Chapter 1350: The Battle Never Ends
Translator: Nomyummi Editor: Nomyummi
Li Yibo didn’t speak because he felt like he had been enlightened. From not daring to be certain of Wang Jiexi’s intentions, to Thunderclap’s changing strategy. If dividing Tiny Herb up and ganging up on Vaccaria was something within his expectations, the double back and isolation afterwards was completely unexpected for him.
Brilliance, brilliance that he couldn’t predict at all. His own skill really had fallen behind. He had once been a member of a championship team, and now he had fallen this low? His minds drifted to Team Tyranny; his once teammates, his once captain, who were still fighting on the frontlines. Every time people thought “that’s enough, it’s time he retires”, he would reply resolutely: next year.
Next year next year next year.
It had been six years since Li Yibo’s retirement. Li Yibo was a little older than him, but back then, had he really reached the point where he had no choice but to retire? No… it wasn’t like that. It was only because that year, they had won the championships, so Li Yibo, who wasn’t all that young anymore, decided that it would be the optimal time to retire.
This was called knowing when enough was enough. Li Yibo had always thought his decision wise, yet now, he was beginning to question himself. Was his decision made because he lacked a certain quality? Why had Han Wenqing, who had also gained one championship, still fighting for another with all his might? Why was Wang Jiexi, who had gained two championships, still suppressing his preferred playstyle for the good of Tiny Herb? He had fallen.
Tiny Herb’s healer had shockingly become the first casualty in this battle. After all that, Thunderclap’s actual primary goal was the most typical ‘kill the healer first’. In this, how many strategic maneuvers and details had helped them secure their success? Li Yibo felt his head spin. He really was… absolute trash.
Losing the healer was a problem for any team. Perhaps it was because Thunderclap had let their guard down for a moment, relieved at being able to get rid of the healer, but Tiny Herb had managed a powerful wave of counterattacks then. It was good that Thunderclap had managed to steady their footing. They didn’t rush to end this, instead slowly pulling the battle into one of positional warfare and utilizing their healer advantage to its fullest. In the end, Thunderclap won, overturning Tiny Herb 6 to 4, managing to defeat Tiny Herb both in their home and away games this season with 6 to 4. They generally fell behind on the one on one matches, proving that the strength of their individual players weren’t the best, but when they acted as a team, they were a force that didn’t lose to any other team in the alliance.
This was no longer just about their tactics. Thunderclap’s players were the pinnacle of the alliance in terms of their tactical execution and their teamwork and cooperation.
“Thunderclap wins, in their away game too. Spectacular, especially in the team competition!” Commentator Pan Lin cheered.
“Yes. However, while Thunderclap might have spectacular results in the team competitions, they’ve never entered the top four in the rankings. Their performance in the 1v1 rounds are rather worrying. With the current playoffs format, falling too behind in the 1v1 rounds will place huge pressure on their team competition!” Li Yibo considered aloud. According to the playoffs format, the five person group arena and the team competition would be calculated by headcount. If Thunderclap lost too many points in the group arena, then they’d be playing under much more pressure and more restrictions in the team competition. This would certainly impact the flexibility of their tactics.
“You’re right, but this problem isn’t so easy to solve,” Pan Lin said, finding it unfortunate.
“Thunderclap might really need one or two players with strong individual strength to help them!” Li Yibo lamented.
“Indeed.” Pan Lin nodded in agreement. “Now, this match between Tiny Herb and Thunderclap has come to an end. A few other matches have also finished. We still have some time left, so let’s take a look at the results of the other matches.”
“Ah!” Just as Pan Lin finished speaking, he cried out in surprise after receiving the results from the other matches.
“In the match between Misty Rain and Void, Misty Rain didn’t have a healer!” Pan Lin exclaimed.
“Oh? They’re copying Wind Howl’s playstyle,” Li Yibo said.
“No, they… none of the six players in their team for their competition were healers,” Pan Lin said.
“And the results?” Li Yibo questioned.
“Void won…” Pan Lin’s tone held a hint of disappointment. It wasn’t that he was taking sides, but seeing Misty Rain dedicate themselves like this, it was natural for people to be anticipatory for what they could achieve. Unfortunately, Wind Howl had been successful, but Misty Rain still lost.
“To be honest, Misty Rain’s lineup isn’t very suited to this sort of playstyle…” Li Yibo also lamented, seeing Misty Rain’s roster. This problem was something that many people had noticed, but how many were there who knew of how helpless Misty Rain truly was right now?
“Seven to three, Void won against Misty Rain. It seems like this is it for Misty Rain this season…” In the live broadcast, Pan Lin finally dared to say this. Void was the team who stood in front of Misty Rain in the rankings, and now that they had defeated Misty Rain in a direct confrontation, it was naturally a huge blow to Misty Rain. With only six rounds left to the regular season, this really was it for Misty Rain. “Amongst the other matches that have ended, 301 Degrees has swept a 10 to 0 against Bright Green, Samsara defeated Parade 9 to 1, Tyranny crushed Radiant 9 to 1 and Happy won against Conquering Clouds 8 to 2,” Pan Lin rapidly announced the results of the finished matches.
“Oh? How did Happy lose those two points?” Li Yibo asked. “It… was the individual competition…” Pan Lin scanned the report on the match, “Luo Ji and Wei Chen each lost a round.”
“Happy’s two players…” Li Yibo really did want to comment on them, but he once again lost his confidence. They were Happy’s players after all… No matter who it was, if they were Happy’s, then he felt like he had no grasp over them.
This really wasn’t a good feeling at all… Li Yibo began to worry again. He imagined his current self, standing on the battlefield. What would that be like? He wouldn’t be able to figure out his opponent’s intentions, he’d hesitate in indecision, his heart would constantly be in his throat. On the battlefield, he’d lose like that, and right now as a commentator, his current self kept getting slapped in the face to the point where he was hesitant to speak.
“Ah! Another match’s results have come out!” Pan Lin really was his savior this time, not giving Li Yibo the chance to continue his commentary on those two players and instead running off to announce the news.
“Wind Howl… swept Hundred Blossoms 10 to 0 in their home game!” Pan Lin’s announcement was full of surprise, after all, it was no easy task to get a 10 to 0 against Hundred Blossoms. Last round, Hundred Blossoms had even defeated Tiny Herb. Yet this powerful team had been obliterated by Wind Howl. Wind Howl had powerful individual strength, and now they seemed to have found something that works for the team competitions, too, like they had suddenly all achieved enlightenment.
“301 Degrees and Wind Howl are neck and neck!” Pan Lin exclaimed with a smile, “After this round, their scores are still the same!”
“But the other teams’ scores have changed!” Li Yibo said.
Pan Lin paused for a moment and then checked the rankings. After each getting a perfect victory of 10 to 0, especially since Wind Howl’s opponent had been Hundred Blossoms, 301 Degrees and Wind Howl were now both in the top eight. Instead, Team Hundred Blossoms had fallen to nineth with 199 points, 5 points away from the top eight.
“If I recall correctly, Hundred Blossom’s following match schedule won’t be easy on them,” Li Yibo noted.
“That’s right.” Pan Lin had already brought out the match schedule. “Team Hundred Blossom’s next six opponents are Misty Rain, Void, Royal Style, Thunderclap, Tyranny and Samsara…”
“It seems like… Team Hundred Blossoms is really in need of some luck!” Li Yibo said.
“I didn’t expect for such a change at a time like now. Looks like you really can’t relax until the very last moment,” Pan Lin said.
“Alright, our broadcast ends here. We’ll see you all again next time,” Pan Lin announced the ending of the broadcast. Round 32’s matches all soon came to an end. The uneventful rankings had experienced a whirlwind of change after this round, especially in the top ten. Blue Rain had risen to third, Tiny Herb fell to fourth, Happy rose to fifth, Thunderclap fell to sixth, Wind Howl and 301 Degrees had risen to seventh and eighth respectively, while Hundred Blossoms had fell by a full two places and out of the playoffs cut-off.
As for numbers ten to twelve after them, the three teams hadn’t budged. However, after Royal Style, Misty Rain had also more or less given up on the playoffs.
“In the end, we still lost…”
The current round was still Misty Rain’s home game. Chu Yunxiu, after the match, sat on the player bench, gazing at the score on the big screen. Seeing the audience leaving, she heard a lot of sighs and cursing from them. She saw her teammates sit next to her, silent.
“You guys head out first, I’m going to sit for a while,” Chu Yunxiu said.
“It’s almost time for the press conference,” Li Hua came over to remind her.
“How about you take charge for it? I want to rest a bit,” Chu Yunxiu replied.
After a match that crushed their last hopes for the season, the captain wasn’t going to attend the press conference. This clearly wasn’t very appropriate. However, after a moment of hesitation, Li Hua still nodded. “Alright.” Her teammates left one after the other and some of them looked back at Chu Yunxiu, worried. Chu yunxiu ignored it, continuing to stare at the score on the big screen. The audience behind her were exiting the stadium in an orderly fashion, sighs and reproachful comments towards Misty Rain audible amidst the clamor.
Chu Yunxiu really wanted to just lie down on this player bench.
Everyone said that she was too soft, and in turn caused the team to become soft. Perhaps that was true. She wasn’t strong enough, and it was easy for her to feel fatigued. Wouldn’t it be great if she wasn’t captain? Chu Yunxiu thought to herself, absentminded.
With Round 32, yet another team bid the season an early goodbye. What was to be of Misty Rain’s future? Perhaps people would wonder, but this wasn’t the focus right now. After Round 32, the top eight had gone through a whirlwind of change and Hundred Blossoms had been squeezed out of the playoffs by 301 Degrees and Wind Howl. It seemed like the fight this season was far from over. From number 5 to 9, there was only a 13 point difference. It wasn’t just 301 Degrees, Wind Howl and Hundred Blossoms fighting. If Happy and Thunderclap slipped up, they might get left behind, too.