Player Profile: Kolo
Kolo, the healer for team Never Lucky (Zach, Packratts, Kolo, Vellido), has been competing in World of Warcraft tournaments since 2014. During this time he’s racked up an impressive résumé including several LAN appearances, a third place finish at the 2017 Blizzcon, and first place at the 2017 North American Regionals. Regarded mostly as a Restoration Shaman, Kolo has shown himself to be one of the most adaptable players in the game, as he’s played almost every healer in tournaments, and even has some showings on dps classes as well. This valuable adaptability has served him well in his recent teams; despite changing lineups a significant amount of times over the past year and a half, he’s found his way to top tournament placings within the North American region regardless.
After a strong 2017 showing on Method Synergy (Kolo, Mes, Trill, Maldiva), 2018 started rough for the healer main when a number of internal team issues came to a head and the core of Mes and Trill paired up to form the team that would win that year’s Blizzcon, Method Orange, with Cdew. Teamless entering the 2018 AWC spring season, Kolo partnered with former Blizzcon Finalist Bean and a few well known ladder players to create Synergy Reborn (Kolo, Bean, Floormat, Calderg). The team never placed higher than sixth in any of the three spring cups, but it was a solid enough stepping stone of a lineup for Kolo considering the roster swaps that were running rampant in the NA region during this time. Summer saw these roster changes continue and culminate in Kolo joining Super Rejects (Kolo, Smexxin, Thugonomics, Envious), a team that would lead to a LAN Finals qualification following a fourth place seeding in the North American Region. Heading into the BFA launch and the fall season, Super Rejects finished third in the first NA cup, and Kolo announced he would be taking a break from competition for the rest of the year. Considering the volatile nature of his 2018, it’s a notable accomplishment that Kolo did manage to persevere and prove himself still among the top healers throughout the year.
The current 2019 spring season has found Kolo in a similar position to his last. Acquiring an all new squad, appropriately deemed Never Lucky (Kolo, Zach, Vellido, Packratts), he has been putting an extreme amount of effort into this season and they have reaped the benefits having recently clinched a spot at the Spring Finals LAN after a close race with MewMewKittyCats (Jahmilli, Roastyz, Rubcub, Rositajones) and The Move (Absterge, Pikaboo, Jellybeans, Wizk). Although his team will be the least experienced of the field moving into the Ohio tournament, they certainly should not be counted out as contenders; a hallmark of Kolo’s teams is always a strong aptitude towards counter-stratting. I’m very excited to see what Never Lucky has in store for the upcoming finals, they’ve traversed the North American region, let’s see what Europe has in store for them. Below I’ve asked Kolo about the approaching Spring Finals, the practice methods of his team, and his individual experiences as a veteran AWC player.
A close race for the fourth place qualification spot in NA between your team, MewMewKittyCats, and The Move was an integral story-line during the six spring cups. How was this experience and what do you think gave Never Lucky the edge in the end?
So I think in our last two cups getting top 6 was crucial for us because it puts you in the best spot for a high placement. However, I think this is what sealed it for us: we beat The Move twice in Cup 6 (hardest series ever), and on top of that the night we got knocked out we got Wealthyman and spam queued nine hours of RMPala wargames into Super Frogs and The Boys combined so their DH/DK would be ready to give us a second chance in the tiebreaker. Zach was pretty dampened after getting mana burned for that long but in the end, it was all worth it.
Never Lucky has a good mix of both LAN experienced, tournament veterans and fresh faces looking to make an impact. How did this lineup come about and what has impressed you the most within this team?
So we kind of made this decision (mainly me) very last minute I had a few other options myself as I was practicing a bit with The Boys before they got Gorecki as well as Woopy and Rosita, but we didn’t end up finding a fourth and I wasn’t 100% sure I wanted either of those options. Zach and I, in the off-season, ended up playing a lot of RMPala together with Volkazar and ended up finishing Dread season at 3150 on my rogue. Zach messaged me to offer me this roster and I was instantly interested. What’s impressed me about this roster is how how talented they all are within their respective classes and Zach’s ability to learn a new class in 3-4 days and play it at the same level as the best.
With your teammate Zach being a main Holy Paladin, you’ve played twice now with teams that have two healer mains on their roster. Several teams have tried this in the past, how do you think this affects your team in particular and do you see any glaring advantages or disadvantages? What are some requirements to pull off a roster like this?
Well I think it’s a good thing because Holy Pally would be the only healer I haven’t achieved a ton of tournament success besides a 2nd place finish in the 2017 Spring GCD Finals. However, I think it’s pretty clear Zach is an outstanding multiclasser as he has 2 years of experience on his rogue with 3100+ rating and picked up Windwalker, Demon Hunter, and Warrior in a matter of 3 weeks of work. I still take on the role of Holy Pally though if Zach has to dps for us.
You seem to move from class to class very well and tend to build teams that fit within metas when you are able. How important is it for you that, both on an individual and team level, you can swap compositions or classes to fit the circumstance? What kind of practice regiment does this kind of play require?
So me personally I’ve played wow about 14-16 hours a day for the past 6 years, as I don’t have many obligations. Over that amount of time and effort I’ve put in, including the other 8 years that I still was playing different classes not on a competitive level or for that amount of time a day since I was in High School, I’ve learned a lot about how classes ticked. I can’t speak for the rest of my team, but since we’ve been together, we’ve made an effort to practice every day together for about 4-6 hours depending on the day - sometimes more sometimes less. Zach is still in High School, Pack is working, and Vell is going for his Doctorate, but we try to make the most of our time.
At this point, you’ve essentially proven yourself as a connoisseur of the North American scene, playing with many different players and teams and still remaining competitive. Have these experiences shaped you individually at all? Do any of these rosters or players, in particular, stand out to you as distinctly having an impact on your career, if so, why?
I think I’ve learned a lot playing with different teams. Mes and Trill taught me how important friendship and teamwork and discipline/a good mindset is. Playing with Smexxin, Thug, and Envious taught me how to have fun and still do well. I try to take those experiences and implement them into my current roster because at the end of the day, if you are going to be spending a lot of time every day with these people, getting along is the most important thing. I think this current roster ties on my favorite roster list with Mes and Trill if not better. Love playing with these guys.
Looking forward towards the Spring Finals, how has Never Lucky been preparing knowing that European competition may be very different from the North American meta? Are there any particular matchups between the two regions you’re excited to see yourself, whether involving your team or not?
I’m excited to see how we can do vs Whazz’s team. I fought Whazz in the Summer Finals and was really impressed with how synergized they are together as a team. We are doing everything in our power to prepare for that team because in my opinion that will be our hardest match of the tourney - up there with Wildcard Gaming. Both of those teams are very talented, but I think if we play well we have a good chance to win.
A list of pre-approved addons were recently announced as useable during the Spring Finals, something previously unheard of within the PvP tournament community. How do you feel this changes the LAN setting, and do you see this as a positive or negative addition?
I think overall we play throughout the year against each other with addons, I think they should just allow all the addons, but this is a step in the right direction. It only makes the quality of the games better, so I think that’s a positive. I do see the other side though as far as the true LAN players become more aware while having to play without them. I don’t mind either way and if we were going to this LAN without addons just like the three others I’ve been too we would be just as prepared to play without them.