Under the bright, burning sun in the middle of the desert, the two teams were staring at each other with a sand hill in between. The players were soaked in sweat as they stood on the burning sand and entered the [Energy Draining] status. Even though they were not moving, their energy points were still decreasing at a steady rate.
"The location in the desert is too open, which is bad for us. We are probably going to lose here." Lone Crane was discouraged.
This was Frenzied Sword's Rivervale Club Team. They were lucky as they had not met any strong teams. They had struggled their way through the competition, and now, they are on the last batch of the Qualifiers. If they won this game, they could get into the next stage.
But it seemed that Rivervale's luck had run out. The randomized map was an open desert, which was bad for a composition focused on close combat.
Lone Crane was annoyed, and because of that, the whole team's morale was down.
Frenzied Sword stepped up to change the atmosphere and frowned. "Don't worry, the fight hasn't started yet. We still have the chance to win."
Lone Crane shook his head. "The chance is too abysmally slim."
"You are the leader; don't you say things words." Frenzied Swords got more and more unsatisfied on how the Lone Crane led the team. He had no leadership skills and did not give any insightful command. On top of that, he only brought a negative energy to the team.
"Oh? Then what do you suggest we should do?" Lone Crane glanced over.
"The enemy has a strong ranged attack abilities, so the only way for us is to close the distance. Of course, we will only get kited if we charge in recklessly, so the best way is to lure them into an ambush. I can hide in the sand, and you all act like you are running away and lure them to where I'm hiding. Then I can pressure their backline while you all turn around and attack. This is the only way.
"Luckily, I still have two shields for cover. Who wants to ambush with me?" Frenzied Sword said as he took out two oxygen shields. This was equipment that he always brought, and it was the essential tool for the plan to work.
The teammates all looked at each other, and this time, Lone Crane replied, "Since this is your idea, if we lose, you will be responsible for this."
Lone Crane was obviously trying to be avoid the blame so that he would be off the hook if he lost the game. Frenzied Sword hated this type of behavior and stopped paying attention to him. Looking at his teammates, a pugilist sped forward to be his partner for the ambush.
They quickly selected a spot, and Frenzied Sword and this teammate hid under the cover and sank into the sand. Lone Crane and his team on the surface made some disguises and went on with the operation. They walked up the hill and exposed themselves in the vision of the enemy.
"Hehe. Seems that they can't wait any longer." Isaac from the opposing team laughed. The other team with six people saw the movement of Lone Crane and his team.
Isaac looked like the skillful one in his team, but in reality, all the six contestants were 'spies' all from other nations' clubs to challenge the competitive league in Planet Aquamarine. Every league had this type of team.
"The enemy is just a small club. I saw their matches before, and they excel in close combat, but they have no synergy. Plus, we have the map advantage, so as long as we keep our distance, victory is ours."
They moved up toward Rivervale and initiated their attacks while keeping their distance. Most of the players were Espers. Isaac could create a small tornado, while one of his teammates could shoot laser beams from his finger. Another could even create a small white fish ball that exploded like a grenade.
Lone Crane and the other four ran with tails between their legs. Isaac's team quickly chased after them, but soon, they realized that there were only four people in Rivervale team.
"Where did the other two go?" Isaac raised his suspicion and raised his hand. "Halt. I think they are luring us into a trap."
Isaac thought that if Rivervale was luring them, then if he stopped, Rivervale would also stop, or at least they would slow down their pace to bait Isaac. However, Rivervale did not slow down and ran as far as they could.
Lone Crane kept on running forward while being demotivated. He could not understand Frenzied Sword's strategy. Then he suddenly had an idea to push all the blame on Frenzied Sword. If he directly fought the enemy head on without telling Frenzied Sword, at least it would seem like Lone Crane tried his best, while Frenzied Sword was hiding the entire fight. This would definitely make the higher officials be disappointed in Frenzied Sword.
However, he could not purposely steer away from where Frenzied Sword was hiding since the rest of the teammates also knew the location. Therefore, the only thing that Lone Crane could do was make them look like they were luring the enemy into a trap. Thus, Lone Crane kept on running, regardless of whether the enemy followed or not.
Lone Crane had been in the profession circle for years. For a man without much glory and achievements, he had been hired by Rivervale with a higher pay than before. However, he had never cared about winning or losing. The only thing that he wanted was to keep the position as a leader and enjoy the wealthy pay and luxurious life. There were all kinds of people in the professional scene, and the type like Lone Crane was also common.
However, Isaac misunderstood the intention. He shouted, " Look at them go! They don't look like they are trying to lure us, and there's a lower chance that there will be an ambush in the open field. Let's chase after them!"
Unfortunately, Isaac was wrong. After chasing Rivervale for a while, they reached the ambush area, and a spot within the team exploded, covering them in sand. Frenzied Sword and his teammate rushed out and charged into the backline.
It was so sudden that Isaac and his teammates' jaws dropped.
Frenzied Sword used all his strength and tore open the enemy's formation. Lone Crane, who was far away, also frowned, and he had no choice but to lead his team back into the battle.
The scene was in chaos. Despite the ambush, Isaac and his teammates did not back down easily, and Rivervale still had to fight an intense battle. Luckily, Frenzied Sword had a great performance and eliminated the squishy Espers, getting a double kill.
After Isaac fell to the ground, the surroundings finally quieted down, and one could only hear wind blowing through the sand.
"We won!" Frenzied Sword waved his fist.
"We actually got into the next stage…"
Lone Crane could not close his mouth as he was shocked. Was the enemy so stupid that they could not tell his obvious act?
As the final round came to a close, the names of the victors of the qualifiers were announced. All the players were excited, and the attention from the public also reached its peak.
The qualifiers were just the appetizer. The regular season was the main course!
From here now on, the competition would be in a normal schedule unlike the qualifiers. Every match would be intense and thrilling.
From thousands of teams and hundreds of thousands of players, there were only thirty-eight teams for group bracket and sixty-two players for individual bracket. Han Xiao skimmed through the list, and the four powerhouses had all made it into the regular season, while the rest of the teams are all famous clubs such as Madhouse, Mystic Nine, and Storm. There were clubs from other countries, and there were only three non-professional teams.
Rivervale was in the list of qualified teams. Han Xiao recalled that back in his own world, Rivervale never got into the regular season, and instead, a team with foreign players got in.
As for the individual bracket, Frenzied Sword in both worlds was qualified for regular season, and the one in this world had more attention from the public compared to that of the other world. There were only four mechanic players in the individual bracket, and all of them were Cannon Master except Frenzied Sword, who was Mechanical Pugilist. Because of that, the audience showed more interest in him.
In addition, the recordings of Rivervale's matches were released, and everyone witnessed how Frenzied Sword carried his team to victory. On the contrary, no one cared about the real leader, Lone Crane. In the eyes of the audience, he was just a side character who served no purpose, and they thought that Frenzied Sword was the irreplaceable part of the team.
Lone Crane was envious of the glory, yet he could not duplicate Frenzied Sword's performance. He could only watch the Frenzied Sword getting more and more popular.
Frenzied Sword was indeed a natural talent in close combat fighting. His skills kept on improving, and other mechanic class players replayed the tape of his matches to learn the techniques.
Some players even went through some older posts and found out that Frenzied Sword was one of the mysterious characters under Black Phantom. The high-quality equipment and buffs had to have been given by Black Phantom. All the players could only drool next to the fancy equipment, and Han Xiao earned another wave of popularity.
They did so much better than in my old world. Han Xiao was satisfied and was glad that his work payed off.
A few days later, the secondary league also finished their matches, and only the top two got into the regular season; in the end, there were forty teams in the group bracket and sixty-four players in individual bracket.
The official site announced the results of the randomized groups in the regular season. The players were evenly spread out into A, B, C, and D groups. For every group, there were ten teams for the group bracket and sixteen players in the individual bracket.
The regular season used a points system, where teams would fight against each other in rotation. Only the two teams with highest points would be eligible for the next stage in the group brackets. For individual bracket, there would be four players coming out of each group.
The players' jaws dropped as they saw the list of the groups.
Fried Eggplants with Fish, Dynasty, and Long Sky—three powerhouses—were all in group A!
Moreover, Tiger Dragon Club and Sky Palace Club were also in group A with another foreign club team. This was the group of death!
With so many strong teams, only two teams could get out of this group stage. At least one of the powerhouses would be eliminated from the competition. This news threw the fans of those teams into turmoil.
The atmosphere was already tense and nervousness when the regular season had not even started.