Team Wind Howl, after failing to complete a transfer during the winter transfer window that would solve their problems, entered the second half of the season.
Even though they had sustained repeated losses against strong teams in the first half of the season, Wind Howl was still firmly strong against the mid and low-tier teams. This allowed people to maintain a thread of faith in them.
But now, Team Miracle.
Even if this team did better than expected, that only meant that they had a certain amount of strength. With a score of 102 points halfway through the season in 12th place, they couldn't really be called strong. This was the typical score of a mid-tier team.
But now, Wind Howl had lost to this mid-tier team.
This was tantamount to tearing away their last piece of clothing. Could Wind Howl get results? That question mark was becoming bigger and bigger. In the post-match press conference, Wind Howl's Captain Tang Hao was furious, severely reprimanding his team for not working hard enough.
But could Wind Howl's problems really be solved just with hard work?
Things weren't that simple! Hard work couldn't solve everything in Glory. Aside from hard work, you have to have the correct method, and today's Wind Howl lacked not hard work, nor the determination to pursue victory, but rather the method for obtaining victory, especially in the team competition.
Originally, Wind Howl's key to victory was their dirty playing. Now, they had thrown away this key, but they hadn't found a new key that could continue to open locks. All the locksmiths were struggling away, but no matter how they tried, they just couldn't unlock that door to victory.
"Come on, work hard, get your spirits up, we can't lose!" These sort of morale-boosting sentiments couldn't solve the problem at the core.
What should Wind Howl do?
In this week's edition of the Esports Weekly, Wind Howl actually became the subject of the headline. After everyone finished discussing how weak An Wenyi was and how strong Bai Shu was, Wind Howl's strength as a team became the new topic everyone cared about.
Wind Howl themselves were suffering nonstop the protests of their fans. Wind Howl urgently needed a match where they could prove their strength. And so, their chance arrived in Round 25, with their home game against Samsara.
Was it a bit too extreme… aiming for them as a proof of strength?
Wind Howl's players felt the urge to eat their account cards.
"This is our best chance." Their captain Tang Hao, however, appeared fearless before them.
"What could prove our strength better than defeating Samsara?" said Tang Hao.
"Get your spirits up everyone, use this battle to show everyone who we Wind Howl really are." In the prep room before the match, Tang Hao mobilized his teammates.
But Wind Howl's players were truly somewhat numb to these sort of words by now.
Onstage, individual competition, three battles, loss loss loss.
The stadium resounded with boos. This was only the individual competition, and they were already getting wrecked?
Tang Hao's face turned livid. But what else could he do? He didn't know anymore…
Soon enough, the group arena ended. Now, not only were there boos, members of the crowd were already leaving the stadium early. They didn't even want to watch the important team competition anymore, and used their early departure as their strongest form of protest against the team.
After the individual competition was over, Wind Howl was 0-5.
Following that match with Happy, would they be swept 0-10 again this match? That time, at least, was Happy's home game. But this time, they were being swept by the away team. It was truly a slap to the face.
After the team competition, the cheers and shouts for Samsara were already louder than those for Wind Howl. What made Wind Howl lose even more face was that some of the cheers for Samsara were actually from Wind Howl's fangroup. What kind of disappointment and anger was this? The team competition finally began…
Meanwhile, on another battlefield…
"Again…" The audience members were dumbfounded as they watched Radiant's healer, 2 minutes and 34 seconds in the team round, slain by one knife of 301's Assassin Scene Killer.
Even more fearsome was that this time, Scene Killer didn't die right after using Life-Risking Strike. He was actually protected by Bai Shu's Knight Tide. After that, 301's healer, the Paladin 007 piled on a series of healing skills, instantly pulling Scene Killer's health back…
An Assassin that had successfully used Life-Risking Strike to kill the target, actually didn't die?
Everyone was stunned. This was absolutely the first time this had ever happened in Glory history.
This Team 301 Degrees, to what extent would they perfect this assassination style?
Radiant's strength couldn't match 301's. After losing their healer, the rest of the team fell like a mountain toppled over, and the match was quickly decided. 301 earned a large victory this round, full points with a 10-0.
Shortly after, the match between Wind Howl and Samsara was also decided. Samsara lived up to expectations and defeated Wind Howl, sweeping them in a 10-0.
301 and Wind Howl had only had a difference of 8 points between them, and with this, they instantly swapped positions on the leaderboard. Would Wind Howl be able to remain in the top 8? That would be determined by the final result of another team's match.
Hundred Blossoms faced Lightly this round.
This confrontation caused Wind Howl to fall into despair.
In the end, Hundred Blossoms defeated Lightly 8-2, rising to seventh place. 301 rose one place to eighth, finally entering the playoff zone. All of this had arrived terrifyingly quickly. At the halfway mark of the season, Round 19, 301 still only had 98 points, but after six rounds, they had already risen to 150 points. 52 points in six rounds, that was an average of 8.7 points per match, far surpassing the number one team Samsara's match average of 8.3 points.
In Round 19, 301 defeated Happy in the team round because Yang Cong used Life-Risking Strike to take out Happy's Little Cold Hands. But they had really gotten strong starting from Round 20. The arrival of the player Bai Shu truly gave 301 something that that Alliance had never seen before, a strategic playstyle revolving around the Assassin's Life-Risking Strike. Bai Shu had integrated into the team very quickly, making it obvious that he was a player with an extremely high Glory IQ. And the new system that he brought hadn't even reached its full potential yet. 301 was still testing things out, still getting used to everything. But even so, they had already earned a terrifying point-scoring rate. Once this strategy was perfected, what kind of fearsome and deadly power would it have?
Now, people were realizing that Bai Shu's arrival didn't just bring an unknown expert, but an unknown strategy, ultimately raising an unknown team.
"What a headache!" everyone complained. But at this moment, some people didn't even have the time to complain about this.
"What a headache, how long are we planning to play for?" Ye Xiu said.
"You guys already lost long ago, if not for your disgustingly dirty hide-and-seek this match would already be over! Is there a point is there a point? Just come out and 1v1 me! A good and honest match to decide victory, do you dare, huh, do you dare?" Huang Shaotian raged.
Just as all the various matches were ending, Blue Rain's home game against Happy had already lasted over forty minutes. Right now, Blue Rain had lost one player, and the five others were all on the field. Happy, meanwhile, only had two players left. But even in this situation, Happy's two players still didn't GG, nor did they come out to end this faster. They were actually very patiently dealing with Blue Rain.
"What bastards!" Seeing this scene, a number of elite guild members felt their hearts sour.
Once upon a time, in the Heavenly Domain, they sent out large armies, only for them to be cruelly teased by these two guys! Seeing how even Blue Rain was now dragged around by them for so long, everyone suddenly felt a bit gratified.
Lord Grim, Deception.
These were the two players still alive from Happy. Without a doubt, Happy didn't have any chance of victory against Blue Rain, who still had an intact roster. But these two people still refused to give up, ducking and hiding all over, dragging out what should have been a 31-minute match over the current 42-minute mark.
"Before the last moment, the match isn't considered over," Ye Xiu lectured Huang Shaotian very seriously. "1v1? Is that a battle method that belongs in the team competition?"
"You... What kind of method is your hide-and-seek then?" Huang Shaotian used a powerful self-control to turn his swearing into ellipses.
"This is training, do you understand? The playoffs give points by number of players remaining. We Happy are already adjusting to the rhythm of the playoffs. Are you convinced now?"
"Convinced you...." The powerful self-control was once again exercised. "You two, you're still trying to earn some player points?"
"Not necessarily! If you're skilled, then come and 1v2 us!" Ye Xiu called.
"Alright! I'll fight you two by myself!" Huang Shaotian said.
"Everyone else, back off by a hundred body-lengths," said Ye Xiu.
"They've backed off, backed off."
"That fast?" Ye Xiu was doubtful.
"Backing off right now."
"Alright, let me take a look."
Blue Rain's players were instantly on full alert. Between the five of them, they had a 360-degree view of their surroundings. Even the slightest silhouette wouldn't escape their notice.
"You didn't back off! Liars!" Ye Xiu said angrily.
"You didn't even look! You're the liar!" Huang Shaotian was also furious. They hadn't seen anyone poking their head up to look. This guy wasn't even over here.
"I guessed!" Ye Xiu said.
"You sneak!" Huang Shaotian shouted.
"Stop wasting time, come find us already, this match is already so long, aren't you all annoyed?" Ye Xiu called.
Everyone felt tears streaming down their faces. You're the ones at fault here!
"Not too far off. They should be in this area." In Blue Rain's team chat, Yu Wenzhou had already made this judgment.
"Split up. Shaotian and I will take the channel on the left. Song Xiao, you and Zheng Xuan take the right, around that large boulder." Yu Wenzhou continued to lay out plans.
"Huh? What about me?" The Paladin player Xu Jingxi was confused. His name hadn't been listed in the split.
"Mm, left and right are both ambushes. You just walk directly forward, serve as the bait," said Yu Wenzhou.
"Too cruel…" Xu Jingxi felt like crying.
Chapter 1316: Pointless Move
Translator: Nomyummi Editor: Nomyummi
A hide-and-seek match that had lasted for over ten minutes now. If this were Happy's home game, Happy's fans might still find this interesting. But this was Blue Rain's home game. Seeing these two people with no chance of reversal but still shamelessly dragging this on, they'd started booing early on.
But just then, when Ye Xiu expressed that this was training for the playoffs, the boos were actually interrupted for a second. In that instant, everyone actually agreed with this sentiment, but soon enough, as Huang Shaotian sent a series of messages, everyone woke up. This was just a fabricated excuse, right? The boos suddenly grew even louder.
Then why did they still want to drag this out?
To be honest, not even Happy's players were sure. Even if it was for a reason like accumulating match experience, this right now was nowhere near the rhythm of an ordinary match. What kind of experience could they get?
Only Ye Xiu knew the real reason.
If it were just himself, he probably would have directly said "GG" by now. But he still had Mo Fan beside him. With only two people left, Ye Xiu was already prepared to give up, but Mo Fan's Deception still went on the rhythm of escape.
"This guy…" Ye Xiu was surprised, but he quickly followed.
Mo Fan had played a number of professional matches now. He should understand the situation they were currently facing, he should be able to judge that they didn't have much of a chance with a 2v5. But he didn't give up, he only temporarily avoided facing the opponent head-on, as though waiting for an opportunity to counterattack. Ye Xiu couldn't bring himself to quell his enthusiasm, and could only follow along, running and hiding for over ten whole minutes.
In over ten minutes, the two just ran away. They hadn't found the chance to take out a single target. But Mo Fan was very patient and very persistent. Ye Xiu, too, was never someone who gave up easily. He wasn't as bullheaded as Mo Fan, but since he was being stubborn with this guy right now, he might as well play to his fullest, and put effort into his running around.
"This is probably it." After studying his surroundings, Ye Xiu said this to Mo Fan in the chat.
Mo Fan's Deception also looked around and didn't object. He was an expert at running away. Although they faced fewer pursuers now than they would in the crowded in-game world, the pressure here was much higher. Professionals were no trivial matter, after all. Fortunately, Mo Fan had improved greatly, otherwise he certainly wouldn't have been able to evade the enemy team's pursuit for these ten minutes.
Right now, they had finally reached a situation where there was no more path to take.
There was no road of retreat, they could only go forward. Now, if they wanted to run, they could only forcibly break through the encirclement. Ye Xiu carefully studied the surroundings, but he saw Deception's hand moved, lifting the ninjato in front of him. Following Deception's gaze, he also saw Blue Rain's Paladin, Soul Speaker, slowly wandering toward them.
Deception was just about to jump forward, but a string of words from Ye Xiu jumped out in the chat. "It's bait."
Mo Fan paused, and then responded with his own string of words. "Then what do we do?"
"Just wait, ignore them," Ye Xiu answered.
And so Soul Speaker walked closer and closer, until he didn't dare walk any closer, but he still saw no sign of the two targets. Xu Jingxi couldn't do anything, and could only ask in the team chat.
After a while, a message from Yu Wenzhou appeared in the match chat. "This is meaningless! We've already stepped on the stairs for you, just come down already!"
"So that's what this is about! I was just wondering why you were looking down on us so much," Ye Xiu answered.
"Right, then just come out!" Yu Wenzhou said.
"Can't. If I fell for such a crude trick, how embarrassing would that be?" said Ye Xiu.
"Then what do you want to do?" Yu Wenzhou asked.
"I can already tell the positions where you guys are lying in wait, I'll try forcibly breaking through from here," Ye Xiu said.
"Left or right?" Yu Wenzhou asked.
As soon as this message appeared in the chat, Lord Grim's silhouette immediately appeared in Swoksaar's field of view.
"Oh hey, what a coincidence," Ye Xiu greeted in the chat.
"Perfect timing!" Huang Shaotian shouted, and Troubling Rain immediately swung his sword to meet him.
"Now you're the one in charge of the chat?" Ye Xiu laughed. Lord Grim rushed forward without any sign of weakness.
The two characters were fighting in earnest. Huang Shaotian wasn't an opponent that Ye Xiu could get rid of so quickly. Yu Wenzhou had already controlled Swoksaar to support him, and the rest of Blue Rain had already run up to surround him.
Yu Wenzhou immediately realized something was wrong.
"Where's Deception?" He stopped his controls and shouted in the chat.
A silhouette charged forward!
Blue Rain's arrangement had originally locked down this area, but because of how Lord Grim had suddenly jumped forward with a powerful attack, he'd drawn everyone's attention and Blue Rain had suddenly left openings. Mo Fan was extremely precise at choosing positions, and Deception rushed toward these openings. Before Blue Rain's players could react, Deception had already escaped from the area they controlled.
"Let's see where you can run!" Huang Shaotian shouted as Troubling Rain slashed ferociously.
"Who said I wanted to run?" Ye Xiu laughed.
"Then this is?" Yu Wenzhou didn't understand.
"Decoy! Threaten the east and strike to the west!" Ye Xiu said.
"What's the point in his running away?" Yu Wenzhou asked.
"Run for another ten minutes?" Ye Xiu offered.
"…" Blue Rain was truly, completely speechless. This is an official match! Are you guys seriously just playing hide-and-seek here?
"Go die!" Troubling Rain's attacks became even more frantic. Zheng Xuan and Song Xiao's characters had also arrived, beginning to surround and attack Lord Grim, while Swoksaar restarted his curse casting. Lord Grim's health plummeted.
But at this moment, behind Swoksaar, a silhouette appeared. Deception had circled around and suddenly came into sight over here, and the Shurikens in his hand flew outward toward Swoksaar. Yu Wenzhou heard the warning from his teammates and quickly dodged. But after Deception used the Shurikens, he instantly arrived before him, jumped up, and slashed downward toward Swoksaar.
The sound of metal colliding with metal resounded. Troubling Rain used a Triple Slash, instantly flashing in front of Swoksaar and blocking this attack from Deception. The next two slashes smoothly continued to push Deception back.
But because Troubling Rain had come over here, the encirclement around Lord Grim suddenly had an opening. With a toss of a grenade, and a Shining Cut, Lord Grim split through to arrive in front of Swoksaar, but the attack failed to land - he twisted into a Charge and once again crashed toward Troubling Rain.
Huang Shaotian knew that if he were passed through again, this guy would definitely escape.
Formless Phantom Blade!
Huang Shaotian directly used an ultimate attack. In front of Troubling Rain, the swordlight formed a net, flying toward Lord Grim.
But in the chat, a message from his teammate suddenly popped out. "Behind you!"
Behind Troubling Rain was Deception, who had just been forced away by his Triple Slash.
He returned so quickly?
Huang Shaotian was shocked. This was to say, he hadn't actually driven this guy back earlier, this guy had voluntarily chosen to back off. Only then could he so calmly execute this sudden swing around.
Body Bind Technique!
Mo Fan's sudden explosion of hand speed and control was incredibly powerful. Huang Shaotian truly hadn't expected that he would return so quickly, and any warning from his teammates was too late. No matter how powerful Formless Phantom Blade was from the front, the back was filled with openings. Deception stuck right to him and directly interrupted his powerful attack. However, he didn't use his skill until the end, he actually once again took the initiative to retreat.
But Huang Shaotian didn't feel fortunate at all. Deception had retreated, but Lord Grim's Charge had now arrived right before him.
Troubling Rain was blown to the side. Deception had already thrown out a Smoke Bomb, filling the area with purple fog. Lord Grim continued to move and instantly vanished within. The skill that Yu Wenzhou had prepared could now only rely on luck as he threw it in there, and nothing came of it in the end. By the time Blue Rain passed through the purple fog, those two from Happy had already run far off.
"Is there a point to this, is there??" His slashes couldn't reach them anymore, so Huang Shaotian could only vent his anger through the chat.
"Haha, I think it's pretty interesting!" Ye Xiu answered.
"Referee, a guy like this should be directly disqualified!" Huang Shaotian complained to the judge. But this was an official League match, not the All-Stars. Even though the current situation was infuriating, they hadn't broken any rules, and the judge couldn't directly decide the outcome. He could only ignore Huang Shaotian. Blue Rain's five players were truly depressed as they had no other choice but to regroup and continue the chase.
After another ten minutes of struggle, Blue Rain caught up to Lord Grim and Deception, resulting in another intense battle. This time, Blue Rain finally didn't miss their opportunity, and killed the two off very ferociously. In the short amount of time between the end of the match and all the players logging off, Huang Shaotian and Zheng Xuan actually flogged the deceased corpses of Lord Grim and Deception.
This was an extreme way of humiliating the opponent and incredibly rude. It would be no surprise for such behavior to incite a war of words. But at this time, seeing the extremely agitated actions of these two Blue Rain players, all of the audience members felt a pleasure welling up within them.
These two guys had unnecessarily dragged on this battle for a full 23 minutes.
If you drag this on and actually accomplish something, then fine. But these two didn't manage to do anything, they were just running and hiding, all the way until they had nowhere else to run or hide. Was this purely just to sicken everyone?
But in the post-match press conference, Ye Xiu didn't see it like this at all.
"A pointless move? Of course not. We were searching for an opportunity the entire time! But Blue Rain simply did too well today. Overall, very strong. We couldn't find our chance, and regretfully lost the match in the end. Alas!" Ye Xiu lamented.
The reporters were in a daze. Motherfucker, what's there to regret about losing a 2v5? How come from your tone it sounded like you were doing a 2v5 and then messed up, allowing the five to defeat you?
"Next time, we'll continue to work hard!" After the gloom, Ye Xiu eagerly expressed his stance.
Still work hard?!
He's just saying that, he's not serious, is he?
The reporters, who were ready to flip a table after those 23 minutes of useless struggle, felt like collapsing.
Chapter 1317: Concentrated Hot Topics
Translator: Nomyummi Editor: Nomyummi
Even though Blue Rain won this match 8-2, their spirits were low because of those last 23 minutes.
But Yu Wenzhou, who could normally analyze any problem, was completely perplexed this time. He truly could not see the reason why Ye Xiu and Mo Fan had dragged on the battle for those 23 minutes. Were they really looking for an opportunity to defeat the five of them? Yu Wenzhou didn't think Ye Xiu was that naive. Were they really just trying to screw with everyone on purpose? Yu Wenzhou didn't think Ye Xiu was that childish.
Then what was the reason?
In fact, Yu Wenzhou had thought about this the entire time after the battle ended, and when the players shook hands at the end, he actually asked Ye Xiu. But Ye Xiu had merely given him an inscrutable smile.
Now, when the reporters asked him about his opinion on those extra 23 minutes, Yu Wenzhou was very honest as he shook his head. "I was thinking about this the whole time, but I could not think of what their goal was in doing this."
"What kind of goal could there be? He was just doing this to screw with us!" Huang Shaotian said immediately.
Yu Wenzhou smiled wryly and shook his head, expressing his disagreement with that sentiment.
"You can't always think of him as so high and profound," said Huang Shaotian.
"But at the very least, there has to be logic," said Yu Wenzhou.
"Screwing with people, isn't that a very logical thing for him?" Huang Shaotian said.
"Normally, perhaps. But not during a match," said Yu Wenzhou.
These two Gods of Blue Rain just directly discussed in front of the reporters, but in the end they still didn't reach a conclusion. Those 23 infuriating minutes had become an unsolvable riddle.
What kind of secret was hidden within?
Some of the less serious media just reported like this, garnering a sizable reaction in the circle and provoking all sorts of incredible theories.
Countless people were stuck on these 23 minutes. But Happy itself wasn't too concerned about it at all. The 23 minutes came and went, and Ye Xiu hadn't said anything about this to Mo Fan. He'd just been helping Mo Fan, with his personality, do what he wanted to.
But Ye Xiu very much appreciated how, after he'd created a diversion to help Mo Fan escape the encirclement, that kid had doubled back to try and help out Ye Xiu. In reality, Ye Xiu hadn't planned for that to happen; he'd been prepared to sacrifice himself and then let Mo Fan to continue to hide for as long as he was able. But Mo Fan had actually returned after escaping to save Ye Xiu. It looked like this guy finally knew what it meant to be teammates. And in that moment, when he'd been helping Ye Xiu break free, the two of them had coordinated quite well.
Watching each of Happy's rookies grow and develop put Ye Xiu in a very good mood. But Happy's scores weren't nearly as crazy as they'd been during that one period. From their loss in Round 19 to 301, to their loss to Blue Rain today, in those seven rounds, Happy had lost five matches.
Right now, Happy was in sixth place. In terms of placement, that only seemed slightly worse than the fifth place they'd been able to maintain earlier. But back in Round 18, Happy had been earning points even faster than Samsara, whereas now, Samsara's lead was unchanged and the only two teams in the second tier, above 180 points, were Blue Rain and Tiny Herb. After that, Tyranny, Thunderclap, and Happy were in the 160-point tier, and Hundred Blossoms and 301 were in the 150-point tier, which wasn't far off at all from the 160-point tier.
The situation of the top 8 instantly became more complex. 301 was shooting up after the winter transfers, increasing the competition. For now, Wind Howl had become the sacrifice for 301 and were kicked out of the top 8.
Still, the differences weren't too large right now, and Wind Howl certainly wasn't done for. Although their current situation was so bad that their home fans were cheering for the away team, they still maintained the strength of their individual members. Even if they still couldn't find a suitable system for the team competition, as long as they played the individual battles well and earned points from the weaker teams, Wind Howl still had a chance at top 8.
After them, Void couldn't be ignored either. Misty Rain, still struggling to solve their strategic problems, seemed to be a bit weaker. And then Royal Style, Miracle, and such teams were now a solid 40-50 points behind. They didn't have much of a chance at the top 8. As for the teams that were to be relegated, Bright Green and Seaside, their chances of survival had basically dwindled away.
The situation with the top 8 was still the event to watch. Who would rise to here? Who would fall from here? This was the topic most nerve-wracking and thrilling about the regular season.
In the blink of an eye, Round 26 began. The teams near the eighth-place cutoff all became important subjects for the media to report on.
Among them, Wind Howl, who'd just been thrown out of the top 8 after Round 25, desperately needed to return to their place. For a team that'd claimed that their goal was to obtain the championship, it'd just be too embarrassing if they couldn't even make it to the playoffs. But Wind Howl's luck with their match schedule was reaching an end. After easily abusing a series of weak teams, it was finally time for them to face their demonic match schedule.
Round 26, away game against Tyranny.
Round 27, home game against Blue Rain.
Round 28, home game against 301.
Two powerhouses and a competitor for the top 8. Those who didn't have much faith left in Wind Howl were already predicting what place they'd fall to after these three rounds. Even Wind Howl themselves expressed their nervousness during team meetings. But to the outside world, they still had to maintain appearances, repeatedly expressing how their condition was improving.
And so, they faced Team Tyranny. As the two teams shook hands before the match began, Lin Jingyan stared at this unfamiliar Wind Howl and felt overcome with emotion.
When he'd left, he had already been past his prime. His condition had slipped, and he no longer had the ability to serve as the core of a team. This could be considered a normal replacement of the old with the new. But after this, Wind Howl also let go of Fang Rui and a whole host of old "officials," instead digging up new face after new face from outside.
Lin Jingyan was now already completely unfamiliar with this Wind Howl. Unfamiliar with the players, unfamiliar with their playstyles, and unfamiliar with the atmosphere this team now expressed.
Lin Jingyan didn't know what he should be feeling.
In terms of results, it was true that Wind Howl last season had done far better than it had while he'd been on the team. This season, even though they'd fallen to ninth, that was about the same score they'd had while Lin Jingyan was still there. Their team had always hovered around eighth.
From this it could be seen that these new Wind Howl players were quite strong. They'd done what the old Wind Howl had never managed to do, but the outside world viewed them as being in poor condition. Reading between the lines, this showed just how high everyone's expectations toward Wind Howl were.
Playoffs? No. The people in Wind Howl now were all hoping to charge for the championship victory. And this was a height to which Lin Jingyan had never managed to lead Wind Howl. From this point, he wasn't as strong as this new generation of Wind Howl players.
It looked like Lin Jingyan was in no position to criticize this Wind Howl. But he was somewhat saddened by this new Wind Howl.
Elite player after elite player had gathered in this team, but in the end, they had molded together into an unremarkable whole. Even now, they didn't have a mature strategic system.
"What in the world are you guys doing?"
As he shook hands with these current Wind Howl players, Lin Jingyan truly wished he could ask them all this question.
He was now gone from Wind Howl. But after so many years with them, how could his feelings disappear so quickly?
Seeing Wind Howl's fans leave the stadium early, cheering for the opposite team, Lin Jingyan could imagine just how disappointed they were. He was someone who understood these fans the best.
When he turned around and looked, in the seats reserved for the guest team fans, the audience members were sitting all scattered about. Was Wind Howl's fan group dispersing because of their disappointment?
But Wind Howl's flag was still flying as high as ever.
It was Old Lu.
Lin Jingyan saw the fan who was raising that flag high up. It was a fan who had followed Wind Howl for a whole nine years - he'd been with this team longer than any of the players currently in Wind Howl. Accurately speaking, he'd been with them even longer than Lin Jingyan had. After all, Lin Jingyan had said farewell to Wind Howl after Season 8, leaving his experience with the team capped at seven years.
He had left.
But Old Lu was still here, lifting Wind Howl's flag just like before, occasionally giving it a strong wave.
Lin Jingyan waved his hand at him, and Old Lu nodded toward him.
They'd known each other for nine years now, growing alongside Wind Howl as this team was established.
Did Old Lu still remember what the old Wind Howl was like? Lin Jingyan couldn't help but wonder.
Very soon, the first individual competition was beginning, and Lin Jingyan stood from his seat. For this match, he was the first to go on in the individual match.
The applause from the crowd now was from Tyranny's fans, but Lin Jingyan couldn't help but look toward the away team's audience section. Old Lu wasn't waving the flag right now. It looked like he was saying something to the seemingly bleak Wind Howl fans beside him.
Lin Jingyan didn't worry about it any more; this wasn't something that he should worry about. He walked steadily toward the stage, at the same time glancing at the electronic display to see who his opponent would be.
When the name was displayed, Lin Jingyan hesitated for just the barest moment.
He turned his head to look toward Wind Howl's player area, and indeed, it was Tang Hao coming onstage.
Wind Howl wasn't letting their powerful general anchor the group arena? They were sending him to the individual round?
What were they trying to do? Get a head start? The team's spirits were low, so they wanted to get everyone energized with a strong opening?
Even as Lin Jingyan made guesses, his footsteps were steady as he stepped onto the stage.
Ever since that time he'd been defeated by Tang Hao at the All-Star Weekend, Lin Jingyan had never met Tang Hao in an individual battle. Now, his skill level was likely even worse than it'd been at that All-Stars.
"Would he be any more difficult to fight than Lord Grim?" Lin Jingyan said to himself.
Chapter 1318: Only Victory
Translator: Nomyummi Editor: Nomyummi
As soon as he was onstage, Lin Jingyan set aside all his feelings toward Wind Howl. Right now, he was a member of Team Tyranny. No matter who his opponent was, victory was his number one priority.
He entered the match. His character loaded in and moved forward toward the center of the map. But when the Brawler Demon Subduer appeared in his field of view, Lin Jingyan couldn't help but feel a sharp pang of sadness.
Sometimes, he envied Zhang Jiale.
He had transferred to Tyranny, but at least he hadn't separated from his character.
The character belonged to the team. Lin Jingyan understood this, of course. But after seven years of partnership, he felt that he and Demon Subduer were one. The Brawler character that Tyranny had made for him, Dark Thunder, wasn't bad at all, no worse than Demon Subduer. In fact, in order to fit his style, this Dark Thunder might be more similar to the old Demon Subduer than Demon Subduer itself currently was.
But still, it wasn't the same…
It wasn't just the name. All of the feelings that had accumulated after so many years of partnership with his character, they couldn't just be transferred to a new character so easily, even if the stats were almost the same. This was perhaps something that rookies could never understand - probably they would all happily change to a stronger and more suitable character if given the chance.
In the end, this day had finally arrived.
Lin Jingyan sighed to hismelf. Ever since leaving Wind Howl, he had always wondered what it had be like if he had to face Demon Subduer one day. But before, he had only ever met his old character in the team competition, where the situation was so chaotic that the feeling wasn't particularly sharp. But now, the individual round, it was as though he and Demon Subduer were the last ones on Earth, and Lin Jingyan's feelings were tumultuous.
Demon Subduer was circling around his spawn point. It seemed that Tang Hao had guessed that Lin Jingyan would choose to move strategically, and so he was currently studying his surroundings very carefully.
Lin Jingyan watched him, and, slowly and carefully, he controlled his Dark Thunder to follow Demon Subduer's turning, finely adjusting his position.
With Lin Jingyan's thought, Dark Thunder swept his hand and threw a Paralysis Needle.
What a simple ambush, everyone thought.
But it hit!
Even though a Paralysis Needle was silent, Tang Hao had been turning Demon Subduer's field of view the whole time. How could a top God like him make the naive mistake of leaving a blind spot?
But he hadn't discovered this Paralysis Needle, and this simple ambush actually succeeded in hitting Demon Subduer's body.
Dark Thunder jumped out from his hiding spot.
This was a map with very good weather. The sunlight shone in mottled patterns on the ground, and as Dark Thunder rushed toward Demon Subduer, the chaotic shadows swayed.
Demon Subduer couldn't move after being hit by the Paralysis Needle, and Dark Thunder tossed a handful of sand right onto his face.
After Paralysis, Blind…
Consecutive status effects. No matter how skilled Tang Hao was, in a situation like this, he couldn't withstand the attacks of an old and experienced expert like Lin Jingyan.
Lin Jingyan had calculated the duration of Blind very precisely. Right when it was about to wear off, a Brick hit Demon Subduer's head from behind.
After Blind, Dizzy.
And so a new offensive began. When he fought until he had no way of continuing, Lin Jingyan wasn't greedy. He knocked Demon Subduer over and then quickly hid himself again.
Tang Hao almost felt like he was going crazy. This series of attacks had really come out of nowhere. How had that Paralysis Needle managed to hit him? With that barrage, he had lost a fourth of his health, while his head was still filled with fog.
Poor Tang Hao lacked the multi-angle view or the replay ability of the broadcasters.
At first, the audience had also been confused as to how Tang Hao hadn't seen the needle, but Tang Hao's point of view was replayed several times, and people realized that in that moment, there truly had been no Paralysis Needle in his view.
Where had the Paralysis Needle gone?
After analysis from all different angles, the crowd finally realized what was strange.
It was the light!
It was the shadow!
It was Lin Jingyan's choice of position. When he had controlled Dark Thunder to throw the needle, it had passed through an area where the light and shadows interlaced. And so, in that instant, the needle truly seemed to vanish.
This was something that could be done in Glory?
The crowd was dumbfounded.
Using descriptors like extensive and profound to describe an online game was somewhat excessive. Even the creators of this game couldn't have thought of so many details. It was this group of pro players, those standing at the top of Glory, who were constantly digging up the subtle quirks of this game, and then finding uses for them in a match that could shock even the game's creators.
Did Tang Hao know about this sort of thing?
Seeing how off-balance Demon Subduer seemed as he flipped up from the ground, everyone felt a bit sympathetic for him. To be beaten down like this in the very first moments of a match, he must be very alarmed.
Demon Subduer moved around frantically. He couldn't figure out how he had just been hit by that needle, and so he no longer dared to let Demon Subduer to just stand waiting in one place. He leapt around the area, but he couldn't find any trace of Dark Thunder.
Playing dirty. Again, it was the dirty playstyle.
Tang Hao grit his teeth. Because Wind Howl was in a bad situation right now, the outside world had all sorts of criticism for their decision to give up on playing dirty. Tang Hao just hoped that soon, they could prove that their current style was much stronger than playing dirty. But now, on the individual battlefield, he was knocked over by dirty playing until he couldn't find north. And this person was Lin Jingyan, the former user of Demon Subduer, the old man that Tang Hao had already surpassed at that All-Stars with the "junior succeeds senior."
"Hiding and sneaking!" Tang Hao said in the chat, with some irritation. He wasn't someone who really liked chatting with the opponent during a match, as he preferred to use his fists to talk. But now, he couldn't even find his target. What frustration!
"Hiding and sneaking is another method of obtaining victory," Lin Jingyan answered.
"We'll see how long you can hide for," Tang Hao said.
"You just be more careful," Lin Jingyan replied.
Demon Subduer continued to move, turning and searching nonstop. What about Lin Jingyan's Dark Thunder? Under Tang Hao's intense scrutiny, he couldn't hide too comfortably anymore. But clearly, he was extremely familiar with this map. To be able to create that incredible situation with the light earlier, did Lin Jingyan's understanding of and skill in using this map need to be mentioned?
Tang Hao searched and searched, but he couldn't find him. Lin Jingyan, however, had already finished another round of adjustments. Dark Thunder once again withdrew a Paralysis Needle, and now just waited for the right chance! Now that Tang Hao was controlling Demon Subduer to run around nonstop, it really was more difficult to find an opening.
But Lin Jingyan's view wasn't fixed on Demon Subduer's body. Instead, he was waiting for Demon Subduer to enter his field of view.
A Paralysis Needle flew outward again. Demon Subduer's view was turning, clearly toward this direction.
The entire crowd lifted their heads to look at the display screen. Even though Tang Hao's view was turned in the direction of the needle, there was a wall positioned just there. When Tang Hao glanced over, the needle was still flying behind the wall, and he couldn't see it! By the time the needle passed the wall and was in sight, Demon Subduer's view had already turned away, and then, hit…
A repeat of the match's beginning.
Tang Hao was going crazy, but what could he do? His mood had no way of dispelling the status effects his character suffered. Lin Jingyan very steadily reused the earlier series of attacks, forming a seamless combo that the opponent had absolutely no way of breaking.
Demon Subduer's health plummeted another 25%. He now had only half health remaining, while Lin Jingyan's Dark Thunder had yet to be injured. Everyone watching felt as though their eyes would fall out of their heads.
Even if Wind Howl's results in the team competition were poor, their individual members were still quite strong. Tang Hao against Lin Jingyan, this conflict between old and new Brawlers had already been decided at the All-Star Weekend two years ago with the victory of the new. Everyone could see that Tang Hao's skill level was indeed above that of Lin Jingyan.
But that "skill level," in reality, only referred to technical skill. In terms of this, the old general really couldn't keep up with the new and cutting-edge. But in this battle, had Tang Hao had the opportunity to display his superior technical skill?
No. Not at all.
Both times, he had suffered a sneak attack from a Paralysis Needle. With one attack, his character was completely out of his control. What kind of technique could he display?
Using the map, Lin Jingyan could knock away half of Demon Subduer's health without losing any of his own. If this weren't happening before everyone's eyes right now, who could believe this match would play out like this?
Demon Subduer was once again knocked to the ground. But this time, when he jumped back up in a rage, he discovered that Dark Thunder hadn't vanished, but was instead right in front of him.
"How come you're not running?" Tang Hao said through clenched teeth, immediately preparing to attack. But Dark Thunder had already rushed toward him first. He hadn't run away, he had stayed here to continue launching his offensive!
"Perfect timing!" Tang Hao's spirits rose. The two unexplained ambushes earlier had made him depressed and frustrated beyond belief. But now, seeing that Lin Jingyan actually planned to fight him directly now, he grew incomparably excited.
Would a fight like this scare me?
The two Brawlers swung their fists and began a frenzied fight.
In terms of technical skill, Tang Hao was indeed superior. In this sort of direct battle, Lin Jingyan was at a disadvantage.
But in the end, the one who fell first was still Demon Subduer, and this time, he could not stand back up. His health had already reached zero.
"If I couldn't even take care of you when you were at 50% health, then I really should just retire." Lin Jingyan left this final message as he stared down at the fallen Demon Subduer. His Dark Thunder still had 17% health left.
Using 50% of his own health, Tang Hao knocked away 83%. It was powerful, it was domineering, as expected of the number one Brawler. But, he lost.
The crowd's applause was sent to Lin Jingyan.
Even though he was no longer the number one Brawler, even though he had fallen out of the All-Star rankings, even though the radiance of a God had already left him, he won.
On this arena, what fame or skill could compare to the simple truth of victory?
Only victory was the most real. What use was skill if it couldn't achieve victory?
The current Team Wind Howl included many such players with high skill. But they lacked victory, and thus they lost the faith of their supporters.
When Lin Jingyan came offstage, he looked at the audience section for the guest team fans. The seats, already somewhat empty, were quiet and still. Old Lu was holding Wind Howl's flag and just standing there…
Chapter 1319: Victory
Translator: Nomyummi Editor: Nomyummi
Tyranny took the lead in their home game.
This shouldn't have been anything surprising, but the one who lost was Wind Howl's current core player, Tang Hao, while the one who won had been Wind Howl's former core player, Ling Jingyan. The circumstances behind the outcome completely changed the flavor of it.
The cheers from the Tyranny fans in the stadium weren't too crazy, though. After all, the importance of this confrontation revolved around Wind Howl's past and present. The Tyranny fans weren't able to understand it. As for Wind Howl's fans? There were a few places where the away team fans sat, and right now, Wind Howl's fans looked very dispirited. The first individual round had just finished, and some of them had already gotten up and left.
Lin Jingyan returned to his seat, and his teammates congratulated him on his win. In many people's eyes, beating Tang Hao should be a joyous event.
However, Lin Jingyan didn't seem that excited. He was a gentle and polite player. He simply smiled as he sat down.
As for Wind Howl's side?
He didn't even look at them.
Even though he harbored some nostalgia for his character Demon Subduer and Wind Howl, the past was the past. He was in his declining years, but as long as there was still a path forward, there would always be a future.
His future was here… Lin Jingyan clutched Dark Thunder's account card in his hands.
Meanwhile, in another stadium, another individual round was about to be completed.
Blue Rain vs Tiny Herb.
Lu Hanwen vs Gao Yingjie.
The two most eye-catching players of the new generation, one directly being thrown into the main roster, climbing his way through the cruel competition, while the other was carefully protected, adapting to the environment step by step.
Two different methods, but both for the purpose of training the two into outstanding pro players. Right now, the two were no longer inexperienced greenhorns. The two symbols of the new generation were fighting 1 on 1 for their respective teams.
Formless Phantom Blade!
Lu Hanwen's Flowing Clouds let loose a high-level skill. Flowing Clouds was a rarely seen Greatsword Blade Master. Although his attack speed was slow, the area of effect range was greater. His Silver weapon, Flame Shadow, drew a clear arc in the air in an attempt to knock down the airborne Kind Tree.
"There's nowhere to run!" Lu Hanwen excitedly typed into the public chat. This youth seemed to have endless energy. Everyone could always feel the passion flowing through him.
In comparison, Gao Yingjie wasn't as flashy as him, but having been sheltered by the team, he had a more thorough understanding of his team's expectations for him. His thirst for victory was no less than Lu Hanwen's, and his playing on stage always appeared meticulous.
Despite being caught by Flowing Cloud's Formless Phantom Blade, Gao Yingjie wasn't flustered. Attacks from Greatsword Blade Masters were more powerful, but that was at the sacrifice of speed. Speed was the weakness of Greatsword users, and an area that could be exploited!
Kind Tree threw a handful of Disperse Powder. It dispelled debuffs, but more importantly, it also reduced the target's attack speed. Although it was a low-level skill and its debuff effect wasn't too strong, for an already slow Flowing Clouds, it only exacerbated the wound.
Under the effects of Disperse Powder, Flowing Cloud's offensive instantly turned sluggish. Still, in order to land the Disperse Powder, Gao Yingjie had been prepared for Kind Tree to take a hit. But at that moment...
Immortal Guides the Way!
Lu Hanwen cancelled Formless Phantom Blade and switched to Immortal Guides the Way.
Also a hit!
The powerful blow-away effect instantly sent Kind Tree flying. Flowing Cloud didn't give chase. Disperse Powder was difficult to handle for a Greatsword Blade Master. He had wanted to buy himself more distance, so he quickly put the effects of the skill to use.
This low-level skill with a blow-away effect had a very long ending lag, up to 10 seconds.
Immortal Guides the Way didn't send the target flying far enough to take 10 seconds to return. Gao Yingjie wasn't willing to waste these 10 seconds. After being blown away, Kind Tree quick recovered as he landed, but he didn't get up after rolling. He swept up his broom and started flying through the air.
It wouldn't even take 2 seconds for him to get back!
Another magic powder sprinkled down. This skill wasn't a direct attack though, instead it imbued his weapon with an ice element.
This was the name of the Silver broom in Kind Tree's hands. After applying Frost Powder, the broom glowed with a blue light. Fine ice crystals rained down everywhere it passed.
Witches had strong close combat abilities.
Even though they mainly relied on normal attacks, through the application of magic powders and their ability to jump six times in the air with the mastery of their brooms, the "normal" attacks from Witches weren't normal in the slightest.
"You're not going to win like this!" A message from Lu Hanwen popped up in the chat.
Flowing Cloud's greatsword flung out a Spellblade skill. Closely following it was a flash of sword light, another Sword Draw.
A vertical Earthquake Sword and a horizontal Sword Draw, in addition to Flowing Cloud's abnormal attack range, crisscrossed into a gigantic cross as it soared towards Kind Tree. The attack came out of nowhere, and the intertwining skills complemented each other perfectly.
"Attack speed…" Yu Wenzhou sighed from off stage.
Slow… this flaw was deeply etched into Yu Wenzhou's heart. And Flowing Cloud's beautiful attack had a few openings because of his slow attack speed.
There might be openings, but could the other side seize them?
Some openings required strong perception and high skill to grasp. For example, Yu Wenzhou noticed the current openings formed by Flowing Cloud's two skills, but if he were in Kind Heart's position, he would have a very difficult time taking advantage of them.
Would Gao Yingjie be able to do it?
On Tiny Herb's side, Wang Jiexi quietly made this prediction when he saw this attack.
Gao Yingjie should be able to see and grasp these openings.
However, should be able to and actually doing it were two very different things.
Gao Yingjie didn't disappoint Wang Jiexi though.
Bearing the weight of Tiny Herb's future, Gao Yingjie seized the opportunity. Kind Heart swayed gently in the air, dodging the two intersecting skills.
Morning Dew swung down, hitting Flowing Cloud.
Magic powders could not be stacked, but Ice Powder's effect reduced the speed of the target and had a chance to freeze. Both effects deadly for Flowing Cloud.
Victory had been decided...
The audience could already tell.
Afterwards, there were sighs, and there were cheers.
The feelings stemming from victory always came from the two extremes.
The outcome of the battle between the two new generation stars had been decided. With Gao Yingjie's victory, Tiny Herb took the lead in their away game. On another stage, the two seniors of the old generation were still fighting it out.
A deafening sound.
The collision between weapons carried the momentum and visual effects from skills. The two characters bounced back and fell to the ground.
"How fierce! You're putting your life on the line. Aren't you afraid of breaking your hands?" Lord Grim stood back up with blood dripping from his mouth. A message leaped out into the public chat.
"Your record's going to end here." Another Summer of Sleep pointed his sword at Lord Grim. Sun Zheping replied ruthlessly.
"Stop talking big. Last round, Old Lin said the exact same thing. And do you know what the outcome was?" Ye Xiu said.
"Old Lin? Didn't you guys fight Blue Rain last round?"
"Last last last round," Ye Xiu said.
Wild Blood Strike!
Sun Zheping ended the talk there. Another Summer of Sleep forced his way over. A bloody shadow formed around his sword and then flew towards Lord Grim.
Lord Grim immediately dodged it. The blood shadow hacked into the ground. The shattered earth suddenly shot towards Lord Grim.
Another Summer of Sleep's sword released a whirlwind. The broken stones caught up in it smashed towards Lord Grim.
This was Happy's home game and Ye Xiu's chosen map, so it was naturally a very simple one. But who would have thought that his opponent's frenzy of attacks would pressure Ye Xiu to the point of helplessness. The unspecialized blitz that no one in the Alliance could block wasn't being allowed to show up.
Under these fierce attacks, Lord Grim continued to retreat up until he was no longer able to. Another Summer of Sleep's greatsword finally smashed into him. But in this instant, Lord Grim's body suddenly dispersed like petals. Another Summer of Sleep had only hit a fake illusion.
Shadow Clone Technique?
No, this wasn't it.
It was Shadow Steps!
Four Lord Grims surrounded Another Summer of Sleep. Which one was the real one? At this point, it didn't seem to matter. What was most important was that Lord Grim could finally start attacking.
In the end, victory went to Ye Xiu.
The moment he took his hands off the mouse, he let out a long sigh of relief. This match had been too close for comfort. He had nearly lost. It was really hard to imagine how an opponent with a hand injury as serious as Sun Zheping fought more and more without regard for anything else. Had the second half of the season ignited his spirit?
But it was truly a pity. Every round, he could only fight a single time in the individual competition. Sometimes, he even needed to rest one round. The amount of competition he got every time probably wasn't enough to satisfy him at all.
Not enough at all!
Sun Zheping stared at the fallen Another Summer of Sleep, who was looking up into the sky. His character probably wasn't willing either!
If only… if only I could play a few more minutes every time...