Chapter 1410: Swinging Balance
In the new playoffs format, the outcome of the group arena would cause the subsequent team round to be played differently. This was something particularly tricky about this new format. Both the losers and the winners of the group arena should think of ways to use this point advantage in the team round.
After working through all the emotions brought about by the group arena, both sides began anxiously preparing and making arrangements.
“Happy currently has a two-point lead. They’re doing much better than people expected.” Pan Lin and Li Yibo were also using this intermission to summarize the current situation.
“Speaking of which, Happy originally had the chance to win an even greater lead. If Su Mucheng had taken down Zheng Xuan, then they would’ve had a three point lead. An advantage that large is fairly uncommon in the group arena of the new format,” said Li Yibo.
“Yes, but unfortunately Zheng Xuan narrowly managed to win that battle. Too bad for Su Mucheng,” said Pan Lin.
“Team Blue Rain has been pretty unlucky today overall, but Zheng Xuan’s victory managed to let them recover a bit,” said Li Yibo.
“Happy’s Mo Fan was the highlight of today’s team round!” Pan Lin praised. “He completed a 1v2, and one of his opponents was Huang Shaotian. Truly a beautiful performance.”
“Yes, Mo Fan’s performance exceeded everyone’s expectations. This season, Mo Fan hasn’t appeared in enough matches to really be considered main roster, but his performance in this group arena was that of a core player,” said Li Yibo.
“Exactly. Even now, you can see lots of gamers commenting about how shocked they are at Mo Fan’s performance! Right here, I just saw a post from someone on Weibo named Hooked Mulberry, who was naming Mo Fan “the Godslayer.” It looks like they’re connecting his victory just now over Huang Shaotian with the time he defeated Sun Xiang,” said Pan Lin.
“Haha, two victories over top Gods, for a rookie that’s extremely worthy of praise. But to use such a title, we’ll have to continue to watch Mo Fan’s performance!” Li Yibo laughed.
“Right,” Pan Lin nodded, and he continued to scroll through the Weibo discussion of this match on his computer.
“Oh, this…” Pan Lin hesitated.
“What is it?” Li Yibo leaned over to look.
“Zuo Chenrui’s post,” Pan Lin said.
“Oh? What’d he say?” Li Yibo was delighted. Zuo Chenrui was a famous name in the circle. Because he was so opinionated in his writing, his commentary was often unexpected. And this match involved Blue Rain, the team closest to his heart, losing the group arena so unexpectedly. This guy definitely couldn’t sit still!
“Zuo Chenrui gave that tree a hundred million points.” That was all Pan Lin said. With Zuo Chenrui’s personality, his commentary was definitely filled with bitterness and outrage toward Happy, but Pan Lin couldn’t read that kind of content in their show.
“Hahahaha!” Li Yibo laughed. He knew Zuo Chenrui, and could completely imagine the look on that guy’s face as he watched Huang Shaotian’s Troubling Rain lose 50% of his health to that cut-down tree. Li Yibo suddenly wished that they could have invited Zuo Chenrui as a guest commentator for this match. That one exciting moment would make sharing this broadcast with another commentator completely worth it.
The two of them continued to look through the comments made by fans online and discuss the current situation, until at last, the team round was about to begin. The participating players on each side were summoned by the referee and began to walk onstage.
Team Blue Rain: Yu Wenzhou, Huang Shaotian, Lu Hanwen, Zheng Xuan, and Xu Jingxi as the starting roster, with Song Xiao as sixth player.
Team Happy: Ye Xiu, Su Mucheng, Fang Rui, Qiao Yifan, and An Wenyi as starting roster, with sixth player Wei Chen.
“Ah! Happy’s sending Wei Chen onstage!” Pan Lin was surprised.
Wei Chen had history with Blue Rain, but because this history was so long ago, and because Wei Chen hadn’t had a very strong presence this season, there wasn’t much speculation or hype around this topic. And the playoffs wasn’t a place to arrange a roster for the sake of hype, anyway. The fact that Happy had chosen to send Wei Chen up now, regardless, was surprising to many people.
How useful could Wei Chen possibly be? This was an issue with a very large question mark. From his current abilities that could be seen from his scarce onstage appearances this season, it was hard to call him high-level. And his history with Blue Rain was so long ago, so in terms of knowing the enemy, he probably wouldn’t be any better than Ye Xiu, Su Mucheng, and Fang Rui, who had fought against Blue Rain for many years now. So why had Happy arranged for Wei Chen to go onstage this match? No one could guess.
On Blue Rain’s side, they were fairly calm.
Happy was a new team, and the greatest characteristic of a new team was that their strength developed with each battle they fought. On the other hand, teams like Blue Rain, Tiny Herb, Tyranny were all very mature and stable. They weren’t like new teams, who might change from day to day. Only a team that had just been created would be continuously changing and experimenting.
Happy had played through the entire regular season with this kind of rhythm, so many people might not have even noticed this point.
“Not having a mature style is usually the biggest weakness of a new team, but… Happy has turned this into their greatest strength.” This was Yu Wenzhou’s judgment of the team, prior to this match.
Because they weren’t mature, because they were always changing and experimenting, Happy became entirely unpredictable.
This was normally something that a mature team would work hard to try and avoid, but for a new team that didn’t have enough time to solve this kind of problem, they might as well just make the problem bigger.
Yu Wenzhou’s view was supported by data. From the research that they’d requested Blue Rain’s R&D to do, it was clear to see Happy’s rotating changes. As the team’s new players grew, Happy’s rotation of its players only increased, all the way until the end of the season, when even Wei Chen and Luo Ji joined the rotation as well.
This wasn’t an unexpected decision. From the statistics they’d gathered, these two players joining the rotation completely aligned with Happy’s trend of increasing variation. But because these two hadn’t joined until the very end, they had too much blank space at the beginning and relatively few appearances overall, so they seemed a little bit painful to the eyes.
Every one of Happy’s players was fully operational, all for the sake of the playoffs. Team Happy had been aiming for the playoffs since the very beginning.
Win the championships!
This wasn’t something Ye Xiu just casually said to mess with everyone. He had been completely sincere. From day one of the regular season, he had been planning, adjusting, training the whole team, all in pursuit of this goal.
Right now, Yu Wenzhou’s view of Happy was that no matter what roster they brought up, he wouldn’t be too surprised, because they had always been swinging and changing, unlike the mature and steady teams like Blue Rain. However, even has Happy was swinging, they manifested a sort of balance. They weren’t steady in an absolute sense, but they were in a relative sense.
Happy’s most fearsome person ultimately was still Ye Xiu. Not only was he sturdy in combat with a thirty-seven win streak, his control and deployment of the team as a whole was a completely easy and familiar task to him.
And right now…
“Just surrender now!” this person laughed as he shook Yu Wenzhou’s hand.
“Heh, it looks like that’s not necessary right now!” Yu Wenzhou smiled.
“Very soon it will be,” said Ye Xiu.
“You shut up!” Huang Shaotian interrupted.
“Remember to love the environment!” As Ye Xiu shook Huang Shaotian’s hand, his other hand patted the back of his hand in a friendly way.
“Oh fuck off!” Huang Shaotian shook his hand free. To the side, the referee could hardly bear to watch. Ye Xiu had really twisted the knife there!
The players walked past one by one, following the pre-match etiquette. They were also generally lined up in a fixed order; for example, the sixth person was generally lined up last. So, Wei Chen was the last person to walk in front of Yu Wenzhou.
“Captain Wei.” This was how Yu Wenzhou addressed him, when he shook his hand.
To the side, Huang Shaotian didn’t wait for him to come over, instead taking the initiative to approach.
“Captain Wei.” He used the same form of address, his tone completely respectful. Even Ye Xiu, who was also his senior and a pinnacle God who had already achieved the dazzling light of three consecutive championships before he’d even debuted, was someone he drove away with a “fuck off.”
Because this person in front of him now was different. If not for this person, Huang Shaotian might have treated Glory as no more than a frivolous pastime, where he’d run over to the game to cause a bit of trouble in his free time. He would have just continued living the life of an ordinary person, until he became so busy that even this pastime was forgotten, and Glory faded away from his life once and for all.
But he met Wei Chen.
It was this person who changed his attitude toward Glory. It was this person who sparked his interest in becoming a professional player. It was this person who ultimately brought him into Team Blue Rain. It was this person who helped him walk on his journey of growth.
And then he left, and Huang Shaotian earned a name for himself as a member of the Golden Generation, formally stepping into the professional circle. He took control of a character now called the Sword Sain, and charged through this battlefield. The whole world was open to him now, in a way that he never would have imagined, even in his wildest dreams.
And all of it was thanks to the person in front of him.
After he had left, they’d lost all contact. Huang Shaotian had wanted to meet him again, but he never imagined it would be like this. On the battlefield as opponents, and in the playoffs, where only one could survive. The bitterest of opponents.
But none of this could change Huang Shaotian’s feelings toward Wei Chen.
If he had to say which person in his life had the greatest influence upon him, his answer would only contain the name of this person.
“Surrender!” And then this was what he heard Wei Chen, this person who had the greatest influence on his life, this person whom he respected the most, say to him.
“How could we do that!” Yu Wenzhou smiled.
Huang Shaotian didn’t have too much of a reaction either, because it was entirely unsurprising for this person to say such a thing. Even though this was someone he held in great esteem, Wei Chen was indeed an extremely unscrupulous person.
“What a shame, I can hardly bear to beat you guys on the battlefield!” Wei Chen sighed.
“The same goes for us!” Yu Wenzhou said.
“But you’ve already beaten me,” said Wei Chen.
“It was just luck,” said Yu Wenzhou.
“It won’t happen this time,” said Wei Chen. “I’ll fight to my fullest.”