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Chapter 981 - New Stage and Final Stage

There would be ten days of rest after the completion of the group stage. The next stage of the tournament would begin on 5/16, a Friday night. There would be three rounds over the next three weeks until the Challenger League champion was crowned.

The teams eliminated in the group stage returned home one after the other over the next few days. Many player teams felt very satisfied because they had managed to reach this step. They received quite a chunk of prize money from the Alliance. Their trip could be considered worthwhile. The team most unwilling to leave was Team Mysterious Fantasy. After the end of the second day of the group stage, the press released news that Mysterious Fantasy's coach, Zhang Yiwei, had stepped down from his position. Reporters tried to contact him, but all of their requests were declined. The official statement from Mysterious Fantasy said that from their three seasons of experience, they felt like coaching wasn't suitable for the current Glory competitive scene.

The following 5/9 issue of the Esports Home also published this piece of news. However, most of the news was focused on Team Happy, the team that had eliminated Team Mysterious Fantasy from the tournament.

Chang Xian prepared a detailed introduction on Team Happy long ago. What's more, he had revised it multiple times after consulting Team Happy. Now that Team Happy had attracted so much attention, Chang Xian finally had the opportunity to bring out the article that he had been holding onto for so long. Team Happy had finally been introduced on the front page. Apart from that, how could they not want to know the team's thoughts? In the same issue, Chang Xian also did an interview on Team Happy. Chang Xian had finally made it into the spotlight this week. Through his relationship with Happy, he alone took up half of the space given for the Challenger League. The other two reporters, that had come specifically for the Challenger League, were filled with envy.

They had also grabbed onto Team Happy. They had looked to do interviews for Happy and had written also introductions for them, but how could they know as much as a team reporter like Chang Xian? The final articles chosen to be published were all Chang Xian's.

Becoming a team reporter for an Internet cafe grassroots team? In the beginning, the two had laughed at Chang Xian's decision, but now they couldn't even force a smile. "Let's see how long his pride will last!" The two thought venomously, and began cursing for Team Happy to hurry and get eliminated. If they couldn't profit from it, then the material was worthless in their eyes.

As for Cao Guangcheng, he deserved to be an experienced reporter. He didn't even try and fight with Chang Xian for Team Happy. He continued to insipidly write about his specific topic. This week, he analyzed Team Excellent Era's situation with the new tournament format.

The Challenger League entered the next stage, while this season's Pro League had entered the final stage.

5/10. The 34th round of season nine of the Glory Alliance. Team Tyranny and their four heavenly kings had steadily held the lead since the start. Even now, their position at the top of the regular season standings remained unshakeable. In addition, with their efficiency at earning points, breaking the record for total number of points won in a season was no problem for them. However, trying to beat Team Excellent Era's season two record would be practically impossible. That season, Team Excellent Era won a total of 276 points. It didn't seem like a very high number from a total points perspective, but that was because the Alliance only had 16 teams at the time. Back then, there had only been 30 matches in a season. Thus, comparing their total points would not be a good comparison, so comparing the average number of points won per match would be more fair. In that case, Team Excellent Era won 9.2 points per match on average during the second season. This record was ridiculous to the point of being untouchable. With only four rounds left the season, it was already hopeless for Team Tyranny to challenge it.

However, just being able to vie for the record already showed Team Tyranny's unquestionable dominance this season.

In second place was last season's champions, Team Samsara. This season, they strived to defend their title. Even though they had been suppressed by Team Tyranny in the regular season, the playoffs and the regular season were unrelated. Team Blue Rain pushed them down last year too, but who won the playoffs in the end? The regular season had more matches over a longer period of time. It tested a team's consistency, but the playoffs was an elimination tournament. Two matches would determine the winner. It tested a team's explosiveness.

Third, fourth, fifth place was Team Blue Rain, Team Wind Howl, and Team Tiny Herb respectively. The number of points between the three teams was very close, so it was not possible to distinguish which team was better than the other through placings. However, Team Wind Howl failed to even make it to the playoffs last season, yet now they had turned a new leaf this season, becoming a powerhouse no weaker than Team Blue Rain and Team Tiny Herb. Tang Hao's transfer had already been considered last summer's most successful transfer .

The fight for the last three playoff spots for the sixth, seventh, and eighth place team were very extremely intense. Team Misty Rain was in sixth place. They had no strong teams in the next four rounds, so their situation was looking up. Team Hundred Blossoms was in seventh place. They had lost too many points during the start of the season. They only started catching up after they managed to recover. Their situation was somewhat grave. Team Void was in eighth place. The ghost duo had lasted for so many years. They had always placed neither low nor high as if they were stuck at a bottleneck. Their performance this season had its ups and downs. Even though they still held onto their playoff spot for now, many people considered them as the team most likely to disappoint. If they lost their playoff spot, they might just keep falling from there.

What were the chances of Team Void losing their playoff spot? It was actually quite likely. Team 301 was biting at their heels. Team 301 was the model example of an average team. Their players weren't the best and their characters weren't the most powerful, but the team operated extremely well. Their team's performance was very consistent, and they frequently made it to playoffs. Their performance this season had been affected by Xu Bin's departure. If not, they might have forced the inconsistent Team Void out long ago.

The teams closely behind Team 301 were some of the great mysteries of the season. 

Radiant, Conquering Clouds, Heavenly Swords, Parade. These four teams moved up and down the rankings together. They were neatly in order from 10th to 13th place. It was truly surprising. In the beginning, their initial impression was that they should be pacing back and forth between the relegation zone. Instead, they had actually run past it into the middle zone. It was even possible for them to make it into playoffs. Teams with All Stars like Royal Style and Seaside had been forced behind them. The original tenth place team, Team Thunderclap, also surprised many. Now, they had been pushed aside too.

These four teams benefited the most from the new game update. However, only the club guild elites competing for wild bosses in the game knew the real reason why they were performing so well. However, as the season proceeded towards the final stage, the focus of the teams shifted again. Many pro players withdrew from the game and began focusing more on their matches, especially the teams bordering on the edge like Hundred Blossoms, Void, and 301. How could they dare to be careless now?

As soon as these teams started focusing on the matches, those four teams obviously met with trouble. From a points perspective, they could still make it to playoffs, but in reality, these four teams knew in their hearts that they had only been profiting at the other's expense. Taking advantage of them was just a one-time thing. They still didn't have the strength to rival them on equal footing.

The Pro League and Challenger League had reached their most exciting stages. However, because there was quite a wide skill gap between different teams in the Challenger League compared to the teams in the Pro League, everyone's attention was more focused. Thus, apart from a few teams, the majority of the teams weren't under much pressure. Team Excellent Era's opponents wouldn't go so far as to not sleeping, trying to figure out a strategy on how to beat Excellent Era. Everyone would laugh at them, treating them as silly people with their panties in a bunch.

Ten days passed by quickly. It was finally match day. Among the eight teams, the highlight match would be between Team Jade Dynasty and Team Trader. Group B's Team Trader made it past a former pro team. They were clearly the biggest dark horse in this offline tournament. They had spectacular performances against Group B's Team Happy and Team Mysterious Fantasy. In this match between Team Jade Dynasty, no one could be certain that Team Jade Dynasty would win just because they had once been a pro team.

The dark horse's journey ended here though. The highlight match ended dully. From the group arena to the team competition, Team Jade Dynasty seemed to be following a routine. They kept advancing step by step until Team Trader finally fell.

The matches for Team Happy and Team Excellent Era were without any suspense. Player teams were easily beaten by them, so the most interesting match was the one between Group C's first seed and Group D's second seed. The strength between the two teams was quite close. Even though the quality of match wasn't that high, it was at least exciting to watch. Unfortunately, if this type of excitement was enough to satisfy the crowd, why would pro teams need to exist?

The quarter finals ended just like that. None of the matches made anyone's blood race. Even the media reports towards the matches felt dispirited. However, thinking of the next confrontations, everyone's spirits rose. In the top half, Happy and Jade Dynasty would clash. This should be a fairly high-quality match. As for the second half, players who supported Excellent Era and had yet to tire from them winning would continue to be in admiration as their Gods crushed enemy weaklings.

"Two more matches!"

On the morning of the second day, Chen Guo woke up from her dream with a smile. Sunlight had already filled her room. The joy from her dream had yet to recede. She looked to the side and noticed that her roommate Tang Rou was nowhere to be seen. 

She woke up so early?

Chen Guo muttered to herself. She got out of bed, washed up, tidied everything, and then left the room. The corridor was extremely quiet. Chen Guo reckoned that the others were still sleeping, so she didn't go to bother them. She went downstairs, ate breakfast, and then headed over to the Internet cafe practice room.

Excellent Era had booked their own hotel, while the liveliness at the start of the offline tournament was no longer as crazy. Of the nineteen teams at this hotel, only three remained. Everyone was together in the same place during this period of time, and everyone shared Glory as their passion. The players all loved to play the game, so even though they were here to compete against each other, they still became good friends off stage. Those who could make it to this stage of the Challenger League were outstanding players. As a result, Chen Guo was quite enthusiastic about recruiting these people for Happy.

But even if they were outstanding, many of them had their own foundations in the game. Most of them shrugged off her attempts to recruit them. Chen Guo had lots of experience with the game. She understood all of that, so she wasn't impatient. Her Chasing Haze added many friends in the game during this period of time. They could meet again in the Heavenly Domain!

In comparison, more people were more interested in Ye Xiu. What was surprising to Chen Guo was that Ye Xiu didn't seem to avoid many topics, even though he had always acted mysterious in the past.

"What's going on?" Chen Guo was puzzled.

"What do you mean? I was using someone else's name before. How could I not try to keep a low profile?" Ye Xiu said half jokingly.

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