Translator: Atlas Studios Editor: Atlas Studios
While drawing lots, every team sized each other up. The Chinese teams were looked at most frequently.
Most of the people did not want to be in the same group as the Chinese teams—they were the tough bones.
The grouping was completely random, and the results came out very quickly. Dynasty was in group A, Temple of God and Long Sky were in group C, and all the other teams were randomized as well.
Group A was the most normal group—the mix of strong and teams was very balanced. Dynasty and Devil were the two strongest teams and had a good chance of going into the finals. Group B had mostly smaller and weaker teams; it was the safest, but there might be a dark horse in that group as well. Group C, however, was the worst. It was full of strong teams such as Kimchi, Tulips, Rose Knight, Thunder Snakes—often abbreviated to TS—Tomahawk, and so on. Almost seventy percent of all the strong teams were in group C.
Other than the host, there were also commentators who were all professional streamers or retired players. They discussed and analyzed for the audience.
“The eligibility of qualifying depends on the total score. The grouping has a very large impact on the results. If a group is filled with strong teams, it will be very hard to gain points, and even teams who are capable of qualifying might fail to do so. On the other hand, if the group has many weak teams, even if the teams are not as strong, they might be able to qualify! In a situation like this, as teams want to qualify, the battle will be very heated. No one will dare to hold back. Even when facing a battle that they are unable to win, they will try to damage the opponent as much as possible so that they don’t score so many points. Hence, the battles in group C will definitely be very exciting!”
“Group C is the group of death! There’re so many strong teams that would definitely qualify if placed in the other two groups, but now no one can guess the result. Any team could be eliminated… Competitions like this are very interesting, and I look forward to their exciting performances.”
The result was determined. Teams in group C were all very serious and passionate. Li Ge and Hao Tian looked at each other with a hidden meaning in their eyes.
“Looks like you guessed right—we are in the same group,” Hao Tian said with a poker face.
Li Ge frowned and did not reply. The grouping was very disadvantageous to him, but it was a reality that could not be changed. With so many strong teams, qualifying would be very difficult.
Today was the opening ceremony. After the draw finished, all the participating teams immediately started to dig into the information of the opponent teams in their group.
Four hours later, the schedule was officially announced on the forums. International competitions had a slower pace; in one in-game day, every group would have two team battles and two Singles battles. This meant that the international group stages would last around thirty-nine days. Every team would battle once with the twelve other teams in their group.
The competition officially started the next day, and it was played live on all channels. Countless people saw the capability of the qualified teams.
Every team had their own special tactics and style, and it was eye-opening. A rough outlook had formed in all the groups. Devil was defeating other teams in a demolishing fashion; their performances were impeccable in all the competitions, but they had yet to face Dynasty, who were in the same group. Although group B only had weak teams that were not as well known, they were still teams that went through the merciless elimination process and had qualified for the International League. The difference in strength between them was comparatively small, so their battles were mostly on par. Kangaroo Boxing team from Australia had the best performance. Group C was the most popular; it was filled with heated battles between strong teams and was the most exciting.
China’s first match was on the third day; China’s Dynasty VS Poland’s Wings. China’s players looked forward to their country’s first appearance on the international stage.
The other teams watched, too; this was a very good opportunity to observe the strength of the Chinese teams. Although they were in different groups, most of the teams felt like they had a very high chance of meeting the Chinese teams in the finals, so they could not possibly take it lightly.
The third day arrived under the anticipation of countless people. The match between Dynasty and Wings started.
The night was dark, and there was no moon in the sky.
This was a desolate ancient ruin. The collapsed houses and shattered pillars were signs of how boisterous the city that had once existed here had been. Cold, blue spheres of light roamed the place without a destination, bringing light and dispelling the darkness.
This was an actual scene of one of the novice planets, duplicated to become the match map. Team matches were all carried out in duplicated scenes; the terrain was the duplicate of a random area in the various novice planets.
The spectators could see every action of both teams.
Dynasty landed in a corner of the ruins. Everyone was wearing Sunil NCO Class armor, carrying different mechanical weapons, and clad in technologically advanced equipment. They looked around and observed their surroundings.
“Ruin terrain, many obstructions, so ranged attacks are limited. Plus, it’s night, so melee and assassination are very suitable. The class combination of team Wings is defensive Esper, range Mage, and combat Mage. Their damage output is plenty, but their backlines are comparatively weak. If we get into combat, we have to quickly deal with the backlines. The opponents should have… no, definitely have mobility abilities. Hence, our dexterous player shall not follow the rest of us and act alone, staying stealthy near the battlefield and striking when there is an opportunity. There are two methods that they might use to do damage—one is to surround the player with damage output in the middle of layers of protection, and the other is to act alone and look for opportunities to deal damage. As they have many damage dealing players, they might use both methods.
“The only source of light here are those light spheres running around. Entering the ring of light would mean exposing ourselves, so the areas with light are dangerous; it’s only safe to hide in the dark. Therefore, the battle will only happen in the dark, and it will depend on which of us discover the other first. They have Mages, so they can be enchanted with [Cat Eyes] and [Life Senses]. Our advantage is the night vision, heat vision, and radar function from the mechanical suit. In terms of detection, we are slightly better…”
King Admiral explained the situation calmly. He was very experienced, quickly analyzing the situation and what they should do. Team matches were not just fighting each other head-on—there was also the battle of cooperation, detection, tactics, and so on.
The information of the opponent came from the area competition. Now that a long time had passed, although their class would not change, they definitely made changes to their tactics. The reason that China was feared was that they had left the planet and received too many opportunities in space. There was no way to interpret their tactics and equipment. The unknown was the biggest enemy!
Dynasty’s class combination only had Pugilists and Espers, but they were all wearing high-quality mechanical equipment. This meant that their every member had part of the ability of a Mechanic, and it was quite powerful even without the boost from Machinery Affinity. Their strength was absolutely superior. Hence, Dynasty actively searched for the enemies.
In the live feed, team Wings cast all sorts of stealth spells instead, clearly showing that they did not want to fight Dynasty head-on.
In his previous life, the side avoiding the battle had always been the Chinese teams who were steady and cowardly. Now that their positions had switched, the Chinese teams had become the ones to strike actively. In the audiences’ perspective, Dynasty was like a hunter that chased after the prey and had the upper hand while the opponent ran around. Such a strong stand made the Chinese viewers feel very proud; they could feel Dynasty’s strong confidence even through the feed!
Dynasty’s confidence came from Han Xiao. After following Han Xiao through the universe, their equipment and abilities were top among all the teams. Their raw strength was extremely strong, and this was the advantage given by Black Phantom.
It did not matter how much the pro players from other novice planets envied this—there was no one like the Great Mechanic Han on their planet.
Chinese teams were the ones being chased back then; now, it’s the other way around. Not bad, they’re all youngsters with a lot of potential. Han Xiao smiled, quite content.
Wings was very cautious and cast [Chameleon] and other spells to get rid of their tracks, but the map was only so big, and they would not get far away no matter how much they ran. Sooner or later, they would have to fight. King Admiral commanded his teammates to fire toward the sky to break the stalemate, letting the enemies hear where the sound of gunfire came from. This way, the uncertainties would be eliminated—the enemy would either approach, run the other way, or flank them. With greater strength, Dynasty was completely unafraid of letting the enemies know their location.
The head-on battle broke out from an accident. As King Admiral expected, a combat Mage from the opponent was acting alone near their team and was discovered by Second Prince, who was also acting alone.
Although Second Prince was very cheeky usually, he was very decisive in competitions and struck immediately.
Second Prince was a Pugilist that focused on Dexterity and assassinations. He was using the scouting style NCO Class mechanical suit, which had a streamlined body and a pair of blades extending from the wrist like fangs. He attacked like a cheetah; not only was his assassin combo completely on point, but it was also smooth and quick. There was close to no gap between his abilities and position changes. This was considered to be a great performance even on the professional level.
That combat Mage could not react in time to the attack. He was heavily wounded by Second Prince’s storming and thunderous attacks, then ended up turning into a flash of white light and dying before the reinforcement from his teammates arrived.
Second Prince backed up into the darkness again and disappeared, only leaving blood all over the floor.
The Assassin’s way.
Strike once and back off miles.
“Damn, that was beautiful!”
“Although Second Prince’s brain has some problems, he is really quite strong.”
The audience was excited.
This solo kill opened up the situation suddenly. Wings lost a teammate and were more disadvantaged than they had initially been. They were eventually caught by Dynasty and completely demolished in one team fight.
Dynasty achieved an overwhelming victory with zero losses, shining brightly and making the audience thrilled!
The Challenge after this was an even more steady victory. King Admiral alone ferociously defeated two opponents and handicapped another.
The first match could be considered a perfect opening. Compared to Devil, who were in the same group, this performance was not any worse at all.
The huge victory inspired the audience and also made the other teams fear them even more.
Dynasty’s mechanical suit made its first appearance in a competition. Equipment like this gave comprehensive enhancements to the players. No team dared to claim that their chance of winning Dynasty in a head-on battle was more than fifty percent.
“Looks like more targeted methods need to be used against the Chinese teams.” The same thought appeared in many captain’s minds.
Second Prince made a huge contribution. During the post-match interview, he could not hide the excitement on his face at all, and he did not want to. As usual, he boasted about how important he was, how much of a contribution he made, how key players like him should be the captain instead, how the captain now was too noob, and so on. King Admiral was used to it and ignored it completely.
The competition was going on intensely. The first round ended in four days, meaning all teams had taken part in a battle and made their debut.
Hao Tian’s team, Long Sky, was the same as Dynasty. They used a completely different style as compared to Han Xiao’s previous life, changed by the man indirectly. They let themselves go and were very tough. Sadly, they met a strong team in group C, and although they won in the end, it was a difficult win and did not score them as many points as Dynasty had scored.
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On the contrary, Li Ge’s team Temple of God was exactly the same as the previous life. Even when their strength was completely superior, they fought steadily and only hoped to not make a mistake. Their first appearance was very dragged out, making people complain non-stop.
“You’re strong yet you are so cowardly—can’t you make things more exciting‽”
Anyway, Han Xiao did not have high hopes for Temple of God. That team had always been this way, not hoping for merits and just hoping to not make mistakes. For them to be more diligent? Not unless pigs could fly.
Luckily, there were Dynasty and Long Sky, so Temple of God did not receive too many negative comments. After all, it was very different between one team dragging the match out and all three teams doing the same.