At the start of the match, DG didn't take the risk of charging into enemy territory. Instead, Old Wo and Er-Hua helped guard the red buff for Zhao Yue.
The commentators began to chatter.
"COCO has already taken one round, and they're playing it relatively safe with their tactics now. They aren't taking the initiative to invade DG's territory either. At the moment, it looks like both teams are coexisting quite peacefully."
The stats from Colonel KI popped up on the screen, showing that COCO's lineup was in a more favorable position at this time. The win-rate for teams running DG's lineup was 47% in the first ten minutes of a game, and only 48% in the time following those initial ten minutes.
"COCO's Olaf has launched an attack in the middle lane right after hitting Level 4. Money's LeBlanc is in danger! Ah, but she dodged and—now we can see that Jarvan IV is nearby as well. They aren't letting COCO get the jump on them here."
"That's right, Jarvan IV should definitely be lending LeBlanc a hand against Ryze here. Ryze is very powerful in this lane, after all. And now… after harassing Money in the middle lane, Olaf has cut through the jungle. He's heading for the bottom lane! Will the big brawl in the bottom lane that we're all looking forward to begin so soon?"
Just as the commentators finished speaking—
Er-Hua signaled Old Wo and said, in their team's voice channel, "Olaf's coming."
As soon as Er-Hua issued that warning, Old Wo dodged Twitch's slow ability and started to retreat with Er-Hua. Olaf got halfway there, then realized there would be no good opportunity to gank. Yuumi checked out their opponents, but after remembering how fragile Twitch was, decided to stay put in the bottom lane.
While Olaf made that trip down to the bottom lane, Zhao Yue farmed with his Jarvan IV in the jungle. He lurked near Shen Qiao's opponent in the top lane, looking for an opportunity to help Shen Qiao kill the enemy's Mordekaiser before the enemy reached Level 6.
Kennen's damage potential was the real deal, after all.
When facing off against Mordekaiser, Shen Qiao's Kennen wasn't at any disadvantage at all. With Kennen's long range, Shen Qiao got the enemy Mordekaiser's HP down to one-third. Mordekaiser turned tail and prepared to run back to his own base, but he only made it a few steps before he was struck by Kennen—with an ability that momentarily impeded his movement.
Zhao Yue leapt out from the underbrush at exactly that moment, trapping the enemy with Shen Qiao's Kenne in the back. Taking advantage of the fact that Mordekaiser had yet to reach Level 6, Zhao Yue helped Shen Qiao claim the first kill of the round.
Qian Bao let out a long whistle in the voice channel. "Nice one, A-yue. When you get a chance, come help your jiejie get a kill too. This match-up against Ryze… it isn't too difficult, but it'll be exhausting."
While helping Shen Qiao against Mordekaiser, Zhao Yue had gotten too close to the enemy's territory, where he took a few blows from Mordekaiser. His HP was a little less than healthy, but he didn't rush back to DG's base. Instead, he headed straight for the blue buff in their own jungle.
Olaf, who'd gone to the bottom lane and returned empty-handed, was waiting for him in the vicinity.
Qian Bao checked the map and delightedly said, "Don't worry, didi. Jiejie is here to help."
As she spoke, Qian Bao's LeBlanc rushed from the river to the blue buff. The opposing Ryze followed in her wake.
At a critical moment in their encounter, Zhao Yue pinned Olaf down with a skill. Once the opponent was immobilized, Zhao Yue fled through the underbrush below the blue buff. He brushed past Qian Bao without so much as a backwards glance.
Simultaneously, Qian Bao charged towards the immobilized Olaf. She flung out her own skills at him, watching as Olaf's HP rapidly plummeted.
"Both top laners have come down—" The commentators started to narrate as the whole audience fixed their gazes on the big screens that now focused on the action in the jungle.
"Mordekaiser has already hit Level 6. He arrives first—but Jarvan IV has already gone over the wall! Only Money takes the hit from Mordekaiser. Her HP's down pretty low now."
"Oh! Olaf has been wiped out after that bout against LeBlanc! Mordekaiser didn't get a chance to save him. Now his R is up, and Kennen is here!"
"Old Wo and Flower are on their way up too! Kennen's shocked Ryze, Twitch, and Yuumi with an ult! Xayah and Rakan are working in perfect sync with Shen Qiao! Before Twitch can stealth away… oh, Twitch is out!"
"Mordekaiser took LeBlanc down! But he's the only one left. Yuumi can't do anything in this position. Kennen, Xayah, and Rakan have them pinned down… ah… COCO has completely collapsed in this fight. Only Yuumi managed to escape. In this fight, DG took four kills and only gave up one of their own lives!"
"Both sides demonstrated a brilliant back and forth in this team fight. DG's kills were taken by Kennen, LeBlanc, and Xayah. They're all developing well. That ult from Kennen was really something else!"
Qian Bao respawned and got back in her lane.
COCO's players probably felt that they'd made too much of a mess during that last fight. They wanted to regain some ground, so Yuumi, Olaf, and Ryze grouped up in the middle lane to surround Qian Bao, forcing her back to DG's tower.
Qian Bao let out an 'uh-oh' before she fervently called out, "Didi!"
But when she glanced at the map, she saw that Zhao Yue was currently helping Old Wo and Er-Hua against Twitch in the bottom lane. Qian Bao had no choice but to use her skills to escape. COCO had yet to push their forces up to DG's tower, so their players had to contend with the turret's attacks.
After just a few hits from the tower, Ryze had to retreat. Olaf saw that Qian Bao's HP was still perfectly healthy, and realized that they'd already missed the opportunity to get a kill on her this time. Yuumi was already hurt after taking a hit from the tower for Olaf. The COCO players had yet to level up enough to forcefully pursue Qian Bao now.
At that point, Zhao Yue finished helping Old Wo take Twitch's life again. He finally paid attention to the voice channel and asked, "Huh?"
Qian Bao was pumped up by that near miss just then. "All good! No need to come up here, your jiejie can handle it all by herself!"
Zhao Yue hummed his acknowledgement. He didn't go to the middle lane after all. Instead, he followed Old Wo over to the dragon pit, where they encountered an infernal dragon—they had an opportunity here, and they would be sure to take it!
Eleven minutes into the match—
Shen Qiao and Mordekaiser were exchanging blows. They were both at low health when Shen Qiao used his R to immobilize Mordekaiser. But he didn't stop to kill the other champion. He simply retreated back to his own tower. Just then, Olaf rushed up with Yuumi to assist. Shen Qiao continued his retreat, managing to avoid being caught by those reinforcements.
In the fifteenth minute—
All five of DG's players surrounded the Rift Herald and managed to take it down.
COCO saw that there was no point in rushing over to try to interfere with them, so they decided to not fight with DG over that kill. They brought their forces down to the bottom lane instead, damaging DG's tower.
After taking down the Rift Herald, Zhao Yue, Old Wo, and Er-Hua immediately headed up to the top lane. Er-Hua trapped the enemy Twitch before Twitch could activate his stealth. Old Wo and Zhao Yue immediately took the chance to attack. Even when Yuumi rushed over and used up an ult, it was too late—COCO failed to save their own AD.
"COCO's lineup seems to have shifted with the game. Wolf Cub and Mordekaiser are going at it in the bottom lane now, while Old Wo and Flower play it safe in the top lane. They aren't taking any unnecessary risks. Real talk? Twitch must be close to breaking down by now. He's been wasted, and he basically won't be of any use in this round if he can't get himself into a position to be a back-row assassin…"
"DG should be able to control the flow of the game with the Rift Herald. Just where do they plan on letting the Herald out?"
While the commentators spoke, the fans at the stadium chattered in the background.
They were excited, for one reason and one reason only—this was the most stable DG had played since last week. Their performance in the first seventeen minutes of this match made their fans think they stood a chance of victory. If they continued on, just like this, surely victory could be theirs.
Before long, Zhao Yue unleashed the Rift Herald in the middle lane. DG's middle and bottom lanes also grouped up there. With the help of the Rift Herald, they took down COCO's tower!
At just that time—
"Huh? Wolf Cub and Mordekaiser are brawling in the bottom lane again… oh, Wolf Cub has been sealed! Ai, can he escape his fate? Wait! Wow, Jarvan IV has just come out of the jungle!"
"Oh, oh, oh! Wolf Cub isn't dead! Jarvan IV locks down Mordekaiser! Wolf Cub claims another kill!"
"Olaf went to take on the ocean dragon, but COCO has lost their vision there, and DG… looks like the second dragon's going to be taken by DG as well."
DG remained steady.
In contrast, COCO had tried and failed to gain an advantage in the bottom lane and jungle early in the match. They gradually fell behind DG in terms of experience, and DG managed to keep them controlled until the twenty-fourth minute of the game. Then, DG made their way to Baron Nashor.
Both sides knew that this would be a decisive battle.
Shen Qiao didn't charge in against Baron Nashor. Instead, he used his ult on Mordekaiser in the underbrush near Baron Nashor's pit. Yuumi and Twitch rushed in to save their teammate, working together to slay Shen Qiao. But by the time they took him down, Qian Bao's LeBlanc had already arrived.
"Wolf Cub and Qian Bao are stalling COCO's top and bottom laners, splitting up the battle! Xayah and Rakan have used all their skills on Mordekaiser, who's immobilized again… and he's down! But Yuumi and Twitch have Xayah pinned now!"
"Xayah has used cleanse to break free! She dodges away! Olaf's coming now! Jarvan IV is coming in too! Jarvan IV has slipped into the back to take on Ryze, and Twitch… Twitch is down! They all turn on Ryze now!"
"Both sides are pushing it to the limit!"
"On DG's side… besides Flower, who's still in good health, everyone else is low on HP. But LeBlanc is blowing them all away! They took four kills in this fight, giving up two—DG comes out in the lead!"
At the twenty-six minute mark—
DG took down the mountain dragon. COCO knew that they were at an intense disadvantage now. They tried to initiate a group fight, but failed to grab anyone from DG's side. All of DG's players scattered.
Once again, DG made their way back to Baron Nashor's pit, forcing COCO into a disadvantageous fight.
COCO's Olaf was the first to charge into the fray. He was instantly crushed by the combined power of DG's five players. Yuumi and Twitch charged in right afterwards, trying to subdue DG's champions—only to be faced with Jarvan IV and Old Wo's Xayah, who was already doling out crazy amounts of damage. Old Wo swiftly took Twitch's life, then tried to chase down Yuumi as well.
Mordekaiser came rushing up, hoping to imprison Old Wo and smother him to death. But Old Wo managed to escape with just a sliver of health left. He fled behind the other champions of DG and hid behind them like a little brat calling upon his daddies to give his enemies a beating—and right away, COCO gave up another kill.
"Zero for three! DG has absolutely gotten their rhythm back! They're back! Two consecutive team fight wins, and they were astounding victories! They're taking Baron Nashor with style!"
"If there are no surprises… COCO's on the ropes this round."
As expected, in the thirty-fourth minute of the game, DG pushed their way up to COCO's base. Old Wo and Shen Qiao led the charge, sacrificing themselves to extinguish the enemy and carve out a path for their own teammates.
Big, triumphant letters popped up on the screens.
As soon as DG's players took off their headsets, they heard the roar of the crowd. Flashing lights of support rained down on them, accompanied by the frenzied cheering of their fans.
"DG! Go, DG! Go, go, go!"
Shen Qiao let out a soft breath, then got up and made his way backstage.
The third round began.
COCO banned Jarvan IV, but left Renekton unchecked. Shen Qiao took Renekton immediately, and in the twenty-fifth minute of that game—DG led the charge in a group fight and took down four of COCO's players!
"Quad kill! I get the feeling this game's MVP will be Wolf Cub yet again! Kennen's damage output and kill participation were high, and this time Renekton had a hand in all four of these kills. This guy is superhuman!"
The bullet comments in the livestream room were full of similar remarks.
[cool cool cool cool cool cool]
[Our daddy is still our daddy.]
[Dog Lu, I'm deserting you. As of today, I swear my new husband is Wolf Cub.]
[This guy just keeps going and going and going and going.]
[Just for Wolf Cub's plays in this game, I can be DG's fan for another hundred years!]
[Holy shit, what is this camera director doing? Look, we're getting a shot of Dog Lu sitting backstage. He can't even hide his smile! Guys, I have a sneaking suspicion the stream director is a shipper…]
[Good lord… I've never seen Daddy Zhe smile that brilliantly in my whole life.]
[If I had a teammate like Wolf Cub, I guarantee I would smile brighter than Emperor Zhe.]
"Congratulations to DG on their 2-1 victory today!"
On stage, bright lights lit up the floor where DG was situated, illuminating them from below while the bright lights from above rained down as well.
Qian Bao took off her headset and grinned at Old Wo and Er-Hua. "We absolutely have to have hot pot to celebrate tonight."
Old Wo got up and started to pack his things. "Just make sure it isn't too spicy. Last time, I ate that heinously spicy stuff and had a sore throat all night."
Er-Hua mercilessly hit the nail on the head and pointed out, "You only got a sore throat because you drink the soup base from the spicy pot. If anyone else did that, they would burn their throat to ash."
Old Wo picked up his thermos and declared, "I can't hear anything, the wind here is too strong. I don't care what anyone says, I'll only have slightly spicy stuff tonight, and I'll only drink herbal tea."
Next to him, Zhao Yue was excitedly looking left and right. Finally, he set his bright eyes on Shen Qiao and lifted a hand, palm open.
Shen Qiao looked over at him. His eyes also softened somewhat, and he lifted his own hand to give Zhao Yue a high-five.
Afterwards, he finished packing up his own things and headed backstage with his bag. On his way, he saw that Lu Zhe had already emerged to meet him halfway.
Lu Zhe wore a smile on his face. His dark eyes glittered like gems, emitting a soft, warm light.
He stood there quietly, peacefully, simply watching Shen Qiao approach.
Shen Qiao suddenly lifted his arms and embraced Lu Zhe.
"I won," he said.
Lu Zhe looked towards the stage. The smile on his lips grew even broader. He lifted his uninjured arm to hug Shen Qiao back as he whispered, "Congratulations."
After a pause, he added, "I knew you would."
Shen Qiao released him and stepped back a little. "I just wanted to brag a bit… obviously Qian Bao and Old Wo and the others also played really well. Why are you only praising me?"
That was what he said, but his eyes were glowing with delight.
Lu Zhe innocently gazed back at him. "Because your figure is too radiant, bathed in glory. You've captivated me, making me feel like the person I like is the best top laner in the world. The person I like is the one who can always bring victory to our team. What, am I not allowed to say that?"
Shen Qiao smiled and looked away. "Shameless."
But Lu Zhe only took in his smile, like that was a sign of tacit approval.
Just as they finished their embrace and looked into each other's eyes again, a piercing shriek rang out from below the stage.
The fans are saying, "As long as you keep winning, we'll keep being your shippers!"