Ye Xiu was the first one to walk onto the stage for Happy. Pan Lin was not the only one who was shocked. Everyone in the stadium, including the players from Team Hundred Blossoms, were astonished.
According to the usual practices, the ace player would appear in the group arena to fight for the two points. The ace player rarely appeared in the individual competition. With Happy's arrangements, was Happy giving up on the group arena, targeting the three points in the individual competition?
There was no need to dwell on this thought. The list of names for the matches were set before the game. Zeng Xinran from Team Hundred Blossoms went on stage for this away-game.
Who was Zeng Xinran?
Before this match, no one knew.
He was a rookie promoted from the Hundred Blossom's training camp this season. When his name was submitted to the league in the new season's players list, it could be considered as his first public appearance in the circle. After that, he appeared Esport Home's September 1st edition, introducing the team rosters for the Alliance's twenty teams. All officially registered appeared in this list. Important transfers would have short introductions, but Zeng Xinran only had his name listed and popped up on Hundred Blossom's team roster just like this. No press conference had been convened for him, so no reporters thought about interviewing him.
He was not a rookie who had gained the adoration of millions, but the team gave him a chance because of his skill. He became an official player and waited for the chance to appear on stage. Then, he would use his play to earn a name for himself in the league.
Hundred Blossom didn't send him up for the opening match, so he sat idly on the bench. However, he wasn't annoyed. Unless he was one of those so-called heavenly talents, this was something almost all rookies had to experience, even more so in Team Hundred Blossoms. They had watched as player came out of their training camp, sign a contract with them, and sit on the bench. He found opportunities here and there. He gradually became a part of the main roster, then the core of the team, then a God in the Alliance.
For every rookie sitting on the benches, there was nothing more encouraging than Tang Hao's story.
Zeng Xinran inherited Delillo, the Brawler account Tang Hao left behind when he left Hundred Blossoms. He promised himself that he would be like Tang Hao and conquer the world, starting from the bench. He was able to get a chance to fight in their second round. For someone who knew Tang Hao's story very well, he knew that he had gained an opportunity even earlier than Tang Hao. This fact raised his spirits.
He was moved and excited and didn't even sleep well last night. He could finally step onto the stage. Unfortunately, his opponent just had to be Ye Xiu.
Who didn't know of Ye Xiu's accomplishments in the early days? New rookies didn't feel too pressured facing him though. This was because that era of glory was too far in the past. Only players who had played Glory for over ten years had the chance to personally witness that era. Zeng Xinyan obviously hadn't played Glory for that long. By the time he started playing Glory and entered Hundred Blossoms' training camp, Ye Xiu had already been labelled as outdated. Not long afterwards, he retired. When he returned, Excellent Era disbanded. Zeng Xinran indeed admired the amount of commotion this God could make, but he only started to learn about Ye Xiu's skill when his team was preparing to fight Happy. Like everyone else, he only knew about the unspecialized and the Myriad Manifestations Umbrella in theory, but not much in actual practice.
Team Hundred Blossoms had been distressed for this very reason. However, Zeng Xinran was relatively at ease because he didn't think he would have the opportunity to fight Ye Xiu. He would be appearing in the individual competition, so the team competition was irrelevant. He didn't expect to meet Happy's core and God in the individual competition.
However, what he didn't think would happen happened. He was a rookie who would playing in his first competitive match in his professional career. Unfortunately, he just had to face a God who had fought hundreds of battles.
The thunderous applause given to Ye Xiu in the stadium caused half of Zeng Xinran's body to go numb. He realized that competition wasn't as simple as he had imagined. Why did he feel so suffocated in such a big stadium? Happy was a new team that had only recently entered the league, yet they already had so many fans. So noisy…...
Zeng Xinran entered the player booth. The player booth was completely cut-off from the outside world. However, his brain was still in a mess. The amount of noise and the feeling of suffocation lingered in his mind, and he was unable to wipe it away.
One minute had passed. Ye Xiu pressed ready after logging on with Lord Grim and joining the arena room. However, there was no sign of activity from Zeng Xinran.
What happened? The crowd became restless, so the referee immediately took action to see what was up with Zeng Xinran. Then, he saw a player whose body was completely rigid and tense.
It was pressure.
The referee was experienced and this wasn't the first time he had encountered such a situation. He only needed to glance at the player to tell that he was too nervous.
"Are you ready?" The referee sighed and knew the player was definitely not prepared, but the match couldn't give him liimitless time to prepare. He could only confirm with this method: if he was ready, then the match would start at once, if not, then he would forfeit.
Zeng Xinran obviously knew the rules, so he immediately nodded. Under the guidance of the referee, he logged on, entered the room with his character, and pressed ready…...
They soon reached the end of the countdown. Both Lord Grim and Delillo loaded into the map.
Delillo was the character Tang Hao had previously used. When he had been present, Hundred Blossoms made an effort to upgrade it. But after his departure, Hundred Blossom went back to their old Berserker and Spitfire combo. Delillo was no longer an account the club focused on. After the Level 75 update, Delillo naturally wasn't a priority. Now that the account had been handed down to a rookie, the majority of the equipment was still as Tang Hao had left it. Upgrades in the equipment were made through upgraded Level 75 Orange equipment instead of upgraded Level 75 Silver equipment.
In comparison, Happy's character weakness wasn't so obvious before Delillo. Lord Grim's Myriad Manifestation Umbrella was at Level 70. Even though he didn't have any other Silver equipment, a full set of Level 75 Orange equipment was enough to compare with Silver equipment at Level 70. As for character-player suitability, in reality, only the powerhouses had the resources to be so picky.
The moment Ye Xiu entered the room, he had Lord Grim sprint ahead. As for Zeng Xinran, he was still in a daze. He didn't do anything and was still trying to sort out his emotions....
The audience didn't know about Zeng Xinran's situation. All they saw was that the old general was charging forward impatiently, while the rookie calmy stood his ground. Had those two switched accounts?
The audience didn't know about Zeng Xinran's situation, neither did Ye Xiu. Ye Xiu didn't have any way to learn about such a new rookie, so he could only learn as the match progressed.
However, when Lord Grim reached the center of the map, he didn't see his opponent.
Is he moving strategically?
For any pro player, this observation was instinctive. Ye Xiu immediately looked over the terrain. This was a home game for Happy, so they picked the map themselves. Even if he closed his eyes, he wouldn't walk the wrong way on this map. He immediately took note of any locations that were possible for a sneak attack, but he couldn't sense any movement from the opponent.
Is he playing dirty?
Ye Xiu wondered. The Brawler was a class that could play dirty, so Ye Xiu took caution and carefully looked around. He had Lord Grim move ahead while deliberately making mistakes. No response.
Zeng Xinran from Hundred Blossom was still trying to regain his composure at the spawn point, so he hadn't moved. Even if the audience watched from a bird's eye view, none of them knew what was happening. Those who had watched Happy's matches in the Challenger League sent glaces towards Wei Chen at Happy's bench. Playing dirty by standing at the spawn point was similar to this old player! Happy had once used this tactic against their opponents. Was this retribution for Happy?
If this was the Challenger League, the audience might have been a bit excited, but this was different! This was an official league match, as well as a home game for Happy. Even though their popularity couldn't be compared with the early years of Excellent Era, it was definitely enough for the bottom-tier and mid-tier teams be jealous of! Having a large audience meant that lot of people bought tickets. This was probably where teams earned most of their day to day income from.
At this home game, Happy's fans started to feel a little worried. They were afraid of the strange moves this foreign rookie from Hundred Blossoms would make.
The atmosphere in the stadium started to grow heavy. Everyone watched Lord Grim gradually get closer to Delillo while the latter was calm as always.
At last, the two characters appeared in each other's view. Ye Xiu saw Delillo, and Zeng Xinran saw Lord Grim.
After that, Delillo charged forward!
He sprinted straight without showing any signs of turning. There was no touch of tactics as he advanced straight ahead as if this was the deciding point.
He must be scheming something!
The audience thought to themselves. If this were really the deciding point in the match, what was he doing earlier? Was he just standing there to nurture his strength while exhausting the enemy? Franking speaking, that wasn't possible in Glory. Many players would do random ineffective actions before they encountered their opponent as warm up. There must be some sort of scheme within all this for Zeng Xinran to just wait there doing nothing. It was just like what Wei Chen had done at Happy…...
The audience didn't have time to think any further because the two had started fighting already. Hundred Blossoms' Zeng Xinran, a schemer in everyone's minds, was sent flying backgrounds in the first exchange.
The audience was stunned, and Ye Xiu was also a bit astonished. He had been 120% careful, and had numerous variations and follow-ups prepared after Falling Flower Palm, but it turned out that Falling Flower Palm was all it took to send him flying away?
As for his follow-up…...
Lord Grim missed when he struck with his spear. This was a rare mistake for veterans like Ye Xiu. It was simply because that palm hitting was too surprising.
The moment Delillo was about to reach the ground after being blown away, his body twitched and he lay flat on the ground.
What is he doing?
Ye Xiu was dumbstruck. To even fail to Quick Recover, was he... really a pro player?
Even Ye Xiu was slightly dazed. He was playing in a pro match, right? He wasn't in the Arena or the Challenger League, torturing scrubs, right?
Is it a trap? Ye Xiu didn't move forward and instead used long-ranged skills. After a chain of ferocious attacks, his heart finally steadied.
It was impossible for this to be a trap. If it was, then this was way overboard. The player before him was simply playing really bad for some reason. Lord Grim rushed forward without any hesitation. He dispatched his opponent cleanly and won.
The audience was dumbstruck. They even forgot to applause and cheer for their team. What happened? This victory was too simple. Was Hundred Blossoms deliberately playing badly?