After Round 14 ended, numerous reports and commentary appeared over the next two days. Scenes such as Tang Hao kicking a water bottle after a match were also reported, but those didn't make the headlines.
Tang Hao had yet to reach the point, where he could lose but still be the central character. The headlines sung for the winners.
Happy's fifth 10-0, Thunderclap's team competition record, and Samsara's fifth 10-0 would not be neglected. 123 points in 14 rounds, leading the second place team by 24 points, these were absolutely ridiculous achievements. This dominance cemented their place as the true central characters this season. Even though there was competition, the Esports Home's headlines displayed Samsara's 10-0. Happy would have to give way. Even Thunderclap's team competition record was inferior in front of Samsara.
Team Samsara had won all 14 matches, while Thunderclap had lost to Royal Style in Round 9. Thunderclap was one missing from a perfect win streak, a pity.
The headlines gave more than enough respect towards the bellwether, but the detailed discussion consisted more of Happy and Thunderclap. After all, Samsara's perfect win had been against Heavenly Swords. To everyone, this win should be easy as pie without any worries of losing. What was there to talk about? However, Happy and Thunderclap were different. Happy had a perfect win over Void, while Thunderclap made a comeback against Wind Howl. Those matches had high-level content to talk about.
After discussing these two team's performances this round, everyone agreed by chance that how long their momentum would continue for would be something to pay attention to.
Next round, Happy would be challenging Lightly in their away game, while Thunderclap would be welcoming Misty Rain in their home game.
No one questioned Happy's strength anymore. Facing the 16th place 46 point Lightly, victory seemed to be there's already. People were simply wondering whether Happy would be able to pull off another 10-0. As for Thunderclap versus Misty Rain, given Misty Rain's recent ups and downs, as well as their questionable unconventional playstyle, Misty Rain would would be facing Thunderclap, who excelled at the team competition. Very few people had hopes for Misty Rain.
In fact, more people were looking towards the round after, Round 16, because Happy and Thunderclap, these two teams that had given them the most surprises this season, would be facing against each other in Happy's home game.
Get out of the way, Round 15!
Quite a few people had these sorts of thoughts.
But time couldn't be skipped. Each round needed to be played one at a time. Round 15 couldn't just pass by in the blink of an eye. On 12/13, Round 15 began on schedule, and the broadcast chose Hundred Blossoms welcoming Void as the highlight match.
In the end, Hundred Blossoms barely beat Void 6-4. There were no changes in their placings on the rankings. Eighth place and ninth place were neighbors, but the difference between them were night and day.
A rather surprising result this round was Blue Rain losing 4-6 to Parade in their away game. Blue Rain had a huge lead after the individual rounds, but unexpectedly lost in the team competition. With this loss, Blue Rain instantly slid down from 2nd to 5th. And right below Blue Rain was Happy, who had advanced another place once again this round.
Happy won their away game against Lightly 9-1; everyone felt that it was a pity they couldn't get one more point for a 10-0. Coincidentally, Samsara also got a 9-1, although their opponents were 301.
Tyranny and Tiny Herb won 8-2 against their mediocre opponents. Another surprising result was Wind Howl, who had the situations reversed by Thunderclap last round, once again stumbled, losing their home game against Royal Style 7-3.
This time, Tang Hao didn't kick a water bottle, but in the post-match press conference, he didn't even show up. His attitude showed just how unhappy he was with Wind Howl's recent performances.
Wind Howl had lost three rounds in a row, and their placings were dropping. Right now, they were at 7th place, lower than Happy by 5 points.
But to be fair, Wind Howl's opponents these three rounds had been Hundred Blossoms, Thunderclap, and Royal Style, all fairly strong opponents. With the team competition's 5 points lost in each of those rounds, Wind Howl had obtained 3, 4, and 3 points. Using comparisons like 8-2, 7-3, looked to be huge disparities, but because the team competition was worth 5 points, these were the most common results.
In an 8-2 win, if the losing side had won the team competition, it would turn into 3-7. In a 7-3 win, if the losing side had won the team competition, it would be a 2-8.
In reality, the wide disparity between points was a result of the way the rules were set up. It was completely different than a 7-3 or an 8-2 in football.
Wind Howl's three consecutive losses were these point differences. It could be said that their strength still had a solid foundation. However, three consecutive losses still raised some doubts over them, although in comparison to the public, Wind Howl themselves had a huge reaction to it. After two losses in a row, their captain Tang Hao couldn't bear it anymore and kicked a water bottle. After their third loss in a row, he wasn't even in the mood to show up for the post-match press conference.
"I think our loss streak ends here…" With their captain not there, vice captain Liu Hao spoke up in the press conference.
Yes, Liu Hao.
The former Excellent Era vice captain had switched to Thunderclap and became Thunderclap's vice captain. In the summer, he transferred to Wind Howl and gradually created a position for himself. After their original vice captain Fang Rui left, Liu Hao was appointed vice captain.
After all, Liu Hao was skilled, and he had plenty of experience. He had acted as vice captain and as captain before, so he had experience in leading. At Wind Howl, he was seen as someone who would be a great help to Tang Hao.
For example, Tang Hao had gotten angry and didn't show up to the press conference, while Liu Hao talked fluidly as if he were used to be in this position. It was as if their captain didn't exist.
Everyone was a bit astonished at his bearing, but then again, of course Liu Hao was used to this because when he had been in Excellent Era, their captain Ye Xiu never showed up for press conferences. It was always him who had to face the media as the vice captain. Liu Hao had experienced his team's captain not participating in the press conference countless times. How could he not be calm?
Experienced with the media, he resolutely expressed that they would definitely win next round. The reporters quickly checked next round's schedule. Next round Wind Howl would be facing Heavenly Swords in their home game. These three rounds never really showed whether Wind Howl was truly weak. Next round, as long as their mentality was fine, they shouldn't have any problems winning against Heavenly Swords. However, Team Wind Howl's team captain and core, the Tang Hao who succeeded the senior as the junior, seemed to be undergoing an unbearable setback!
"I'm not worried at all," Liu Hao continued to speak calmly, "Our captain thirsts for victory more than anyone else, so he also feels more ashamed than anyone else when he loses. But when the match comes, he'll still be striving for victory. That I believe without a doubt."
A good answer!
Wind Howl's PR team felt very gratified. They were especially moved by their vice captain this time. Thinking of their previous Wind Howl vice captain for many years, Fang Rui… what an irresponsible guy! He would often babble nonsense in the press conference without the bearing of a vice captain at all. The PR team wanted to rush up and beat him up numerous times.
As the PR team, they looked at things from their perspective, and to them, the difference between Liu Hao and Fang Rui was light years apart. As for Fang Rui being an All-Star, what did that help? It didn't!
With Liu Hao's skillful response, Wind Howl's captain Tang Hao's attitude after three consecutive losses didn't garner any particular attention. When the press conference ended, Wind Howl's PR team gave Liu Hao a huge thumbs up and started chatting with this newly appointed Wind Howl vice captain.
This was the scene for Wind Howl, but how about Blue Rain, who had been upset?
Blue Rain's performance in the early season had been quite strong. Apart from their loss to Samsara 3-7 in their away game, whether it was Tiny Herb, Tyranny, or Wind Howl, they always had the last laugh.
But after the early season, Blue Rain was a team whose honeymoon had clearly ended. In Round 11, they lost to Hundred Blossoms 3-7 in their away game. In Round 12, they had a beautiful 5-0 lead in their home game, but Thunderclap won the team competition to even it up 5-5. In Round 13, they were knocked down by Royal Style 4-6 in their away game. In Round 14, Blue Rain unexpectedly lost to Parade.
From their performances these few rounds, Blue Rain had stayed at 2nd place. It could be seen just how strong Blue Rain's opening in the early season was. However, in an instant, this 24 point difference disappeared. After the end of Round 15, Blue Rain dropped three places from 2nd to 5th. They were now only 5 points away from Happy, who was in 6th. 5 points. In Glory, this could be a difference of just a single round.
Blue Rain's decline wasn't just this past match, but rather during this phase. However, no one had been so frustrated to the extent of kicking a water bottle like Tang Hao. In their post-match press conferences, their captain and core replied calmly to the reporters' questions as always.
Where did Team Blue Rain's problems lie?
This was what everyone was wondering.
"I think, it's just a matter of bad luck," Team Blue Rain's captain, Yu Wenzhou, smiled.
"If we keep saving up all the good luck like this, then I think it'll be a good thing when the playoffs come around!" Yu Wenzhou continued.
Saving up luck...
The reporters didn't know whether to laugh or cry. This was a completely unscientific explanation! However, speaking of playoffs, Blue Rain's recent performances had truly started to worry people about their playoffs spot. They never directly said that they would definitely win. They just gently took out the word "playoffs" as if it were as simple as eating food.
This was also a form of confidence!
Chapter 1234: Thunderclap’s Secret Weapon
Translator: Nomyummi Editor: Nomyummi
After the early season ended, all sorts of twists and turns started appearing.
Blue Rain, Wind Howl, Misty Rain, and Void, these powerhouses all experienced different degrees of setbacks. In comparison, Tyranny, who had a disappointing start, stayed firm in this smoke-filled battlefield.
Tyranny had only obtained 47 points in the first 8 rounds, tying with Hundred Blossoms for 7th and 8th place, right at the edge of the playoffs zone. But in their next seven rounds, Tyranny obtained 58 points. Not only did their performance not decline, it went up.
Of course, a part of that was because Tyranny's opponents weren't that strong. However, facing these mediocre opponents, Tyranny won quite a few 10-0s and 9-1s. The points they should have gotten were gotten. That was the sort of air they gave off. On the rankings, they had quietly climbed to 3rd place.
Placed ahead of them was Tiny Herb with 106 points. They had the same consistency as Tyranny, rarely losing points against weak teams. However, against strong teams, Tiny Herb faltered. The other top five teams, Samsara, Blue Rain, Tyranny, Thunderclap, could bump into Tiny Herb in the regular season, the playoffs, or the finals.
But in these fifteen rounds, Tiny Herb always lost to these four teams, whether it was their home or away game.
If you said that Tiny Herb's strength didn't belong there, then that would be false. If you looked closely, you would see that in these four rounds, the final point tally was always 4-6.
This meant that Tiny Herb always won two individual competition rounds and the group arena, but lost in the team competition. If Tiny Herb had won the team competition, their matches against these four teams would have been 9-1.
Tiny Herb's weakness seemed to be obvious. It looked like there was something stopping them in the team competition, stopping them from beating the top teams. From the statistics, people discovered another surprising fact. Tiny Herb had yet to lose a group arena. Even in their 2-8 match against Void, their points had been through the group arena.
Apart from Tiny Herb, no one else had achieved such a feat this season.
The strengths and weaknesses of many teams had been exposed. While everyone was discussing these enthusiastically, they could not ignore Happy's existence.
Samsara had never lost the team competition, Tiny Herb had never lost the group arena, as for Happy? One person had never lost an individual round!
Ye Xiu. He had retired, returned, and then switched classes, but his performances on stage were as eye-catching as ever. After getting swept 0-10 in Round 1 against Samsara, Ye Xiu started playing in the individual competition, becoming a stabilizing piece for Happy. From then on, no matter if it was a loss, this 1 point had never left Happy's pockets. Before, Ye Xiu had always stayed hidden, never appearing on camera. After returning to the scene, even though he wasn't particularly great for the media, he at least didn't completely avoid them, though it was hard to say if that was a curse or a blessing.
Another week quickly passed, and 12/20 welcomed the Glory Pro League's sixteenth round. The most hyped match was Happy versus Thunderclap, the two most surprising teams this season, were chosen without question as the highlight match.
Thunderclap was in 4th place with 104 points, while Happy was in 6th place with 98 points, a difference of only 6 points. This round was Happy's home game. If they did a good job, they could pass Thunderclap in just one round. But if they wanted to do a good job, beating Thunderclap in the team competition was necessary. Up until now, Thunderclap had only lost to Royal Style in the team competition. In all of their other matches, they always won the team competition. Even down 5-0, they had won, tying the score. And the the team they had tied was Team Blue Rain, who had the Master Tactician, Yu Wenzhou.
Just how mysterious were Thunderclap's team tactics? Many people were curious and had even studied this issue. At the moment, opinions differed, and when Xiao Shiqin was interviewed, he simply smiled and gave three words as a reply: believe in yourself.
What was that supposed to mean? Was that his philosophy? Was that the way to a psychological win?
Not many approved of his reply, so everyone continued to analyze Thunderclap's mysterious tactics. Confrontations between Master Tacticians were always the best research material, so this match would bring in more valuable data. Happy's Ye Xiu, may be the current 1v1 King with a 14 round win streak, but don't forget that this old general was also one of the four Master Tacticians.
"You guys are doing well!"
"Back at you."
After a quick greeting, the two teams went to their own sides. As the two most surprising teams this season, each knew how the other felt. Thunderclap's captain, Xiao Shiqin, could be considered as having the deepest impression of Happy before the season. He had fought against Happy in a bitter struggle in the Challenger League. In particular, the group arena 1v3 had nearly killed Happy's heart, but in the end, Happy was the one to have the last laugh. Excellent Era lost in the Challenger League finals, and Xiao Shiqin, who had risked everything to run to the Challenger League in hopes of a better future, looked like an idiot. There had been no lack of mockery thrown at him.
Xiao Shiqin should hate Happy very much, no?
This was also a popular pre-match topic. As a result, as soon as the broadcast started, the camera zoomed in on Xiao Shiqin, hoping to catch something, especially during the greetings between the two teams on stage before the match. The camera spent nearly 70% of the time focused on Xiao Shiqin's face. When Xiao Shiqin shook Ye Xiu's hands, the cameras locked tightly onto him. The crowd fixed their eyes on his expression and held their breath.
Let's see some murderous spirit!
The drama loving people hoped to see some sparks.
But all they saw a very normal and warm smile.
He's hiding it well!
The drama loving people didn't believe that Xiao Shiqin bore no hatred towards Happy. Since they couldn't see any murderous spirit on him, that must mean Xiao Shiqin was hiding it. Afterwards, even when Xiao Shiqin was just wiping his glasses, his actions were interpreted in all sorts of ways. It was like everyone suddenly became body language experts.
The individual competition began, and Happy's first player would be...
Ye Xiu, Ye Xiu again.
Everyone knew that Ye Xiu always went out first. In that case, it was easy to come up with a strategic plan to counter him.
But did that matter?
Ye Xiu's 14 consecutive wins was the best answer.
It didn't matter. Even if you knew Ye Xiu would be the first player sent up and prepared a countermeasure, it was no use. The winner would still be Ye Xiu.
Was that because the ace players defended the group arena for those 2 points instead of 1?
These were some people's opinions, and it was a valid reason. However, arranging the lineups was up to every team. If you're going to send your ace player for the group arena, then who are you to blame for not getting that one point in an individual round? This sort of perspective had a bit of sour grapes feeling to it.
As for Thunderclap? Who would they send?
Thunderclap performed spectacularly in team competitions, but in the individual competition and group arena, their performances weren't too noteworthy. Apart from Xiao Shiqin, no one else in their team was particularly eye-catching. They probably didn't have anyone for Ye Xiu, right?
A name popped onto the screen. Thunderclap's first player in the individual competition was...
Not a sound could be heard. Everyone looked at Xiao Shiqin, and then started whispering to each other.
Mi Xiuyuan? Who was that?
The crowd was discussing this question. The reporters were hastily looking at their data. On the broadcast, Pan Lin had been predicting who Thunderclap would send onto the stage and when the answer was revealed, he said "Ah, so it's Mi Xiuyuan." After that came silence. He was also caught off guard. Who the fuck was this?
"Mi Xiuyuan… a new rookie this season?" Li Yibo was flipping through his data as he said earnestly. He had a "in the end, nothing can trouble this senior" look on his face.
"Ah… before, it seems like…" Pan Lin was also looking through his data, "he's never appeared on stage before." He finally confirmed it.
"Yes," Li Yibo said.
"But this round, facing Happy and the 1v1 king Ye Xiu, Thunderclap sent him up!" Pan Lin's voice started rising.
"Why? Could he be a secret weapon?" Pan Lin said. The camera zoomed in onto this rookie, who was pulled aside by captain Xiao Shiqin. The two people looked in one direction. The camera followed their line of sight to Ye Xiu.
"Xiao Shiqin is personally giving him instructions. What has he come up with to beat Ye Xiu? Yes, let's look at Mi Xiuyuan. His class… Assassin. Ah, could he be looking for a one hit kill?" Pan Lin started displaying his imagination.
Xiao Shiqin finally finished talking with Mi Xiuyuan. The young player stepped onto his first match on stage.
This was truly an amazing first appearance on stage. The broadcast gave him quite a few close-ups. Everyone instantly took note of this new Thunderclap rookie.
He was the secret weapon prepared for Ye Xiu! Everyone thought to themselves. They sucked in a deep breath of air and looked forward to the match.
After 3 minutes 42 seconds, Mi Xiuyuan returned to his seat.
Accounting for about 2 minutes to walk to his player booth and then about 1 minute to walk back to his seat, this match took precisely 58 seconds, not even a minute.
Mi Xiuyuan lost.
There were no hidden killing moves nor a one hit kill. The two players loaded into the small 1v1 map chosen by Ye Xiu and then quickly came across each other. Ping ping pong pong, Mi Xiuyuan's Assassin died.
A super killing move?
The entire world wanted to laugh.
Chapter 1235: Calm Individual Rounds
Translator: Nomyummi Editor: Nomyummi
Commentating Happy's matches is truly filled with opportunities and challenges! Pan Lin sighed endlessly. There never seemed to be a lack of topics, and it was always full of traps.
Of course, this time, it wasn't Happy's fault. Mi Xiuyuan was from Thunderclap. However, Thunderclap's opponent was Happy, so Pan Lin's first thought was to focus on Happy. Fortunately, Pan Lin's remark had only been a hopeful guess, not a serious analysis, so it didn't result in too embarrassing of a situation. Pan Lin could already feel a premonition creeping into his heart though.
The broadcast still gave Mi Xiuyuan more than enough camera time.
Losing an individual round in less than a minute was very embarrassing for a pro player. But when the cameras locked onto Mi Xiuyuan, he looked calm. After he returned to his seat, the entire Thunderclap team even stood up and clapped their hands to welcome him. Dai Yanqi even rubbed Mi Xiuyuan's head roughly as if she were a big sis, despite only being a third year rookie.
"It looks like… Thunderclap gave up on beating Ye Xiu, so they just sent up a rookie to gain some experience," Li Yibo carefully observed for a while before speaking up.
"Uh, I don't know how much experience a less than one minute loss is going to bring to a player," Pan Lin said. His words carried a slight sting to it. He clearly wasn't happy with Thunderclap's methodology. As for whether he was unhappy with Thunderclap's arrangements, or because Mi Xiuyuan didn't turn out to be a secret weapon, no one knew.
The match continued. Su Mucheng went after Ye Xiu, while Thunderclap's Fang Xue went after Mi Xiuyuan. Fang Xue was also an Assassin. In the end, he was no match for Su Mucheng, and Happy won yet another point.
2-0. The crowd riled up. Cries for another 10-0 started echoing around the stadium.
But in the third match, Thunderclap unexpectedly sent Xiao Shiqin, while Happy sent Mo Fan.
Xiao Shiqin was famed as a Master Tactician, but his 1v1 skills weren't weak. In Thunderclap, he was often the anchor for the group arena, but in today's match, he came out in the individual competition. What arrangements had Thunderclap made?
"Xiao Shiqin vs Mo Fan… these two have actually fought before in the Challenger League. At that time, it was in the group arena. Xiao Shiqin performed spectacularly that round, winning the group arena with a 1v3. Let's see how their rematch is going to turn out," Pan Lin set the backdrop for the match.
The atmosphere that Pan Lin had drawn out for this match didn't end up appearing. Xiao Shiqin won with a steady lead against Mo Fan.
Pan Lin and Li Yibo didn't know what to say. The match was so dull. What should have happened, happened. That was all there was to it.
The emotions of the loser weren't as calm as the match.
As Mo Fan walked down from the stage, he didn't have that usual expressionless face. His gaze had stopped on Xiao Shiqin. A clear pondering expression showed.
After losing twice to the same person, Mo Fan was searching for where the issue lay. Even if there was a difference in strength, competition wasn't just about strength, it was about utilizing that strength.
Seeing Mo Fan's attentive expression, Ye Xiu didn't say anything. Once you reached a certain level, improving depended more on yourself. After all, the only person who truly understands you is you yourself. Other people could only help give and clear the clouds.
How to beat Xiao Shiqin?
If Ye Xiu could instruct him on how to do it with just a few words, then pro players would be of little value.
With the individual competition finished, Happy led 2 to 1. A 10-0 was impossible now, and the crowd appeared somewhat downcast. Happy's fans had been spoiled too much by Happy's crazy performances recently. If it wasn't a 10-0, they couldn't feel satisfied. Despite not being a powerhouse, Happy's fans had the same expectations as powerhouses.
For the following group arena, Pan Lin and Li Yibo both believed that Happy had an advantage. After all, Thunderclap's players weren't very top notch. Happy at the very least had Fang Rui as the anchor. In addition, while Tang Rou's image may have been destroyed, her explosiveness hadn't.
"If nothing surprising comes, Happy's chances should be fairly high," Li Yibo's cautiousness had already reached this point. He was too afraid to even use the word winning, only saying their "chances should be fairly high." Fairly high chances didn't mean he thought Happy would definitely win. Li Yibo was truly quite crafty.
But in the group arena, no surprises came and Happy won.
Pan Lin announced this expected outcome and discovered that he unexpectedly felt a bit bored.
What's going on? Am I too used to being slapped by Happy? Am I masochist? Taking advantage of the long break between the team competition and group arena, Pan Lin did a deep self reflection.
In the meanwhile, the two teams were preparing for the following team competition.
"Something feels off," said Fang Rui.
"What is it," Ye Xiu said.
"I don't know. It's just a feeling," Fang Rui said.
"This senior also feels like something's off. It's too calm," Wei Chen said.
"It won't be for the team competition," Ye Xiu said.
"Are you saying they've been saving up their strength?" Wei Chen asked.
"Maybe not saving up strength, but in the individual rounds, their strength wasn't very impressive. However, to be so calm despite losing so many points means that they must be incomparably confident in the team competition." Ye Xiu said.
"Confidence in themselves? Could that actually be the reason for their dominance in the team competition?" Fang Rui had evidently seen Xiao Shiqin's interview response about Thunderclap's performance this season.
"Without confidence, there will be a lot of choices that you'll be too afraid to make. The more confident you are, the more options you'll have, and the more variations there will be," Ye Xiu said.
"Are you talking about Xiao Shiqin? He's always been confident, huh," Fang Rui said.
"His confidence now isn't just in himself," Ye Xiu said.
Fang Rui was starting to understand. The others were as well. Everyone subconsciously turned their heads to look at Thunderclap. It turned out that Thunderclap was also looking at them. The two sides made eye contact, and Xiao Shiqin gave them a friendly wave.
"This match is really lacking the gunpowder…" This scene had also been grasped by the cameras, but the broadcast was currently playing ads, so Pan Lin could only say this to himself in private. If his mics were on, saying these words definitely wouldn't be good. He would have to comment on the friendly and peaceful relations between the two teams.
"This match isn't going to be easy. Everyone, focus. Let's start things slow," Ye Xiu said.
He obviously studied all of his opponents, studying the styles of the players and the team's tactical styles. However, Thunderclap, this strong team competition team, was truly difficult to deal with.
Thunderclap was not like Samsara. Samsara's overwhelming momentum was inseparable from the strength of the individual players. The image of the Battle God One Autumn Leaf was slowly being transformed. On Samsara, One Autumn Leaf was no longer that unrivalled "one". There was another "one" beside him, Cloud Piercer.
Many people had been worried about compatibility issues between Sun Xiang and Samsara, but their worries never turned into a reality. And as a result, Samsara's incredible win record came about. Sun Xiang and Zhou Zekai were titled as the "Two No.1s" this season. Two number ones pointed that the two best players had number one characters to go along with them.
Possessing this powerful duo, Samsara was able to achieve this perfect win record. But Thunderclap? The individual rounds showed that their players weren't top of the pack. However, their team competition record had 14 wins. Why? Tactics!
Thunderclap had always relied on tactics to win. However, their tactics had never brought them to such formidable heights. According to the current public opinions, if Thunderclap could continue their team competition win record, then the Four Master Tacticians should be changed. Xiao Shiqin should be taken out and given an even greater title.
After all, Ye Xiu, Yu Wenzhou, and Zhang Xinjie, whether it was now or before, the chips held in their hands were quite a bit stronger than Xiao Shiqin's. Their teams were similar to Samsara. All of them possessed top individual players.
It was like a chef cooking food.
Ye Xiu, Yu Wenzhou, and Zhang Xinjie had fresh high-quality ingredients and had the skill to turn those ingredients into wonderful dishes.
But Xiao Shiqin was someone who could take mediocre ingredients and turn them into just as, or perhaps even more delicious dishes. If one looked at it from this perspective, it was obvious who was superior.
When these words came out, many agreed with this opinion. However, someone soon pointed out: Last season, in the Challenger League, Ye Xiu had taken rotten food and then beat Xiao Shiqin, who had outstanding Excellent Era ingredients. What did that mean?
As a result, the other side took this season and brought out Xiao Shiqin's matches against Yu Wenzhou and Zhang Xinjie. Thunderclap had won those team competitions. This was also a solid argument.
The only remaining uncertainty was Ye Xiu.
This time, the ingredients in Ye Xiu's hands were far better than his ingredients back in the Challenger League. The rookies had grown. Su Mucheng and Fang Rui had joined. The team now had two All Star characters, and the other characters had improved significantly as well.
On the other hand, Thunderclap's roster dimmed in comparison to Su Mucheng and Fang Rui. Their characters were more in line with the gradual step by step improvement from not-so-wealthy teams.
Ye Xiu's ingredients had vastly improved, while XIao Shiqin's ingredients had diminished in quality compared to Excellent Era. This time, what would the confrontation between the two sides be like?
The start of the match was approaching, and the commentators focused their discussion of this round's team competition on this fight between two Master Tacticians.
Whoever won would become the existence above the Four Master Tacticians.
Pan Lin didn't directly say these words, but many people thought of it. Everyone's eyes were focused on the screen as the match began.
Chapter 1236: Thunderclap’s Aggressive Offense
Translator: Nomyummi Editor: Nomyummi
The map was War Grasslands, a map divided by rocks and shrubs in a staircase-like arrangement. The spawn points were located on the northeast and southwest corner, and after each side crossed their two story high platforms, the two teams would meet on a field of grass. It was a map, where the two spawn points were relatively close together, and it was often used by teams who liked rushing their opponents. The map restricted more tactical teams to a certain extent because of the close distance. If the offense was launched fast enough, the other side might not have time to set up any tactical formation.
Pan Lin quickly introduced the map before the two teams loaded into the map. However, both Thunderclap and Happy were tactic-heavy teams. By choosing this map, who exactly was the one being restricted? The map had been chosen by Happy, and Pan Lin didn't dare try to guess what Happy was planning, so he simply stopped the subject there. After explaining the features of this match, he was done. As for why Happy chose the map, Pan Lin let the viewers guess, he himself wasn't going to open his mouth. Out of consideration, he also didn't toss this hot potato to Li Yibo. Li Yibo noticed his good intentions and gave Pan Lin a smile.
A map suitable for a fast offense.
As a result, as soon as the teams loaded in, the viewers looked at the two teams spawning, wanting to know which team would take the initiative.
"We'll rush them!"
It was Thunderclap. Xiao Shiqin immediately gave the order.
Everyone was surprised.
Even though Pan Lin and Li Yibo weren't analyzing the situation out loud, anyone who understood Glory would have their own thoughts. These two were just afraid of getting their faces slapped. They certainly had their own viewpoints in their mind.
From their view, Happy had chosen this map, so the one to rush the opponent should be Happy. However, it was Thunderclap who decisively gave the order as soon as the match began.
Thunderclap's players didn't have any objections towards their captain's orders. They immediately went into position and started moving as a whole.
Thunderclap had spawned on the northeast corner. This map was split into three-story platforms. Two of these six three-story platforms made up the spawn points, while the other four were support zones, lined up symmetrically from east to west. The two starting points were linked to their respective east and west support zones by two-story platforms. The three-story support zones of the northeast corner and southeast corner were directly linked together by large slopes that met in a grassy area in the center. The six three-story high platforms were not directly connected to each other and could only be traveled to through two-story or ground regions. As a result, the fighting often took place in these two-story or ground story regions.
Thunderclap wanted to rush, so they didn't take a roundabout path. The team charged out from their three-story high spawn point directly down towards the grasslands.
How close were these spawn points? The answer could be seen right now. As soon as Thunderclap leaped down to the grasslands, they saw Happy also leaping down. The two sides could already see each other.
"Yo, nice rush!" Ye Xiu typed in the public chat.
"Same to you," Xiao Shiqin replied.
"No, we're moving strategically," said Ye Xiu.
"That's a bit of stretch, don't you think?" Xiao Shiqin replied.
Moving strategically required at least a little bit of covertness. In this map, if one walked along the two-story high platforms, the rushing opponents would not be able to see them so quickly. But Happy charging directly towards the grasslands? How was that moving strategically? Unless they thought Thunderclap wouldn't do the standard rush.
"Rushing isn't your style. Shouldn't you guys be waiting and watching first before coming up with counter strategies?" Ye Xiu said.
"We can't wait and watch because you guys would also wait and watch," Xiao Shiqin replied.
He hit the nail on the head...
Waiting and watching was a part of combat. Another part of it was pre-match preparations, studying the opponent and coming up with countermeasures beforehand. These two teams both had the same tactical style, so when the two confronted each other, it became awkward.
To put it simply, the two teams were used to waiting for their opponents to act before they acted. If neither side acted first, then there would be no fight.
"So?" Ye Xiu asked.
"So we can only fight," Xiao Shiqin said in the public chat. This wasn't a bluff, because in the team chat, he clearly gave the order: "Go!"
Thunderclap set out and charged at their opponents.
Everyone was shocked. Team Thunderclap had been watched closely this season, but they had never taken the initiative and attacked aggressively. After all, their players and characters weren't that great. A direct clash often relied on each individual player's own skill to be effective.
But against Happy, Thunderclap unexpectedly launched an aggressive attack!
No one would regard Happy as a weak team anymore. The return of Ye Xiu and Su Mucheng, the class-changed Fang Rui, these three All Stars had proved that their skills were still at the peak. In terms of individual player skill, even Xiao Shiqin, who was the best in Thunderclap, didn't seem a match to any of Happy's top three. However, Thunderclap had bravely rushed at Happy, an unprecedented aggressiveness. They had never done this against any other team.
Every person who followed Thunderclap this season asked this question.
While no one else in the Alliance dared to underestimate Happy, Thunderclap did the very opposite. Was this… a psychological tactic?
"You're coming to us? Are you underestimating Happy?" Ye Xiu asked.
"Of course not," Xiao Shiqin, who was already charging over, replied.
"Then it looks like we'll need to be careful," Ye Xiu said.
"You always need to be careful in a match," Xiao Shiqin said. In the team chat, he gave another order: Scatter!
Thunderclap had spread into a line and surrounded Happy in a wing-like formation. On the left end was Dai Yanqi's Elementalist, Firebird Messenger. On the right end was Xiao Shiqin's Mechanic, Life Extinguisher. These two were at the very tip of the wings as if they were going to escape.
Positioned in the middle was Cheng Tai's Grappler, Shattering Wind. And Zhang Jiaxing's Cleric, Returning Wind, was between Shattering Wind and Firebird Messenger. Between Life Extinguisher and Shattering Wind was Fang Xuecai's Assassin, Demon Talent.
"Thunderclap is being very proactive. They've quickly pulled apart into a formation very skillfully. Did they practice this specifically for Happy? What are your thoughts on this formation, Coach Li?" Pan Lin had restrained himself for a long time, but he was still a passionate commentator in the end. Thunderclap had chosen an unprecedented aggressive offense. This surprising choice instantly riled him up. He excitedly shouted and dragged Li Yibo into the water as well.
Li Yibo was in an awkward spot! He hadn't even figured out why Thunderclap would choose to go on the offensive against Happy, when Pan Lin directly asked him to explain Thunderclap's offensive formation.
"Uh, this… it looks like they're planning on surrounding Happy and then shrinking the circle," Li Yibo snorted.
"But Happy isn't lacking in attackers!" Pan Lin immediately answered back.
"Thunderclap surely has a method to deal with them. Let's see what they're going to do," Li Yibo was finally able to dodge this topic.
These two could pass over it with some vague words, but Ye Xiu, who was playing on stage, couldn't be so unclear.
Xiao Shiqin's decision for an aggressive offense had surprised him. He said "being underestimated", but he knew that Xiao Shiqin wasn't that type of person. Even when facing Seaside or Bright Green, the two weakest teams practically guaranteed to be relegated from the league, Thunderclap still carefully planned out their strategy. Xiao Shiqin wasn't someone who underestimated his opponent. If he dared to attack aggressively, then it could only mean he was confident that it would work, that in a direct confrontation, Thunderclap would have a greater chance of winning than Happy.
Their chances of winning didn't come from their players or characters individually. It was publicly acknowledged that Thunderclap was weak in this area. Thunderclap's chances of winning came from their tactics. For example, their team must have spread out for a purpose.
But for what purpose?
It wasn't just Ye Xiu asking this question.
However, no one else's judgement was more accurate than Ye Xiu's because Ye Xiu knew better than anyone else who the weak point of their team was.
Lord Grim retreated to Little Cold Hand's side.
"Group up, towards…" Ye Xiu typed. He wanted to have everyone group up and break through an opening in Thunderclap's formation, but when he swept his eyes across their formation, he discovered that he wasn't able to find such an opening.
Thunderclap's five characters were in a very simple line, but they used each of their classes well, allowing for the best possible options from any direction. If Happy tried to break through, they would be met with a lot of trouble no matter which direction they went towards. There were no clear holes or weaknesses. Breaking through from any point would be troublesome, which also meant that breaking through from any point would be the same.
"Firebird Messenger, break through!"
Ye Xiu had only hesitated for an instant. He quickly made a firm decision. As soon as Happy heard the order, their decisiveness in carrying it out was not much worse than Thunderclap's.
"Oh? We've been underestimated!" Happy's intentions were clear. Dai Yanqi, who was controlling Firebird Messenger, used Ye Xiu's own words from before. Happy had clearly chosen this direction to break through because they thought it would be easier to do so.
"But this is all according to plan!" Dai Yanqi followed.
When she said these words, everyone's hearts thumped. No one thought Thunderclap would just rashly attack. They felt like Thunderclap must have an ulterior motive. Dai Yanqi's "all according to plan" immediately confirmed this notion.
Whether or not the viewers believed in it wouldn't affect who won this match. Dai Yanqi's words were aimed as a psychological attack towards Happy. However, even if Happy believed her, it was probably too late for them to make adjustments.
That was what most people thought, but on stage were a particularly special group of people amongst the countless Glory players...
"Dang, that girl said it's all according to plan. We should find a different breakthrough point," Wei Chen said.
"Sure." Ye Xiu said.
As a result, Happy really did make a switch. Everyone turned towards Xiao Shiqin's Life Extinguisher instead of Dai Yanqi's Firebird Messenger.
The viewers were dumbfounded. This was a high-level pro match! You guys are just going to switch up your tactics because the opponent said a few words? Where's your determination? Decisiveness? Confidence?