On July 8, FunPlus Phoenix announced on their Weibo account that Jang “Nuguri” Hang-Gwon would be subbed out of their starting roster for FunPlus Blaze player Ping “Xiaolaohu” Xiao-hu. The original Weibo post was translated and put on Twitter by League of Legends Pro League journalist @ran_lpl.
FPX posted on weibo
"Nuguri's personal performance hasn't been the best lately, after thoroughly communicating with him, we decided to temporarily promote xiaolaohu from FPB to the main team as tomorrow's starting top laner against LGD." pic.twitter.com/0UGcXNRtw8
— Ran (@ran_lpl) July 8, 2021
Why did FunPlus Phoenix replace Nuguri?
According to the translated post, the change stems from Nuguri’s lackluster performance as of late. FunPlus Phoenix have lost the last two series they played against Bilibili Gaming and Invictus Gaming; both teams who are under them in the standings.
Nuguri has been a top rated top laner for the past two years. He previously played for the iteration of Damwon Gaming that took the World Championships in 2020. Afterward, Nuguri continued his career in the LPL with FunPlux Phoenix. In the one split that Nuguri played with FunPlus Phoenix, they were able to make the grand finals of the LPL and fight for a spot in the Mid-Season Invitational. However, his recent performance has prompted the team to remove him from the roster.
Nuguri’s replacement, Xiaolaohu, has been a strong performer in LPL’s developmental league, LDL. FunPlus Blaze made the grand finals of the LDL playoffs with a 21-4 regular season record but, in the end, they lost to Young Miracles. The switch will allow the LDL player to showcase his skills against the higher level LPL competition.
This week, Xiaolaohu’s debut will be against the eighth place LGD Gaming, who are currently 5-4 in match record. The team have been on an upward rise since adding former MAD Lions jungler Zhi Qiang “Shad0w” Zhao in early June.
FunPlus Pheonix’s match against LGD will start at 7 a.m. EST on the LPL Twitch channel.