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Canon Sue: Yes, he's a Shane. But Eli is inexplicably better than everyone in the tournament, despite only being in Slugterra for a couple of days. He has a great bond with slugs he just met, and he can form complex strategies on a whim even though he was never hinted at having any strategic skill.
The above is only the first two episodes. Come episode 3, Dr. Blakk mops the floor with him. Eli and his friends barely managed to escape when Burpy did that firewall thing.
He displays racing skills that rival pros, despite almost never racing and isn't used to the terrain used in the race. This is lampshaded when he points out that he's only been riding for a short time.