Classmancers - A MOBA Esport Story 39 Rift In The Team

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"Hoh," Jennifer nodded. "You can actually do it when you try." She referred to Alex's recent play, when he silenced the Paladin and secured a kill on the Ranger.

"Hmph." Alex shrugged, but it's clear Coach's words had an effect on him. The mere mention of the first string was enough to light a fire. No matter how slim, if there's still a chance to get into the first string - Alex wanted to grab it no matter what. Jennifer understood that well, since she was in the same boat.

It also seemed like he didn't make s.h.i.+t up when blaming his poor performance on lane matchup. Now, that he played against a greedy opponent on lane, he punished his opponents without mercy. There's n.o.body better than Alex at punis.h.i.+ng aggressive plays, even Jennifer had to admit that.

It's frustrating, but Alex was... Well, kind of a genius. He showed his stupid face in the club like twice a week at best, yet Coach still insisted putting him in the second string. And, as a vice-captain no less. Jennifer bombarded Coach with objections on the matter, but turned out Alex could pull his own weight. Heck, he even made a good play there.

[Meh, I really hate that b.a.s.t.a.r.d.] Jennifer grumped. This sure brought back memories, from when she was but a clueless freshman in the club.

When she first joined, she had less than 30 hours of playtime under under her belt. She was such a noob, couldn't even tell left from right. The club had a tough entry exam, it was a mystery how she sc.r.a.ped through it. Maybe Coach went easier on her because she was a newbie, or because she was a girl, or both.

Either way, it was a miracle she made it through. The gap between her and the other freshmen was appalling, it's like she wandered into an alien world. Some of the words they used sounded Chinese to her.

But, even among all these aliens, there was one who stood above the rest: Alex Romanov, a prodigy rookie. His existence made Jennifer feel like an ant. In the first couple of days, it became clear he was a league above other rookies. He had more experience than them, already a Gold player in Ranked. Jennifer hadn't even unlocked the mode at that point. On top of that, his refined plays and sharp decision-making awed everybody. He was a guy to be feared and respected.

But, all these achievements weren't enough for him. "I'll make it into the first string this year, mark my words." He proclaimed time and again, even after learning how compet.i.tive the club was.

With Coach guiding new players, a huge skill gap existed between freshman and juniors. Rookies felt like wannabe players, whereas juniors almost looked like pros. And, seniors were definitely pros The rookies were thoroughly trashed during practice matches to be learn their place. They'd have to train for years before reaching the seniors' level, only then they can start dreaming about the compet.i.tive scene.

Nevertheless, Alex insisted: "I'll make it, just you watch." He sounded so dumb, but also so cool at the same time. Thinking back on it, maybe Jennifer even had a little crush on him back then. Bleh.


Anyway, he refused to yield. No matter who ridiculed his ambition, he kept working his a.s.s off throughout the first year. Coming early to practice, staying overtime and talking about Cla.s.smancers 24/7. It was impossible to catch him doing something unrelated to Cla.s.smancers.

That burning desire to make the impossible possible, that's why Jennifer made Alex her goal. For her, who was at the bottom of the bottom, Alex was like a role model. He was a talented player, yet everybody ridiculed him for trying to get into the first string. Nevertheless, he didn't yield. So, Jennifer refused to yield either.

No matter how many times others called her an untalented scrub, she kept working hard. All she wanted was to become a respectable player, one who could stand shoulder to shoulder with the other freshmen. Such a small, but d.a.m.n hard, wish to fulfil. There were countless times she considered quitting, but every time she remembered Alex's efforts and kept pus.h.i.+ng forward. It's only thanks to him that she remained in the club to this day.

For the better or the worse, a lot had changed since then. Through sheer effort, Jennifer climbed all the way to a captain position. She reached way beyond "respectable player", she was considered among the club's top dogs.

On the other hand, Alex gave up halfway through. Because of that, he failed to reach the first string even on his last year. All his unrewarded hard work during the first year burned him out, turning him into a sh.e.l.l of his former self. Zero motivation, zero effort. A total disgrace.

Still, one truth remained: even now, he had the makings of a strong player. His potential was only held back by the lack of practice and fighting spirit. Coach brought up the possibility of promotion in front of everybody, but he mentioned it to Alex first. Not Jennifer, but Alex.

Gah, so triggering! Coach still had expectations for Alex, even in his current sorry state. Not for Jennifer who worked hard every day, but for Alex who lazed around. Even after chasing Alex's back for so long and eventually surpa.s.sing him, she still somehow felt inferior.

[d.a.m.n, I'm not losing to some lazy b.u.m!] Jennifer clenched her mouse. So what if Alex made some good plays? She not gonna lose! It's time to show these scrubs what she's really made of! Time to uncloak her secret weapon!

She rushed Spellbook of Doom during the early game, to begin her combo plays as soon as possible. She gonna terrorize that scrubby Electromancer and score like twenty kills on him! Yeah, that's right! For each a.s.sist Alex got, she gonna score ten kills! She not gonna lose against that lazy b.u.m!

After clearing all enemy minions, she uncloaked her Spellbook of Doom and hit the Electromancer with Pillar of Fire. She already baited Thunderclap out of him earlier, so he had no way to escape. He won't see this coming!

Soon after Pillar of Fire connected, she followed with Flame Wave and Blaze of Inferno. The usual pattern. That scrub sure didn't expect losing his 80% HP in just two seconds! Ha!

『You have killed an enemy!』

Flawless execution, just like she practiced. Maybe she wasn't a natural genius like Alex, but she delivered results through hard work! She's not gonna lose. Not to Alex, and not to anybody else!

"Spellbook? Already?" Gilbert frowned as he stared at the message on his screen.

『You have been killed!』

This was unexpected, to say the least. Breaker kept her Spellbook of Doom cloaked until the right moment, baited Thunderclap of him and then destroyed his life with a combo. Thinking back on it, he should had suspected something was off when she suddenly went on the offensive and then retreated as soon as he spent Thunderclap. She was already setting up the stage back then, it was so obvious. d.a.m.n. He was played.

"She rushed Spellbook, so beware of combos." Gilbert informed the rest. "Pyro is already hard enough for to deal with as Electro, so I doubt I can handle her combos on top of that. Help will be appreciated."

"Sorry, man." Trever shook his head. "I gotta deal with lots of s.h.i.+t over here too."

"Yeah," Roi said "I'm not having an easy time either. They keep rotating from your lanes into mine 24/7. Do something about that, will ya?"

"Hey, don't blame me for that s.h.i.+t." Trever scowled. "I almost got them both times, just got unlucky there. You're a big boy, you can handle a gank or two. Just hug the Turret until they give up and you gonna be fine."

"Sure." Roi rolled his eyes. "Except, if they push me back to tower all the time, the Viking gonna outfarm me like crazy. I'm already lagging behind on gold and can't 1v1 him."

"Well, figure something out, man." Trever shrugged. "You're not the only one eating s.h.i.+t here."

"Just keep your opponents in lane, okay?"

"We would, if it were that easy." Gilbert said. "It definitely doesn't help our Jungler ganks only once in a blue moon."

"Excuse me," Dan retorted. "I'm not exactly a fan of ganking fed enemies with full health. You gotta poke them harder first if you want good ganks."

Back and forth. Forth and back. Blame was fired in every direction and Yuel wasn't spared either. He made some poor shot-calls, failing to predict the enemy's movements. The enemy's mixup didn't only shuffle the players around the map, it also made these very same players move differently.

For example, unless there were special circ.u.mstances, Breaker always rotated upwards. She started at Bot, went to Mid and usually end up in Top. It's a routine Yuel saw countless times and even exploited.

But, the rule was broken this game. Breaker now started in Mid, so she was supposed to rotate to Top. But, she rotated to Bot.

『An ally has been killed!』

"s.h.i.+t!" Trever roared. "Didn't you say she'll go for Top!? Great job, detective!"

"Ugh." Yuel bit his lip. It was a careless mistake. He should figured he couldn't blindly trust his previous deductions, yet he went for it anyway. His attention was split between shot-calling and thinking about the team's sorry state. He had to focus. [Focus!]

"What, nothing to say for yourself?" Trever clicked his tongue.

"... Sorry." Yuel hung his head in apology. Any attempt to justify himself would only add fuel to the fire.

"Man, get a grip. I'm getting stomped all over the place thanks to you. You're been playing like s.h.i.+t the whole game."

"Sorry." Yuel apologized again. That's all he could do. He itched to urge back against him "playing poorly the whole game", because it's clearly Trever who messed up the team's early game. But, he held himself back. The team already succ.u.mbed to toxicity, he shouldn't feed it any further.

Excuses aside, he failed to predict Breaker's movements. Even worse, he carelessly claimed he knew where she'll rotate, giving Trever the green light to keep pus.h.i.+ng. He chose to trust his deduction without thinking twice, because if Breaker were to rotate to Top - Trever would be able to push Bot hard, maybe even score his first kill. Finally, StormBlitz would make a strong play! It'd surely alleviate some of the team's toxicity!

It was too alluring. He gave in to temptation, ignoring reason to chase that daydream. So, this was fully on him. And, it wasn't the first dumb mistake he committed due to haste. Ever since his team started bickering, he stumbled time and again as he tried to restore the team's momentum.

It's bad. The team was falling apart. Their chances of winning slipped farther and farther away with every pa.s.sing second. If Yuel lost his focus too, they'll be doomed.

How could he turn this around? Was there anything he could do? The fastest way to inject the team with some positivity was to make a strong play, preferably as a team. For example, winning a team fight would surely boost morale. As the shot-caller, it was up to him to prepare the stage for that. But...

[Isn't there anything? Anything at all!?] He scanned the map, the status screen, compared levels, calculated gold, scanned the map again. Nothing. He couldn't find the play his team desperately needed.

Was there really none? Or, was he too foggy to see it? There's no denying it: the negative atmosphere got to him as well. His vision and judgment were clouded. Thoughts about the situation constantly distracted him. What should he do? How could he turn this around? These questions haunted him.

On top of that, the enemy's mixup strategy got him well. They only moved three players around the map, yet it changed the the rhythm of the whole team.

With Freezer as Support and SkyNight as Carry, the Bot duo played a lot more defensively than the Breaker + SkyNight duo. They made calculated plays and always waited for the right time to punish overextension. That's how they punished Trever time and again, as he threw caution to the wind for some reason.

At the same time, with ComboBreaker in Mid, the lane turned into a raging war zone as soon as she unlocked her combo. She relentlessly pressured Gilbert and went for kills, a world apart from how Freezer played Mid in the last two games. On top of adapting to a completely new beast, Gilbert also had to fend off Breaker's unstoppable offense. He was a smart player with solid judgment, but mechanical skill wasn't his forte. Therefore, Breaker overwhelmed him with the combination of superior mechanical skill and tremendous burst damage.

Just by s.h.i.+fting players between lanes, the dynamics of the match completely changed. And, this wasn't even a "full mixup", as only three enemies changed roles. A true mixup shuffled the entire team around, that's what the first string had to deal with right now. Yuel could only imagine how difficult it was.

[If I can't even deal with this much, how am I ever going to get into the first string?] He gritted his teeth. He had to find a way to overturn this situation. He won't lose to some half-baked mixup. If he couldn't overcome that much, he had no hope getting into the first string anytime soon.

[Think. It can't be that hard. They changed positions, but they're still the same players.] He took a deep breath and blocked out the negative energy surrounding him. They already played against these enemies before. Twice already. The changes in position caught them off guard, but the shock value mostly wore off by now. In addition, mid game started, so lane matchups were no longer as important.

That's when it hit him. Even though Breaker played Mid, she was a Combo Pyromancer just like before. Likewise, even though Freezer played Support, he stuck to his hybrid build like before. In other words, once Breaker and Freezer stepped out of their lanes to partake in team fights - they'll become familiar foes again. That's when Yuel will get a chance to turn the tables around with all the data he acc.u.mulated on them!

There's no need to act hasty right now. He gave up on making huge plays and prioritized defense, waiting for his chance. No matter what, he couldn't allow the enemy gain any more advantage before the team fighting phase. When the likes of Breaker were fed, they became virtually unstoppable. That's the main danger he had to avert at any cost.

"Gilbert, return to base." Yuel said as he arrived in Mid. "I'll hold the lane."

"She clears fast," Gilbert argued. "You won't be able to hold her back."

"I know, but it's better than feeding her a kill."

"... Yeah, I suppose." Gilbert nodded with a complicated expression. Odd. Gilbert should had known that conceding another kill to Breaker was the worst thing they could do right now. Yet, he seemed reluctant about returning to base.

Why? Did he want to stick around and fight Breaker? Sure, if he could score a kill on Breaker, then the tides would turn in their favor and he'd compensate for his two deaths. However, it's too risky. Even Yuel preferred going on the defensive here, despite usually favoring offensive tactics. Their situation was that desperate.

As Gilbert warned, Yuel couldn't hold Breaker back. With her superior damage, fueled by the extra gold and exp she gained from two kills on Gilbert, she torched minions in an instant. Yuel couldn't compete in the slightest in term of wave clearing speed, but at he zoned Breaker out of the Turret's area. She was forced to rely on her minions for pus.h.i.+ng the Turret, without getting any attacks in.

She clearly wanted to invade, but reconsidered. Good. She understood the dangers of invading against a Paladin, Yuel's whole plan revolved around that. Justice Strike gained additional effects against enemies who dealt large amounts of damage since their latest resp.a.w.n, and Breaker was the biggest offender right now. She knew she most likely stacked enough damage on her record to trigger Justice Strike's most vicious effect: stun. If Yuel were to make the Turret target Breaker and then stunned her within the Turret's range, she'd be done for.

In the end, Breaker didn't dare to invade. The Turret fell from 70% HP to 40% HP due to efforts of enemy minions, but the it remained intact. Mission accomplished. The Turret survived and they didn't feed Breaker with any kills. All's well that ended we-

『An ally has been killed!』

"Gah!" Trever exclaimed. "Where are you at? I can't 1v2 them!"

"But, I told you to play defensively..." Yuel muttered. While he was busy defending Mid, Trever was left alone in Bot and had to face Freezer and SkyNight. Considering Trever's poor performance so far, Yuel was convinced it's best to make him play safe by hugging the Turret. Yet, somehow, Trever failed even that.

"You saw how my previous fights went and you still leave the lane?" Trever ranted. "Support please?"

"... Sorry." Yuel clenched his mouse. [Excuse me for believing you can do something as simple as hugging a tower. Totally my fault.] Given the circ.u.mstances, Yuel had no choice but rotate back to Bot. "I'll go defend Bot."

"Yeah, great! Come back right after I'm dead! Such helpful, so support!"

"Ugh." Yuel trembled. What's that guy's problem? Yuel did everything he could to prevent this match from heading straight to h.e.l.l, but all he received in return were complaints.

Just who was that angry guy and what did he do to the usual goof? Trever's transformation was so uncanny it was unsettling. Yuel caught glimpses of this behaviour before during practice matches, but he still couldn't believe this was happening right now.

Just what was wrong with Trever? Yuel couldn't find the answer to that. There's only one thing he knew: if things continue like this, the team will fall apart for sure. He had to do something, anything. But what? No idea.

Maybe... Maybe this was beyond his power.

Classmancers - A MOBA Esport Story 39 Rift In The Team

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