A note from Aetheo

Time is not real. Now is January 12.

“If I’m just sitting back and farming,” Jessica said, slowly. “I think I’m losing.”

That gave him a moment of pause. It was true that she would slowly be losing credit advantage over time, given the ammunition disparity, but he’d thought that the difference would be made up in the late-game potential of her abilities.

The last few minutes had him reconsidering that.

It wasn’t just that she’d been able to tear through the enemy’s shield much more quickly than he’d been expecting, but the pure utility of the abilities she was running was surprising.

If it weren’t for the calculation scaling, he would have thought that the ability was a support’s, not a carry’s… and the link wasn’t much different. Her passive and arrow-specific abilities wouldn’t work for him or for a midlane, but the other two…

He paused again, though still going through the motions physically of playing the lane, his shield recovering almost to full by the time the opposing support was back in the lane, in the middle of the third wave.

It really didn’t make sense, actually. The bonus damage from her abilities scaled more effectively the further they were into the game, but he’d just seen it be more effective than a normal carry set even this early.

The tradeoff was in the ult, really. He could see that off the bat. All of her basic abilities were much stronger than the equivalent caster version– particularly because her passive acted as an un-costed upgrade to her usual attack, her major downside was that she would be unable to turn a fight around with her ultimate unless something had already gone horribly, horribly wrong.

But the more he thought about it, the less he was convinced that that mattered, at the very least in this game.

His ultimate, Impossible Room, basically existed as a defensive counter to opposing carry ultimates.

But if that were the case…

This time he actually stopped moving, staring between the enemy carry and support long enough that the former took a shot at his shields, pushing him into moving again.

“You okay, guy?” Jessica asked, closer in towards the minions. He moved closer himself before responding.

“Yeah, I’m okay, I think. Just… coming to a realization, I guess.”

“Is it one you want to share or something personal?”

He shook his head. “No, just… something about the game. I… I think the meta’s fake? Or at least not as real as everyone treats it… This game isn’t going to be harder because we don’t follow the meta. Wait.”

He switched to the team communicator.

“I just figured something out with that first blood, I think. Everyone here willing to possibly throw this game to see if I’m right?”

“What the fuck are you talking about?” Diane asked, and he had to admit that her annoyed tone was probably justified.

“I think that this game is pretty much a wrap if we play it a little bit differently than we’d planned. Uh. The big one is pretty simple– Kurt, just ignore south lane except when you need us to help you. Your job is now ‘annoy the enemy diver and ranger.’” Nathaniel still didn’t want to explain his whole thought process, in case he was completely wrong, but actually confirming parts of his plan was just solidifying the idea in his head.

“I’m good for that, but even if I’m doing that, it’ll just be reducing the pressure, not taking it off completely. You sure you can handle that with a phys carry?”

Nathaniel looked at the girl who was again taking a series of shots at the minions, taking one out with each shot.

“Yeah. Thanks.”

He turned the team-talk off again, then decided to explain further to his carry.

“We’re going to suddenly get a lot of pressure from the diver and the ranger, but Kurt will probably make that only one at a time. We’re basically going to be swamped until twenty minutes…”

She didn’t even turn to face him. “I assume that’s the point, though.”

He raised an eyebrow at that. “Well… yes.”

“’Kay. Why?”

“Wait, you’re okay with it without even knowing why?” he asked, incredulous.

“Assumed you have a plan.”


“Not really. You’re a caster-carry playing at this level. You got here for some reason.”

“I could just be out-statting the expected level–”

“Sure, but you’re not. Neither am I. You trusted me to figure out the start of that play, I didn’t even think about it going into the second half and you still picked it up.”

“I think we win a two vee three.”

She turned to look at him, confusion on her face. “That’s… There’s no way, right? It’s not like our kits are that much better than theirs or anything…”

“That’s not it, really. It’s just… I think kit synergy might be more important than the kits themselves. Like, usually, supports are there to act as defensive lines to their carries but… you don’t actually need that. And my kit handles better offensively than defensively, anyways. And you’ve got the tools to break a defense, while I have the ones to keep it open or take advantage…”


He took a moment to collect his thoughts, applying what they knew of their teammates to the rapidly forming picture in his mind.

“So I think that we don’t play the standard carry/support relationship. I think that early on, it’s more like you supporting me, until you hit a midgame spike. Once we hit that spike, I transition into a mobility and annoyance-source using the lategame consumables.”

He prepared himself for her blowing up. He’d played with a lot of carries before, and they were always the biggest source of ego on any team, and usually a pain to manage even for that.

Instead, she nodded. “Makes sense to me. How long are we waiting to start trying to kill ‘em?”

He glanced at the corner of his vision, where his in-game inventory was.

“I need to place a couple of wards first, but based on what I expect from their diver… three minutes.”

A note from Aetheo

Rate, comment, follow, favorite, review, and all that if you want. Whether you like it or not, I appreciate the interaction.

I like these chapters, but they can be a bit of a pain to write. This kind of realization moment can take a while, particularly if you listen to certain types of peopleabout how games work.

Please remember that strategies don't ever exist in a vacuum, people. That's the big thing here. A 6/10 plan can easily become the best plan if it doesn't run into any of the issues that lost those four points.

About the author


Bio: Sometimes I wonder. And then I stop.

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