ALL-ROUND MID LANER

Chapter 16

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The two lineups were determined quickly. The red team chose the Knight of the Black Dragon, the Trapper, the Cobra King, the Shadow Priest, and the Warlock of Poison.

Ye Shaoyang felt some confusion while studying that team comp—if he remembered correctly, the Cobra King and the Warlock of Poison were both mages. A two-mage comp without a marksman… what was the other side trying to do?

Although Ye Shaoyang had studied up on all the heroes in the game after transmigrating to this world, he was an 'outsider' in the end. He couldn't possibly have a 100% understanding of every hero. Especially when it came to team comps he hadn't seen before, he certainly couldn't comprehend them at first glance.

This lineup looked very strange, but he had a feeling that it would make for a very unique play style.

The game interface loaded very quickly. Ye Shaoyang opened up the match info panel to take a look—

Of the five players on the other side, three had IDs that were very matchy-matchy.

[Square Square], [Round Round], and [Cute Cute]. Their icons were all cartoony images as well.

Ye Shaoyang stared.

This couldn't be a pro team, could it?

When those three display names popped up, the bullet comments in Xiao Bai's streaming room went wild.

[Shit, shit! A three-man team from Jingzhe?!]

[Captain Fang, God Yun, and A-Yuan? This is way too much of a coincidence!]

[Can't call it a coincidence. Our host won 50 games in a row, his MMR must be super high. Plus, he's queueing as a trio. It's normal to match up against another trio.]

[Square Square, Round Round, Cute Cute… Fangfang, Yuanyuan, and Keke? Only those three would have such ridiculous alt account names.]

[The other team is running a poison comp! And it's Team Jingzhe's famed poison comp. Our host is doomed.]

After glancing at those bullet comments, Ye Shaoyang finally understood where his opponents came from—pro players from Team Jingzhe. Since they were also queueing up as a group of three, with very high MMRs, it was natural for them to be matched up bright and early in the morning.

There was nothing strange about running into a fleet of professional players. What gave Ye Shaoyang pause was only… did professional players get up this early in the A/B/O world? In his previous life, pro players basically slept until noon and started training in the afternoon or evening.

This was because most official esports games were held in the afternoon or evening. In order to get their bodies accustomed to that schedule, players usually adopted a routine of waking late and sleeping late. After getting used to it, they would ensure their energy was at a peak during games.

The match was set to begin. A familiar sound rang out in Ye Shaoyang's ears.

Welcome to Gods War!

Chi Shuo marked the bottom right corner of the map, indicating the spot where the red buff would spawn.

Ye Shaoyang sent Qin Rui up to guard the blue buff while he followed their jungler down to camp the red.

The red side immediately invaded the blue team's jungle; they launched their invasion with their mid laner, marksman, and support working together.

Ye Shaoyang hadn't imagined the other side would start out so aggressively, creating a 3v2 in the jungle right away. The opposing Cobra King summoned a few green snakes to pursue the two heroes on the blue team. Meanwhile, the Warlock of Poison continually flung in ranged attacks from afar. Ye Shaoyang noticed a number above his own body, which only continued to increase. 1, 2, 3… when that number suddenly jumped to 5, his HP started to plummet. He lost more blood with every step he took!

[Jungler No. 8]: Fall back!

Ye Shaoyang flashed straight back to their tower and ate an HP-restoring mushroom.

With just a sliver of health left, he managed to save his Abyssal Lord by swiftly downing that mushroom. He was more rattled than anything. After stabilizing his condition, he swiftly hit the button to return to his base in order to heal up properly.

In the voice chat, Ye Shaoyang said, "This is a poison comp? They start out this aggressively?"

[Jungler No. 8]: At Level 1, there's no lineup in the game that can beat a poison comp.

[Jungler No. 8]: Avoid fights. Support, with me.

Ye Shaoyang said, "Xiao Rui, go with the boss. I can handle the mid lane by myself."

"Okay," Qin Rui said.

Ye Shaoyang returned to the middle lane.

He quickly noticed that the opposing mid laner's farming techniques were extremely steady and stable.

Farming minions, or creeps, entailed getting the last hit on a minion when its HP was already critically low. Heroes could gain extra gold that way. If a hero failed to calculate a minion's remaining HP accurately and used their skills prematurely, they wouldn't receive that bonus.

Although a single minion only awarded a few dozen gold, each of these little drops added up to a huge bucket. Farming a few extra minions might determine whether or not you could afford a new piece of equipment, which would in turn determine whether or not you got some extra strength during team fights.

Professional players often forced their opponents out of position while playing, thus causing those opponents to miss out on valuable minions.

The red team's mid laner was an immovable object in Ye Shaoyang's way. All those little green snakes were giving Ye Shaoyang a massive headache. Fortunately, Ye Shaoyang had no shortage of experience in professional games. He was very familiar with this sort of summoner mage. He swiftly dodged the enemy attacks while clearing away minions when he saw that their health was low.

After facing off for three minutes in their lane, the two mid laners were about equal in number of creeps killed.

Xie Yuan glanced at the game stats and said, "This streamer Xiao Bai is pretty good. He hasn't missed a single minion."

Fang Zhengqing also offered his praise. "He has the basics down. I'm putting a lot of pressure on him, but he's still staying steady."

Unfortunately, while the mid lane was being held steadily, things were different in the jungle.

Of course, that couldn't be blamed on Chi Shuo.

After clearing away the bottom lane minions, the marksman and support had ventured into the jungle to harass the blue team. Chi Shuo rushed over with the intent to counterattack. But... Xiao Rui suddenly planted a ward in the woods directly adjacent to the red buff.

Chi Shuo was speechless.

Seriously?

At a time like that, shouldn't they have gone to the river to scope out the enemy heroes' positions?

Qin Rui was blathering into the voice chat, "Boss, there's no one in the jungle. Your red buff is still there!"

Chi Shuo remained speechless.

He obviously knew the buff was still there.

The real question was where the enemies were camping out by the river. That was where he needed visibility, support!

Qin Rui didn't go off to provide visibility where it was needed. Instead, he boldly sauntered over to the red buff and actually started to slowly chip away at its HP. He even politely said, "Boss, I'll help you fight the buff."

From Chi Shuo, silence.

Lin Feng, watching from next to him, was also dumbstruck. "He doesn't care about the river. He just wants to help you fight the red buff?"

Not going to the river to provide visibility, not scoping out the enemy team's positions in the jungle, sitting around to help teammates hack at the red buff… this kind of support only appeared in Diamond-ranked or lower games.

Usually, Qin Rui followed his gege, and his gege would give him clear instructions on where to go and what to do. Now, Ye Shaoyang was enduring a lot of pressure from the enemy mid laner. He didn't have time to worry about Qin Rui. Since he was following the jungler, Qin Rui wasn't too sure how he should provide support. As a result, he just stuck to the jungler like glue and provided as much protection as he could.

Lin Feng was caught between laughing and crying. "Your assassin has invisibility. By following you, he's actually exposing your position. What is this support thinking?"

Chi Shuo also couldn't understand. What was this support thinking, following his stealthed assassin around? Originally, Chi Shuo had planned on launching a sneak attack against the enemy marksman. But now, his own support had exposed his position—this Xiao Rui had to be a spy sent from the other side.

Soon, the first minor dragon spawned. Qin Rui eagerly rushed over to get some visibility on the situation around the dragon pit, but the red team had already dominated the riverbank with their own wards. They had eyes on the area and could see perfectly well what Qin Rui was doing.

Before Chi Shuo could do anything to intervene, he heard a familiar sound effect in his ears and saw a line of text pop up on the screen—

Round Round (Warlock of Poison) killed Xiao Rui (Blessed Priest)!

Ye Shaoyang instantly became more vigilant.

Once the blue side's support was dead, the red team's bottom laners ventured up to the middle lane, just as Ye Shaoyang expected they would. The bottom lane duo teamed up with the mid laner to start aggressively attacking the blue team's tower.

The three professional players clearly understood each other well. The speed of their attack was almost ludicrously fast.

Ye Shaoyang rallied his nearby teammates for help.

Both sides remained locked in battle for a while. But as soon as the minions arrived, the screen filled up with new notifications—

Fang Fang (Cobra King) killed I Only Play Marksman (Divine Archer)!

Fang Fang (Cobra King) killed Top Lane Daddy (Holy Knight)!

Double Kill!

Now that was scary. The blue side couldn't even find the enemy marksman, and the enemy had already gotten a double kill? Ye Shaoyang swiftly sent his shadows out to scope out his surroundings, then saw his [Jungler No. 8] mark a spot in the woods.

At almost the exact same time, Ye Shaoyang's Abyssal Lord and Chi Shuo's Stealthy Rogue rushed towards that spot in the woods. They unleashed their skills in perfect unison, instantly slaying the Cobra King who was summoning his snakes there!

Square Square was silent.

"So cruel?" Square Square mused.

A game was no place for morality. Don't come crying to the enemy about a 2v1 kill!

After taking down the Cobra King, the blue team thought they had a chance of turning this fight around. But the Warlock of Poison on the red side was far too good at dodging and attacking at the same time. He swiftly brought down the blue team's mid lane tower!

Once that tower fell, the difference between the blue side's amateur support and the red side's professional support became far too evident.

The blue team couldn't piece together a good view of the map at all. They couldn't hold the top lane, bottom lane, or jungle.

The game ended very quickly.

Ye Shaoyang had long since suspected they would lose that match. They were up against three professional players working together, after all.

But he did gain something from this match—

It was his first time facing off against a poison comp, and he had very quickly figured out how this team composition worked.

The three key points of that team comp were the Cobra King, the Warlock of Poison, and the Shadow Priest.

The Cobra King could summon four small, poisonous snakes that inflicted the poisoned status upon enemy heroes. His ult was an AoE attack that released a swarm of vipers, and he could also 'detonate' his bites, causing poisoned victims to die off in an instant.

Although the Warlock of Poison was a mage, he could also be played as a marksman. In that match, the Warlock had geared up with a set of equipment that boosted his attack speed. His base attack speed was already high, and he had a long range to boot. He was just as good as any ordinary marksman when it came to pushing towers. After using his Q at the start of a match, the Warlock's normal attacks would be imbued with poison. And his ult allowed him to fire out a wide fan of poison-tipped arrows as well.

The poisoned status could be stacked.

Which was to say, in team fights, the Cobra King and the Warlock of Poison could work together to heap five stacks of poison upon their enemies. Their opponents would continuously lose HP that way. Furthermore, the Shadow Priest could drain HP and bestow it upon his teammates. In that last battle, the Warlock's HP bar had been boosted up to over twenty thousand, making him even meatier than most tanks…

In team fights, as long as neither of these two poisonous mages died, the poison effects would just keep stacking up.

If the enemy couldn't heal through the poison, their defense was sure to collapse.

Ye Shaoyang mused to himself, "Double mage comp, double poison… with a life-stealing healer? Tanky and mobile. Really not easy to contend against. With those three heroes at the core of their comp, you'd have to take out two of them to dismantle them."

The word 'DEFEAT' appeared on Ye Shaoyang's screen. It was something he hadn't seen in a very long time.

Qin Rui hung his head shamefully. "It was my mistake. I was killed off before the team fight even started."

Ye Shaoyang came back to his senses and gently reassured, "It's fine. The other side had three pro players. At your skill level, you obviously can't compare yourself to pros."

He pulled up his streaming room again and smiled as he said, "I lost. I'll give everyone thirty seconds to insult me. I'll be learning new vocab from you to insult other people in the future."

His viewers were baffled.

What was up with this streamer? Other streamers always tried to find excuses for themselves after a loss. They would always claim that their teammates sucked, or that they didn't develop well in that round… meanwhile, this streamer was inviting viewers to insult him after a loss?

[The other side was running a poison comp. It would have been weirder if you managed to win, right?!]

[That poison comp was played on the S8 world stage. Since then, Fang Zhengqing's Cobra King has always been banned.]

[Right, right. You lost as soon as you let the other side lock in that poison comp.]

[Mwah-mwah, host! Don't be discouraged. There's no shame in losing to pros. We'll win the next one!]

His viewers weren't going to diss him?

Ye Shaoyang remorsefully said, "The netizens of this day and age are too gentle. Next time, when I lose, you should fill up the screen with 'host, you suck' and 'host, you're so stupid' remarks. That way, I'll be more motivated."

His viewers were once again baffled.

Chi Shuo was silent.

Who exactly was this Xiao Bai?

Why was he seeming less and less like a pro player from another team?

Coach Lin Feng, seeing this from the seat next to Chi Shuo, was also confused. "He didn't know about the poison comp? Fang Zhengqing is so famous. All the players in the league should know about Captain Fang, right?"

Chi Shuo frowned. "He isn't a pro player. You saw in the game just now. Xiao Rui had a newbie's skills. What team would raise up their pro alongside a newbie who can't even lay wards in the jungle? Who can't do anything except listen to his gege's commands?"

Lin Feng thought about it and decided Chi Shuo had a point. In the professional league, each support was more brilliant than the last. Establishing visibility across the map for your team was extremely important. But in that game, the blue team's visibility had been completely suppressed by the red side.

Xiao Bai's skills were really good.

But Xiao Rui's were like that of a complete newbie.

Chi Shuo got Xiao Rui's player ID from that last ranked match and looked him up on Gods War Assistant. Xiao Rui hadn't made his battle history private, so Chi Shuo was able to scroll through. He scrolled down a huge list of dazzling victories, only to find a long history of wins and losses in the Gold rank. There was even one atrocious record of Xiao Rui having lost a game with zero kills and ten deaths.

"Xiao Rui was still at Gold the day before yesterday. He was dragged up to King by Xiao Bai," Chi Shuo said, pointing out the battle records.

Lin Feng was bewildered. "So it looks like he really is Xiao Bai's didi? They're just two brothers playing ranked together?"

"Mm. That's the only explanation."

Lin Feng was even more bewildered now. "If he isn't a pro, then where did this Xiao Bai come from? I've never heard of him as a streamer either. Could he be some expert that just popped up from the world of ordinary players?"

Chi Shuo gave it some thought, then said, "I'll check him out again and see how strong he really is."

 

Author's Notes:

It's very normal for them to not win this game.

The Jingzhe side consisted of: Fang Zhengqing, world-class mid laner; Xie Yuan, world-class marksman; and Li Yunmo, the country's #1 support.

They'll be one of our main characters' fiercest rivals in the future.

Soon, Chi Shuo and Ye Shaoyang will become a proper mid lane/jungle duo.

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