Classmancers - A MOBA Esport Story 99 Do I Have The Right To Win?
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"Heh, that guy is one h.e.l.l of a sniper..." Gilbert smiled wryly. This death was so frustrating that he had to laugh it off or else it'll eat away at him.
[Seriously, Gil?] Howard frowned. [You gonna pretend Lars's skill is too much for you? What kind of excuse is that?]
Gilbert didn't lose to something simple like "inferior skill". Cla.s.smancers wasn't some shallow game where everything could be blamed on a difference in mechanical skill. Gilbert should have known that well by now, and yet...
[Gil may become useless at this rate.] Howard concluded. A fighter who lost his determination to adapt was useless. With that kind of mentality, Gilbert will keep losing time and again.
Was there anything Howard could do to still salvage Gilbert? Scolding may make Gilbert even more conscious of his faults and that'll drag down his performance even further. At the same time, giving Gilbert empty praise like "you did your best" may make Gilbert think there was really nothing he could've done in that situation and that admitting defeat was alright.
It was a delicate issue. Howard couldn't tell for sure how Gilbert may react, so it was safer to not poke this beehive. It was a rare display of weakness from a player who was otherwise solid and consistent, so Howard didn't know how to deal with this yet. It was unfortunate, but Gilbert lost to the pressure and to his pride, and this wasn't the first time either.
[I don't like this,] Howard frowned. [In a tournament match, things like that are fatal.]
Consequently, Howard's eyes naturally fell on Julia's status. As if responding to his gaze, a message popped up.
『An ally has been killed!』
Julia finished off Gregory shortly after Gilbert's death. The 2v2 turned into an unfortunate 0-2 for Howard's team.
Lars performed well in that fight, as expected from him. However, surprisingly, Julia also put on a very strong showing there. From how she countered the gank with Hurricane by separating Gilbert and Gregory, and all the way to the final play where she combined Jet Stream with Angelic Grace to catch up to Gilbert. Truly, Julia executed this attack with finesse. It was a type of aggressiveness that Gilbert lacked.
[Hmm, I wonder...] Howard didn't expect such thoughts to emerge during this selection match, but there was no denying that Gilbert had a tendency to underperform under certain circ.u.mstances. Of course, Julia also had her own bag of problems. However, if she can learn to consistently play like she's playing right now, then...
"Haha!" Julia pumped a fist after scoring a kill on Gregory. "Get cucked, b.a.s.t.a.r.d!"
"Awesome job, July!" Lars called. "We got them both!"
"Y-Yeah!" A wave of heat spread throughout Julia's body as the situation sank in. Not only did Lars just praise her for playing aggressively, but they made a beautiful combo play together! The game was a blast and was on a roll! It was awesome!
[I can do it!] Julia clenched her mouse. If she keeps playing like this, she'll deliver victory to the team for sure. She'll murder everybody for the sake of getting Lars into the first string! [Yeah, that's right! You idiots all gotta die for the sake of my love!]
However, right now, there weren't any enemies in sight. So, Julia took a deep breath to calm down. If she stays in this hyper state the whole time, her heart will explode for sure. Therefore, until she runs into another enemy, it was better to switch gears for defense- wha!? A wild Ellen appeared!
[Sorry, July,] Ellen smiled wryly. [I knew you'd stay here for a little too long like that.]
It was a habit Julia exhibited from time to time when they practiced together. After scoring a kill, Julia remained at the same place for a few seconds, supposedly to "cool her engines". During this short period of time, she was in a limbo between her offensive and defensive sides. Therefore, any surprise attack would catch her off-guard!
"S-s.h.i.+t! I gott!" Julia jumped. She had to defend! No, to attack! Wait, what was her HP? What was Ellen's HP? What was- AH! A wolf jumped on her and pinned her to the ground!
[It's not exactly fair to use this against you,] Ellen thought. [But, everything is fair in love and war, right? You're fighting for the boy you love and so do I. And, I have to win to stay on the first string, so... sorry.]
Ellen relentlessly barraged Julia. It felt bad exploiting Julia's weaknesses like that, but it couldn't be helped in this serious match. In order to win, Ellen had to use every trick and tool at her disposal, no matter how low she had to stoop.
『You have killed an enemy!』
"I hope I redeemed myself a little," Ellen said. This kill should compensate at least a little for the fact she was likely the one who triggered Julia's aggressive side.
"Good work," Howard nodded. "Make sure to advise the others too about how and when it's best to attack Julia."
[So,] Howard pondered. [Even with this stronger playstyle, Julia still has some glaring flaws to overcome.]
Apparently, it took Julia some time to switch time from offense to defense and vice versa. During that period, she was a vulnerable target. In other words, she wasn't good at quickly adapting to surprises which required switching her focus.
This was the exact opposite of Gilbert, who trained himself to switch gears in an instant. But, in Gilbert's case, the tradeoff was that both his offense and defense weren't as outstanding as Julia's.
[I guess I can't have it all, huh.] Howard shook his head. One Mid Laner had balanced offense & defense, while the other had hyper offense & defense but could only pilot one mode at a time. [Can't these two just fuse into one player? Seriously.]
Which of these two will prove more useful in tournaments? It was hard to tell at the moment. However, one thing was for sure: Julia was on Howard's radar. By the end of this match, Howard will have to decide which of the two he prefers for Mid.
But first, his team actually had to win this game. The late-game was approaching and the threat of Seraph was growing ever nearer.
"Gil," Howard called out. "Focus on defense for now. No need to chase kills for now, not even against Lars."
"Alright..." Gilbert's tone implied he understood the criticism hidden in this order. As a hyper-defensive team, they only had two players who served as attackers: Taison and Gilbert. So, an order which sent one of the two attackers to defense sent a pretty clear message: "You're not doing your job on the offense, so I'm taking you off that role for now."
[I suppose that's fair.] Gilbert nodded with a difficult expression. It was the second time he "overextended" this game. Or, at least, Howard clearly saw these two occurrences as overextensions. [I think I couldn't help it in both cases because of the surprise element, but I digress. Fact is, I died twice and I'm sure Howard isn't a fan of this trend. Alright then, defense it is for now.]
The team's situation as a whole was far from good right now and things were only getting worse. Howard had to leave Taison alone in Top when he dashed to rescue Ellen, so now the Taison vs. Roi fight was coming to an end.
Throughout that 1v1, Taison held the upper hand overall with his impressive dueling skills. However, the situation was coming down to the wire. It was turning into the kind of scenario which Yuel liked exploiting.
"Tai, retreat," Howard ordered
"Huh???" Taison made noise. "But I'm totally owning this m.o.f.o! I can beat him-"
"Retreat. Now. If you don't, you're going to be ganked."
"Tch, okay." Taison turned around and darted toward the jungle.
[Alright, let's see,] Howard visualized the many different escape routes Taison could use. Which was the most predictable? Which was the fastest? And most importantly, which one was Yuel most likely to target?
If Howard lets Taison run freely, Taison will probably go straight through the center of the jungle and will recall from there. However, such a route would be too predictable. Therefore, the most straightforward counter would be to make Taison take an unexpected turn somewhere along the way. But, will that be enough to throw Yuel off?
[d.a.m.n, I don't know.] Howard rubbed his eyes. On one hand, Yuel surely knew Taison's most likely escape route, so he may choose to target it. In that case, telling Taison to stray from that route would be ideal.
On the other hand, by now Yuel must have figured many of the quirks of Howard's defensive shot-calls. So, Yuel may instead predict the alternative escape route which Howard had in mind. In that case, leaving Taison to his own devices would actually be the better move.
[Does Yuel even have a way to guess which of the two scenarios is more likely?] Howard couldn't tell for the life of him. That chesskid could see like twenty turns ahead, so all Howard could do here was to gamble on one of the two approaches. Thus, he decided on the alternative escape route he came up with.
"Tai," Howard called while drawing a route on the mini-map. "Escape like this."
"Huh? Why, tho? Isn't it safer to just go straight through the jungle?"
"Yeah, it is. That's what the enemy ganker gonna think too."
"Oh! So, it's like mind games and s.h.i.+t! Okay, okay. Gotcha, fam. So, you want me to run around in the jungle and then actually get back to lane?"
"You got it!"
[And now, to pray that this coin flip is successful.] Howard tapped his foot as he awaited Yuel's response.
"Roi," Yuel started. "Chase Taison."
"You sure it's a good idea? I'm kinda running low myself, ya know."
"Don't worry, they can't gank you." After all, both Howard and Ellen were in Bot Jungle. Howard has already spent his Teleport to rescue Ellen, while Ellen surely didn't have enough gold to buy Teleport considering all the Checkpoint Wards she has been buying.
"Okay, I just hope it doesn't backfire," Roi gave chase. [I really can't die here, so I better maintain some distance. If things get dangerous, I better bolt. Another stupid death here would make it look like I'm throwing the game. Better safe than sorry!]
"Dan," Yuel drew a path on the mini-map. "Cut off Taison's escape route through the jungle."
"Huh? Ah, yeah, right! Go gank and shenanigans! On it, chief!"
"Good," Yuel nodded. That pause was a little odd but it didn't sound like Dan had any objections.
Good, everything was set. Taison will either run straight through the jungle and will get cut off by Dan, or Howard will tell Taison to take a misleading turn somewhere along the way. For that reason, Roi will remain on Taison's tail and will constantly reveal Taison's course. If Taison curves, Roi should be able to catch up and slow Taison down until Dan arrives for backup. It was a flawless pincer.
[So, I gotta kill Taison, huh.] Dan smiled wryly as he ran through the jungle. With Roi pursuing Taison from the other side, this pincer looked pretty solid. Taison was running low on health, so it should be enough to just leap on him and use Mighty Roar afterward. Thanks to Lionfolk's pa.s.sive, Superiority, the CC from Mighty Roar gonna hit Taison pretty hard and it'll be an ezpz kill.
If Dan kills Taison, it'll be the third death for the enemy team after Gilbert and Gregory; the situation will become a nasty 4v2. Even the almighty Howard, the Big s.h.i.+eld Dude himself, won't be able to defend from that position. There simply won't be enough resources to build a solid defense.
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So, if this pincer gank succeeds, it may very well spell Game Over for Howard. It was a huge play.
[Should I really be doing this?] Dan clenched his mouse. It felt wrong. For Howard, this match will decide whether he can play in tournaments, which will determine his chances of getting into Grandview High. That'll directly affect his chances of being scouted for the pro scene during high school.
In other words, this little inter-club match might decide Howard's entire future! Wasn't that absurd? Like, they were just middle schoolers, they weren't supposed to worry about difficult stuff like getting a job.
Well, at least Dan definitely didn't worry about anything. For him, this was just a game and just a club. Sure, he enjoyed competing and playing with his fams but, in the end, this was just a game. He didn't have any grand plans like becoming a pro or anything of the sort. He was just pretty good at the game and there were many cla.s.ses for him to master, so it was fun to keep playing and improving.
It was exactly the same for him back when he played baseball in grade school. It was all fun and games, but that's pretty much it. Back then, Dan always laughed whenever Roi went all like "If we win the nationals, we'll be one step closer to becoming Major Leaguers!" It sounded like some childish nonsense.
However, in this selection match, it was for real. Unlike Roi, Howard was a guy with a head on his shoulders. Howard properly researched what was required to get into Grandview High and even reached out to the school via his pro sister. His road toward the pro scene was paved clearly and it all started with winning this selection match.
[Isn't that kinda unfair?] Somebody like Dan, who didn't have any aspirations for Cla.s.smancers, was forced to stand in Howard's way and potentially destroy Howard's dreams. It's like Howard was the hero of the story and Dan was cast as a villain. Not fun.
Heck, Dan didn't even have anything to lose this match because his spot on the first string wasn't at stake. Taison has been putting on quite the performance today as Jungler, but there was no way Howard would pick that guy over Dan. Taison was pretty good in fights and stuff, but he had nothing on Dan's versatility.
So, Dan had literally zero stakes in this match.
[Do I even have the right to help beating Howard's team?] n.o.body was there to answer that question for him. As far as Dan was concerned, Howard should just win this match already and keep advancing toward the pro scene.
There was absolutely no reason for Dan to get in the way. On the contrary, he rooted for Howard. That guy should definitely become a pro. Heck, he might even already be pro material at his current level; dude was nuts.
But, this selection match was taking place for a reason. Yuel and Lars wanted to be on the first string, so they challenged Howard and Ellen to this battle. So, Yuel and Lars had stakes in this match too. If they lose, they won't be able to play compet.i.tively for the entire next year.
[Well, sucks to them but it's not that big of a deal, to be honest. I mean, I'm also only getting to play in tournaments during my third year, sooooo...] Dan understood the desire to compete in tournaments, but waiting one more year won't kill them. They didn't have nearly as much to lose as Howard.
That's why this third game was so tough. Ever since Dan learned about Howard's ambitions, this entire match became weird. It was just plain wrong. They shouldn't be fighting among themselves like this. Everybody should just root on Howard and support him in any way they could. Or, at least, they shouldn't be getting in Howard's way like some villains.
Did Yuel know about Howard's plans? Did he insist on beating Howard despite that? Dan considering asking but gave up on the idea.
Howard asked Dan to take the match seriously, so Dan shouldn't be causing any quarrels within the team. Like, if even the important guy in question asked Dan to fight hard, what excuse did Dan have to go easy this match? None. Zero. Zilch.
[Oh, d.a.m.n. I took a wrong turn.] Dan shook his head to regain focus. He accidentally wandered deeper into the jungle instead of continuing straight ahead. Well, it won't slow him down by that much but still, a derp was a derp. He better start focusing on the game before he screws something up.
[So, Dan is coming too.] Howard spotted the Lionfolk on the mini-map. It wasn't clear why Dan approached through this part of the jungle instead of picking the shorter route but it was good fortune because a stray ward exposed his position.
By knowing Dan's exact position and direction of approach, Howard could issue defensive orders more efficiently. He no longer had to outguess anything. It was crystal clear what Yuel was going for: a pincer attack by Roi and Dan. It was the most difficult scenario to defend against, but not an impossible one.
On one hand, taking a curved turn to return all the way to Top was impossible because Roi was hot on Taison's tail. On the other hand, continuing along the shortest jungle route was a surefire way to get ganked by Dan. So, at first glance, all of Taison's options appeared to be sealed.
However, there was a third solution: turning toward Mid Lane. This sounded silly at first because with such a big slowdown Dan should be able to catch up for sure. However, considering the inefficient route Dan was taking, this was actually Taison's best bet.
Dan's current route had many jungle walls in his way, so it'll be harder for him to properly aim his leap across a wall even if he catches up to Taison. If Dan is still distracted by what Howard told them over the break, there was a chance a miracle will happen.
[A miracle, huh.] Howard chuckled. It wasn't like him to rely on chance, but he didn't see any better ways out of this situation. Everything was riding on how efficiently Dan will execute his gank. Even the slightest delay on Dan's part will prove critical and will allow Taison to slip away.
"Tai, change of plans." Howard drew a new route on the mini-map, one which curved toward Mid Lane.
[Taison is going to Mid?] Yuel pondered. This was the last thing he expected to see but it was easy to gank all the same. "Dan, just cut him off before..." Yuel's words trailed off as he noticed Dan's position. "Why did you enter deeper into the jungle?"
"Haha, my bad," Dan laughed it off. "A force of habit, I guess. Don't worry, I'll catch up in no time."
"I sure hope so." Yuel frowned but didn't say anything more. Because of this small mistake, the perfectly calculated pincer might come down to the wire. Dan will have to time his leap perfectly to hit Taison across the wall.
Was there any way to provide backup and increase the chances of catchingTaison? Lars was currently pus.h.i.+ng Mid, so he could quickly rotate to the jungle and turn this into a three-way pincer. However, that may come at the cost of not finis.h.i.+ng the Mid Turret during this push.
[What's more important right now? The kill or the Turret?] Yuel pondered for a moment but it wasn't much of a dilemma, really. Taking down a Turret, especially the Mid Turret, was equivalent to scoring at least three kills, maybe more. Therefore. Lars should keep pus.h.i.+ng Mid.
[I'll just have to trust Dan here.] Yuel concluded.
[Oopsie.] Dan realized the bad turn from earlier made this gank ten times harder to pull off. That sudden turn Taison made toward Mid was a great way to capitalize on Dan's weak positioning.
How did the enemy even know about Dan's slip up? Did he pa.s.s by an enemy ward when he made the bad turn?
[d.a.m.n, talk about bad luck. Welp, then.] Not much Dan could do about it at this point. He just had to keep going and finish the gank from this position. The moral question of whether he should be getting in Howard's way weighed on him, but this wasn't the time to be distracted by stuff. He was a srs bsns player and he was cast into a game, so he had to play his role.
If Howard is really as amazing as he claims to be and got what it takes to become a pro, he should be able to overcome these odds, right? ...right?
[Gah! I just gotta do it! Here goes nothing!] Dan got Taison in his range and jumped over the wall with Majestic Leap!
Classmancers - A MOBA Esport Story 99 Do I Have The Right To Win?
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Classmancers - A MOBA Esport Story 99 Do I Have The Right To Win? summary
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