ALL-ROUND MID LANER

Chapter 34

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Before a summit tournament game began, there was a setting which allowed players to choose to display their 'Preferred Heroes'. This way, your teammates could see which heroes and positions you frequently played, then avoid banning your heroes in the picks and bans stage.

However, Ye Shaoyang had been in too much of a rush to get into the summit tournament earlier. He'd forgotten all about that setting.

As a result, all three of the heroes he'd taken up the national leaderboards were banned.

The summit tournament randomly matched players from the entire server, and all players' names were anonymized. Even their player icons were replaced by default icons from the game.

Players in the summit tournament would only see the names Player 1 through Player 5 when they looked at their own team. There was no way to tell who was who. So, there was no way for anyone to tell he was the streamer Xiao Bai, and no way for anyone to target him specifically.

At that time, the summit tournament had just begun. On the national server, there were countless Player 5s at this moment. Ye Shaoyang's experience in this match could only be described as a pure, unfortunate accident. But having his favored heroes banned by his teammates was something he had frequently experienced before.

In order to avoid having one of his teammates steal his position of mid laner as well, Ye Shaoyang hastily typed a message into the chat: [I play mid laner, is it okay if I take the mid lane? I'm not too familiar with other positions.]

[Player 1]: That can't be, can it, boss? What are you doing in the summit tournament if you only know how to play one position…

[Player 2]: I'm soooooo impressed by these total noobs who only know how to play mages!

[Player 3]: Why don't you be good and go practice heroes properly? You're here to drag people down in the summit tournament?

[Player 3]: Only know how to play mid laner? You have the fifth pick, and you don't know how to fill in where your team needs you?

In the vast majority of circumstances, Player 5 really didn't have any rights. After the previous four players on your team chose their heroes, you had no choice but to make a pick to fill in the final opening on the team—unless you were so wicked good at something that your teammates would willingly leave a position open for you.

Ye Shaoyang swiftly sent over his own heroes' battle records.

[Player 5]: The Abyssal Lord, win rate 88%, battle power 12,000, National #1

[Player 5]: The Illusionist, win rate 85%, battle power 12,000, National #1

[Player 5]: The Frost Goddess, win rate 86%, battle power 12,000, National #1

[Player 5]: All banned by you guys. T_T

His teammates were all speechless.

Shit, this really was a boss. No, wait, a Big Boss.

National #1… in the whole country, of all players who played these heroes, this guy had the highest battle power and highest average game stats!

His teammates instantly made a complete 180.

[Player 1]: Big bro, if you're so awesome, you can say so a little earlier~

[Player 1]: We'll leave you all the gold, we'll leave you all the kills. Whatever you want, it's yours!

[Player 3]: I'll just lie down. 5-ge, carry me to the win. Here's a big loving kiss for you, Player 5, mwah-mwah.

[Player 2]: Which absolute idiot banned 5-ge's Frost Goddess? Oh, it was me.

[Player 2]: I'm sorry. T_T

[Player 2]: I was killed five times in a row by the Frost Goddess in my last match. I was so pissed off that I just banned her right away.

[Player 5]: No problem, I still have other heroes I know how to play.

[Player 5]: Please let me have the middle lane, thank you. ^_^

Not only was this person extremely powerful, his attitude was also very polite. Who would be crass enough to not let him have the middle lane?

Player 5—no, everyone should now call him 5-ge—had such thick, strong legs. These were the gold-standard legs of a National #1 player that would carry the whole team to victory!

Both sides swiftly selected their heroes during the picks and bans phase.

Everyone tacitly understood to leave the middle lane open for Player 5.

Ye Shaoyang studied his teammates' heroes and took their team comp into consideration. The top laner had chosen a very meaty tank, the Holy Knight. The jungler has taken the King of Fighters, who had crowd control skills and decent damage output potential, but required quite a lot of economic resources to build; the King of Fighters would really only be able to instakill enemies once he got his ideal equipment.

The marksman had taken the Divine Archer, which was also a hero who typically flourished in late-game. The support had taken the Forest Envoy, a healer.

As a whole, this team comp was a bit heavy and unwieldy. The jungler and marksman were both late-game heroes, so their team lacked a source of damage output early in the game. Their attacks against the enemy would be no more than an irritating itch. If they were targeted in early-game and couldn't drag the match out to the later stages, defeat would be very likely.

The key issue was that heroes like the King of Fighters, who could grow explosively in late-game and kill multiple glass cannons at once, were all useless little didi types in early-game. They could only bury their heads in the sand and work on developing their own power, so it was too easy for their team's jungle to be totally dominated by the enemy early on in the game.

Last time, in that King-rank promotion game, Ye Shaoyang had been able to lead his team to drag things out to late-game. But that was because their support had been the Blessed Priest, who could grant the whole team a speed buff. When they couldn't beat the enemy, they could run. They were an extremely mobile team.

However, in today's team comp, they wouldn't even be able to run from fights they couldn't win!

Ye Shaoyang thought while swiftly cycling through heroes for his team's fifth pick.

Flame Goddess, a positioning-focused hero. Not suitable for this team comp.

Storm Goddess, crowd control, capable of blowing enemies far away. Her skills conflicted with the skills of the Holy Knight, who could use a taunt to draw opponents closer.

Thunder Goddess, needed to work with a support in team fights.

Tidal Goddess, equipped with slowing skills. Also more suitable for crowd control…

Ye Shaoyang locked in the Destiny Goddess, Angelina.

Upon seeing his selection, the viewers in his streaming room were all shocked—

[Xiao Bai knows how to play the Destiny Goddess? This hero is super super super hard to play!]

[Haha, the Destiny Goddess is also known as the Fortune Goddess. Whether or not you can win with her… only a fortune teller could guess!]

[I can't even figure out the skills and mechanics of this hero. She has two states, and her skills in each are different… and she's got an energy bar to manage too? Good lord.]

[Difficulty rating five stars. A handicapped player like me usually avoids these at all costs~]

[I can't figure out the Destiny Goddess either, and I almost never see her in ranked matches. Host, you really know how to play this one too?]

At the same time, in Mumu's streaming room on Whale Streaming—

She looked at her teammates' choices and furrowed her brow. "This team comp is too weak in early-game. The Holy Knight is a tank, his damage output is low. The jungler King of Fighters, the marksman Divine Archer… they're both better-suited for late-game."

At that moment, Player 5 locked in the Destiny Goddess.

Mumu's eyes brightened. "If the mid laner takes the Destiny Goddess, we'll be able to take a stand in early-game!"

Ye Shaoyang didn't look at the bullet comments in his chat when he played. He shrank the comments section to the smallest possible size.

What he couldn't have imagined was that the bullet comments would be flooded with new, white lines of text at that very moment—

[Holy shit, this luck. Player 4 is Mumu, I think?]

[I've got two summit tournament streams up right now. Player 4 is Mumu, Player 5 is Xiao Bai!]

[Xiao Bai, Xiao Bai! Your support is Mu-jie, Whale Streaming's #1 female streamer!]

[If Mu-jie is here, I can rest easy in this match!]

Mumu's bullet comments were being flooded as well. She froze for a second, then opened the team chat in the game. It was only then that she saw her own team's chat logs.

In the past, when playing support, she would frequently be insulted by her teammates. So she had simply muted the entirety of the in-game chat. That was why she'd missed the earlier conversation.

National #1 Illusionist, National #1 Abyssal Lord…

This Player 5… was the Xiao Bai who'd stirred up so much debate in the streamers' group chat?

Both teams finished choosing their heroes, and the game was set to begin.

Everyone quickly realized that Xiao Bai's practical experience with the Destiny Goddess was a blank, white slate—his proficiency was at 100 points, which was the bare minimum he needed to be able to play this hero in ranked games. Usually, players reached that point by playing against A.I. teams.

With such a low proficiency, it meant he had yet to play a single ranked match with the Destiny Goddess!

[Xiao Bai, you're fucking practicing with a hero in the summit tournament???]

[Our host is going off the rails again. He's so full of himself that he's gone off to outer space~]

[All his teammates are at gold proficiency, full points. This starter hero of yours getting into the mix… what kind of joke is that?]

[Hahaha, although your Abyssal Lord is nationally ranked, your Destiny Goddess is fresh out of the box. Your teammates' emotions must be on a rollercoaster ride right now!]

Ye Shaoyang's Destiny Goddess really was at the bare minimum in terms of proficiency. He had never played her in a ranked game before. However, he'd practiced with her in training mode for a very long time. He was extremely familiar with the hero's skills, skill combos, builds, and so on.

Since he was bold enough to take her out in a summit tournament game, he was definitely very confident in his ability to play her.

He wouldn't drag his teammates down.

At that moment, several of the viewers in Mumu's streaming room spoke up—

[Coming into the summit tournament with a hero he's just started to play?]

[It couldn't be. Mu-jie's first summit tournament game, and she's already run into a griefer?]

Mumu smiled slightly. "This low proficiency could mean that this is an alt account. The Destiny Goddess he chose is actually a very good fit for our team comp. The Destiny Goddess is a mage without a mana bar. Her damage is mostly based on her own level, so she doesn't have very high equipment requirements. Our jungler, the King of Fighters, needs a lot of mana. With this lineup, our mid laner won't be at odds with our jungler. And our mid laner will be able to help protect our jungle."

It was then that the viewers understood—

[That's our Mu-jie for you! It's no wonder she's an official league commentator.]

[So when you put it like that, Player 5 is actually alright? At least he knows how to choose a hero who works with his team.]

[Player 5 is a streamer too, his name is Xiao Bai. He's a newbie on Whale Streaming.]

[Really? I'll go check him out. I can watch both streams at once. Mu-jie, good luck!]

With these two streamers coincidentally matched to the same team, Qin Rui discovered that the viewer count in Xiao Bai's streaming room suddenly shot up. It was eight in the evening, which was peak streaming hours for the game. Their viewer count had originally been at around 800,000. In the blink of an eye, it shot up to 1.6 million—doubling in an instant.

What was going on here? Qin Rui's jaw dropped so fast that his chin nearly fell off his face. He hastily opened up the bullet comments and realized that lots of Mumu's fans were coming over to watch both streams of the summit tournament at the same time.

Mumu, full name Yao Mu, was the top female streamer on Whale Streaming. Last time, when Qin Rui and Ye Shaoyang had gone to Star City's Esports Center to watch that playoffs match, she had been one of the hosts.

Qin Rui instantly opened Mumu's stream and saw that she had a popularity rating of 10 million.

It wasn't entirely clear how Whale Streaming calculated a streamer's popularity rating, but they definitely padded out and artificially inflated the numbers a bit. Even after cutting away the excess, Mumu's streaming room must have had at least 5 million viewers, right? It was obvious that the power of her fans was truly formidable.

Qin Rui excitedly said, "Ge, your team's Player 4 is the streamer Mumu!"

Ye Shaoyang raised his brows with some surprise. "Really? What a coincidence."

He recalled that the streamer Mumu specialized in playing support, and she was very good-natured. She didn't fight with anti-fans who tried to drag her into all sorts of conflicts. She maintained a mild attitude of 'I'll play my own games, you spew your own insults.'

The game interface loaded very quickly.

An opposing player typed into the team chat: [A blank proficiency hero showing up in the summit tournament? You've got guts!]

Ye Shaoyang replied with a smiley face: [Hello, I'm practicing with this hero, please give me lots of advice. ^_^]

The opposing player: [……]

The players on Ye Shaoyang's side were completely calm and unperturbed.

Ye Shaoyang had three National #1 heroes, after all. That went a long way to setting his teammates' minds at ease.

Player 1 on their side typed: [Can everyone get in voice chat?]

Everyone else voiced their agreement. One teammate typed: [Will I be lucky enough to hear our nationally ranked little gege's voice?]

Ye Shaoyang joined the voice chat and said, "Hello, everyone. Jungler, open with blue or red?"

The mic icon above Player 2's avatar lit up. "Let's open with blue. This hero of mine really needs mana."

Player 4's voice sounded out. "I'll put down some wards and get us visibly in the area, and I'll help guard the blue. After the one-minute mark, I'll go down to the bottom lane. Marksman, be careful. Don't advance too far and risk being killed off."

"Understood," Player 3 said. "Our support is a girl, huh?"

Player 4's voice was a warm and gentle female voice, just like the voice Ye Shaoyang remembered hearing at Star City's Esports Center.

Ye Shaoyang said, "I'll help guard the blue."

In the game, he clicked on the map to mark the location of the blue buff.

The jungler on their team was very worried about their own blue buff being stolen by the enemy. This hero, the King of Fighters, was extremely reliant on the blue buff. With the blue buff, his skill cooldown times would be shortened, and it would give a huge boost to his ability to farm in the jungle. The King of Fighters could take out a fragile little hero in one blow in late-game, but oftentimes…

The game would be lost before they got to late-game. T_T

The King of Fighters needed teammates who would help him protect the jungle, allowing him to develop as quickly as possible. Unfortunately, in many ranked games, people would frequently run into players who just minded their own business and cleared minions in their respective lanes. They wouldn't care at all if their jungle was being invaded by the enemy. They would just grumble about their own jungler being too bad at the game.

Playing jungler wasn't easy!

To the jungler in this match, these teammates were like saints.

The support was willing to help him in the jungle, and the mid laner was willing to protect the jungle as well. The jungler was so moved that he sent a flood of teary-eyed emoticons into the chat. The trio swiftly got to their own blue buff and hid out in the nearby woods.

Thirty seconds into the game, the blue buff spawned.

As expected, the enemy really did come over to try to steal the buff.

The opposing players who came were the jungler, support, and mid laner, immediately creating a 3v3 in the jungle.

Ye Shaoyang decisively said, "We can't beat them, let's retreat."

If only two enemies had come from the other side, they could have tried duking it out. But they would definitely lose in a 3v3, because the King of Fighters could only do a pitiful amount of damage in early-game. As for the Destiny Goddess, she was also unable to switch between her two states before reaching Level 6.

Mumu said, "Jungler, go steal their blue. I'll stall for time. Once you're done, hurry back and get our red buff."

"Got it!" the jungler said.

He instantly turned and ran, circling around the river to steal the enemy's blue buff.

The support Forest Envoy had a control skill called 'Overgrowth'. Although it was a latent sort of crowd control, it could lock down the entire enemy team if it was well-placed!

The instant the three opposing heroes stepped into the jungle, Mumu accurately predicted their positions. Suddenly, lush green vines burst out from the path ahead of them. The vines grew quickly. In the blink of an eye, the three enemies had been rooted in place.

Ye Shaoyang instantly started to attack, then fled as soon as he'd cast all his skills.

The enemies saw that there were only two of them, so they gave chase and tried to fight back. After a brief chase, both Mumu and Ye Shaoyang were left at low health. Mumu turned and cast Overgrowth again, trapping their enemies before making a hasty retreat. Ye Shaoyang also flashed back to a defensive tower to start farming minions. The enemy players, unable to catch them, focused on attacking the blue buff instead.

While Ye Shaoyang and Mumu stalled, their jungler managed to steal away the enemy's blue buff.

Were they able to protect their own jungle? Not really. Their blue buff was ultimately stolen by the opposing team as well, and their support and mid laner were both left at critical health. However, their jungler had taken the enemy's blue buff—so they didn't come out of this engagement at a total loss.

At half-health, Ye Shaoyang returned to his lane. The opposing mid laner who faced off against him was thrilled beyond belief.

This was a piece of decadent fatty meat! A piece of meat that had been delivered right to his mouth!

This low-proficiency hero, at half-health, was wandering around right before his eyes… this was definitely a warm head, being served up on a platter!

The enemy mid lane player fixed his gaze on his computer monitor, determined to claim the Destiny Goddess's life with one set of skills.

However, Ye Shaoyang's movement patterns were far too diabolical. The enemy's control skills couldn't get him under control at all.

He nimbly carved a serpentine path along the mid lane, endlessly moving in that S-shape to the point that he could make his enemy's vision blur. The opposing player released three control skills in a row, missing with all of them. The enemy player was shocked when he realized… not only had he failed to kill the Destiny Goddess, he'd missed a few minions that he could have farmed as well. This round was a loss to him!

As a result of the enemy mid laner missing out on a few minions, Ye Shaoyang reached Level 6 before him. And at Level 6, Ye Shaoyang gained his ult.

Then, he instantly started to retaliate!

No one could clearly see exactly what the Destiny Goddess did. A convoluted storm of talismans rained down from above, and the enemy player was dead in an instant.

First Blood!

The Destiny Goddess had taken first blood.

The enemy player was stunned. He typed: […didn't you say you were practicing this hero?]

Ye Shaoyang: [I'm a quick learner. ^_^]

The enemy Player 5: [BULLCRAP!]

Before long, the jungler on Ye Shaoyang's team wandered down to the bottom lane, hiding out along the side of the road to wait for an opportunity to strike.

In the voice chat, Ye Shaoyang said, "One sec, I'll be there to assist soon."

He left the enemy mid laner with a feint.

This 'feint' was like the fake out moves in basketball, intended to deliberately bewilder your opponents. To the enemy, it looked like Ye Shaoyang was making his way to the top lane. However, in reality, he cut through the woods once he was out of sight and circled through their jungle to head to the bottom lane.

This way, the enemy jungler would make an error in judgment.

Ye Shaoyang hid himself by the bottom lane, then signaled for his teammates to prepare for an attack.

The Forest Envoy instantly charged in with a crowd control skill.

A second later, all that could be see was a hail of countless talismans and curses flying out from the woods—

Black talismans shot out like sharp knives, piercing their enemies' bodies!

Red talismans flooded out like flower petals being scattered by a divine goddess, falling upon two of their enemies.

Just then, a flurry of white talismans also swept out. The two enemies who had been rooted in place by the Forest Envoy were just starting to regain their ability to move. It was at exactly that moment that they were sealed again by the Destiny Goddess's white talismans. This 'seamless' crowd control made it so that the enemies could only curse and cry!

Immediately afterwards, golden talismans rained down from above, piercing the two enemies' heads.

This dazzling display of skills was completely beyond comprehension for the online viewers.

All they could see was that the Destiny Goddess's blinding flurry of skills had left the two enemies at low health.

"Jungler, go take the kills," Ye Shaoyang said.

The jungler hastily rushed up and used his ult, aiming one blow at the marksman's head and another at the support. Two punches, two kills.

In their team's headsets, a youthful and excited voice rang out, "Thank you for the double kill, boss!"

It was true. Ye Shaoyang had deliberately left those kills to his teammate.

That was because this hero, the King of Fighters, was extremely equipment-hungry. He absolutely had to have enough economic resources to buy the best equipment before he would be able to do real damage in late-game. The Destiny Goddess, on the other hand, didn't have high equipment requirements at all. Ye Shaoyang's strength mostly came from his level. The higher his hero's level, the more damage his hero's skills would do.

Ye Shaoyang smiled and said, "No need for thanks, you take the kills and develop quickly. I'll help you guard the jungle."

The jungler was too moved to speak.

This! This was what you called a saintly teammate!

Any jungler who ran into a teammate who would give them kills and help them protect the jungle… they would want to marry this guy, right?!

Overhearing that exchange, Mumu faintly furrowed her brow.

The discussion from the streamers' group chat rose to the forefront of her mind—

[It's just a newb who still thinks the sky is the limit.]

[He'll really do anything to hype himself up.]

[He'll step on anyone to climb the ranks, and he only shows a cat when he streams.]

All those words… why did it seem like they were all filled with a sour air of jealousy?

When Mumu saw the new streamer listed on the recommended newcomers board, she'd clicked in to check out Xiao Bai's room. Back then, her only thought had been that the kitty was pretty cute.

Today, after personally coming into contact with this streamer, she was learning that Xiao Bai wasn't one of those streamers who would stop at absolutely nothing to raise their own popularity.

Most games streamers would only care about going wild and getting as many kills as possible while they streamed. Getting kills seemed to be their only way of proving they were awesome.

Xiao Bai, however, had just given a double kill to his teammate.

Because his teammate needed the economic resources more.

Xiao Bai's keen and open mind had been severely underestimated by them.

The King of Fighters wasn't supposed to become really powerful until late-game. But because Ye Shaoyang repeatedly gave him kills, and even gave him some resources from the middle lane, the King of Fighters was able to complete his core equipment at around ten minutes into the game.

And the jungler didn't disappoint Ye Shaoyang. He started to roam the map, taking down one glass cannon with one punch, swiftly helping their team gain a crushing advantage.

With the five players all working together towards the same goal, the game was extremely easy to win.

Furthermore, the feeling everyone got after achieving a win through teamwork… was just amazing!

As the player who'd taken the most kills, the jungler was named the MVP of that game. Ye Shaoyang's overall stats put him in second place for that game.

He didn't mind that very much. Even second place awarded quite a large amount of battle power.

After the game, Ye Shaoyang received a system notification:

Player [Mumu] would like to add you as a friend.

The summit tournament was played anonymously. All player information was hidden, and players couldn't even find their teammates again after a match. That was one reason the environment of the summit tournament was much better than regular ranked matches. Mumu's friend request could only mean that she knew Player 5 was the streamer Xiao Bai, and had found some way to obtain his player ID.

Ye Shaoyang knew he would be offending a lot of streamers by wildly collecting so many National #1 titles. If he could make a friend or two in the streaming world, that would be better than getting on the bad side of the entire streaming industry, right?

He planned on becoming a professional esports player, after all. If he offended too many people now, he would bring way too many antis to his future team.

With that thought in mind, Ye Shaoyang accepted the friend request and took the initiative to send a greeting: [Mu-jie, hello. ^_^]

Mumu: [Hello, Xiao Bai. Let's play ranked in the future when you have time. I'll be your support.]

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