Chapter 1429: Two Teams Eliminated
Whether or not it was intentional was a topic that could be discussed for an entire week, if the match had occurred during the regular season. But the tempo of the playoffs didn’t give anyone a break to consider such topics.
With the high frequency of one match being played each day, it was almost too much for the spectators to take in, with each match leaving a different impression on them. Whether or not winning through the group arena was intentional was already an outdated topic. At this point, it was already the first match of the second round. In their home stadium, Team Samsara would face off against Team Hundred Blossoms.
Having already lost one home game, Hundred Blossoms already had no path of retreat. But even facing off against Samsara, the most dominant team in the season, the team aiming for three consecutive championships; Hundred Blossoms didn’t show any sign of fear. Under Yu Feng’s command, Hundred Blossoms took the initiative to go on the offensive against Samsara in their away game. In the group arena, both teams fought fiercely, going back and forth, with each side eliminating the opposing players quickly. Neither side was able to secure a significant lead, but in the end, Samsara still won the group arena with a score of 5 to 4.
Just like this, Team Hundred Blossoms entered the life-or-death team competition with a one point disadvantage.
They didn’t play conservatively, only taking the necessary precautions when playing an away game. Even in their position, one step away from elimination, Hundred Blossoms continued to take the initiative to the best of their abilities.
In the last round of the regular season, Hundred Blossoms had also faced off against Samsara. It had also been their away game, and they had also been on the precipice of elimination, but relying on their tenacious determination, they played to the best of their abilities, seizing one point after another. At the end of the day, it was a one point advantage that had secured them a spot in the playoffs.
But even in that round, in the team competition that followed afterwards, Hundred Blossoms had also tried their very best, but ultimately lost. In the first round of the playoffs, Hundred Blossoms had personally experienced Samsara’s different temperament when it came to the playoffs.
Winning two championships had given them a great deal of self-confidence. This allowed them to put on a steady and calm performance in the playoffs. In this manner, they unflinchingly withstood the great waves from Hundred Blossoms in their home game, defeating them and letting Team Hundred Blossoms clearly understand the difference in strength between the two teams.
Faced with this steady and stable playstyle, Hundred Blossoms had little chance of winning. Samsara’s stability meant that everyone could hardly imagine them making any fatal mistakes that would lead to their defeat.
That night, the players of Hundred Blossoms felt somewhat depressed. Facing off against what seemed to be an unbeatable opponent had dampened their spirits. But after one night, everyone from Hundred Blossoms had re-adjusted their state of mind.
If they already felt as if victory was nigh unachievable, what else was there to fear? They would throw caution to the wind, play an exciting match, and that would be it!
Yu Feng could feel this kind of an atmosphere throughout the team. So, in this crucial away game, they simply put aside their reservations, allowing everyone to put their all into this battle.
Victory? Defeat? Forget about such matters for the time being!
On the most cut-throat stage of the playoffs, against the strongest team, let’s see what we can achieve! The team competition showcased an even more brilliant back and forth than the group arena. Every single member of Hundred Blossoms put on their best performance, with each player having their own outstanding moments. Nevertheless, the team that achieved victory at the end of the day was still Team Samsara.
Team Hundred Blossoms had been eliminated, but after this loss, Yu Feng could see unwillingness and vexation on the faces of all the members of Hundred Blossoms.
“If only my deployment of the Devil World Flowers hadn’t been disrupted!” The Summoner, Zhu Xiaoping, slapped his leg as he lamented, unresigned.
“It’s my fault, if only I had given you the proper covering fire at that time, then…” Zou Yuan said.
“If only that sneak attack of mine had succeeded, then…” Zhou Guangyi, their Assassin, said.
One match had left them with too many “if only”s.
At this time, these hypothetical scenarios actually symbolized hope for Team Hundred Blossoms. Because they would have opportunities and circumstances to turn those hypotheticals into reality.
“Next year, we will return once more!” Yu Feng said.
“Once more!” Zhu Xiaoping didn’t slap his leg, instead clenching his fists tightly.
“Once more!” Everyone in Hundred Blossoms solemnly nodded their heads.
After desperately killing their way into the playoffs, two matches in the first round had spelt the end of their journey through the playoffs. They were regretful, they were unresigned. But Yu Feng felt that these were exactly what they had gained. Because they were regretful, because they were unresigned, they would have more motivation. If the only thing they felt was despair from losing against a strong opponent, how would this team ever have the courage or confidence to fight once more?
Having such a competition, having such a group of teammates, it was really too great!
Yu Feng thought of this, feeling that he would definitely have incomparably bright prospects in the near future.
Team Samsara advanced into the top four, taking a solid step towards their goal of winning three consecutive championships.
In the various reports the next day, they naturally still sang the praises of the victor. Two rounds, two group arenas, two team competitions, and Samsara had won them all, indisputably seizing victory in their opening round. For them, aside from words of flattery and praise, there really wasn’t much else to say.
“Samsara’s greatest enemy may only be a feeling called ‘arrogance’,” one report said.
Immediately, the question of which team could possibly snipe Samsara’s three consecutive championships became a topic of discussion. Just like the question of who could stop their consecutive victories in the regular season, it quickly became a hot topic of discussion amongst everyone.
The team that had put an end to Samsara’s record of consecutive victories, Hundred Blossoms, had already been personally sent out of the playoffs by Samsara. Then, would there be another team that would say goodbye to the playoffs next?
In the first round of the playoffs, in their second game, Team Tyranny would face off in their home stadium against Team 301.
In their previous home game, Team 301 had lost miserably. Everyone could see that in the more cautious environment of the playoffs, Team 301’s help from abroad, who had only been part of the team for half a season, was increasingly unable to create opportunities for his team. What’s more, their opponents were Team Tyranny, home to a number of old generals who had incomparable levels of experience. On top of that, they had an extremely cautious tactician, Zhang Xinjie, along with the fact that Team Tyranny’s current playstyle was no longer their old, hyper-aggressive style, instead focusing on defence. All these factors greatly restricted Team 301’s ability to execute their gameplan. What was originally a dark horse that countless people had thought highly of was now the team with the most disappointing performance in the playoffs. In the first match, it had been as such, and in this match, it was the same.
Compared to their first match, 301’s only improvement was taking one more point for themselves.
“Your tactics aren’t bad, go back and keep working hard!” When the players were shaking hands after the match, Zhang Xinjie said this to Team 301’s foreign help, Bai Shu.
Bai Shu obviously didn’t have a sufficient understanding of Zhang Xinjie, completely misunderstanding the intention behind Zhang Xinjie’s words. Actually, it had to be understood that Zhang Xinjie’s words were always very simple, so what he had meant was just the most simple and direct interpretation of those words. On the other hand, Bai Shu’s thought process wasn’t as uncomplicated. Because they had suffered defeat, because the tactics that he had brought weren’t able to be fully put to use, Zhang Xinjie’s praise, saying that his tactics “weren’t bad” after the match sounded exceedingly ear-piercing to him.
Bai Shu wasn’t too happy, preparing to retort sarcastically. Trash talk was, after all, a global language.
“Thank you for your advice.” Before he could open his mouth, the person standing in front of him, Team 301’s captain, Yang Cong, had cut in, replying to Zhang Xinjie in his place.
Obviously, Yang Cong clearly understood Zhang Xinjie’s personality, and at the same time, he also foresaw that Bai Shu, who didn’t really understand Zhang Xinjie, might have a negative reaction to his words, so he had quickly intervened.
Bai Shu was stunned for a moment, but he didn’t say anything, deferring to Yang Cong’s attitude, and quietly finishing the post-match formalities. It was only when they had returned to their club that Yang Cong explained to Bai Shu that Zhang Xinjie’s words were utterly devoid of ridicule; instead, he was simply stating the facts.
“Continue to work hard!” Yang Cong patted Bai Shu on the shoulder.
Bai Shu lowered his head, spending some time in deep contemplation, but he also realized that with only half a year to fit into the team, his tactics were indeed lacking in many aspects. After using them for half the regular season, they were no longer surprising to the rest of the teams in the Alliance, and in the cut-throat environment of the playoffs, it was inevitable that he would hit a wall.
“Continue to work hard!” Bai Shu raised his head, replying to Yang Cong, his eyes filled with determination.
Yang Cong laughed. As a player who had debuted in the third season, he didn’t have much time left in his professional career. Being the core, or the main force, such roles would gradually leave him. If he stubbornly refused to budge, it would instead burden his entire team.
Yang Cong would no longer be able to build 301’s future. The person in front of him, Bai Shu, he was the one who would have to shoulder the burden of 301’s future. In Yang Cong’s eyes, Bai Shu was a talented player, worthy of being entrusted with such a role. He was quite happy that his team was able to dig out such an outstanding player from the pro scene overseas.
Outside of the Glory Alliance, how many Glory experts were there that they had never seen, and never played against? Yang Cong couldn’t help thinking about this.
If he had the chance, he really wanted to experience it first-hand! As Yang Cong thought about this, he felt a sense of melancholy. Whether or not he would still have such a chance was something that he couldn’t be sure about.
Team 301 became the second team to be eliminated from the playoffs. And Team Tyranny, who had been underestimated throughout the regular season, now looked like they had gathered themselves once more in the playoffs. In front of Tyranny, 301, who had been a headache for countless teams in the second half of the regular season, had instead been battered and bruised.
This was Team Tyranny’s real strength! Many articles ran such a tagline.
“Real strength”, these two words would always make people feel deeply moved. After the end of the first round, Team Tyranny’s popularity rating increased by an incredible amount. Many people had already begun to predict that the two teams vying for the championship in the end would still be Tyranny and Samsara. In the news, aside from discussion of the match between Tyranny and 301 from the night before, there were also predictions and opinions on the match that would happen that night.
Happy’s away game against Blue Rain!
Three days after their first match, these two teams would face off once again. The Happy haters flocked out of their holes, wanting to see if Happy, who had fought such an arduous and utilitarian battle in the first match in order to win, would be able to make any waves in their away game.
“In Blue Rain’s home game, there shouldn’t be any big tree blessing Happy anymore, right?”
The tree falling on Troubling Rain still remained as the most eye-catching moment of the first match. Happy’s haters especially liked to use this as an example to explain that Happy’s victory had been a fluke, something purely based on luck. It was a pity that no matter how many times they brought it up, Happy didn’t feel anything much, but instead, Huang Shaotian was gnashing his teeth, viciously cursing this group of Happy haters hundreds of times.
“That smelly brat, it’s best that he doesn’t run into me!” Huang Shaotian repeated many times over these three days. The “smelly brat” naturally was referring to Mo Fan, but “not running into him”, meant quite the opposite. Huang Shaotian couldn’t wait to run into Mo Fan again.