LPL has a chip on its shoulder after its sour performance at the last World Championship, but now Royal Never Give Up’s qualification makes for two out of three LPL teams out of group stages. Uzi is the face of the team and a superstar AD carry, but he also has a mid laner in tandem: Xiaohu.
RNG was painted as the inconsistent, over aggressive Chinese team and as much as they were, they managed to 2-0 TSM in the group stage. RNG’s group qualification came down to the last game against North America’s Team SoloMid, a heavy favorite coming into the tournament. In that game, Uzi was the star, but Xiaohu was fantastic on the Star Forger, Aurelion Sol. We caught up with him after the game to see how he felt about Worlds thus far.
RedBull.com: You guys managed to beat Team SoloMid and made it out of your groups in second. How does it feel?
Xiaohu: So, I feel very happy for us to get out of the group stage because our performance right now is not stable. We’re still worried about what will happen in our next games though.
Your team was very inconsistent in the last LPL split. Why do you think that is?
First off, I think from MSI and this tournament, you can see that we perform very well at the beginning of the tournament, but worse and worse later. I also think our inconsistent performance in the regular season is more about how difficult it is for players to keep long-lasting, consistent performance up.
Do you think that players naturally have ups and downs in their career? Do you think breaks are important?
I think that while we’re still in tournament, we spend a long time practicing, up until from 12-2 a.m. every night and wake up early in the morning to keep practicing. It’s okay to keep this pattern as long as we can really gain from our scrims. We can have more rest after the tournament.
You guys played Aurelion Sol. How do you think it affects mid lane and the general metagame?
I think we’re for Aurelion Sol, there is really no champion to counter him. While playing Aurelion Sol, it is really easy to roam and go top and bottom lane, in order to gain advantages for the team and push up lanes.
Aside from Aurelion Sol, what mid champions do you think are especially important right now?
Aside from the Aurelion Sol, I think Syndra and Ryze are pretty strong champions for this patch. Syndra is really strong in the laning phase and is stronger than every other champion at this stage of the game. As for Ryze, we can see from a couple games played this week, Ryze can really perform with a lot of support from his team. I think I really need to practice these two champions.
Some people are talking about Vladimir as a counter-pick to Syndra. What do you think about the matchup?
So, I agree with that. During the laning phase, after the first back, Vladimir is 50/50 with Syndra. On the other hand, Vladimir in a teamfight totally counters Syndra.
What do you think about the mid lane players at this tournament? Are there any that stand out to you?
The mid lane players from Samsung, H2K, and also Faker and Bjergsen stand out to me. I really like Bjergsen because I’ve talked with him before. He was really passionate about games and really good at games. Also ... he’s cute. [laughs]
What does it mean for you to play internationally and represent the LPL at Worlds?
Actually, after our first split, it was really difficult to get our seed to worlds. So I feel very honored to be one of the members that gets to play on the world stage. And if we can have a good performance and good placing at this tournament, I think it will be helpful in my life when I get back home.
Xiaohu and co. are aware that their performance so far has been erratic, but are still no doubt proud to be around. Both RNG and Xiaohu continue to have up and down performances, but the scrappiness of the team remains charming. RNG will be playing SK Telecom T1 in the quarterfinals, and as tough as the matchup is, sparks will certainly fly.