PAY and KING’s game officially started. The last spot in the finals would be decided soon and this made the atmosphere of the scene extremely warm.
The moment they entered the BP session, the two official commentators had a heated discussion. Lin Yan didn’t spare too much attention listening to these analyses. He just watched with a serious expression as the two teams chose their lineup one by one.
In terms of tactics, Jing Yuanzhou was willing to come to Lin Yan for advice. He saw that the two sides had finished choosing their lineups and asked in a low voice, “What do you think about the systems on both sides?”
Lin Yan pondered on it and gave a rare frown. “I can’t say… let’s just take a look.”
According to the past situation, Lin Yan usually talked a lot when referencing tactics. Jing Yuanzhou was very surprised to hear such an answer. Still, he didn’t ask any more questions. He turned his attention back to the TV screen.
During the conversation, the first game had started. AI’s performance was as active as ever. He invaded KING’s jungle right out of the gate and captured the first resources. Then he completely entered the gank rhythm.
Chen Yushen was originally watching the game carefully when he opened his mouth with some surprise. “AI’s playing habits… they seem to be adjusted?”
Chen Yushen was a jungler and had naturally studied the top jungler. This time, he quickly and keenly discovered the details.
“Yes, it did change.” Lin Yan glanced at DeMen on the top lane and pointed out meaningfully. “It’s the last year. Perhaps they don’t want to leave any regrets.”
The focus of AI’s jungle play was very clear. He was a protective force firmly protecting the upper half of the map to allow DeMen to develop thoroughly at the most rapid pace. The first game ended with PAY taking the lead. The MVP of this game was given to DeMen. He was the winner when it came to output percentage or the damage strength.
Lin Yan looked at it and couldn’t help asking the person next to him, “Tell me, if AI chose to play like this against us, what would’ve happened?”
It obviously referred to the situation where the top lane was targeted to death.
Jing Yuanzhou didn’t hear the ridicule in the words. He seriously thought about it and replied objectively, “We wouldn’t lose.”
Lin Yan smiled. “We really wouldn’t lose.”
Having said that, he couldn’t help glancing at the statistics panel again.
This time, he went back to KING’s selection in the first game and understood a lot.
In every match, the result of the first game had a very important impact on the morale of the next game but it was a BO5 system after all. Sometimes a loss in one or two rounds allowed them to see many things clearly and this might not be a bad thing.
In this year’s competition, perhaps they were deliberately hiding their tactical system or wanted to better confuse the opponent but PAY showed great variability the whole time. Facing a team with a top player like AI, it would be very tough if they couldn’t pinpoint the other person’s entry point.
This was why KING boldly made such a choice in the first game of the incredibly crucial semi-finals. The most conventional lineup was often the most suitable for testing things.
There was a short break and the second game started quickly. Due to the PAY’s first victory, the game venue was overwhelmingly excited at this time.
Lin Yan’s demeanor became a bit more solemn.
The BP process soon ended. The moment he saw KING’s final lineup, Lin Yan knew that Song Cheng had finally arranged for the players to fight back. The moment they entered the game, KING’s shooter and support duo directly followed the line of soldiers to the top road where DeMen was located. They changed lanes at the beginning and obviously weren’t prepared to give DeMen any further development opportunities.
As a world-class shooter, An Seungyeob was already a veteran but he had chosen not to retire. Today, he still maintained a near-peak state in the field. Everyone knew that in the KING team, they just needed An Seungyeon to be present and they could give full play to the tactical system arranged by Song Cheng.
In the face of KING’s tactical adjustment in this round, PAY’s best choice was to directly develop the bottom lane and then find a chance to change lanes again. Surprisingly, AI didn’t hesitate to aim his firepower at An Seungyeob to guard DeMen’s development.
Chen Yushen frowned when he saw it. He couldn’t understand. “Why?”
“PAY, they want to… help clear DeMen’s name.” Lin Yan gave a low sigh, obviously feeling a bit complicated. “In the previous group stage, PAY lost to KING. In the end, there was the same number of wins and it was only based on other indicators that PAY could surpass LDF to make it to the quarter-finals. To tell the truth, DeMen didn’t play well in that game. Many times, he didn’t follow the timing of the team. After the game, there were many sunspots jumping on the Internet.”
Jing Yuanzhou’s eyes fell on the screen, the color a bit dark.
He started in the same period as DeMen and had more to say. “Since he entered the league, DeMen has always used team battle type heroes. Although I am also inclined to the team battle in the late stage, in comparison, the ‘tool man’ DeMen has done it more thoroughly and for many years. For a professional player, there are indeed few people who are willing to play such a thankless role. Now he is about to retire soon and PAY feels that they owe him.”
His words caused a moment of silence.
They had all seen PAY’s black fans. It was because the star player AI was too bright that it made the veteran DeMen look even more useless. After missing the championship trophy several times, their anger was vented on DeMen. As a result, whenever PAY’s status was mentioned, there were always people ridiculing DeMen and wondering when he would retire, saying that PAY didn’t win the championship because they didn’t change side-lane players.
In such an environment, it could be imagined what type of remarks the Internet would make as long as DeMen made a few mistakes.
Lin Yan heard this and felt that he understood PAY’s tactical decision this time. If it were him then he would probably make the same choice. After all, this was DeMen’s last World Competition. No matter whether it was the young players of PAY or their coach, no one wanted to see their captain leave with bitterness like this. DeMen had made sacrifices for this team for so many years. No one wanted him to be dubbed the ‘team battle guy’ for his whole life, even if they finally won the World Competition.
In the silence, Jian Ye couldn’t help sniffling. “F*k! This whole thing is making me feel guilty for winning the game against PAY!”
Jing Yuanzhou lightly told him, “No need. After all, this is e-sports.”
AI tried a few waves of ganks on the top lane and couldn’t gain any advantage from An Seungyeob’s hands. Then once an opportunity was found, they didn’t hesitate to change lanes. However, it didn’t take long for An Seungyeob to follow them to the bottom lane.
Bi Yaohua exclaimed, “This is… staring too tightly!”
Chen Yushen murmured, “It’s a bit difficult.”
In this situation where the lanes were changed, AI put too much energy on DeMen. His overall damage wasn’t able to keep up in the later stage. The last team battle ended and KING won the game. The score was evened out to 1:1.
In the third game, PAY’s coaching staff left a trick at hand and didn’t allow the situation of the last game to repeat itself. Due to the lineup configuration, the top and bottom lanes finally went online smoothly. AI’s rhythm still stayed at the top lane. Perhaps it was due to this suppression in the last round but his gank rhythm was further accelerated.
KING had prepared in advance but they were still inevitably torn apart. PAY won another game and the score was 2:1. DeMen was once again the MVP. For AI, the most eye-catching jungler, he willingly became the ‘support’ and got the most assists in the game.
It was the fourth game and PAY’s match point. Song Cheng’s expression was a bit heavy when he came to the stage and he once again adjusted the deployment in the BP process.
Once the final lineup entered their eyes, even Lin Yan couldn’t help showing a bit of surprise. He intuitively felt that PAY would find it hard in this game. Not surprisingly, An Seungyeob completely killed them before the middle stage of the game was reached.
The combination of AI and DeMen was perfect but unfortunately, they failed to withstand the firepower output of KING during the canyon team battle. The score was equalized again to 2:2.
The fifth and final game officially started and the atmosphere of the audience was solemn to the extreme. Although he was just watching the match from the lounge, Jian Ye couldn’t help wiping the sweat on his palms a bit nervously. “F*k, do they have to fight so anxiously?!”
Bi Yaohua sighed. “I’m afraid it depends on which side has the physical strength to resist to the end.”
It was the last round of the BO5. In this tense situation with excessive rhythm, everyone could feel how much pressure had been placed on the players physically and mentally.
An Seungyeob was in good condition but the burden on the shooter had always been greater than other positions. In addition, his age wasn’t much different from DeMen’s age. At this time, exhaustion was unavoidable.
However, it had come to this point and no one wanted to back down. In this way, the fifth game was a competition of perseverance. On PAY’s side, AI obviously didn’t intend to adjust the rhythm at all. He launched a swift offensive the moment the game started. In contrast, KING chose to wait relatively conservatively.
Nevertheless, the entire process didn’t last long. They knew that the physical strength consumption was high and no one wanted to play this game to the late stage.
DeMen had clearly found his touch after the first few games. His cooperation with AI became more and more tacit.
Unknowingly, the game lasted for 30 minutes. He gradually entered the late rhythm and both sides started to actively look for opportunities.
Lin Yan glanced at DeMen’s current equipment. He was raised well by AI and he currently had an extremely excellent outfit. It was still a team battle around the canyon boss and fierce fighting lit up the entire river.
The voice of the commentator was very excited. “DeMen has very high damage at this stage. He chose a very good time to cut in! KING’s hasn’t opened the team situation yet and one person is already dead! Beautiful, AI on the side stole Pull’s head! Wait… Flm’s position is great! Double kills! One skill actually got a double kill! PAY must send someone to take care of him. If the shooter doesn’t die, I’m afraid he will sweep through the team! Oh my god, DeMen is also going crazy with the kills. He is almost a super god!”
He instinctively raised his voice as the female voice of the system announced kills one after another. The audience held their breath and could only watch the figures on the field fall down one by one.
In the end, only An Seungyeob and DeMen remained in the entire canyon. An Seungyeob’s shooter raised his bow and arrow to shoot while DeMen also pressed his flash the moment the cooldown ended.
[KING.Flm killed PAY.DeMen!]
[ACE (team extinction)!]
The entire venue was plunged into silence. At the same time, the director’s camera was locked in place. On the screen, flames also fell around An Seungyeob’s body.
[PAY.DeMen killed KING.Flm!]
[ACE (team extinction)!]
The last player fell and the entire canyon was completely silent. Both sides were collectively destroyed!
Jing Yuanzhou’s eyes stayed on his old rival DeMen for a long time and he declared in a deep voice, “It’s over…”
As everyone entered the resurrection queue, they could see a line of soldiers quietly pressing to PAY’s base. There was no one to clear the line of soldiers and no one could stop them. PAY’s base crystal was completely shattered and the second team to enter the global finals was officially born—KING!
In the end, something like a civil war didn’t happen. The camera zoomed in and DeMen could be seen sitting for a long time without getting up. It wasn’t known what he thought of but he suddenly smiled with a complicated expression.
AI next to him didn’t move. It wasn’t until DeMen gently patted him on the shoulder that he lifted his head. No one knew what was said but it could be seen that the always unsmiling ‘artificial intelligence’ had slightly red eyes.
The other team members were lying against the table and crying bitterly. It was unknown who started it but shouts started to envelop the venue.
“PAY! DeMen! PAY! DeMen! PAY…”
With the last flash and figure deeply imprinted in their minds, PAY’s journey in this year’s World Competition and DeMen’s career came to an end.
Bonus ko-fi chapter