“Let’s defend first, let’s defend first—there’s no rush,” said a reserve team player with the gamer ID “seven.”

“Go to the bottom lane and counterattack. I can do it this time,” said a starter nicknamed “Yitong” as he wiped his hand with a tissue to make sure he could keep a grip on his phone.

Dressed in T-shirts, shorts, and slippers, this group of teens and young twentysomethings, all members of Vici Gaming, a Shanghai-based e-sports club, are some of the best “Honour of Kings” players in the country.

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Tony Xu is Shanghai-based tech reporter. Connect with him via e-mail: tony.xu@technode.com More by Tony Xu

Jiayi Shi is the Shanghai-based visual reporter helping provide multimedia elements about China’s fast-changing technology and culture. She holds a B.A. in Convergence Journalism from the University... More by Shi Jiayi