Aleksei "Alex Ich" Ichetovkin, Mid player of Gambit Gaming, is the star of the 32nd episode of my 'Grilled' interview series.
How did M5 go from relatively unknown outside of Europe to being the best in the world in early 2012? Was their late-game style based more on the meta at the time or the strengths of their particular team? What does Alex think of the balance between specialising in a few champions at Mid and being good, but not as good, at many? What are the difficulties of playing Froggen and Toyz at Mid? What did he learn about positioning from Genja007? How does Genja compare to Cpt Jack, WeiXaio and Doublelift?
Time line of topics:
00:16 What allowed M5, in early 2012, to go from relatively unknown to the best team in the world?
02:23 Did M5 know early on that their late-game playing style was really good? What are his thoughts on that playing style?
03:59 Was that style based more on the metagame at the time or the strengths of M5?
05:29 Does Alex having played Jungle before the M5 days allow him some special insight into how a jungler should play and thus how to work with the jungler from AP?
06:48 Is it viable to have carry junglers in this era? Can teams be built around that position?
08:36 Which junglers impress Alex in terms of making their AP look good, even if others don't recognise them as much?
09:58 How do the situations differ of players at positions like AP and AD who are the focal points or carries of their team, to those who might be equally skilled but not the focal point?
12:41 How does he weigh up the gamble of an AP mid's champion pool, between the two poles of being an expert at a couple or good, but not as good, at many?
14:47 Having the same lineup for so long, has the team ever seriously considered changing a player?
17:03 How much of M5/GG's incredible consistency (never placing below 4th at an offline event) is related to their lineup's time together?
18:05 Thoughts on mental strength and the ability to come from behind.
19:05 Does he think back on their loss to Taipei Assassins, in the semi-final of the S2 finals, and what his team could have done differently, or if TPA were really better than them at the time?
20:07 Is TPA the team GG needs to face and overcome?
20:58 How does he evaluate the experience and difficulties of playing against EG (Froggen) and TPA's (Toyz) AP mid players?
22:06 Why is the first game of the IEM VI World Championship semi-final against CLG.NA one he lists as one of his most memorable of his career?
23:19 Critics previously saying GG was weak against Asian teams, but managing to roll over the two Korean teams at IEM VII Katowice in the playoffs.
25:00 Thoughts on the rumoured secret training method of Blaze being sent out to scrim opponent and then replicate the style in games against Frost.
26:12 People assuming GG must spend all of their time together and be best friends. Alex having said in an AMA that they aren't all that social with each other.
27:01 Saying that if GG got a gaming house they would only go there for practice, but live apart rather than together in the house.
29:01 Him saying that his team only needs three members of their team for theorycrafting.
29:33 Why GG doesn't go with the two usual approaches: either a general making all of the decisions or a totally democractic method of everyone being involved.
30:25 Elaborating on something he said in the past that he learned a lot about positioning in-game from Genja007.
31:48 How does Genja007 compare to Cpt Jack, WeiXaio and Doublelift?
32:39 Does he think Asians are overrated?
33:48 Thoughts on MadLife being able to carry from the Support role. Are there others who can do this?
34:20 Are there plans for GG to move to Asia for an extended period of time? Perhaps going to Korea?
34:53 Does Alex watch OGN/Korean tournaments?
35:14 What does he think of Najin Sword winning OLYMPUS Winter?
36:52 What does he think of Ryu, KT Rolster B's mid player?
37:20 Does the format/structure of LCS Europe favour GG?
38:23 If the future of LoL means only playing in LCS, instead of monthly tournaments, will his team have to change their style etc.?
39:19 Aliens come to Earth and offer an ultimatum: we'll destroy Earth unless a team of Earth representatives can defeat us in a LoL game. Alex must pick four players to join him on the Earth team, but nobody from his team. Who would he pick?
40:55 Who in his opinion is the best at each position at the moment?