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MSI 2021 Spotlight: Royal Never Give Up’s xiaohu

After defeating 2019 World Champions FPX, in the LPL Spring 2021 Grand Finals, xiaohu and Royal Never Give Up are now attending MSI 2021 this month.

Current FPX top laner, Nuguri, was the only player to leave the 2020 World Championship winning team DAMWON Gaming (Which rebranded to DWG KIA in 2021). With the elimination of FPX, this would mean that Nuguri is the only player of that championship-winning team to miss out on the 2021 MSI.

However, this does not mean that were won’t be a dominant top laner that will be representing China’s LPL this year. Royal Never Give Up’s top laner xiaohu is attending the tournament and he is a force to be reckoned with.

Credit: Iven Global

Formerly a mid laner for RNG, xiaohu made the swap the swap to mid lane at the start of the 2021 season to make room for his new mid laner, Cryin.

In 2018, Royal Never Give Up won the MSI against the LCK’s KingZone DragonX. This tournament was notably the only major international tournament legendary Uzi won. Additionally, xiaohu was on this roster, but as mid laner.

The role swap that xiaohu didn’t break headlines like when Perkz roles swapped to ADC when Caps joined G2 Esports, but the significance of this is just as impactful. After looking at xiaohu’s performance after a short time in a different position, it is clear that he is formidable and effective.

The role swap meant that xiaohu was able to bring some classic mid laners into the top lane, which can be an effective strategy in draft. This is evident as during the season he picked Syndra, Akali, Rumble, Lucian, and Tristana into the top lane.

In addition to his success at flex picking champions into the top lane, he also was able to show off his dominant Gragas pick, going 3-0 on it during the LPL Spring 2021 Playoffs.

MSI 2021
Credit: Ucatchers

Statistically, xiaohu was able to show how dominant he was all season in the top lane through several different stats during the regular season.

He had a score of 66.9% in kill participation which shows that he is always involved in making plays on the rift. Additionally, he also had an astounding 4.5 KDA, which demonstrates how effective he was throughout the entire regular season.

These numbers show that he is a top laner that is expected to dominate at both the domestic and international level, and specifically at this year’s MSI.

Credit: ESTNN

The LPL representatives at MSI 2021 have a lot to prove, as the emergence of DWG KIA shows that the LCK is making strides at the title of “best region”. However, xiaohu and RNG have an opportunity to show that the LPL is still the strongest region in the world.