LNG mid laner icon sits down to discuss the very even Group D, western ideas about the LPL, and dealing with criticism from fans.

LNG Esports are one of four teams contesting a tight Group D at Worlds 2021. Having breezed through the Play-Ins, the LPL's fourth seed is now looking to make some noise against the best and work to advance out of their group.

Many top teams have their focus on their midlaner, and LNG is no different. Xie "icon" Tian-Yu has been around in the LPL for a long time, but this is the first year he's truly found success. icon sat down with Esports.gg following LNG's win over Team Liquid on Day 2 of groups to discuss the very even group, western ideas about the LPL, and dealing with criticism from fans.

The following interview was conducted with translation from Clement Chu.

icon sets up ahead of LNG's first game of Worlds 2021 against Hanwha Life Esports. (RIOT GAMES/Michal Konkol)
icon sets up ahead of LNG's first game of Worlds 2021 against Hanwha Life Esports. (RIOT GAMES/Michal Konkol)

LNG's Day 2

Shawn "Germanicus" Heerema: Can I get your overall thoughts on today's win against Team Liquid?

Xie "icon" Tian-Yu: Because we were on red side, we just gave whatever champions they left open for us.

Germanicus: After losing solidly to Gen.G yesterday, what were you looking to improve on coming into this match?

icon: I don't think we changed much at all. Yesterday we just didn't prepare fully, and that was what caused the loss.

Germanicus: Why did we see LNG pick Fiora today, a champion we've seen hardly at all this Worlds?

icon: Just because our top laner likes to play it.

Germanicus: You have one more match before you’ve played every team in your group once. What is your plan going up against MAD Lions, and do they have any strengths you want to watch out for?

icon: It seems like the mid laners from their region really like Twisted Fate. So we'll think about how to deal with the pick.

icon's thoughts on Worlds 2021

Germanicus: It seems like your group is the most even at Worlds this year. Is there one team that you think stands out?

icon: Looking down from the first one round, I feel like everyone is very similar. I don't know what to say about this. Everyone's so close.

Germanicus: What has the experience been like for you at your first World Championship?

icon: Right now, I don't really feel much right now. But when we did lose, there is more pressure. Yesterday, we didn't perform well, and I feel like if you lose at worlds, then the pressure is definitely greater than normal.

icon on-stage in Play-Ins. (RIOT GAMES/Michal Konkol)
icon on-stage in Play-Ins. (RIOT GAMES/Michal Konkol)

Germanicus: What does it mean for you to finally make it to Worlds after years of trying?

icon: I think, for every professional player, coming to Worlds is their dream, and if everyone continues to chase their dreams, they should set their goals on Worlds.

Stereotypes and challenges

Germanicus: In the west, sometimes people will say that it’s harder to win LPL than it is to win Worlds; that there’s more talent in the LPL than there is on the best teams from the entire rest of the world. After scrimming and playing at Worlds, do you think that’s true?

icon: I'm not sure. I think when I play in LPL, it does feel like there are a lot of great players. But this time, coming to Worlds, I've realized that there are great players from every region. It's just that we haven't faced them before. This time, in scrims and on stage, I can definitely feel their their strength.

Germanicus: People sometimes say you’re an inconsistent player. Do you think you struggle with always performing well and how might you try to fix it?

icon: I think consistency is just a label that people put on you, depending on whether you win or lose. When you win, people say you're consistent, and when you lose, they say you're inconsistent. Because for most viewers, that's just something they do.

Germanicus: There were some stronger teams than LNG in the LPL on paper this year, but your team surpassed them all. What clicks about LNG that allowed you to exceed expectations so much this year?

icon: I just think that every year, there's always great changes in who goes to Worlds. Maybe next year, people will favor us more to go to Worlds.

Stay tuned to Esports.gg for the latest League of Legends news and updates, and coverage of Worlds 2021.