In the game of League of Legends off-season musical chairs, no one is safe, not even if your résumé includes a stint as one of the world’s best players.
Russian legend Alexey “Alex Ich” Ichetovkin has run the gamut in the past week, from promising Expansion Tournament entry to promising free agent. Finally, the frustrated former-pro announced this morning that he intends to skip the Expansion Tournament entirely.
Riot Games’ upcoming Expansion Tournament is a prime opportunity for former and aspiring pros to secure one of two new team spots in the European and North American regions respectively. Normally, teams are forced to qualify by beating out other challengers and then ousting a professional squad with a season of experience under their belt. Current hopefuls entering the Expansion Tournament only have to beat other challengers, many of whom have no experience in the big leagues whatsoever.
With numerous free-agents available and an arguably lower barrier to entry, the qualifier was to be a gateway for Ichetovkin, whose storied career as a member of Gambit Gaming hit a roadblock when the team’s results dropped off in the League Championship Series 2014 Spring Split. Since then, multiple promising iterations of his new team, Ninjas in Pyjamas, stumbled at the final hurdle, keeping his dream of returning to the professional scene just out of reach.
Ichetovkin has since departed Ninjas in Pyjamas citing organizational issues. His fleeting roster of only one week ago featured current and former pros with a great deal of experience and skill at their positions. Unfortunately, this too fell apart shortly after it began. Ichetovkin says he will now focus on honing his skills and potentially re-enter the free agent market when the time comes.
For Ichetovkin, the announcement is yet another in what has become a long series of disappointing ventures. As he tightens his skills in game in hopes of an eventual return, fans will continue to speculate on what’s left for the player who once gave the West a fighting chance on the world stage.
Photo via oldandsolo/Flickr (CC BY 2.0)