China’s Bilibili Gaming continued their journey in the 2023 Mid-Season Invitational with a 3-0 series win over the reigning LCS champion Cloud9. Although the LPL runner-up was tackled with obstacles in the form of C9’s early-game aggression for every game in the series, BLG evidently found a way to overcome them on each occasion.
Among the BLG lineup, which features recognizable names like Zeng “Yagao” Qi and Chen “Bin” Ze-Bin, players who competed in past major tournaments, is an international debutante in Peng “XUN” Li-Xun. After spending the first two years in Invictus Gaming, XUN joined BLG for the 2023 season. He has since laid his mark on his new team, helping them finish second domestically and making their presence felt internationally.
Having helped BLG book a ticket to the upper bracket semifinals in MSI 2023, BLIX talked to XUN in an interview about how he helped the team defeat C9, his experience in London, what it’s like integrating with the rest of the Chinese squad this year and more.
Pedro Romero, BLIX: Thanks for sharing your time with this interview, and also, congrats on the win over Cloud9 at MSI. I want to start by covering your overall thoughts on facing C9. What was it like playing them and how did your team win in the end?
Peng “XUN” Li-Xun: I actually think today’s match was interesting because C9 got big leads in the early-game so we had to comeback to win against them.
BLIX: From your perspective, how were you able to help your team bounce back throughout this series as each match progressed to the mid and late game?
XUN: I do think we did a better job in laning swaps and laning at the 10-minute mark or in the mid-game so that we could regain some leads.
BLIX: Throughout the broadcast, we saw your teammate Bin make the 3-0 hand symbols to show his confidence over how the series against C9 would end. Were you just as confident as your teammate when it came to taking on C9? Did you also feel it was going to end 3-0?
XUN: Actually, I’m not very confident. I choose to stay calm, play normally, and do what I need to do as long as I perform normally and do these things with a relaxing mentality.
BLIX: And it was with that kind of mentality that you took on Blaber, your opponent in the jungling position. What was it like for you to take on Blaber in particular?
XUN: I think Blaber did a really great job in vision settings, coordination, and the synergy between himself and his teammates. I think he did a really great job in these parts.
Experience in MSI 2023
BLIX: Looking at you specifically, you are the latest in a long line of LPL junglers that are making a name for themselves in the international level, but with this MSI, where do you think you stand amongst the rest of the junglers in the competing field?
XUN: In terms of the jungling position especially, I don’t think anybody can take advantage of me. We’ll see in the next official games.
BLIX: Looking at your career, this marks your first time in an international event and actually competing against the world’s best in the highest level of this game. How have you been looking at your experience here so far as a rookie in the international level. And what’s been your biggest takeaway during your stay in MSI?
XUN: This is my very first time joining such an international tournament and I really am learning a lot from it because I can play against a lot of teams from different regions and I think different teams have their own characteristics and playstyles. Some teams play aggressively and maybe some other teams play in a stable manner, so I really appreciate this chance where I can play against them and I’ve really learned a lot so far.
BLIX: From how you’ve been navigating throughout this competition, I feel there’s been a lack of nerves from you in particular. Have you been feeling nervous here in MSI, and if so, how have you been able to manage it?
XUN: I always keep a stable mentality no matter during or outside official games. I think I can always play well in my relaxing mentality like this.
BLIX: Looking at the rest of the team, you are playing alongside recognizable names throughout the LPL like Bin, Yagao, and ON and Elk, who’s another good player in his own right. What has it been like for you to integrate with the rest of BLG so far this year and how has it differed from your experience in Invictus Gaming?
XUN: When I was in IG, I was a person who needed to carry games, but now in BLG, we have more players who can carry in our lineup, so I can play the game and take it easy like this.
BLIX: It’s with that reformed mindset the team will progress further into the upper bracket phase of the bracket where you will await the winner between JD Gaming and Golden Guardians. I have to say all fingers are pointing towards JDG as your next opponent, but I’d like to know your thoughts on both teams since it includes the team you lost to in the LPL spring finals and a familiar opponent by this point of the event since you previously locked horns with them in the Play-In stage?
XUN: From my own perspective, I think JDG has a better chance of beating GG in the next match, and if JDG wins, we’ll definitely be in a better form to face them because it’s a rematch.