The LovelyGhost incident caused e-sports fans in China and South Korea to quarrel for a long time. However, due to the approaching playoff schedule, e-sports players from both countries have gradually withdrawn from this dispute and begun to devote themselves to the intense preparation phase. As a result, voices from all factions gradually receded and eventually fell silent.
The atmosphere before the opening of the League playoffs was much weirder than in previous years due to the confrontation between China and South Korea, so the fans did not start to react to the fact that the key game was about to start until they saw similar topics appearing on the club’s official platform and players’ forums.
However, in fact, all of this was not as uneventful as it appeared on the surface, at least. At least, all professional players in the League knew very well that in the unknown depths, there were many undercurrents quietly churning.
There were a total of eight teams that had been selected for the League playoffs this year, namely Black Soul Club‘s Black Rose, Flowing Light Club‘s Scattered Clouds, Sky Dome Club‘s Apocalypse, Flying Leaf Club‘s Red Leaf, Kyushu Club‘s Nine Heavens, Blade Club‘s Blade team, Reaper Club‘s The Undead, and Thunderbolt Club‘s Blitzkrieg team.
The biggest difference between the playoffs and the preseason was the compact, rotating format. From opening day, there will be four consecutive days of competition per week. In the morning and afternoon, two teams will compete in a round-robin competition. After the round-robin competition system ends, the four teams with the highest score will directly enter the semi-finals.
Such a tight schedule was undoubtedly a major test for teams and players, and a few days before the opening, all players gathered in the imperial capital. After the draw ceremony, the players of the eight teams devoted themselves to the final stage of the field simulation practice under the leadership of their respective coaches.
That night, the members of the Black Rose team gathered in Li Bochuan’s hotel room to discuss the final stage of strategic deployment. When he saw the playoff schedule newly released to the teams, Xu Yiming could not help shouting: “Shit, shit, shit! Damn it, who drew this lot? How do I have such bad luck? Running into the second-seeded team in the first match, there’s no way to live!”
Feeling a headache coming, Xu Yichen suppressed this cry of distress by covering his mouth and, in a voice that only they could hear, stopped his next words with only one sentence: “Captain You drew lots, are you sure you want to complain about it?”
Liu Zeshen glanced at Xu Yiming, who was suddenly quiet, and teased him with a smile: “According to your way of complaining, wouldn’t you be hanging yourself from a beam if you drew the Apocalypse team?”
What he said was mostly a joke, but it was not entirely wrong. The combined strength of the Scattered Clouds team was indeed one of the best in the League at the moment, but compared to the Apocalypse team, there was still a certain distance. Although it was not a very satisfactory result to meet them at the first stop, at least it was not the worst-case scenario.
Xu Yiming stopped yelling, but he said with a grimace: “Although the Scattered Clouds team is indeed inferior to the Apocalypse team, we have drawn Group A, which happens to be the opening match! At first, I thought I could rest for a day and a half to recharge my batteries, but now I’m done, I have to play right away!”
You Jing’s movements as he flipped through the information paused and looked up at him, “So?”
Xu Yiming’s expression changed when he was caught by the chilly gaze: “So, we must conserve our energy and use the best and smartest state of mind to meet new trials and battles!”
Xiao Li couldn’t hold back and burst out laughing.
“If the Scattered Clouds team would follow the preseason setup, it would not be difficult to win with our current lineup. However, they did not have Wen Shuqing in the preseason, and now, not only Wen Shuqing has returned to the team, but they also spent a lot of money to hire Zhang Xuannian as their coach. After this training period, their overall strength may not be the same.” Ignoring Xu Yiming’s ramblings, Li Bochuan placed an information file on the table, and analyzed it for everyone, “But even so, the opening game will greatly affect the trend of public opinion and the morale of the subsequent games, so these are all reasons why we must win.”
Shen Changyu nodded and began to distribute the current temporary setup to everyone while explaining: “Considering the opponent’s situation, our current proposal is for Lin Xiao, Xiao Li, and myself to compete in the individual competition. Is there any problem?”
Xiao Li: “I’ll follow the club’s arrangement.”
Lin Xiao was just yawning, and after a pause, he smiled and said, “I have no problem with that.”
Shen Changyu nodded and continued: “Then, in the team competition will play Liu Zeshen, Chen Anqi, and Captain You. Do you have any questions?”
You Jing’s silence was a tacit consent.
Liu Zeshen smiled and nodded: “I’m good.”
Shen Changyu turned his questioning gaze to Chen Anqi, who was standing by the floor-to-ceiling window, looking at the night scenery in a trance. After a few moments, she felt the eerie silence in the room and turned her head, showing a strange smile: “The Scattered Clouds team is going to be unlucky tomorrow, I, for one, don’t have anything to say.”
The delicate voice was like a hand quietly scratching the heart, sending a shiver down the spine of everyone in the room.
Ever since Chen Anqi joined the team, she hasn’t talked much. At first, the young players cheered because there was finally a female player on the team, until some night, returning to the house, they somehow got lost inside the compound and couldn’t find their dormitory, and they fell down the stairs for no reason. And after a series of strange and inexplicable incidents that were labeled as bad luck when she mentioned them, no one dared to joke with this senior loli again.
At Chen Anqi’s answer, Shen Changyu coughed twice, and the room fell silent.
After confirming the arrangement of the team competition, You Jing glanced coldly around the room, and as usual, there was no hesitation in his voice: “Please use tomorrow’s performance to show the audience our strength. We must win.”
Lin Xiao raised his eyebrows and laughed: “Since Captain You has spoken, there has to be a win!”
Awaited by hundreds of millions of League fans, the opening day of the playoffs has finally officially arrived!
At eight o’clock in the morning, the whole venue was brightly lit, thousands of spotlights at the top swept the scene, and the atmosphere in the audience was boiling under countless lively beams of light. Fans of all the major teams created waves of sound with their frenzied shouts, each one more intense than the previous. The names of the teams intertwined with the shouts, forming a fervent carnival-like atmosphere.
Under the playback of world-class sound controllers, the background music was like war drums, and every beat hit the depths of everyone’s hearts, stirring emotions that could not be suppressed. The low and majestic atmosphere in the scene was full of mystery, making everyone’s blood boil in anticipation.
The shouts and cheers of thousands of on-site spectators intertwined with the repetitive ear-splitting cathartic symphony of excitement.
Let the playoffs begin!
The big screen at the front suddenly lit up abruptly, and the logos of the eight major teams flashed one by one, each in their own unique ways. As the exclusive interview clips of the members of each team were played, the atmosphere in the field rose to a high point again.
While the scene was full of enthusiasm, the TV station’s e-sports channel joined hands with the GY live broadcast platform to broadcast live at the same time, and thousands of Zone players who were unable to watch the game in person stayed in front of the computer screen, watching the exciting battle begin.
At exactly nine o’clock, the exciting music in the venue stopped abruptly, and a man and a woman in formal attire walked onto the stage with microphones in their hands and began to introduce the specific schedule of this playoffs to the audience.
Dressed in a pure white dress, Xiao Wu looked dignified and gentle. Standing beside her was Xu Qingli in a suit and leather shoes. The two of them were the official commentators for the playoffs.
After Xiao Wu finished the opening speech in a mellow and pleasant voice, Xu Qingli picked up the microphone and said with a smile: “I believe everyone is already a little impatient, same as me. Next, let’s welcome the start of today’s grand show with all the excitement and applause we can muster! Now, I announce that the League playoffs – have officially begun!”
Suddenly, the floodlights in the stadium began to bounce everywhere, and as soon as his last word fell, the cheers and shouts from the stadium poured out like a sea, almost toppling the dome.
After so many days and nights of waiting, the day has finally come when the war begins!
As the commentator’s eloquent speech ended, the contestants from the teams playing the opening game began to enter the arena one after another.
First playoff game: Team Black Rose vs. Team Scattered Clouds.
The players went to the center of the arena to shake hands and salute each other.
Lin Xiao glanced over them casually, but then his eyes fell on the man in the wheelchair in front of the team, and his eyes narrowed thoughtfully.
In this passionate atmosphere, this person was like a warm clear spring, and people were attracted to him at first glance.
The captain of the Scattered Clouds team and the only disabled e-sports player in the League.
Shaking his cold hand, Lin Xiao was about to say something when the next one in line hurriedly pulled his hand into his: “Lin Xiao, how are you, long time, no see!”
Raising his head, Lin Xiao was stunned to meet Shang Yanlingjiang’s angry eyes.
Then again, how did he forget about this old friend?
Sensing You Jing’s line of sight drifting toward him, his soul was shaken, and he hastily put on a harmless and innocent smile: “Dayan, long time no see, hehehe…”