The D00ds were one of the most hyped teams at the start of this year. The three players Ralph, Joro and AxB came out of nowhere, qualified for Dreamhack Leipzig and continued to surprise everybody there with stunning results. In the following months, The D00ds qualified for the RLRS and were definitely a fan favorite going into league play.
But RLRS was tough and by the time league play started, all the other teams knew that it would be a huge mistake to underestimate this young, talented squad. The D00ds finished the RLRS on 5th place, unable to secure a guaranteed RLRS spot for next season. A couple of days later they announced that they would disband, ending their short, but surprisingly successful career as a team.
— Joro (@JorolelinRL) April 21, 2018
We reached out to George “Joro” Kolev to talk about their impressive run, life after competitive Rocket League and a possible comeback for The D00ds.
Joro, in my opinion The D00ds were a phenomenon. You guys came out of nowhere, surprised everybody and made it to Dreamhack, continued to surprise everybody and were a fan favorite when RLRS came around. From your point of view: What’s the reason that you managed to get such an enthusiastic fan base basically out of nowhere?
I’m not sure why we got a fanbase. I mean, coming from nowhere and taking RLCS teams the way we did in the open qualifier is probably a big reason – just supporting an underdog. Most people around the scene had probably heard of us and the breakthrough was probably cool as it gave people a new team to support. Also the fact that we come off as a bit of a “meme” while also being a strong team helped our popularity. Just a catchy name like The D00ds and our RLCS qualifier stream where we just messed around and sang probably gave us a fair number of fans.
“It was like a perfect storm coming together”
Tell me a bit about the beginning of that intense journey. When did you first team up with Ralph and AxB and what made that team so strong?
I teamed with them in an ESL tournament right before the Dreamhack Leizig qualifier. I played with AxB in a Rank A series and I knew he was good since I played The D00ds before in tournaments when I was on a team with ayyjayy. We decided to try a few tournaments and we had Ralph who’d been playing with AxB for over a year, and we all know how well that went. Ralph and AxB are/were a ridiculously dynamic duo who utilized passing/looking for each other more than any other bubble players I played with (and I played with a lot). One of their problems was their tendency to be overaggressive and my laid back 3rd man style helped with that. When paired with a honeymoon period, it was like a perfect storm coming together that helped us get to Germany.
How surprised were you by your success, specifically when you managed to qualify for Dreamhack?
Words can’t even describe it. I remember talking to the Stdx boys when they qualified for RLCS and I remember them giving me that answer, kinda not believing that it happened. At the time, the answer didn’t make sense, how could you not believe it happened? But when I experienced winning that tournament I understood exactly what they meant. Just processing what you’ve done is so difficult, you need to pause yourself between your elatedness to question whether that just really happened.
— DreamHack Rocket League (@DreamHackRL) January 15, 2018
Prior to said Qualifier you were underdogs, that kinda flew under the radar. Was that an advantage going into the tournament?
10000%! The biggest advantage a team can have, is being seen as an underdog. The favored team is unsure how much respect to give said underdog and/or what they’re capable of. They also have the mentality of “we should be beating this team, while the underdog has comms focused on playing well and no pressure on performing. It’s a huge benefit that not only helped us in the qualifiers, but also in the actual event versus Vitality and in week 1 of RLRS versus Team Dignitas.
“The biggest advantage a team can have, is being seen as an underdog”
You qualified for RLRS and when league play started you were already among the fan favorites. Did that put you guys under a lot of pressure?
We certainly didn’t see ourselves as favorites, and neither did our competition. Maybe on the outside it looked that way, but when RLRS started there wasn’t a single person in RLRS who expected us to beat Team Dignitas week 1, in fact many put us below Splyce and Manhattan. There wasn’t any pressure on us in week 1, which is why I think we were so successful against Dignitas.
— Rocket League Esports (@RLEsports) March 16, 2018
You finished league play in 5th place. Not too bad, but not good enough for a guaranteed spot in next season’s RLRS. Looking back now: Are you disappointed with your RLRS performance?
Unfortunately I can’t be frustrated with the way we played or even our end performance, all in all we had a very solid season with 1 mishap. I am, however, very agitated with the result, getting top 4 would have meant the world to me from getting a respectable org and salary to a secured spot in the RLRS next season. I can’t be disappointed because I know we played well overall, but it’s still very frustrating and will certainly be used as fuel for next season.
“Getting top 4 would have meant the world to me”
Shortly after league play concluded you announced that you guys would disband. What was the reason for that decision?
AxB announced he was going to try things in the offseason which is a respectable decision because with how long the offseason is, limiting yourself to one group of people is often not the best decision. After that I broke it off with Ralph on good terms with similar logic. We’re still close friends and there’s no bad blood between us.
Sad end to our season but Im still proud of how we played and improve in such a short time. I wanna thanks @JorolelinRL @Ralph_080 and @CS3_rl for being such amazing teamates but I feel like its time for me to move on and try new things so Im gonna be LFT next season.
— AxB (@AxB_RL) April 14, 2018
I read on your Twitter that you’d be taking a break from Rocket League to focus on school. Is that still the plan?
Unfortunately yes. May is a very test heavy month for me and my parents are making me stop Rocket League for a bit. I have 15 exams to take in 30 days relating to college entrances, GPA, and more. As soon as I take my last exams in early June I hope to be back as soon as possible, making Rocket League my main and only priority.
Have to take a few month break from RL bc my grades plummeted after we didn’t make Top4. Angry at myself and at all the time I’ve lost to improve for next season but I only have myself to blame. Gonna think about what coulda been but also what will be if/when I get another chance
— Joro (@JorolelinRL) April 29, 2018
Are you actively looking for another team to make a run at the RLRS again or are you done with Rocket League for now?
No way am I even close to being done. I love this game way too much to quit and as soon as I’m able to play competitively again will do so with as much motivation as possible. This isn’t the first time I’ve had to take a break from Rocket League because of my parents (I’ve been forced to take two 2-months breaks before), and I know that if I come back and work harder than everyone else in the months that follow, my practice will pay off, and so that’s my plan.
“It’s a possibility, but it’s unlikely”
Is there any chance that The D00ds might come back at any point?
It’s a possibility, but it’s unlikely. I know I wouldn’t mind it, but it seems like some things are already developing and if they stay, then there’s no chance for The D00ds reunion to happen. If the stars align and we all happen to be LFT by the time the next qualifier comes around, it might happen.