Roughly this time last year you were about to begin SK USA’s best tournament to date. How realistic is it to expect a repeat of last year’s victory?
It's not too unrealistic considering just like last year our team is a bit off the radar for the moment in the public perception. But also just like last year we've been hitting the online play pretty hard and those who are familiar know to keep a closer eye on us in Columbus.
Just like last year, but with a different lineup, you’re coming off a disappointing showing at IEM finals. Judging by your success on the tournament realm it hasn’t been too difficult to put that behind you. Would you agree?
I wouldn't say it's just like last year considering back then our impediment to success was rooted within our own team, and although the recent IEM Final was a terrible display I really feel it has little to say about what our team is capable of, this time largely due to circumstances beyond our control that really hurt us. That being said, the TR has been good to us so far and if things continue to go well there will be a great chance for a repeat appearance at the Blizzard Regionals.
Almost every prospective game this weekend has a fascinating back-story but which team do you most look forward to playing against?
I'm looking forward to playing against coL Black because I've personally been so back-and-forth at tournaments against that team and those players so many times, and this time again it really can go either way if we play and it should be interesting to watch.
Looking back again to 2009 it felt like warlocks and shamans were both dead classes but nowadays they seem to be everywhere. How high do you place your team mates in the spectrum of those highly competitive classes
They're the best! Precious few players are capable of playing at a similar level.
Is it fair to say that you are more comfortable in your role as a rogue nowadays or might we see some shadow/wizardcleave in the near future
I'm kind of surprised I took so well to Disc Priest to begin with when I picked it up out of necessity last year. I am generally more comfortable on Rogue although a use for Spriest play is in the works, but I don't want to reveal when and for what purposes we will be wanting to pull that out just yet.
Speaking of wizardcleave, gear choice has been a hot topic since the tournament realms went live. How do you feel it has affected your team, if at all?
It makes a huge impact for everyone, for sure. Every caster has access to two powerful trinkets, and it makes a significant impact on the format. Every team plays differently to compensate. It's almost indistinguishable from live.
MLG is always great for seeing new American teams make a name for themselves. Having faced them on the TR do you feel like any of the current crop can pull a “coL.black” this season?
The 'new' team to watch for is definitely Hoodrych's WLD.
Finally, what sort of finish would satisfy you when Sunday rolls round?
Getting out of the group stage may be a challenge depending on how they are drawn, but making top four is a must, and hopefully we put up another finals appearance. Wish us luck!
Links: Azael pre-Columbus
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ACON5 2005 UK Qualifier
ESWC 2005 Finals
ESWC 2006 UK Qualifier
ESWC 2006 Finals
CPL WT 2006: UK
IEM Global Finals 2009
IEM Global Finals 2010
Loaded Black wins all-RMP finals in Columbus
SK through to brackets via tie-breaker
fnatic and Frenetic Array survive open bracket
Perfect start for SK in problem-hit MLG
Azael: "IEM is only rivaled by winning at Blizzcon"
THE NEW JERSEY