At 8 o’clock, the Chinese restaurant delivered the meals ordered by the national team. Jiang Shaoyu opened the takeout box and looked at the combination of two vegetarian and one meat dish. The light dishes were all his favorite flavors. There was also a bowl of winter melon ribs soup and a small fruit platter.
Jiang Shaoyu was in a good mood after being able to eat a delicious meal in a foreign country. He ate all of the set meal and the fruits. Then he sent a message to Pei Feng. “The food from the restaurant tastes good. Did you choose the dishes?”
Pei Feng replied, “Yes, I picked something light and easy to digest for Master.”
“You can’t just think about me. Some players of the national team don’t like a light diet.”
“Master, rest assured. There are two combinations of dishes every day and everyone can choose freely.”
Jiang Shaoyu saw this and his heart warmed slightly. Xiao Pei arranged things very thoughtfully. He packed up the takeout boxes and sent a message to everyone, “Come to my room for a meeting after eating.”
Pei Feng soon came to Jiang Shaoyu’s Room 1203 and knocked on the door.
Jiang Shaoyu opened the door. Pei Feng walked into the room and carefully looked around. Jiang Shaoyu lived in a double room for the convenience of meetings. There were two beds side by side in the room. There was a backpack on the bed on the left and the bed on the right was untouched and clean.
Jiang Shaoyu said, “Sit down and wait for them to come.”
Pei Feng nodded and went to sit on the edge of the bed. Moments later, all the players of the national team arrived.
The coach and team members consisted of eight people. This was slightly crowded in a double room that was less than 30 square meters. Six players were sitting side by side on the bed on the right and the sofa by the window.
Jiang Shaoyu stood next to the TV and said indifferently, “Once you go abroad, you must be cautious. I have checked this room and there are no cameras, bugs or other equipment. The organizers didn’t provide a conference room so we will discuss things here if there are any problems.”
Coach Jiang was indeed cautious and checked for cameras and bugs. The matches really couldn’t be played if what they were discussing was overheard.
Immediately after, Jiang Shaoyu gave a form to Pei Feng. “This is the schedule table. Xiao Pei, take a photo and send it to the group for everyone to take a look at.”
Pei Feng immediately took out his phone, took a photo and sent it to the group of the national team. Everyone opened their phones to check carefully.
The schedule of the Asian Championship was tight. The round-robin group stage took place on August 1st and 2nd. It started from 2:30 p.m. and ended at 11 p.m. They played two matches a day.
After the two day group stage, the top two teams from Group A and Group B advanced to the semi-finals knockout round according to the points ranking. On the 3rd and 4th, there were two semi-final matches. Then on the 5th, the finals and award ceremony would be held in the evening.
If they didn’t finish in the top two of the group stage then they would return home after only two days in Tokyo.
There were five countries in Group B and the schedule of the round robin in the group was: China VS Vietnam at 4:30 and China VS Malaysia at 7:00; China VS Indonesia at 4:30 and China VS Japan at 21:30 on the 2nd.
Everyone was shocked when they saw the schedule.
Hua Ran couldn’t help saying, “F*k, we will finish the afternoon game, have dinner nervously and then play the next match? The break is less than an hour, right?”
At this time, the players who were far away at home and couldn’t travel with the team also saw this schedule.
Lao Lin complained in the group, “The schedule of the Japanese team is very reasonable. They have a match at 2:30 and another one at 9:30. There are a few hours in between to rest and adjust. Why is our arrangement so disgusting? Do we have to run after eating the meals?”
Liu Shaozhou added, “It is on purpose, right? Japan is the organizer this time and they must’ve arranged their team’s schedule properly. The rest of Group B are just cannon fodder in their eyes.”
The organizing committee of the event didn’t pay attention to the Chinese national team at all. They regarded the Chinese national team as ‘a small team who came to see the world.’
In any case, China’s performance in world competitions was terrible. No one would say anything if they were bullied. In any case, they would just leave after the group stage.
Ye Qingming sent a skull emoji. “If you play two matches in a row, there is no time to discuss the tactics for the next match in between unless you don’t eat.”
Jiang Shaoyu said in the group, “Then don’t eat. Go hungry and fight.”
Jiang Shaoyu looked at the group and his voice was calm. “In e-sports, being weak is the original sin. The national team’s previous results were so bad that even we couldn’t look at them. Do you still expect other countries to hold you in the palm of their hand? Impossible. The respect of others depends on the competition.”
“This time, Xiao Bin is the only one who has experience in the World Series. Everyone else is competing abroad for the first time. Some people are even standing officially on the field for the first time. It is normal for them to look down on the Chinese national team. They have never heard of you before and aren’t you here to be cannon fodder? Then what about you? Are you willing to come all this way to be cannon fodder?”
Everyone lowered their heads and clenched their fists tightly. During this period of nightmare training, they had played practice matches one after another and stayed up late every day. Wasn’t it just to play a bit better when they went abroad to compete?
If they really returned home after the group stage that lasted two days, would they still be able to face others? Not only would they be unable to raise their heads in China in the future but Jiang Shaoyu, the head coach of the national team, would be ridiculed by the coaches of other countries!
Jiang Shaoyu continued, “I know you are all feeling suffocated. At the airport, they got the number of people wrong and the hotel didn’t have enough rooms booked for us. The restaurant only had leftovers… Japan hasn’t shown us hospitality but we don’t need to worry about these details. We aren’t here for sightseeing, let alone food. Remember, we are here for the competition.”
“The game is the most important thing. Don’t think about anything else. What you have to do now is adjust your mentality. Don’t underestimate the enemy and don’t be impulsive. Calm down and play well. Win or lose, it is enough if you show your strength.”
“Playing in anger will only cause problems with your cooperation. From now on, forget all these bad experiences. Just think of it as going abroad to play practice matches, do you understand what I mean?”
They all nodded to show their understanding.
Coach Jiang was right. If they went to the field with the mentality of grievance and anger, their brains would become hot and there would definitely be problems with their cooperation. The match was the most important thing and everything else was negligible.
Jiang Shaoyu looked at his apprentice and said, “Pei Feng, don’t be careless when fighting Vietnam tomorrow. Vietnam has finished third in the Asian Championship and their schedule is different from ours. August happens to be their off-season. I looked at the list and the people they sent over this time are all veterans who have participated in the world competitions.”
Pei Feng nodded. “I know.”
Jiang Shaoyu turned on the computer and sent the list of participants from various countries to the group.
Everyone opened their phones and looked at the list. Vietnam’s e-sports strength was ranked high in Asia but they hadn’t won any prizes in the World Series. Therefore, they attached great importance to the Asian Championship and sent the main players of the national team to participate every year.
The Chinese team was a group of newcomers while the other team had experienced main players. They really can’t be careless.
Jiang Shaoyu said, “Old Chang, do you have any suggestions about maps?”
Old Chang scratched his head and said, “We have prepared nine maps. In the first game, I think we can use a fast-paced small map. We can take advantage of the opponent’s contempt for us and take them by surprise to get points as fast as possible.”
Jiang Shaoyu nodded and thought the same way. If the map was large, the enemy had more time to adjust their thinking and change their strategy. Meanwhile, the smaller the map, the fewer contingency strategies there were. Once the Chinese team mastered the rhythm with fast play, the Vietnamese team wouldn’t be able to respond well and it would be easy for them to lose.
Jiang Shaoyu suggested, “Use the smallest map, Winding Corridor?”
Old Chang nodded excitedly. “Yes, I think so too. What about the mode?”
Jiang Shaoyu said, “Winding Corridor is a map common to Endless Bloody Battle and Extreme Duel. Endless Bloody Battle consists of fast-paced small games. For Endless Duel, you need to get a full 50 heads. Let’s choose Endless Bloody Battle and win the game as quickly as possible.”
In terms of tactics, everyone naturally listened to the arrangement of the coach.
Jiang Shaoyu looked at Pei Feng. “We have practiced this map many times. Do you have any problems with commanding?”
Pei Feng immediately answered, “No problem.”
Jiang Shaoyu continued, “The group stage is a BO3 format and each side chooses a map. If there is a 1:1 draw, the system will choose a random map for the tiebreaker. To fight Vietnam, our side will choose the Winding Corridor but we also have to pay attention to another situation. What if the opponent goes first and happens to choose Winding Corridor? We have to find an alternative map in case this happens.”
Old Chang thought about it carefully. “How about we use Ghost Castle for the alternative map? We can also fight the Endless Bloody Battle mode on this map. It is dimly lit and suitable for Xueyao to find people. We can fight a fast guerrilla warfare.”
Jiang Shaoyu nodded. “Yes. We prefer Winding Corridor but if we happen to bump into the same map as the opponent, the alternative is Ghost Castle. If there is a tiebreaker, we just have to resign ourselves to our fate.”
He looked at Xiao Gui. “In the first game, Xiao Gui doesn’t have to play. Shi Xiaobin, bring a submachine gun and bandages. There is Hua Ran in the front row to cover you and you don’t have to be afraid. If you are injured, Shu Chen will save you.”
Shi Xiaobin nodded seriously. “Understood!”
Jiang Shaoyu said, “I let you come to Japan in advance to give you two days to adjust your mentality and adapt to the environment. Go to bed early tonight and adjust your schedule. Starting from tomorrow afternoon, open your laptops, connect to the international server and go to play a practice match.”
He looked at Old Chang. “Is the sparring team ready?”
Old Chang replied, “Don’t worry. Yu Feng took the people of the Snow Leopard team to stay at the national team’s base and Xiao Yezi is also staying at the base. If you need to spar with them, you are free to find them and practice in the international server’s custom room.”
Jiang Shaoyu felt relieved. “Okay, let’s all go to rest. Don’t overthink it and focus on the match.”
The pre-match tactical discussion was over and everyone went back to their rooms.
Gui Siyang and Pei Feng returned to room 1204 on the 12th floor. Gui Siyang asked in a low voice, “Master, your first official competition is an international event like the Asian Championship. You are facing foreign enemies… are you nervous?”
Pei Feng patted his apprentice on the shoulder and smiled. “What is there to be nervous about? It isn’t a personal PK. In the match, no matter how powerful the players are, aren’t all characters the same? My game character is more handsome than them.”
Gui Siyang was stunned for a moment. Then he became amused. “This is true when thinking about it. The character models in the game are similar. When we did reaction training in the national team, we encountered situations when we were surrounded by five people…”
In normal training, they were surrounded by five AIs of various appearances every day. After getting to the arena, they shouldn’t be too nervous when seeing opponents with different hair, skin and outfits appear all around them.
However, the atmosphere at the venue was still different from the training room. Gui Siyang took a deep breath and said seriously, “Master, jiayou. You can definitely do it.”
Pei Feng said with a smile, “There is nothing wrong with our team and you can do it as well. The reason why the coach didn’t let you play this time is because snipers aren’t good on a small-scale map. Sit in the audience and feel the atmosphere of the scene. Then fight well when it is your turn in the next match.”
Gui Siyang nodded vigorously. “Yes, I know!”
At this time, Mo Hantian in China was very nervous. He was even more nervous than when he went to the competition himself. He sent a message to Shi Xiaobin. “How are you doing in Japan? Are you used to the food? Is the room where you are sleeping clean? Did the coach arrange tactics for the group stage?”
Shi Xiaobin sent a confused emoji. “There are so many questions. Which one should I answer first?”
Mo Hantian asked, “Are you nervous?”
Shi Xiaobin smiled. “I feel that you seem to be more nervous than us.”
Mo Hantian replied, “…Cough cough! I can’t go this time so I will watch the live stream to cheer you on!”
“Yes. Coach Jiang is very calm and called us to a meeting. There is definitely some nervousness in everyone’s heart. This is difficult to avoid. But I think that as long as Coach Jiang is offstage, we won’t be afraid of anything.”
Jiang Shaoyu was the anchor of the national team. The players wouldn’t be afraid as long as he was physically present.
Two days passed quickly. On the evening of July 21st, the players from all the countries arrived. Many people went to say hello to the players of the Korean team. The Chinese team was training by themselves. No one cared about them and no one went to them.
The staff members came to distribute the entry cards and the competition manual to the team leader. Yu Mingxiang kept the participation cards for them in a unified manner to prevent them from getting lost.
On the afternoon of August 1st, everyone in the national team wore neat uniforms and went to the match venue together.