The 16 best League of Legends teams in the world had gathered in London. The venue was booked and the tickets sold out. Everything was set for the biggest tournament of the year. The League of Legends World Championships! Players were fighting their nerves while fans were standing in line to make it onto the venue in time. The commentators were spinning up their pre-show, their voices blasting through speakers all across the world. Fans got into heated arguments on different forums, streams, and gaming websites. Random strangers from around the world would step up to support their point, while others would argue against it. The excitement spread across the world! This was esports! This was the highest level of competition in League of Legends! This was the Season 5 World Championships of League of Legends!
A cold October wind blew through the air. The sun wasn’t up yet but the birds were already chirping. People walked down the streets of the esports capital of China–Shanghai! They had their phones in their hands and their eyes on their screens. Sometimes they would walk into someone, but no one cared. The moment was finally there! The day everyone had been waiting for! Only a few more hours and then the most anticipated event of the entire year would start! The League of Legends World Championships! Everyone was counting down the minutes to the opening ceremony! And preparing to watch it with their friends!
The internet cafes in Shanghai were packed. Large parties had booked entire halls far in advance. But there were still more fans trying to get in. They all wanted to watch the games together. It got so bad that the managers of the internet cafes were forced to place bouncers at the door and let no one else in. There was no extra space for more fans. But that didn’t stop the fans from trying. They were too excited to notice! The managers had their phones ringing constantly. They were frantically trying to convince people to stay away because they were too full with advanced bookings.
“We’re fully booked! There is no more room! We’re very sorry but I have to ask you to please not come!"
“Yes! There really is no more space here! Please listen to me! We’re full! Go look elsewhere!”
“Please, sir, believe me! The private booths are full! All of them! Yes! Even the special ones!”
“I’m not lying! Why would I be lying? Please go and search for another place to watch Worlds! You might have some luck in the suburbs!”
While the managers were pulling their hair out in stress, the owners of the internet cafes were counting their money, laughing. Business was booming! They wished Worlds would last for an entire year! They would make so much money that they wouldn’t have to work another day in their lives!
The reason that so many League of Legends fans wanted to watch Worlds at an internet cafe was the same as why football fans would go to their local bars to watch the game. There was no excitement in sitting at home and watching the TV from the comfort of your couch. There was a certain kind of atmosphere that was needed to really bring these games to life. One of joy and laughter. One where, after loosening the lips with a few beers, friends and strangers would sing and laugh together. Where they would fall into each other’s arms to celebrate a triple kill and scream at the TV if their team gave one away! Sports games had sports bars, and esports games had internet cafes. And those internet cafes were where the League of Legends fans all over Shanghai gathered together to watch Worlds.
The students from High School 13 had booked the NetCow Cafe well in advance. The internet cafe was completely full. There were bouncers at the door, turning away those who were late to the party. The guests had gathered around a large screen in the hall and were watching highlights from last year’s Worlds. In the back, there were several private booths. In one of these were the eight members of Lin Feng’s Legends Bootcamp. The seven trainees had gathered around their coach and looked at him.
Lin Feng looked back at them, one by one. They were all silent, hiding their hands behind their backs. “Ok, guys. This is important. I trust everyone did their part. But let me ask just to make sure. Do we have everything?”
“I got it, yes.”
“I brought a lot. Hehe!”
Ouyang couldn’t look at the serious expressions anymore. He started laughing and revealed what he was hiding behind his back. A bag of potato chips. “I bought 10 bags of chips! I got the others in my bag. You can all have one and I’ll have three!”
Yang Fan adjusted his glasses, smiling. “I bought two bars of chocolates and some fruit gummies. I thought that would be a more appropriate amount.” He looked over at Ouyang who was already digging into the first bag of chips.
Liu Yue raised his hands above his head to show everyone what he had bought. He looked at the others for a response. When that response didn’t come, he said, “Look! three bags of jerky! It’s the big kind! They’re really good! You guys will love them!”
Chen Ze and Wei Dong nodded at Liu Yue, then looked at each other. They’d gone shopping together and bought a bunch of snacks. A lot of everything, including more of the same jerky Liu Yue had bought. They started talking at the same time.
“We got jerky, mel–”
“We bought melon seeds and walnuts! Oh and some jerky!”
Everyone was excited about their own snacks. But when Ren Rou stepped forward, they fell silent. They forgot for a moment about their own things and looked at her. She smiled back at them and placed a large box down on the floor in the middle of the room. She then looked up at the others and said, “Instant noodles! I figured you guys would get plenty of snacks but nothing a little more filling. So if anyone gets hungry later tonight, you can have some of these beef noodles! Just add some water and you’re good to go!”
Everyone looked at Tang Bingyao. She still hadn’t said what snacks she had brought for the party. They thought she waited to be last because she had something big, something that would blow their minds. She started raising her hand up, and anticipation filled their eyes. And then it changed to shock as she raised up a small bag and said, “I brought some dried seaweed.”
Lin Feng didn’t notice the shock or surprise in the room. He was just happy to see everyone had brought more than enough snacks to last them through the night. “Haha! You guys are awesome! Those are all great snacks! That jerky is some of the best, right Liu Yue? Oh, and I love dried seaweed! It has that nice crunch to it! Oh, oh! And nothing beats some chocolate after noodles!”
Ren Rou looked at Lin Feng, but didn’t share his joyful mood. She waited for a few more seconds, but he showed no signs of revealing what snacks he’d brought. It started to look like he hadn’t brought anything! His hands were empty and as far as she knew he hadn’t brought a bag with him either. What is he trying? Does he think we owe him this because he is coaching the team? “Lin Feng,” she said in a stern voice. “Did you forget something?”
Lin Feng looked at Ren Rou. She looked upset. Maybe even mad! He chuckled. She was too obvious. He knew exactly what she wanted. “Don’t worry Ren Rou! I didn’t forget. I didn’t forget!” He grabbed a plastic bag from the floor. “Look! I bought 30 packs of spicy strips!”
No one knew what to say. Seven pairs of eyes stared at Lin Feng, speechless. Until Ren Rou finally blurted out, “Spicy strips?”
Ouyang took a step back from Lin Feng. He stopped himself from eating the potato chip in his hand. “Uhh, I think it’s four bags for me and none for Lin Feng. Spicy strips? Bro… What the fuck is wrong with you?”
Tang Bingyao looked at Lin Feng with the same disgust in her eyes as the others. She nodded at Ouyang and said, “Something’s definitely wrong with him. He’s not getting any of my dried seaweed either.”
“Anyway!” Ouyang said, shifting everyone’s attention away from the plastic bag in Lin Feng’s hands. He waved his hands around him and said, “Do you guys hear that? Like half of Shanghai is here tonight! Isn’t that great? This shit is the best! Beats watching at home by a fucking long shot! Am I right or what? It’s just like a sports bar! But better! Because this is esports!” He was so excited that he forgot to breathe. A few moments and deep breaths later, he added, “You guys should thank me. Did you see that long ass line at the door? That would’ve been us if I hadn’t booked this room! Imagine! We would’ve been standing out there in the cold and miss the game if it wasn’t for my big brain thinking!”
Yang Fan adjusted his glasses. “Hehe. Those guys are screwed. Everyone here has come to watch Worlds. We’re not leaving until after the last game has finished. I guess they can stand out there and watch the games on their phones.” He stopped to think about his last comment and then added, “That must be even worse than watching at home.”
Everyone agreed with Yang Fan. Standing out in the cold to watch the games on a small screen sounded terrible. They continued talking about it as they sat down and lounged back. There were still two hours before the opening ceremony would start. But when the conversation died down, everyone just kind of sat, awkwardly looking at each other. They saw each other almost every day. There really wasn’t much left to talk about. Lin Feng noticed the silence and looked over at the row of five computers. There should be plenty of time to play a game or two. He jumped up to his feet and said, “Since we got some time to kill anyway, how about we get some practice in? Come, let’s play a few games!”
No one spoke up. There was no need to. Lin Feng was the coach. If he said they would play a game, they would play a game. When it came to League of Legends, they did exactly what Lin Feng told them to do. He was their coach. His word was law. So they sat up straight in their chairs and moved to sit behind the monitors. The sound of five computers booting up sounded out.
After the first day of Lin Feng’s Legends Bootcamp, the team members quickly got used to his training methods. They learned on the first day that it was best not to argue with him and instead put their energy into taking in all the information he gave them. Then they would spend the rest of the night applying these tips to their game, improving both their individual and teamplay skills. This wasn’t easy. No matter how easy Lin Feng made it sound, it took them a lot of effort. But they were already seeing the results of their hard work. For example, the bot lane duo of Tang Bingyao and Wei Dong finally started to show some synergy. Tang Bingyao learned to slow down a bit, while Wei Dong stopped hiding behind his tower and started actively supporting Tang Bingyao. They were actually starting to play really well together.
There were also some surprises. Ouyang was probably the biggest one. He was the backup Jungler of the esports club team. When Lin Feng’s Legends Bootcamp began, he was a middle-of-the-pack Gold. He had decent mechanics, but was absolutely terrible at the two most important things a Jungler needed to do: pathing and ganking. He would often wander around his empty jungle, searching for something to do but not really doing anything. Then he would recall back to base and waste another 30 seconds. As for his ganks. They were so poorly timed that it would’ve been better if he didn’t gank at all. He almost never helped the lane he showed up in. Either he came too late and his teammates were already dead, or he popped up right when the other bot lane duo had recalled back to base. But after only a few days of training under Lin Feng, he’d started improving on these aspects of the game. His pathing became more efficient and his ganks actually led to kills! He started winning his games in solo queue, and after the latest five game win streak, he was even in his promotional series for Platinum!
“I swear, you guys. I’m a fucking genius!” Ouyang laughed. He opened his League client and jabbed his finger at the screen. “See? Didn’t I tell you guys? I’m in my Platinum promo series! I didn’t even get boosted! I did this all on my own! I’m the fucking best Jungler ever!”
Ren Rou shook her head. He is hopeless… She listened to him brag for another second before cutting in, “You know it’s all because of Lin Feng, right? If he didn’t help you, you’d probably be down in Silver by now.”
“HEY! What was that? Silver? I’m no Silver scrub! You are! Haha!” No one could kill Ouyang’s mood right now. But that didn’t mean he’d lost all touch with reality. He knew Ren Rou had a point, to a certain extent. “Fine. True. He did help a little. His tips were good. But I did the rest all by myself! I put in the work and now I’m amazing! I can beat any Gold scrub! They are all a bunch of noobs! Isn’t that right, Lin Feng? I did it all by myself, right? You just helped me with a few tips!”
“No.” Lin Feng shook his head. “You were terrible. Really, really bad. Those improvements you made were all on me.”
The esports club team played three ranked games. They won two games and lost one. The loss came in the only game where Liu Yue let Ouyang give Jungle a try. But even that loss couldn’t kill Ouyang’s good mood. He started making up all kinds of excuses about why the loss wasn’t his fault, until his eyes landed on the clock. It was 8:45 PM. There were only 15 minutes left till the start of the opening ceremony of Worlds! His eyes went round as he just about threw his body around to look at Lin Feng. “Yo! Coach Lin Feng! Bro! Look at the time! We can’t play more! Worlds is starting!”
Lin Feng looked at the time. “Oh, I guess you’re right. Alright, let’s go watch Worlds!”
Aside from the five computers on which they’d been playing the ranked games, there was also a large smart TV to watch streams or videos on. Ren Rou turned the TV on and opened up Huya, where she found the official broadcast of Worlds. There were already many people watching the stream. On the right side of the screen, there was a chat that was blowing up with discussion about the matches of the day.
There were six games that would be played on the first day of Worlds. Three in Group A and three in Group B. Hand of God was the Chinese team in Group B and they would play one match. KG was a little bit less lucky. They had to play two games on the first day. If that wasn’t bad enough already, their first game was against the top team from Europe–Legend! Legend was a really strong team and it’d be tough for KG to get a win over them.
Ouyang stared at the screen, speechless. He shook his head and slapped himself. Just to make sure he wasn’t dreaming. Then he said, “Wow, I can’t believe this… KG is so crazy unlucky! They have to play two games today? Why two? That’s so unfair! Now they can’t focus on pounding Legend’s ass! Why is this even allowed? What the fuck!”
Chen Ze agreed with Ouyang. “KG really is unlucky. They have to play against the strongest team in the group for their first game. Then they gotta reset and be ready for another game right after that. It ain’t right! They’re under a ton of artificial pressure because of the organizers made a stupid decision!”
Everyone agreed with Ouyang and Chen Ze. Legend was a contender for the title. They could make it all the way to the finals and they had a real shot at the trophy! Their Midlaner was Phoenix, one of the Four Emperors! KG should be given the opportunity to put all their focus on preparing for this game. It was ridiculous that they had to split their attention between two games!
Lin Feng didn’t join the discussion. He watched the screen. His eyes were on the team logo of KG. Fatty, you can do this man. I know you’re probably really nervous right now. Probably having a panic attack too. Believe in yourself! You can do this! You’re a really good Toplaner and you have a good team. Please don’t have a nervous breakdown!
1. Spicy strips are strips of flour mixed with chili powder. They're soft, chewy, and pretty disgusting. I'm not a fan.
We used to Wuxiaworld Karaoke weekly in the Wuxiaworld discord server. I was pretty terrible at it, but man could some people really belt it out. I kinda wish I was better at singing, and I’d totally take singing lessons if I could. You know, so I can sing sweet nothings into Devshard’s ear. I also saw that some of you guys were having trouble finding the link to the Wuxiaworld Discord server: https://discord.gg/pezThAc
Dev Thought: So I’ve been studying for a board exam I have on the 24th. While working on Rise and making sure these two get things done instead of screwing around. Which is why I’ve only been getting like 4 hours of sleep a night for the last month. But the lack of sleep and Rise is having an interesting effect. You guys remember the song Troublemaker by Hyuna and Hyunseung? Throwback kpop reference, yeah. But I had the weirdest dream last night where Shanks and I were doing the Troublemaker dance. The memes and shipping are actually messing with my head. You guys are actually giving me nightmares. Genuine, horrific, night terror nightmares.
Sietse Thought: Do you guys ever do something you’re really bad at? For me that’s singing. I love to sing a bit every now and then. But my voice is one of the worst that exists. Unfortunately, young me didn’t realize this. I just liked to sing while I was bored on holiday or something. One year especially where I just sang terrible love songs all day and night. My parents for some reason didn’t shut it down. But a friend eventually did. We were out picking blueberries in the forest and I’m minding my own business singing very loudly. And he snaps. Turns around, looks at me, and says, “For fucks sake! Shut the fuck up! You can’t sing for shit!” That was the end to my very short singing career :(