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Road to PAX: Alex "Xpecial" Chu

By Krasimir 'fmde' Kolev
Aug 23, 2012 00:37

ImageWith events like MLG Raleigh and PAX Prime on the horizon, the American League of Legends scene is definitely the one to keep an eye on. But before the events even start, SK-Gaming will bring you another series of interviews with some of the best players.

US Team SoloMid is one of the most consistent teams in terms of performance in the American scene and will be aiming at achieving the maximum results during the upcoming events. Known for their aggressive and ever-changing playstyle and their "passion" for burning down houses, TSM has shown their ambitions for Season 2 Grand Finals. How did they prepare for the events? What are their expectations? What does it take to be a top support player? US Alex 'Xpecial' Chu has all the answers! Enjoy!

We are weeks away from two very important North American tournaments - MLG Raleigh and the Regional qualifiers for Season 2 Championship. What does your preparation look like? Are you satisfied with it or think you should have done more?

"It's hard to say that we couldn't be more prepared, but I feel that we will still come out strong at the NA regionals. We have been practicing hard for the past few weeks and have really stepped up our performance recently."

MLG Raleigh ends four days before PAX and that’s when all the participants in the Regionals and their seeds will be known, does this bother you? Would you prefer for the bracket to be ready earlier so you can prepare for specific teams?

"Definitely. Knowing which teams we will be facing allows us to study those teams more and just focus more our strategies around those teams. With the current standings, any team that takes a top slot at Raleigh can take over 8th seed, making it impossible for us to predict who will be our first round opponent."

Do you think that two tournaments so close to each other is a good or bad thing? Will Raleigh make you prepare in the best way for the Regionals by meeting the strongest teams first there or will the travel between the two destinations tire you out and not let you play to your full potential?

"Raleigh will provide some practice, but traveling to events will mean a loss of practice time. Unfortunately, even if we chose to not go, it is difficult to look for practice as most of the top teams will be away. However, since there is a week between events and there isn't too much traveling, we will be alright."


What do you think of the format of the Regionals? Is single elimination good enough for such an important tournament that decides who gets to attend the Championship?

"Actually, that was something that most teams had strong disapproval towards. Riot has, however, said that single elimination will set up for future events such as those in Season 3. Either way, I hope that we'll make it to the World Championships."

What are your expectations going into both tournaments? Do you think you can get a top finish in Raleigh and more importantly one of the three spots for the Championship at the Regionals?

"I have very high expectations for TSM going into the end of Season Two and I hope that we will win both events. We have been practicing hard for this and I expect to take a top three slot at the Regionals."

Do you have any predictions for the teams that are going to take the top 3 places at both tournaments? Who do you think will surprise us?

"Because of the single elimination format and the LAN setting allowing for cheese strategies to thrive, it is going to be very hard to say which teams will come out on top. Currently, there are a number of teams that could seriously contend for a top three slot. I definitely feel that there will be upsets, I just hope my team is not involved in one of those."


At MLG Summer Arena we saw some real aggressive play from Azubu Blaze and yourselves. Do you think this push strat is the beginning of a new meta? Will you guys be using it more frequently? How do you think it can be countered?

"It wasn't a meta, but more of a mindset. Most Western teams had the mindset that taking early towers is always negative as it makes it harder to deny farm. The Koreans showed us that by lane swapping and going for objectives, taking towers has huge benefits."

Does having the homeground advantage in the Season 2 Grand Finals motivate you? Do you guys think you've got what it takes to win the Grand Prize? Which team do you see yourselves playing against in the finals?

"Having home-court advantage is huge, as many teams often get jet-lagged and are unaccustomed to the area and this causes them to play significantly weaker. Even Azubu Blaze played much worse on the first day against us, except we still managed to play worse than they did. It's going to be a very tough road to the Grand Prize and unlike Season One, all of the teams there will be a contender."


Most of the time people overlook how important the role of a support is. If you could encourage more people to give it a shot, what would you say to them? What does it take to be a top support?

"Honestly, with the appearance of top supports that make game winning plays, including M5's GoSu Pepper, CLG.EU's Krepo and Azubu Blaze's LustBoy, people have been giving a lot more credit to this overlooked role. The players that don't enjoy support often aren't doing it correctly by playing too passive. Just pick something aggressive and have fun with that role by getting some kills and carrying that noob AD carry. =P I truly believe that the best supports must be proficient at all of the roles and aren't necessarily the weakest players on a team."

OK, great! Now let's talk a little more about yourself. Was your family supportive to all the sacrifices you had to make when you moved to a gaming house?

"Most Asian parents tend to be non-supportive of something like this, but I was very fortunate in this matter. They allowed me to pursue my dream, provided I go back to school if my adventure was not successful."

What does the day of a Pro-Support player look like?

"Meditation, walking the dog, cleaning and cooking. No I'm just kidding, I just play League of Legends all day."

Thanks for the great interview. Any shoutouts you'd like to make?

"As always, I thank for making everything we do as a team possible. I'd also like to extend my thanks to Gunnars for providing amazing eyewear and a thank you to my teammates and all fans of TSM, League of Legends, eSports and myself. Also, thank you for taking the time to interview me."

US Team SoloMid recently announced, that they won't be attending MLG Raleigh and will be focusing their efforts on PAX. Alex himself explains their decision in THIS VIDEO



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