Chapter 1387: First Match
There were four players who debuted in Season 6 and went onto becoming All-Stars: Yu Feng, Xu Bin, Lu Boyuan, and Jiang Botao. Apart from Yu Feng, the other three were not core members of their respective team. If even these All-Stars were like so, then the other rookies of that generation were even less important.
The Season 4 rookies were nicknamed the Golden Generation. On the other hand, these Season 6 rookies were nicknamed the “Helper Squad” because of these coincidental happenings. The name pointed at how the Season 6 rookies all held support roles in their respective teams.
The title was just for fun. No one would actually take these words to heart. But still, now that Yu Feng had become the core of Hundred Blossoms, the name “Helper Squad” no longer had the same impact as before. The Season 6 players all joked that Yu Feng had let them down.
They were joking, of course.
Even if Yu Feng became his team’s core player, so what?
Jiang Botao and Lu Boyuan were still members of the “Helper Squad”, but they stood besides Zhou Zekai, forming the formidable Team Samsara. The “Helper Squad” had helped win the team two championships back-to-back.
Yu Feng didn’t envy them though.
Champions? He had already become the champion once. What he wanted was to win the championships not just with the status of a “Helper Squad” member.
That was his personal goal. He didn’t care about denying being a part of the “Helper Squad”.
“We’re not bothering you guys, are we?” Jiang Botao continued to chat with him. This social player could make friends with anyone, even when the two parties were irreconcilable adversaries. But for old players, though their attitudes on stage were very professional, none of them ever showed anger to each other off the stage.
“No problem, you guys go ahead. We’ll stop bothering you,” Yu Feng said.
Even though both sides could maintain professional relationships on stage, in this sort of life and death battle, they were unlikely to happily chat around under such a tense atmosphere.
“Take care,” Jiang Botao said as he watched Yu Feng and Zou Yuan leave the stage together. Samsara’s other players didn’t regard their encounter as anything serious, and the everyone quickly started warming up.
At 8 PM, no seats in the stadium were empty. For the playoffs, each match was crucial. Thus, playoff matches were much more watched than regular season matches. The stadium had seats specifically for the away-game fans as usual, and Samsara’s loyal fans already had their slogan hanging down. The words two-time champions were the most important. After all, three-time champions had yet to happen, and it wouldn’t be good to call it too early as their slogan. It could be something that they could yell as a good-luck blessing throughout the entire tournament though.
The two teams finally entered the stadium.
The entrance ceremony wasn’t any different than the ones in the regular season. As Hundred Blossom’s home stadium, the cheers and claps for them were louder. Although Samsara was the defending champions and the current most popular team, it was still their playoff opponent’s home stadium. The fate of the noise from Samsara fans could only be obliteration. Any team that made it to the playoffs were inevitably popular teams.
The broadcast wasn’t going to miss out on any playoffs match. The commentators were once again Pan Lin and Li Yibo, the signature duo. The broadcast team had originally wanted it to be a tri-cast like the Happy versus Tiny Herb match. In that match, the program had invited a guest commentator, and since many players wouldn’t be participating in the playoffs, the program wanted to invite a well-known player.
For this match, the program had thought of a brilliant figure.
He was a former Hundred Blossoms player, and he would certainly have a lot of things to say as a guest commentator.
But when the program sent an invitation to Sun Zheping, they didn’t think he would actually refuse. As soon as they approached him, the door was shut. Their morale had dropped considerably. During that time, they failed to find any other suitable players. In the end, it was still Pan Lin and Li Yibo duo-casting for the first match of playoffs.
After introducing the players on both sides, the two looked for things to say as they waited for the match to officially start.
“These two teams encountered each other in the final round of the regular season. Just another week later and they’re back at it again.” Pan Lin said.
“With it being a back-to-back match, these two teams must have a deep understanding of each other by now. In this situation, none of them have any secrets. The winner will be decided by how each team is able to execute their plans and adapt to their opponent’s plays.” Li Yibo said.
“From the regular season records, Hundred Blossoms actually has an 11-9 advantage. However, in the online poll before the playoffs, 81% of players thought Samsara would win!” Pan Lin said.
“It looks like Samsara’s outstanding performance this season has helped them earn quite a bit of support and confidence from players!” Li Yibo said.
“I wonder how this match will turn out?” Pan Lin wondered expectantly.
“Hey hey! You guys aren’t going to watch the match?”
At Team Happy’s meeting room, Chen Guo was keeping the TV under her watch. She saw that the match was about to begin, yet no one was coming over. She rushed out of the meeting room baffled and found everyone focusing on their own computers.
“Of course we will, but not now,” Ye Xiu said.
“Then when?” Chen Guo was puzzled.
“We’ll watch the VODs,” Ye Xiu said.
Chen Guo understood now. Ye Xiu and the others wouldn’t be watching to see who would win, or for fun. They would be watching it for the information, so a live broadcast wouldn’t be as helpful to them as a VOD.
Since no one would be watching, Chen Guo found it boring to watch it alone. Normally, the playoffs was a time when even players who weren’t fans of the participating teams would watch excitedly. However, the current Chen Guo was no longer a pure Glory fan. She needed to consider Team Happy as her first priority for most things. As a result, after hearing Ye Xiu’s explanation, she realized that this match wasn’t just a brilliant show, but precious information. Thus, watching the VODs would be better.
A bout of shouting could occasionally be heard from the first floor of the Internet cafe. Happy Internet Cafe’s match broadcasting tradition never went away. The playoff matches would obviously be played. Chen Guo gently closed the door to the practice room, so Ye Xiu and the other could continue practicing in peace.
Just when she closed the door, she heard a loud noise from behind her. She turned around and saw that it was their guild department’s Wu Chen.
He looked towards the meeting room. From the not-yet-closed door, he could see the match playing on the projection screen. However, there didn’t seem to be anyone there, and Chen Guo had just gently closed the door.
“They’re not going to watch?” Wu Chen said.
“They’ll be watching the VOD,” Chen Guo said.
“Oh!” The former pro-player Wu Chen immediately understood.
“Everyone’s really working hard!” Wu Chen sighed.
“Yup!” Chen Guo nodded her head. At this moment, another shout came from down below. Chen Guo couldn’t help but look towards the meeting room.
“Boss, you’re not going to watch either?” Wu Chen asked.
“I… I’ll be watching!” Chen Guo nodded her head. In the end, she was still curious. Samsara, Hundred Blossoms, who would win? Who would be Happy’s next opponent? If they wanted a better chance to win the championships, then it would be better if Samsara was eliminated early, no?
Chen Guo and Wu Chen went into the meeting room together. The players on both sides had entered the stage. The climax before the match had ended, and the floor downstairs had quieted down. Pan Lin and Li Yibo were still chattering non-stop. There clearly wasn’t going to be any high points until the match finally started.
Chen Guo heard a noise from behind her. When she looked back, it was Guan Rongfei. He had somehow sneaked in without a sound and found a seat to sit at.
So I’ll be watching the match together with these two today? Chen Guo smiled. It had never happened before!
When the match finally began, Chen Guo, Wu Chen, and Guan Rongfei quietly watched the match.
Happy had a good work-rest schedule down, and it could not be broken in such a crucial moment like playoffs. When it was around 10 PM, everyone came out of the practice room and watched the broadcast of the match that had ended not too long ago. They went over and asked about it.
“Samsara,” Chen Guo told them the results. She had hoped Hundred Blossoms would make the upset. Because she had wanted it, the match had been more stressful all the way until the end. In their home game, Hundred Blossoms ahd lost the group arena and team competition to Samsara.
“Points?” Ye Xiu asked.
“11-7.” Chen Guo said.
The playoffs tournament format was based on headcount. Samsara had won the group arena and team competition, so they won the full 11 points. Hundred Blossoms had lasted until the last matchup in the group arena, so they took 4 points. However, they suffered a large defeat in the team competition, only taking down three of Samsara’s players, ending with 7 points total.
“Oh,” Ye Xiu nodded his head.
It seemed to only be a 4 point difference, but from the competitive format, it could be considered a crushing defeat. Lasting until the last matchup of the group arena meant they were equally matched in that area, but losing the team competition with a 3 person deficit was a huge loss.
“Let’s analyze the match tomorrow!” Ye Xiu said.
Hundred Blossoms home stadium.
The audience members had left. The post-match press conference had ended too. Only the janitors were left in the stadium.
Yu Feng once again returned to the stadium onto the stage.
They had tried their hardest, yet they still lost.
In the regular season, Samsara had been so fierce and aggressive, but in the playoffs, they became calm and steady to the extent that they couldn’t tell that they were an aggressive team at all.
After winning two championships, this team had been thoroughly refined. In their away game, in such a tense playoffs match, they could still play so calmly. Hundred Blossoms had chosen to be aggressive this match, hoping to show off their power in their home game. But facing Samsara’s calm display, their aggressiveness was like throwing rocks into the sea, silently stifled by their opponents.
The loss wasn’t regretful or resentful; the loss was so… proper. It was as if it were inevitable.
This sort of feeling terrified Yu Feng.
Had his fighting spirit been worn away during this match? Had his unconscious already determined that Hundred Blossoms could not win against Samsara?
Yu Feng clenched his fist. I cannot waver. In times like these, I definitely cannot waver!