The scheduled practice match was a best of three format. TTC consecutively won two rounds, so they didn’t need to play the last round.
By the time the game finished, MFG’s jungler had died eight times. When the base was being breached, he had even ended up selling all his equipment, extremely dejected.
The moment they withdrew from the custom lobby, Xiao Bai subconsciously turned his head and looked past Pine to explain to Jian Rong, “MFG’s jungler today was originally their starting jungler, but because his attitude was too bad, he ended up becoming a substitute in less than one season. He has this old habit of ganking the lane with the biggest disadvantage, which is usually fine when playing ranked or in laid-back practice matches, but he always ended up being hammered by those operation-focused teams in competitions…”
Jian Rong took off his headphones and tilted his head when he heard Xiao Bai speak, listening to him quietly.
“One time in a regular season match, he also ended up ganking our bot lane four times in less than ten minutes, freaking useless…” Only Xiao Bai finished his nonstop babbling did he realize that his relationship with this person didn’t seem to be at the point where they could mutually roast other teams’ players yet.
Thinking that Jian Rong would, as usual, let out an indifferent “oh” or straight up walk away, Xiao Bai shut his mouth and prepared to preemptively end the conversation.
“En.” Jian Rong unplugged his headphones. “He is pretty trash.”
Xiao Bai: “!”
Ding-ge leaned against the door, replying to messages. Seeing Xiao Bai and their new mid laner interact with each other quite nicely, he thought that at least this practice match wasn’t completely useless.
He lowered his head and responded to the WeChat message that MFG’s coach sent.
[MFG Coach: Another match next time?]
[D: No, there’s no point if you’re just going to let a water dispenser player go up during a practice match.]
A water dispenser player referred to those substitute players who sat in the backstage room watching the water dispenser and very rarely had a chance to play in a competition.
This jungler was a bit more tragic than that. During the last Worlds, he didn’t play a single game, and even MFG’s fans joked that if the starting jungler hadn’t broken his arm, the team wouldn’t have let the substitute go on stage at all.
Once this season ended, perhaps this jungler wouldn’t even be a substitute anymore.
[MFG Coach: That’s not it, it’s not like I wanted to either. Our starting jungler went back to his hometown to take care of family matters and won’t be able to return for some time. Next time, next time the entire team will be starters for sure.]
[D: Then let’s talk about it again next time.]
[MFG Coach: Ok. Speaking of which, your new mid laner is pretty strong, where’d you find him?]
Ding-ge knew that the other person was trying to fish for answers, and he answered gleefully.
[D: Don’t know, Road recommended him, if you want to know then go ask him]
Ding-ge locked his phone and knocked on the door. “Road, come with me to the meeting room. The rest of you are dismissed.”
TTC had a room specifically used for practice matches, and the members sat in the same fixed order as they would during a competition. As the mid laner, Jian Rong sat in the very middle, with the jungler and ADC on either side of him.
Jian Rong picked up his own equipment and was about to leave when someone suddenly tugged at the hem of his shirt very gently.
Lu Boyuan looked at the keyboard he was holding in his arms, and he inquired, “Is it possible to carry another one?”
Two minutes later, Jian Rong walked out of the practice room hugging two people’s equipment in his arms, like a primary school student carrying his backpack.
The last day of the tryouts, Ding-ge scheduled another practice match.
The scheduled team this time was even weaker than MFG, but it was composed of all starters, so they had strategies and coordination, and there was a bit more meaning to it.
Although TTC still won 2:0, at least it felt a little more like a real game, not like MFG’s match where the jungler led all three lanes to ruin.
When Jian Rong came out of the bathroom, he just happened to see Ding-ge and Lu Boyuan walk downstairs together.
Lu Boyuan was wearing an unzipped black parka, revealing the sweater inside. He also had on a hat and a mask, as if he were about to go out.
Ding-ge was saying something to Lu Boyuan. His voice was lowered, so Jian Rong couldn’t hear very clearly.
“See what the doctor says in a bit… if… then don’t…” As Ding-ge spoke, he spotted a blue head next to the stair handrail from the corner of his eyes. “Jian Rong?”
Before Jian Rong could say anything, Ding-ge spoke again. “Good thing you’re here, I can let you know in advance. You’ve passed the tryouts, and they’ll be sending over the contract soon. You didn’t have any issues with the initial draft, but I later amended it a bit… Your foundation was built from streaming, so your base salary and percentage allotment with StarTV should be able to be negotiated a little higher. Once all the details are ironed out, I’ll go find you, it should only take a few days.”
Jian Rong said, “Mn.”
“So calm?” Ding-ge lifted an eyebrow. “Not happy?”
As a result, the corners of Jian Rong’s lips tugged up very half-heartedly. “Happy.”
Lu Boyuan gave a soundless chuckle.
“You’re going back to the practice room, right?” Ding-ge was helpless. “Perfect, I have something to tell them, let’s go together.”
Jian Rong thought that Ding-ge was going to discuss their practice match from earlier in the day, but unexpectedly, Ding-ge said the moment he pushed open the door, “No one look at Weibo today.”
Everyone in the practice room: “…”
If he hadn’t said that, they wouldn’t really feel like checking Weibo anyway.
But now that he did say that, they immediately wanted to go and surf through Weibo.
“Forget it, it’s not like I can stop you guys. Nobody listens to me either when I tell you to uninstall the app during competitions…” Ding-ge said, “Then just one requirement: no one is allowed to say anything. Likes, comments, reposts, they’re all forbidden. If you’re going to look, you can only do so with your side account, understood?”
The instant Ding-ge left, the people who were originally playing the game promptly relinquished their mice and single-mindedly began scrolling through their phones, their movements terrifyingly in sync.
Jian Rong: “…”
Consequently, he leaned back in his chair and also opened up Weibo.
Jian Rong’s side account followed numerous esports bloggers that Weibo had recommended to him. This afternoon, one of the official LPL Weibo’s posts was dominating the entire homepage.
The title of the official account’s article was: [The Penalization Decision Concerning TTC’s Member TTC ་ Kan]
[Recently, TTC found that one of their players was being suspected of serious misconduct. The club took initiative to request an investigation and reported the incident to the League of Legends Pro League’s Discipline Committee.
Through inquiry and verification, the Discipline Committee has ascertained:
During the S10 World Championship semifinals, TTC’s Li Kan (ID: TTC ་ Kan) knowingly engaged in inappropriate behavior that affected the fairness of the competition. In addition, he utilized illegal means to influence the game and the competition outcome.
Based on these findings, the LPL Discipline Committee is imposing the following penalty: TTC’s Li Kan (ID: TTC ་ Kan) will be suspended for 18 competitive months.
This penalty will be effective from the date of this announcement.
We hope that all professional players can abide by the relevant rules and Summoner’s Code, forever holding fast to their own drive for the game.]
Matchfixing wasn’t actually all that uncommon, but most of the time it happened in the LDL, where it was easiest to sway some young and inexperienced newcomers. The LPL’s penalty was also almost always suspension.
Being suspended for 18 competitive months seemed light and harmless, but it was actually equivalent to sealing off Kan’s competitive path. Once the suspension period was over, TTC wouldn’t accept him back, nor would any other team take him in.
That bit of happiness from winning the practice match disappeared at once. Yuan Qian continuously sighed, and the other two people didn’t say anything either.
Jian Rong was affected by the atmosphere, and he silently scrolled down to the top comments—
[Even daring to matchfix during the semifinals? Am I watching Worlds or the FIFA World Cup? Then who’s going to be TTC’s new mid laner? It can’t be that substitute, right, to tell the truth that guy isn’t quite good enough either…]
[Feel so bad for God Lu… being matchfixed by this kind of dumbass, my heart is really breaking.]
[Are you certain he only fixed one match? I feel like he’s been in cahoots this entire season??]
The top three comments were still relatively normal.
[How come @TTC ་ Kan’s horde of idiot fans still aren’t quickly kneeling before my son @Soft and apologizing??]
Jian Rong: “?”
Although the other comments had many likes, they only had a few replies, at the most forty or fifty.
But this comment had over four hundred replies.
[That dumbass streamer’s livestream room has already been locked, why are you dogs still barking?]
[My son got locked because he’s still underage. 1) He’s never stripteased or done anything obscene, 2) he’s never matchfixed, 3) he didn’t participate in that gamble your God Kan created. You here talking about your mom?]
[Damn, @Soft son you’ve become a prophet]
[At the time my son was flamed into oblivion by those TTC fans. Now that the announcement is out, have all those fans just disappeared? Come out and solo your dad]
[Kan was the one matchfixing, what does it have to do with TTC’s other members? A bunch of morons.]
[Okokok in any case all those TTC fans who came to badmouth my son because of this incident back then are all dumbasses, we can leave it at that.]
[TTC fans, just keep hopping. Even through the screen I can imagine your hopping mad appearance right now. There haven’t been any particularly powerful pro mid laners looking for a team lately either, how will your precious club carry on in the future? They probably won’t even be able to enter the knockout stage.]
[No need for a noob streamer’s fans to be concerned~ just look at TTC’s team configuration, we aren’t worried about not being able to find a good mid laner.]
[Never mind, my son isn’t here anymore. Anyone who’s a dad, go set off 999 firecrackers for him. Congrats in advance to TTC for joyously finishing in S11’s Top 16!]
[Hehe, if my son wasn’t locked out of his livestream right now, he would instantly start a big rapping competition in his stream upon seeing this. Not a single one of you @TTC Esports Club, @TTC ་ Road, @TTC ་ Bye, @TTC ་ Pine, @TTC ་ Qian, @TTC ་ Kan better think of freaking getting away!]
Sensing a scorching gaze coming from next to him, Jian Rong slowly turned his head.
And then, he met his neighbor Xiao Bai’s eyes.
Xiao Bai’s phone screen was the same as his, stopped amidst this comment’s replies.
Xiao Bai: “…”
Jian Rong: “…”
Yan: The author stated that they based Kan’s announcement off of one of the LPL’s actual penalty announcements. I also used this post for reference (and thus realized the actual term for matchfixing face palms). By this point all previous references to matchfixing as ‘playing fake matches’ should be fixed!
Wei: Wow… All these fans really setting themselves up for some face slapping haha