The intermission wasn’t very long, and the ten pro players soon returned to the stage. After a short wait, the game entered the second round’s pick/ban phase.
PUD had clearly realized their mistake as well, and they no longer tried to compare carry junglers with Lu Boyuan. Instead, they pulled out a tankier Gragas jungle, who was great at engaging and splitting up the battlefield.
“Why isn’t Tuotuo choosing his Lillia?” Ding-ge paced around behind them. “I’ve checked his ranked match history before, he’s been playing Lillia a lot recently.”
Yuan Qian said, “That champion is also more of a carry jungler. He couldn’t really handle it in the last game, and he’s probably a bit fearful now after being beaten up by Captain.”
“That’s true. These new pro players are actually quite fragile when it comes to coping with mental pressure. No matter how well Tuotuo played before, this is still his first time competing in the finals.” After Ding-ge said that, he spotted his team’s mid laner out of the corner of his eye. “Of course, not all newcomers are like that. There’s one who can even feel sleepy when playing in the finals… Jian Rong, are you feeling a little better? A bit more energetic?”
Jian Rong sounded the same as usual. “I’m fine now.”
Xiao Bai, sitting nearby: “…”
You’re fine now.
But laozi is very much not fine.
Who would lock the main door while using a public restroom? Nobody, right? Normally people wouldn’t do that, right?? Especially considering that there were two people inside—did his ge and Jian Rong have some secret strategy they had to discuss? Even if that were the case, they shouldn’t have to avoid the rest of the team.
And his lips…
Jian Rong turned his head and squarely met Xiao Bai’s gaze. “What? Is the champion select screen on my face?”
Xiao Bai said honestly, “Looking at you boosts my energy.”
Jian Rong: “…”
As always, Ding-ge sought Lu Boyuan’s opinion. “What jungler do you want to pick? Maybe try choosing Lillia? I noticed that you’ve been playing her a lot in ranked during the past few days, and you were doing pretty well on her too.”
When Lillia was first released, she actually wasn’t viewed very highly by the LPL. Everyone was of the opinion that she wasn’t suited for pro play.
But Lillia still gained popularity quickly, specifically because the Korean pro players were extremely fond of her and their win rate with her was also especially high. As a result, the LPL players also started picking her up.
However, Lillia didn’t have a particularly outstanding track record in the LPL. Her win rate wasn’t even 30%.
Lu Boyuan said, “Not Lillia.”
A low win rate indicated that they still hadn’t done enough research regarding the tactics best suited for Lillia jungle. He also hadn’t really practiced Lillia’s coordination with his teammates much, so there was no need to force himself to pick her.
In the end, Lu Boyuan chose Kindred. He glanced at 98k, who had locked in his signature champion Renekton, and said, “I’ll mainly gank top this game. You guys watch out for yourselves.”
Jian Rong had a brief discussion with Ding-ge before he locked in the champion that he had originally wanted to pick in the first place.
Commentator A: “Soft’s going with Twisted Fate. Judging from the team comp, TTC’s aiming for the early-mid game… however, Savior also got a hold of Orianna, the major late game champion he’s best at. Now it all depends on if Soft can coordinate with his teammates in the early game to provide assistance.”
At the beginning of the second game, Jian Rong wanted to peacefully clear minions with Savior, just like in the first round.
Twisted Fate was noted for being great at providing backup, since his ult allowed him to teleport anywhere within half the map. His disadvantage was that he was very weak during the laning phase, and before he got his ult, the only thing he could do was farm.
But once he picked a champion like this one that was weak at laning, Savior wouldn’t just foolishly trade blows with him either. As they cleared minions, Savior constantly approached Jian Rong and grinded away at his health.
Jian Rong remained calm and unfazed. He allowed Savior to throw skills onto his face and consume his health before he cheerfully turned around, used his blue card, cleared little minions, and restored his mana.
Commentator A: “Savior’s throwing his ball at Soft again, can Soft restrain himself?! —okay, he restrained himself.”
Commentator B: “And here I thought that he would play somewhat more fiercely this time, since he suffered so much holding himself back in the last game.”
Commentator C: “Twisted Fate is already weak during the laning phase, so his playstyle is completely correct here. But he has his ult now, so next we’ll have to see if he can provide assistance…”
As soon as he said that, the top lane started fighting.
98k was playing his signature champion, Renekton. On top of that, because of their defeat in the previous game, his desire to perform well wasn’t much weaker than Jian Rong’s. Consequently, his playstyle was extremely ferocious right off the bat, and he frequently came up to Yuan Qian to land some blows at the slightest disagreement.
Like always, Yuan Qian had chosen a team fighting champion, Gangplank. This champion had a skill where he consumed oranges to cleanse all crowd control from himself, so Yuan Qian wasn’t in too bad of a spot.
Seeing that their captain was edging towards the top lane, Yuan Qian immediately started acting. He pretended to make a mistake with his positioning to lure Renekton forward, after which Renekton was trapped in the middle by Lu Boyuan, who had circled around from behind.
If this were someone else being pincered, they would’ve probably been finished within seconds. But ultimately, 98k’s mechanics were still excellent, and he dragged on the fight long enough for his team’s jungler to rush over.
Commentator A: “The top lane is currently in a 2v2! Honestly, it’s hard to say who the winner of this fight will be. 98k has great mechanics, but his health is already mostly gone. At the same time, Yuan Qian’s mana is very low, and it doesn’t look like he can use many more skills. That’s why I still think that PUD—”
Right as he said that, an eye appeared above every PUD member’s head—Twisted Fate’s ult.
Commentator B: “Soft used his ult! He just finished fighting with Savior, so he has less than 300 HP and only enough mana for one skill. Any random blow from Renekton can end him—also, Savior is right next to him, he still has the guts to teleport?!”
Commentator C: “Is there anything he doesn’t have the guts to do??”
Savior promptly informed his teammates in their voice chat about Jian Rong, and 98k instantly changed the plan. “Tuo, kill Soft. If he dies now, the mid lane will directly collapse.”
Tuotuo: “Got it!”
Twisted Fate chose to teleport straight into the middle of the top lane fight. The second Jian Rong landed, 98k seized the opportunity to unleash a combo—
Twisted Fate abruptly froze and turned gold, becoming a target that was invulnerable to all damage. 98k’s attacks disappeared into the void.
Commentator A: “Touch – down – Hour – glass!!! Soft tricked out all of 98k’s skills! 98k can’t recover from that and is immediately swept away by God Lu! Tuotuo still has a lot of health right now and clearly wants to trade Soft…”
Twisted Fate’s W skill allowed him to pick a card. There were three different-colored cards in total, and the gold card could stun the enemy. Typically when ganking or getting a kill, this card would always be used.
The rotation sequence of the cards was red, gold, then blue. It appeared to be very easy to cycle between them, but that actually wasn’t the case—the first card shown was random.
This skill was an extreme test of a player’s reaction speed. There were often some Twisted Fate players who teleported over a great distance to get to the bot lane, only to pull out a mana-restoring blue card… this was the same as going down there to put on a comedic skit for the enemies.
As the commentators were talking, Jian Rong’s Zhonya’s Hourglass ended. He promptly used his W skill and a blue card popped up over his head—before anyone could recover, with two swishes, he swiftly cycled through the deck to the gold card. Then he slapped it onto Gragas, who had charged towards him using a blink skill, and rooted him solidly to the spot!
The commentators finally found the time to exclaim over Jian Rong’s play only after Tuotuo’s death was announced.
Yuan Qian got a kill this time, which meant that laning would become much easier from here on out.
He recalled to base with satisfaction and praised brightly, “Amazing, Xiao Rong. Truly a hand speed worthy of being single for twenty years.”
Jian Rong: “…”
Pine saw that he had ten-plus more minions kills than the opposing ADC. In a rather good mood, he corrected evenly, “Eighteen years.”
Yuan Qian said, “Close enough, close enough. There’s only two years between eighteen and twenty…”
Lu Boyuan suddenly asked lazily, “He can stay single all the way until he’s twenty?”
Yuan Qian hadn’t expected for Lu Boyuan to suddenly speak up out of nowhere. He let out an “ah” and said, “Probably? Look at how hard he goes at practice every day, where would he meet a young lady…”
“No.” Jian Rong denied flatly. “I can’t stay single all the way until I’m twenty.”
There was a note of laughter in Lu Boyuan’s voice. “I think so too.”
Yuan Qian: “?”
Xiao Bai: “……………?”
Compared to the easygoing, pleasant atmosphere over at TTC, PUD’s side was much more serious.
Tuotuo said in a small voice, “It’s my fault. I came late, or else we would’ve been able to kill Yuan Qian.”
“It was indeed your fault.” What 98k said was criticizing, but his tone of voice was as calm as ever. “I said that Road would come gank me, but you were still focused on getting those two Krugs. Don’t make the same mistake next time.”
Tuotuo choked up. “…okay.”
“It’s alright~” Savior comforted him. “Ge is only pointing out your mistake, he isn’t angry at you~ Keep it up.”
Jian Rong also got a kill in the top lane, allowing him to provide assistance even more effortlessly.
The second time Xiao Bai’s hook stole a kill from him, Jian Rong’s Twisted Fate halted in place for a second.
This momentary pause alarmed Xiao Bai. “What? As a hardworking, self-sacrificial, pitiful little support, do I not deserve to get a kill? If I don’t have gold, who’s gonna put down control wards for you guys? If I don’t have items, who’s gonna protect you guys from the wind and rain…”
Jian Rong: “Over all these years, how have you been tolerating him?”
Xiao Bai: “?”
Pine: “Once the contract ends, switch teams and supports.”
“Impossible.” Xiao Bai readily overruled him. “If you dare to betray me, I’ll climb on top of you, restrain you by the waist, and crush you to death inside TTC’s base.”
Pine missed a cannon minion and instantly felt like he was a dumbass for joining in on their exchange.
Because none of PUD’s lanes were off to a good start in the early game, they kept avoiding team fights to farm in the mid game. But TTC wasn’t going to allow them to just drag it out; using the drakes, they forced two team fights and created a small advantage for themselves.
Twenty-seven minutes in, Orianna’s time to shine arrived. Savior flashed and used his ult to oneshot Pine and Jian Rong, helping his teammates win a team fight with great difficulty. However, TTC still had the lead.
Thirty minutes in, Jian Rong coordinated his ult with Yuan Qian to oneshot PUD’s support, Dundun, who came to the jungle to place a ward. Lu Boyuan saw that Savior was currently in the bot lane killing minions, and he decisively called his teammates over to go for Baron.
Two PUD members rushed over to try and steal Baron—but that was truly a bit too naive of them to think that they could steal Baron from Lu Boyuan. TTC easily got the kill and simultaneously sent Gragas, who went into the pit to steal Baron, back to his base for free.
Thirty-three minutes in, TTC forced a team fight in the mid lane. They took down the enemy’s inhibitor and won the team fight, trading three PUD members for one TTC member.
Thirty-six minutes in, PUD hurried over to prevent TTC from getting the Dragon Soul. The two teams traded blows and fought for almost a minute near the Baron pit before Yuan Qian found an opportunity and fed the enemies his ult head-on. He successfully got a triple kill, after which they headed straight for the enemy’s base.
Thirty-eight minutes in, TTC endured against Orianna’s pressure and destroyed PUD’s Nexus.
The score was currently 2:0. TTC was the first to reach match point in this spring season finals.
With two consecutive wins, the pressure on TTC was at its absolute lowest.
Ding-ge was already much more relaxed—as long as they won one of the next three games, this match would end, and he had a lot of confidence in his players.
“All you have to do is maintain this same feeling for the game. PUD will most likely go all out in the next round, so each lane should be a bit more careful.” Done with his instructions, Ding-ge appropriately encouraged his team members. “If we win the finals, everyone can get two days off once we get back and have a nice rest…”
Xiao Bai cried, “Only two days?!”
“MSI is being held in Korea next month, how many days do you want to take off?! Two days is already a lot!” Ding-ge continued, “Also, as Fu-ge said before, he’ll be giving each person a car if we win… he’s watching the match from the US right now. He called me earlier and said that he’s been in contact with the car manufacturer, so you can do what you will with that.”
That last part was undoubtedly the biggest encouragement for the TTC members. On the way to the stadium, Xiao Bai had already started considering what kind of air freshener scent he should put in his car to make it seem high-class.
Someone suddenly nudged Jian Rong’s shoulder, and he turned his head.
Lu Boyuan asked lowly, “Thinking about the car?”
“No, I’m thinking about the upcoming game.” Jian Rong said truthfully, “I don’t have my driver’s license, so there’s no point in thinking about that.”
Lu Boyuan said, “Go get it after MSI.”
“We’ll see… if I have time. I’ll have to pick a driving school too, annoying.”
“Why do you have to go to driving school?”
Jian Rong was startled. “How do I learn if I don’t go to driving school?”
Lu Boyuan glanced at the camera hovering near them and said, “I’ll teach you.”
“I know a professional instructor, and I’ll help you practice driving on the road. You can start learning whenever you want to, I’ll take care of the training vehicle too.” Lu Boyuan said quietly, “Also, I don’t scold my students. Yes or no?”
With no hesitation, Jian Rong said, “Yes.”
Lu Boyuan hummed. “As for the tuition…”
Jian Rong instantly asked, “How much money?”
Lu Boyuan shot him a look, amused.
The arena was merely a step away. In front of the camera, Lu Boyuan reached out to pinch Jian Rong’s ear and said something coded that the cameraman couldn’t understand.
“I won’t take your money.” Lu Boyuan asked him, “After the match, you can send me shampoo for two days, how about that?”