.
But when all these words rushed to his mouth, they transformed into a most simple “en.”
Zhou Tian: “?” I said so much, but you only gave me an “en”?
“Let’s go, it’s going to be dawn soon.” After a moment, he added this sentence.
“Damn it, it really is. I finally adjusted my work and sleep schedule, and it was ruined tonight.” She stomped on the mottled shadow of the tree under the lamp, her tone extremely angry. “It’s all tSD’s fault! Tomorrow we definitely need to win over them!”
Xie Yi callously reminded her: “It’s already today.”
Zhou Tian: “...You’ve just ruined the atmosphere of my ruthless words!”
Only at this moment did Xie Yi intuitively sense that the small teammate in front of him was still a little girl under the age of eighteen.
When she bared fangs and brandished claws to carry her teammates in the game, it was a spectacle that left people dazzled and stunned; but when she gnashed her teeth in reality, it only made people want to knock on her head and rub her hair.
Then he really knocked.
Zhou Tian: “? ?” What was this guy doing!
T/L Note: I am not a League of Legends player and don't know anything about it, so please forgive/point out any mistakes related to the game. Hope you all enjoy this cute chapter :)