Classmancers - A MOBA Esport Story 78 The Hungry Jungler

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The match gradually transitioned toward the mid-game. Yuel's team was leading with a 2-0 in terms of kills, one kill by Lars and one kill by Roi. The kill count alone usually didn't tell the entire story unless there was a huge lead but, in this case, it was a fairly accurate representation of the game's state: Yuel's team was in a superior position.

[Not enough.] Yuel knitted his brows. It's great they scored two kills during the early-game, but the pace slowed down ever since.

Howard and Ellen fortified their defenses and Yuel couldn't find another opportunity to set up a kill. The Impulse Bomb play worked splendidly for the first time, but it won't work again. Likewise, Gregory turtled up in Top Lane after his first death. As a result, Roi couldn't score any additional kills.

To be absolutely sure the team will dominate mid-game, Yuel wanted at least one more kill. The damage outputs of both Trickshooter and Dark Knight dropped off during mid-game, so another kill by Lars or Roi was needed to compensate for that. It was especially important in Dark Knight's case, which was a hyper early-game cla.s.s.

But, how to get this one more kill? The enemy's defense was tight, as expected from a team led by Howard. With Howard playing in Bot, it was a given that killing Ellen would be difficult. However, even Gregory did a spectacular job staying alive while maintaining minimal lane control, despite playing on the other side of the map.

Was Gregory always this good at defense? No, it must have been Howard's influence. Howard knew that Roi would destroy Gregory if they clashed on the lane, so he must have trained Gregory to turtle efficiently. Though, it was unclear why Gregory didn't employ this defensive playstyle right from the start. Did he think he could beat Roi in 1v1 and that made him go against Howard's orders?

Either way, Top was sealed against kills. Yuel sent Dan to gank the lane a few times, but that approach didn't see much success. Venomancer wasn't exactly the best at finis.h.i.+ng off weakened opponents, his specialty lied in demolis.h.i.+ng tanks. Therefore, even though Yuel coordinated Dan's ganks to strike at the best timing possible, Gregory always slipped away.

[Is that also Howard's work?] Yuel pondered. Gregory's defense improved leaps and bounds during this short week, but that wasn't enough time to develop such acute decision-making. Howard must have been the one issuing the timely retreat orders for Gregory.

It seemed unlikely anybody would be able to score any kills in Top any time soon. Likewise, getting another kill in Bot seemed like a lost cause as long as Howard was there. Thus, only Mid Lane remained.

While Gregory was turtling, Roi rotated to Mid a few times. That was one of the most efficient responses against overly defensive opponents. While Gregory was busy clearing the remains of the minion wave, Roi had the freedom to leave the lane and either steal camps or gank other lanes. Mid Lane was the closest, so Roi ganked Gilbert.


Unfortunately, it never led to a kill because Gilbert was always prepared. One moment, Gilbert was aggressively pus.h.i.+ng against Julia, but the next moment he was already retreating. As a player who boasted a great balance of offense and defense, Gilbert was capable of quickly switching gears from offense to defense and vice-versa. It's like he just pressed a b.u.t.ton and his entire playstyle did a 180.

So, it was virtually impossible to catch Gilbert off-guard without some elaborate trick. Yuel had a few ideas in mind.

"Roi, let's try the Recall Feint."

"Lol, starting the mind games? Ok, ok. love this one." Roi dialed his aggression up to eleven and pressured Gregory with everything he had. It wasn't a very effective approach against a turtling opponent, but the goal wasn't to kill Gregory. Roi just had to exhaust his own resources.

"Julia," Yuel pinged the map. "Place a Sentry here and see if they got any Wards."

"Just a sec," Julia did as she was told and placed a Sentry Ward. As Yuel suspected, there was an enemy Ward there. Julia cleared it with a single basic attack.

Good, the "Recall Feint" was ready to go. The preparations for this play were on the costly side, but it'll be worth it if Roi can score another kill.

"Okay, I'm ready," Roi called out. "Let's see if this works." He retreated just enough to stay at the edge of Gregory's field of vision and formed a magical circle. It was the familiar animation for the Recall skill which sent players back to base.

"Roi is recalling," Gregory announced and sighed in relief. That recent hyper-aggression from Roi was nothing to sneeze at. Even while turtling like some wuss, Gregory found himself pressured by Roi's relentless attacks. That was some scary s.h.i.+t, it might even keep Gregory awake at night, kek.

But, that's behind him now. With Roi gone from the lane, Gregory could also recall now. At least, after he clears all these pesky enemy minions...

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"Wha!?" Gilbert exclaimed a moment later. A thunderstorm formed in Mid Lane! Bolts struck from the sky!

[Her ult!? Why now? But, I can get away.] Gilbert rolled out of the range of Thunderstorm after two bolts struck him. "Julia's ult is down. Not sure why she even went for it, maybe a misclick."

"Interesting," Howard narrowed his eyes. Julia has been playing defensively until now, so why cast Thunderstorm out of blue? Gilbert wasn't low enough to get killed by two hits of Thunderstorm and Julia wasn't exactly in a great position to follow up with another attack. Sure, she dealt decent damage with this play and Gilbert will have to play more cautiously for a while, but that wasn't a good payoff for spending such a powerful AoE ult.

[Did she want to force Gil out of position?] Howard scanned the area around Gilbert's escape path. Maybe it wasn't a very important detail, but Julia cast her Thunderstorm at the bottom half of the lane. As a result, the top half was the most logical place for Gilbert to flee towards.

Was there anything around Top Jungle? A Ward revealed Dan in Bot Jungle just recently, so there was no way he'll gank from Top Jungle. Yuel and Lars were right in Howard's face in Bot Lane, so they had nothing to do with this situation either.

And the last suspect, Roi, just recalled to base. He already bought Blink, so it's extremely unlikely he could afford Teleport on top of that. Therefore, Roi had no way to... wait.

"Gil," Howard pinged the map. "What happened to the ward over there?"

"Julia took it out a short time ago. I didn't have the chance to replace it yet."

[Julia placed a Sentry over there? On top of all the other wards, she has been spreading everywhere?] Howard found this odd.

The Sentry Ward in question was close to Top, in an area which should have been outside Julia's jurisdiction. The Ward which Gilbert originally placed there was supposed to warn him against rotations from Top that may catch him off-guard from behind. However, for Julia, having a Ward over there didn't severe much purpose. Knowing her tendency to ward every nook and cranny, she must have already placed better wards all over the place.

Hrm. Between this odd Sentry Ward near Top Lane and Julia's sudden aggression which pushed Gilbert toward Top Jungle... Wait, it couldn't be! Was this one of Yuel's tricks!?

"Gil, retreat! I think Roi is rotating."

"But, I told ya," Gregory intervened. "Roi recalled to base"

"Did you see him actually finish the recall?"

"Yep, I saw him vanish and all."

"From what distance?"

"Huh?"

"From what distance did you watch him!?"

"Um, he was kinda far away..." Gregory adjusted his gla.s.ses. What was this about anyway?

"Then," Howard's expression turned grim. "There's a chance he blinked instead of finis.h.i.+ng the recall. From far away, you won't hear Blink's sound and it won't look any different from vanis.h.i.+ng because of Recall. Gil, retreat!"

"Already started," Gilbert was in the middle of das.h.i.+ng toward his side of the lane. Alas, the response was too slow - Roi was already here! As the feared, he didn't recall after all. It was a Recall Feint!

"Tai," Howard called out. "Get to Mid and help Gil deal with Roi."

"Gotcha, fam!"

[This will be rough.] Gilbert grimaced in front of the Dark Knight. Roi only had 30% HP and 20% MP, which was a believable reason for recalling to base. However, at the same time, it was also more than enough resources for a Dark Knight to finish off a squishy mage during the early game.

Gilbert absolutely couldn't die here. Feeding the Dark Knight even a little would spell doom for the entire team. He had to get out. Now.

Unfortunately, Gilbert hasn't bought Blink yet. Until now, he had been keeping himself alive through timely retreats and Eldritch Nightmare. The good news: Eldritch Nightmare was out of cooldown. The bad news: Gilbert didn't have enough MP to cast it.

[Darn it, that's what happens when I spam invocations too much. I really need to get Blink soon.] Alas, that realization didn't help Gilbert right now. He didn't have Blink and he failed to retreat in a timely fas.h.i.+on, so he HAD to cast Eldritch Nightmare no matter what.

Therefore, Gilbert cast it. The Warlock's pa.s.sive, Life Tap, allowed him to cast spells by paying HP instead of MP. The cost for Eldritch Nightmare was especially steep, shaving off 25% of Gilbert's HP. However, that wasn't a big price to pay if it'll guarantee his survival.

Darkness erupted from Gilbert and enveloped the entre lane, robbing the enemy's vision. As long as Gilbert doesn't get too close, Roi won't be able to see him in the darkness. At least, that should have been the case...

[I came prepared this time!] Roi dumped a Stealth Ward! Yeah, just like that, in the middle of the lane!

Eldritch Nightmare didn't actually make enemies blind, it was the other way around: it gave stealth to allies inside the darkness. Therefore, a Stealth Ward cut through the darkness and exposed Gilbert's position for everybody to see!

[He won't see it coming, lol.] Now, that Roi knew exactly where to aim, he unleashed Dark Blast. Gilbert didn't even try dodging because he was sure he was stealthed. Lol, too bad! It was a clean hit! Dark Blast erased 40% HP in one fell swoop!

[Lol, DK is broken alright.] Roi couldn't help but laugh at this absurd damage. Just one hit and almost half of Gilbert's total HP went bye-bye. Gilbert just barely made it out alive with 5% HP, but he was as good as dead.

[How did he land that!?] Gilbert nearly lost his entire HP bar! "d.a.m.n, I think they got me-"

"Heeeeeeere comes Taison!" Lancer leaped onto the lane from the jungle. "I'mma save ya, bro!"

"Wait, he can see-"

"GAE BOLG! LET'S GOOOOOO!" Taison thrust his spear. Inside the darkness, he gonna land his ult for sure! Roi won't even know what hit him, khaha!

But, Roi saw everything. His Stealth Ward revealed Taison, so he saw where the attack was coming from. Roi rolled to the side to dodge the deadly spear and simultaneously to close in on Gilbert, all in one move! A 200 IQ play, lol!

[Darn it, he's catching up.] Gilbert was running slowly due to the Thunderstorm hits from earlier. Julia built Chains of Infinity, which applied a slowdown with each instance of damage. Thunderstorm struck Gilbert twice, so he carried two stacks of the slowdown effect. That must have been the main goal behind spending Thunderstorm in such a lackl.u.s.ter situation, it was all for this very moment!

Roi easily outpaced that turtle and slashed.

『You have killed an enemy!』

Ez. There was no resistance at all. Taison's gank startled Roi for a moment and the Gae Bolg was dangerous, but Taison failed to stand between Roi and Gilbert. As a result, the gank didn't pose a threat. In fact, it added another target for Roi to prey on.

After killing Gilbert, Roi restored all the way to 55% HP thanks to his pa.s.sive. So, he was more than prepared for another fight!

"s.h.i.+t!" Taison cursed. "How did he dodge my Bolg!?"

"I tried to warn you," Gilbert sighed. "Either he or Julia placed a Stealth Ward on the lane."

"d.a.m.n, my Bolg went down the toilet."

"Which resulted in my death," Gilbert added.

"I'll avenge you, bro!"

"You wouldn't have to if you just ganked properly," Gilbert jabbed. "Why did you flank him? You should've stepped in between us to stop him from chasing me."

"I went for the kill, yo." Taison thrust his spear into the Dark Knight's shoulder while explaining. "If I just landed that d.a.m.n Bolg, Roi would have been totally screwed! I could've finished him off on the spot!"

"I believe I asked you to help Gil," Howard said. "I didn't ask you to go Mid to kill Roi."

"Um, yeah, like," Taison's attention span was split between maintaining the conversation and stabbing Roi.

"Retreat," Howard ordered. "You don't want to feed him another kill, do you?"

"Yeah, guess I better get the heck out." Taison was finally convinced when Roi booted his damage reflection cloak. What a freakin' nightmare of a skill It was. Taison turned around and darted from there.

"Tai," Howard spoke up again after Taison made it out. "You were supposed to get between Roi and Gil in that situation, not to attack. Your job was to protect him, not to get a kill."

"I was gonna protect him by getting a kill! I snuck up to Roi like a ninja and struck from the shadows! It was supposed to be perfect, yo!"

"You do realize that, by going around to flank Roi, you took the longer route and delayed your arrival? As a result, you gave Roi more time to close in on Gil."

"Ah, well, if you put it that way..." Taison s.h.i.+fted his eyes and smiled awkwardly.

"The Jungler's job isn't just to get kills, I believe we went over this. You also need to consider how your presence on the lane can change the situation. If you just got there earlier, there's a chance Roi would have decided to retreat right away without chasing the kill any further. You could've resolved the entire situation without lifting a finger, just by being there."

"Yeah, I gotcha," Taison sighed. "Sorry, bro, I'm gonna pay more attention next time."

"That'll be great.' Gilbert said.

[Alright.] Howard nodded to himself. This failure will hopefully stick in Taison's head for a while and will point that rascal in the right direction next time.

Taison was a skilled player, but he was rough in many departments. Half of the problem was that Jungler was his secondary role, and the other half was his att.i.tude toward the game: he always sought glory through scoring kills.

In some situations, that mentality was a great strength. But, in many others, it was a glaring flaw. Even though Junglers were commonly a.s.sociated with ganking and getting kills, that was a shallow understanding of the role. The Jungler's mere presence was an important weapon in its own right. A good Jungler knew when to appear on the lane to scare enemies away without even lifting a finger.

Unfortunately, Taison lacked such in-depth understanding at the moment. Despite Howard's best efforts, a single week wasn't enough to bring Taison to that high level. No matter how many times Howard explained the importance of a Jungler's presence, the knowledge just refused to sink in.

However, there were some occasions when Taison finally got the message and started playing more efficiently. After careful observation, Howard noticed that happened whenever Taison messed up big time and was called out on it, just like this situation with Gilbert.

Based on Taison's reaction, he genuinely felt bad for letting Gilbert die. Either that, or his ego was hurt because everybody was blaming him for a terrible mistake. Anyway, this mistake lingered on Taison's mind. That was already way more effective than any lessons Howard gave him because those always went in one ear and out the other.

Taison wanted to stand out and hated being criticized, so whenever he committed a mistake and was called out - he dialed down the gas and started thinking more carefully about his actions. As a result, he transformed from a hungry beast to a more reasonable Jungler.

[Alright, this should take care of Tai's problem for a while. At least, half the problem.] Howard knew this wasn't over yet. Taison was a more skilled player than Gregory, but he also had more glaring flaws. While Gregory's biggest problem was resolved after Roi destroyed him once in 1v1, Taison required more babysitting.

Still, that was one more problem resolved. Howard hoped to resolve the other one by the end of this throwaway game.

Classmancers - A MOBA Esport Story 78 The Hungry Jungler

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Classmancers - A MOBA Esport Story 78 The Hungry Jungler summary

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