Now that gamepedia has supposedly awarded Nuguri the dade award, I feel like anybody I hear talk about the player severely misinterpret Nuguri's style and how he plays. Going into Worlds, Nuguri was hyped as one of the best players in the world and as one of the best top laners next to TheShy. Following that assessment, Nuguri had a rather disappointing run overall that didn't meet those gargantuan expectations.
The reason Nuguri failed to impress is because the analyst praise and hype is misinterpreted by the larger community. Nuguri isn't TheShy. If there's any player to compare Nuguri to, its MaRin. TP play notwithstanding (as 2015 SKT MaRin was likely the greatest teleport user of all time), what made 2015 SKT so lethal was that they could carry through any lane. But if you remember 2015 SKT, very rarely would Bengi play around the top side of the map. MaRin was often left in isolation. But MaRin, if left alone by both teams, would often be able to secure an advantage in lane, and if camped by the enemy team, would often still be incredibly relevant and oft times more useful than the enemy top laner as the game progresses. If you have watched competitive sets from Damwon, Nuguri is often a player left in isolation by Damwon while Canyon plays through the other sides of the map. This isn't to say Canyon never goes top, but more often than not, you'll see Canyon playing around Nuclear and Beryl much more than around Nuguri.
At one point, I believe during play-ins, Atlus described Nuguri's play as somebody who is flexible to getting camped – but who always frustrates you due to his utility in spite of the camp. If you watch Damwon's run through worlds, almost every team that played against Damwon crafted a strategy around shutting down top lane. Liquid's lane swap, G2 hard camping him across every game, IG camping for TheShy. In all of these games, Nuguri tends to get behind. In all of these games, Nuguri also tends to still be outputting very high teamfight damage, catching farm when he needs to, and scaling back into the game.
Even if you watch his SoloQ games, he tends to play this sort of isolated playstyle, focused around being self-sufficient. I know SoloQ isn't the greatest representation, but in reviewing his VoDs, I would notice that Nuguri would actually often get behind early as a result of jungle pressure, but pull himself back into the game and dominate through intelligent map play even without resources from his team.
This isn't to say Nuguri isn't exploitable. Anybody who watches LCK can tell you that he oft greeds too hard, whether that's in his setup even before the game loads in, or in his overall map play. A particular game against SKT where he went 1/9 as Klepto Gangplank top comes to mind.
But Nuguri's greatest strength as a player shouldn't ever be imagined as being some unstoppable lane destroying, game ending killing machine. He's a rock who always produces.
Nuguri doesn't deserve the dade award for not meeting an expectation that should never have existed in the first place. In my opinion, he played well in spite of the focus he drew from every team. At least that's my take.
Edit: just some statistics from recent games to back these claims up. Even in g2 vs dwg where nuguri was camped every single game, every single game Nuguri had either the highest or second highest dmg share on his team
Source: Original link
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