Following LNG Esports' elimination from the 2021 League of Legends World Championship, mid laner Xie "icon" Tian-Yu has come under heavy criticism for his performance and a perceived lack of competitive effort. Nine days after LNG's elimination from Worlds 2021, icon took to social media to address the criticism surrounding his performance, and his posts were shared on Twitter by prominent members of the LPL community.
In his posts, icon's key points highlighted his key performances for LNG Esports throughout the 2021 LPL Summer Split, his diligence in practice to be the best competitor possible, and that no fan, no matter how vile, has been harder on him about his performance than himself. The LNG mid laner made the posts after traveling from Reykjavik to Shanghai, where he is now in the first day of his mandatory post-international flight quarantine.
In addition, icon addressed criticisms that he made an account on Chinese social media platform Bilibili out of vanity and self-indulgence, when in actuality, the mid laner states he started the account to connect with his fans on a more personal level and allow them to get to know him better outside of his appearances in League of Legends competitions.
icon also states that he has made very little revenue from his Bilibili account despite criticisms of the contrary, attributing the lack of revenue to an intentional choice to use the account for the previously aforementioned personal reasons.
The criticism towards icon reached critical mass when the LNG mid laner gave up back-to-back solo kills to Gen.G mid laner Gwak "Bdd" Bo-seong in Group D of the main event of Worlds 2021, which was amplified by his statement leading up to the event in an interview with Inven Global where he stated that he felt the mid laners in the LPL were stronger than mid laners in the LCK — a statement that was already controversial before his relatively poor personal performance at the event.