A note from Aetheo

Glad I checked whether I posted this before I went to bed. Oops. This is supposed to be the 14th's. And really, for me, it is, kinda.

That fight had gone even better than he’d hoped for.

Ultimately, the plan had been made with the expectation that he’d be trading his own survival for ensuring the second kill on the carry, even if he hadn’t told Jessica as much. The ranger choosing to initiate instead of the support had probably been the saving grace of that whole situation.

Honestly, he felt a little bit bad for her. By all rights she was playing her job well enough, maybe even a little better than he would have expected.

Jessica was making it look a bit like a joke, though.

He hadn’t seen someone be that effectively shut down since his early days of playing, when he was being matched against people of widely varying skill levels who hadn’t quite been sorted yet.

Still, though– over three thousand three hundred credits on the first time back to the home circle.

He bought the two stealth three ward-orbs and the anti-stealth implant at level two first, totalling six hundred fifty of those, and he was still nearly at a loss as to what to buy. An extra level of anti-stealth would mostly just be a waste, given the enemy support would have much fewer credits to work with…

Two hundred more went to repairing his sword from the uses of his offensive ability earlier, then another two hundred into a collection of four smoke bombs.

Another five hundred went into shield upgrades, mostly just capacity in case they got hit again.

Deciding that it was more worth it to just spend them and get back into the lane, he took the easy way out.

The Riftblade had a number of fairly specific upgrades to it, one of which he almost never had this kind of freedom to buy.

Given one and a half thousand credits, it could gain the ability to be used as a “crystalline” focus– one of the game’s four mage focus types. Usually it allowed for certain types of abilities to be used, but in his case it only upgraded two of them.

Void Wall would now be faster to cast, and Void Strike would no longer damage either him or the Riftblade to use.

Theoretically, it also allowed him to cast his ultimate, but…

He shook his head. This game was an exception, wasn’t it?

The last two hundred fifty went into a charged “Spike”. It wasn’t that all ultimate abilities took special materials, but his certainly did– and the cooldown would be coming up in eight minutes, a little bit after his penultimate came back online.

Usually, he wouldn’t bother with getting the material to cast it before ultimates would be coming up for the second time around the fifty-minute mark, or earlier if the opposing side also seemed to be saving theirs.

Plus, he’d already figured out the opposing carry’s ultimate.

Up the Heat for the passive, Salamander Bolt, Flame Wall, Flash Step, and Ignite was a fairly uncommon, but still not exactly unknown setup. It had even been used in last years Worlds, albeit in the pools stage.

The penultimate was Consolidating Flamethrower, and the ultimate was Being of Fire– it would massively increase the strength of flame-based abilities while decreasing their cooldowns for fifty seconds, along with reducing the caster’s physical damage vulnerability and making them personally immune to fire. With a twenty minute initial cooldown and forty minutes afterward, it was in the same class as his own, where it could show up twice in a game but was unlikely to be seen three times.

Probably one of the better ultimates, actually, and when combined with a well-placed casting of Flame Wall and Ignite leading into it, then the penultimate, could very quickly kill an entire team if they weren’t careful.

With that in mind, buying the spike now would let him neutralize that first casting, unless something went terribly, terribly wrong along the way.

Done with his purchases, he returned to physical reality to see his lane partner already waiting for him.

No longer was she just dressed in normal-looking clothing. Instead, it was normal-looking clothing over a weird bodysuit. One that he didn’t recognize. She had also gained a pair of thin, square-rimmed glasses and her bow had changed from a shortbow to a visibly longer compound contraption.

“Back to lane then.”

“Yeah. Can you explain the items? I’ve only memorized the ones I usually see.”

They were all fairly simple upgrades, it turned out. The bodysuit was a temporary purchase that increased the user’s strength and agility at the cost of heavily drawing on a battery when those were used, the glasses gave her a trajectory predictor on bows, and the bow itself was essentially just more effective, along with being slightly easier to aim.

She was complaining about the unreality of that for pretty much the entire time back to the lane.

He only caught something like “archer’s paradox” and “unrealistically variant”.

Basically as soon as they reached the lane, Nathaniel was already running into the mists. It wasn’t that far to his main spots, but he wanted to get there when it wouldn’t be likely that anyone on the opposing team would see him.

Teleport Object wasn’t quite the kit-centralizing ability that most people looked for, but Nathaniel had always found it the most useful individual ability he had.

Case in point: warding. Most support players had to go to the actual location, press the button on the orb, then place it somewhere, angling the camera in it to be more useful.

He certainly had to go near the point, but after he pressed the button, he intentionally looked slightly away from his intended location, then teleported the orb.

It came online, wedged between two large folds of bark and facing very directly into the main path for dicers to take into south lane.

The next one was equally placed, this time much higher, above the bridges in the canopy and facing over the bridges in such a way as to allow him to see about the mid-torso of any player taking the upper bridges around Air Spirit or south lane.

It wasn’t a perfect coverage of Air Spirit, of course– given its location inside a cluster of heavily-branched area over midlane, it was entirely possible that an enterprising diver or north laner could approach it without his knowledge.

Luckily, that wasn’t exactly likely to happen.

Before he managed to get back to the lane though, a set of notifications in his mind made him cringe.

‘An enemy has slain [Helen] with [Raging Tide]’

‘An enemy has slain [Diane] with [Raging Tide]’

North lane was apparently running a water-based calculation bruiser set. Gerard from Scene-12’s water-based calculation set.

A snowballing water-based calculation set.

A note from Aetheo

Ah yes, the endless memorization of being good at MOBAs. Even when you get good at it, you still only remember most things, and mostly that which directly applies to you.

General rules let you estimate, of course, but actual hard numbers and names are basically for the people who need to deal with it personally, and a lot- or are new enough that there hasn't been much variation on the theme yet.

About the author


Bio: Sometimes I wonder. And then I stop.

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