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Liquid mid laner APA at MSI 2024 in a backstage photo
Photo by Colin Young-Wolff via Riot Games

Why Top Esports’ Tian told APA to ‘shut up’ before sweeping Team Liquid at MSI 2024

The sophomore mid laner quickly got put in his place after taking a few friendly jabs.

Team Liquid’s mid laner APA has a bit of a reputation for smack-talking before and during League of Legends games on-stage. He put that reputation on the line today by taking some playful shots at Chinese LPL runners-up Top Esports but was immediately shot down by the team’s veteran jungler Tian, who told the second-year pro to kindly “shut up.” 

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Before today’s bracket-opening series against Top Esports at MSI 2024, APA tried to employ his now-signature trash talk tactic against the LPL juggernauts, reportedly taking jabs at his lane opponent, Creme, in the pre-game lobby. According to a post-series interview with Top Esports’ jungler Tian, APA tried mocking Creme in the lobby, saying things along the lines of “for a mid laner, you look a little bit nervous. Are you scared?” as translated by Riot’s in-house Chinese-English translator Shi “Wendy” Wendi. 

MSI 2024 bracket stage arena wide view
The MSI bracket stage kicked off earlier today with a 3-0 Top Esports sweep of Liquid. Photo by Colin Young-Wolff via Riot Games

Once the game started, APA continued the trash-talking, asking in all chat: “three bans?,” referring to the game one draft bans of Taliyah, Ziggs, and Aurelion Sol that Top Esports targeted against the TL mid laner in the series’ opening game. That line elicited a response out of Tian, who plainly told APA to “shut up.” 

Tian clarified in the post-match interview that there was little to no malice behind the “shut up” that he fired in APA’s direction, and instead wanted it to serve as a rallying cry to his teammates to get them to focus on the task ahead of them.  

Whatever Tian said to Creme evidently worked as the Top Esports mid laner ended the three-game series with an impeccable scoreline of 14/1/15 (29.0 KDA), while Tian himself was involved in 39 of Top Esports’ 55 total kills, good enough for a kill participation mark of 70.9 percent, according to League stats site Games of Legends.

Earlier in the tournament, APA fired a warning shot at European League teams, full-chestedly saying that “EU is trash” in an interview with European-based League esports outlet Sheep Esports. APA has never played a stage game against a European team in his career and held a 0-3 international match record coming into this year’s Mid-Season Invitational, which Liquid were slotted directly into the bracket stage of. 

Today’s 3-0 loss against Top Esports has placed Liquid into the losers bracket of MSI, meaning the North American champions will need to climb out of the cellar if they want to make a run at an international title. They’ll return to action on Friday, May 10, for a losers bracket matchup with a to-be-determined opponent at 11pm CT. 

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Michael Kelly
Staff Writer covering World of Warcraft and League of Legends, among others. Mike's been with Dot since 2020, and has been covering esports since 2018.