Rambo placed top 3 at three major CPLs, top 4 at an ESWC and won two WCG gold medals along with a silver. He was also a 16 time online league finalist in North America. Take a look at the high points of a career which saw Rambo play in legendary games against the likes of NiP, SK.swe, The-Titans, aTTaX, fnatic and coL. These are 28 moments in the career of WCG Hall of famer Rambo.
Ronald "Rambo" Kim 28 (born December 3rd, 1983)
1) Rambo's began playing Counter-Strike in the very first beta, in 1999, as he would LAN with his friends in the Texas area. He began to attend local LAN tournaments, including the BYOCs of the early CPL events, and as a member of riot squad (rs), which featured sickness, he began to rise up the competitive ladder. rs merged with rivals TRU, which contained future X3 team-mate Chameleon, to form syndicate (syn) for the Babbage's CPL of December 2000.
syn were considered one of the favourites to take down the entire tournament and things looked to be headed in that direction as Rambo's defeated fellow North American favourites Clan Killers 3 Blue (CK3), containing future X3 team-mates Bullseye and Ksharp, 11:3. As it happened neither team would make the top four, with syn taking 5th for $700. The tournament ended up being won by the Swedish team e9 featuring Potti, Hyb and MedioN, who Rambo would meet-up with only a year later in his career.
2) The North American scene was shaken by a number of roster moves and Rambo found himself in CK3 along with the likes of Ksharp, Bullseye, BigDog and moto. The best players in that team got the idea to break off and form their own team, naming it Xtreme 3. With a lineup of Rambo, Ksharp, Bullseye, BigDog and moto they set about dominating the North American scene. Going into the Speakeasy CPL of April 2001 Rambo's X3 Blue were the clear favourites, with no Swedes in attendance due to Potti's team9 staying home. Beating Canadians [xeno] in the final, who featured future WCG gold medalist reek, X3 Blue took home $10,000.
3) With a roster change seeing moto exit the team and Porter (the real name and now alias of ex-TRU/syn Chameleon) join up the next event for Rambo's X3 was the CPL's 4-year anniversary LAN in late June. X3 came in as the favourites and after defeating Domain of Dop (DoP), the consensus #2 team in North America, in the final they won $1,200. Again this CPL featured no Nordic teams, leaving fans clamouring for a potential NiP-X3 matchup to decide who was the best team in the world.
4) In early September the CPL decided to host an Invite tournament at their offices, in Texas, with exclusive prizes from intel for the champions: Prototype Intel processors. As the best team in the country Rambo's X3 were of course invited, along with moto and Kane's DoP, TAU and GB. Despite suffering a loss to DoP along the way Rambo's team were able to take down the tournament and once more punish their rivals.
5) CPL Winter in December of 2001 was the biggest competitive Counter-Strike had ever seen, with $50,000 for 1st place and a host of international teams in attendance. It's impossible to overstate the level of dominance X3 had reached in North America by this point. Not only had they won two straight Domain of Games (DoG) leagues but when the league had been renamed to CAL invite they took the first two titles there. Online they had only last around two maps total, being on less well played maps such as cbble and Rotterdam and only to their biggest rivals: DoP.
On the other side of the Atlantic ocean Ninjas in Pyjamas (NiP) had established a similar level of dominance across the European scene. Made up of the best players from the two finalist teams at CPL Holland NiP had won CPL London, CPL Berlin and the Swedish CPL Winter qualifier. Despite having swapped out XeqtR for ahl and vesslan, after some dispites, the Swedes came in as equal favourites to X3, with the world awaiting a clash between the two at the first true World Championship event in CS' history.
With NiP seeded #1 and Rambo's team seeded #2 the tournament did not disappoint as the two teams clashed first in the winners bracket final on train, with NiP taking what was then considered an American map from X3. X3 overcame GoL in the lower bracket to gain a rematch with NiP on nuke, leading to a legendary overtime game which the Americans were able to pull out. In the deciding map, nuke again, $25,000 was on the line and it took all 24 regulation rounds to decide CS' first world champion. Rambo's men came out on the losing side of that battle and had to settle for $25,000. They also emphatically retained their American #1 title, having not just finished runnersup but also smashed rivals DoP.
Rambo in action vs. GB:
6) Having returned from the CPL to be shocked in the CAL-i S3 final by DoP X3 only survived a handful of games into the 4th season, suffering more upset losses, before disbanding altogether. With the players spreading out Rambo joined up with former team-mate sickness in rs for some games in S4. This proved short-lived as Rambo and former X3 team-mates Ksharp and Bullseye reteamed to form Team3D around the early Spring of 2002. Accompanied by rising North American talents da bears and Jaden, of eU and D|S, the team won the newly established UGS-i league, being as they could not compete in the ongoing CAL-i season.
A shocking 17th-24th place elimination at CPL Summer 2002, following losses to unknown Australians f-zer0 and German top team mTw.de, 3D moved to return to the X3 roots of stacking all the best NA players together. The new lineup was Rambo, Ksharp, Bullseye, moto, Kane and Steel. moto and Kane had led tso to a perfect CAL-i S4 record, and 5th at the CPL, while steel had a WCG gold medal in his pocket and had helped GX place 7th at the CPL.
With this new all-star lineup in place things looked to be headed in the right direction as 3D won CAL-i season 5 with a 16-14 overtime win over zEx, who had yet to acquire shaGuar, in the final. That made five online titles in seven seasons for Rambo.
7) With CPL Winter having been held on the same week as WCG in 2001 2002 marked the first chance for Rambo to qualify for the event. His team emerged victorious from the American qualifier, defeating Netzone in the final, to win a trip to Daejeon, South Korea. Despite going into the event as one of the favourites, with Sweden's qualifier having been overrun with upsets by A-laget, 3D finished a disappointing 7th after losses to GoodGame (GG) and eventual bronze medalists mousesports (mouz). During the same event an exhibition tournament was hosted with continental teams competing against each other. Rambo's team, made up of players from North America, placed 3rd and won a bronze medal.
8) That WCG disappointment had put a lot of pressure on 3D for the upcoming CPL Winter 2002. If they were unable to perform there many would label the experiment a flop. It took donations from fans and the sale of Steelpads to even get the team to the event in Dallas, with them lacking any significant sponsors. At the event they showed the world they were for real as they went undefeated and took the $30,000 for first place.
Along the way they defeated American rivals DoP and HeatoN and Potti's SK.swe to reach the winners bracket final. There they dispatched the All-Nordic GameonLine (GoL) of elemeNt on inferno and then repeated the feat on dust2 in the final. Rambo not only took home the very first MVP (Most Valuable Player) award from the event, but also uttered the famous "Hey, whose Aug is this?" after picking up team-mate Bullseye's weapon as CT on dust2.
"Hey, whose Aug is this?":
9) Season 6 of CAL-i had gone to new invite team Rival but in Season 7 3D struck back for their second title in three season, defeating boms and method's Weekend Warriors (W.E.W.) in the final 13-10 on inferno. The final was not quite as intense as some may have hoped though, as W.E.W. suffered from lag at times. It was also not the same lineup that had placed 5th at the last CPL, with exile replacing the departed dizza.
10) The lead-up to the next CPL proved a brutal time period for Rambo and his team-mates as they headed to Europe to compete in Clikarena, one of the worst-run tournaments of all time, and found themselves shocked into 7th-8th by the unknown eu4ia which featured future Spanish star Musamban1. Back on American soil they chose to attend KillerLAN instead of the inaugural ESWC event, due to the former having $6,000 for first place and only American teams in attendance. Rambo's easy $6,000 disappeared after TEC, featuring ex-team-mates Jaden, da bears and icesalmon, upset a 3D lineup missing Ksharp to win the event. Kane was removed from the lineup following KillerLAN for personal reasons.
CPL Summer 2003 found 3D in the same position as they were in prior to the previous CPL: needing to prove themselves to the international field. They managed to once more establish themselves as one of the world's elite teams with a 3rd place at the CPL event with the biggest prizes of all time, earning themselves $28,000. Beating out eventual 5th place finishers 4kings in a legendary double overtime game on mill and 4th place finishers a-Losers, featuring Johnny_R, Blizzard and neo, got them all the way to upper bracket final and a match vs. Potti and elemeNt's SK.swe. A narrow 10:13 loss on inferno put Rambo into the lower bracket, where his team failed to reach the final after an overtime dust2 loss to vesslan's team9.
11) 3D added boms to give them the five American citizens required for participation at the WCG, with steel being Canadian. Rambo and 3D repeated as American WCG champions at the qualifier, this time beating out Rival in the final, to win another trip to South Korea. This time around 3D's game traveled with them overseas as they took out team9.lvl to reach the gold medal game. Sadly for the Americans they there faced an SK.swe lineup which seemed destined to take the title, undefeated in both the tournament and since the lineup had been established.
After going down in the first map Rambo's team fought back with a valiant effort on the second, train, but lost 11:13 to see Silver medals hung around their necks instead of gold. This marked America's first ever medal at the WCG. 3D also took home $20,000 for their troubles.
12) The next nine months was a complete write-off for Rambo's men as they flunked CPL Winter in 9th-12th, lost out at the ESWC 2004 American qualifier, flunked EverLAN and placed a disasterous 13th-16th at CPL Summer. Having added former zEx and tsg star Volcano the 2004 WCG USA qualifier seemed a chance for redemption as 3D managed to beat united5 (u5) to win the event and a chance to represent America for the 4th time at WCG, with the event being held on Rambo's home soil for the first time. On a side note the finals would be played in CS: Condition Zero, rather than 1.6.
Fortune smiled on what had been a terrible year for 3D as SK.swe had to replace a sick SpawN with ahl at the last minute, with the latter having not practiced for the event at all. This combined with a heroic performance from 3D saw Rambo through to his second WCG final. This time Rambo was not to be denied and his team bested team of the year The-Titans, featuring whiMp, in two maps, the second being a triple overtime game on cbble. Rambo's first ever WCG gold medal came with a hefty $50,000 in prize money accompanying it. The WCG had once more saved 3D from slipping out of consideration amongst the world's best teams.
13) While CPL Winter 2004 was not nearly as painful an experience as the previous two CPLs had been Rambo was certainly not back to the rarified air of top placings just yet. His side finished 8th after losses to GamerCo, cArn and dsn's Begrip.swe and DiE. The Swedes victory had allowed them to avenge Gamers.nu's loss to 3D at the previous CPL. 8th was worth $2,000 and proved to be the last event for steel, who retired a couple of months into 2005.
14) Ksharp's friend cbz, formerly a tsg team-mate of Volcano's, joining 3D was only the first of a number of roster moves in the first half of 2005. After being forced into runnersup finishes to coL, the newly established #1 US team, at the ESWC and ACON5 American qualifiers 3D picked up another former tsg player in Dominator. A bizarre 9th-12th placing at ESWC in Paris resulted, as the team managed to tie all three of its second group stage games and fail to progress as a result. Playing 15-15 with GoodGame, Lunatic-Hai and Hostile Records saw the first two of those teams progressing to the playoffs. Regardless, Rambo's first trip to ESWC had been an eventful one.
15) Following ESWC 3D had continued to make lineup changes, as they picked up former NoA players shaGuar and method. cbz exited the team and moto went inactive. This new look all-star six man lineup of Ksharp, shaGuar, Rambo, method, Dominator and method burst out of the gate and into one of the best spans 3D and Rambo had experienced for many years. The new look lineup went on a rampage against rivals coL, who had themselves made a lineup change by replacing sunman with ex-GamerCo player exodus.
Rambo's team defeated coL in three straight finals to win the 2005 WCG USA qualifier, the GGL Americup and Digital Life. The WCG USA win not only earned Rambo his fourth consecutive spot at the WCG Grand Finals but also saw him take down former team-mate boms' Ouch!, a dreamteam of former W.E.W. and GX players sponsored by Tylenol. Those three tournaments totaled $19,000 in 1st place prize money for Rambo and his team-mates.
16) WCG 2005 took place in Singapore and was the first and only time CS:Source was played, taking the place of 1.6. Rambo's team had prepared by practicing with top American Source team PowersGaming. With most of the world's teams, including 3D, playing out their national qualifiers in 1.6 3D seemed to be solid favourites for the gold medal, being as nobody really knew how good the other countries were. This proved to be the case early on as Rambo beat out ECG champions Pentagram, featuring NEO and TaZ, en route to a second straight WCG gold medal.
In the semi-finals team-mate shaGuar, who was playing for countrymen EG, fell to one side and k23 proved no match for Rambo's team. Amazingly the team from Kazakhstan told Rambo following the final that their conditions at home meant they sometimes practiced 2v3 in a LAN server. With his second WCG gold medal, and another $50,000 in prize money, Rambo and his team were inducted into the WCG Hall of Fame following this victory.
17) For the third straight year 3D came off a WCG final only to find themselves upset on home soil and left disappointed following a CPL Winter event. CPL Winter 2005 was the most stacked tournament Counter-Strike had seem, to that point in time, and so a high placing could make or break even the top teams. 3D made it to the upper bracket quarter-final where ahl's SK.swe awaited them and an historic match ensued. After two overtimes on nuke left the match undecided a bizarre rule meant the third overtime was played on mill, where SK.swe came out the winners. The Swedes would go on to take the CPL title, while 3D lost out to 4kings on train and finished 9th-12th overall.
18) Rambo's long-time team-mate Ksharp was out of the lineup in early 2006 and the team embarked on a tour around China, where they played exhibition games against top Chinese teams such as wNv.gm. Having returned from the tour 3D lost to coL in the final of the GGL Americup II, setting them up with a match against zonic and ArcadioN's 2nd placed EuroCup team Spirit of Amiga (SoA) in the GGL TransAtlantic Showdown. 3D won that matchup, and $5,250, to ensure America came out ontop in the continental battle, as coL also defeated mouz. Less than a week later Ksharp departed from the team officially and moto's return from inactivity was announced.
19) With Dominator put on the bench moto returned as the strat caller, a position he had played for a number of Rambo's most successful teams, and 3D seemed to be revived as they won WSVG LANwar out of nowhere. As well as defeating domestic rivals coL 3D crushed the Pandemic team they faced in the final in two dominating maps, 16:2 on dust2 and 16:1 on inferno. All seemed well in the 3D camp again thanks to this $12,500 domestic triumph, but it would take an international performance in 1.6, as opposed to CZ or Source, to confirm 3D was back as a major player on the world stage.
20) At his second ESWC event Rambo was able to finally reach the playoffs, even tying eventual team of the year NiP, featuring walle and RobbaN, in the second group stage. In the playoffs 3D moved past Lunatic-Hai to reach the semi-finals, where cArn and dsn's fnatic, powered by the mighty f0rest, squeaked past Rambo's men 16:14 on train. In the 3rd place decider Kapio and mooN's ALTERNATE aTTaX (aTTaX) squeezed the last life from 3D with a 16:4 crushing on dust2. Rambo's first and only ESWC top 4 placing was worth $16,000.
21) The very same month of 2006 as ESWC, July, Rambo and 3D had faced a hectic schedule. Less than a week later they had bombed out of the WSVG ISC event in Dallas in 9th-12th after losses to g3x and fnatic. Then at the Championship Gaming Invitational (CGI) featuring four teams (3D, coL, NiP and JMC) 3D reached the final, following a win over NiP, but fell to coL to take home $15,000 instead of the 1st place of $50,000.
22) History continued to repeat itself at the American WCG qualifier as 3D won yet another, Rambo's fifth straight straight. As well beating u5 in an impressive 16:1 final 3D won an incredible $17,500 for 1st place at this qualifier.
The WCG that year was held in Monza, Italy, and 3D made it to the quarter-finals before being eliminated by eventual silver medalists NiP in a close series which saw the zet-powered Swedes edge the second map in overtime on dust2. Following the event moto returned to inactivity and Dominator took his full-time starting spot, having started in the WCG only due to shaGuar being a Canadian citizen.
23) Despite the struggles of the late Summer and a so-so result at WCG there was still a chance for Rambo and 3D to cap their 2006 as a successful one, with the earlier LANwar victory meaning 3D were qualified to the WSVG Finals in New York. $50,000 awaited the winners and five rolex watches.
After falling to a new look aTTax in the upper final and beating fnatic in the lower final 3D reached the final from the lower bracket, with the very same aTTax stood in the way of them reaching the biggest prize. In an overtime final on inferno Rambo found himself denied the title as roman and Kapio's aTTaX managed to take the big money back to Germany with them, as Rambo and his team-mates had to settle for $25,000 and no shiny timepieces.
24) The first ever WCG Pan-American games was held in October of 2006 and 3D attended with the help of coL AWPer fRoD, who stood-in for a school-laden Volcano. Even with the best American AWPer on hand 3D were unable to defeat cogu's MiBR, that year's ESWC champions, in the final. As a result Rambo added another non-standard WCG medal to his haul, this time a silver one. That event proved to be Rambo's last ever top CS 1.6 placing, as his team flunked at CPL Winter 2006.
25) In early January it was announced that Rambo would be leaving 3D, his home for almost five years, to join rivals compLexity. He was joined there by NiP star and 2006 player of the year zet as the team moved over to Source to compete in the Championship Gaming Series (CGS) as a salaried player. His CGS career was repeatedly hijacked by the scoring system, which meant DoA female player Belle's inability to win any games crippled the CS:Source team's chances to contend for a title. In the individual game tournament for CS:Source at the CGS World Finals Rambo and coL took 1st place and $10,000 after beating cogu's Sao Paolo Sinistro in the final.
Source dominance proved to be the theme of the year for Rambo as his team also took down Digital Life and the Newegg LANfest.
26) At the end of January 2008 Rambo, along with former 3D team-mate steel and your humble author ( Thorin), released The Art Of Counter-Strike (TAO-CS), a 200+ page guide to competitive Counter-Strike featuring over 50 minutes of video footage. The guide can still be purchased from www.tao-cs.com and sees Rambo and steel explain a wide variety of CS principles in theory and in practice.
The TAO-CS trailer:
Rambo's CS seemingly came to a close in 2008 as his team floundered in CGS, which then died, and found themselves playing 1.6 again in CEVO-P S9. Despite outlasting the likes of EG's n0thing coL lost the final to evolution's MoB. At the end of the year the team moved from coL to EG and Rambo was the sole member left out of the trade, being replaced by the aforementioned n0thing in the starting lineup. Rambo unofficially retired, choosing not to join any other teams or make a public statement about his plans.
27) In 2010 Rambo reappeared from the shadows to compete with Underestimated, featuring former JMC player Zid, in ESEA-i Season 6. Despite a paltry 5th-6th placing at the LAN finals the team surprised some by making it into the top 8 of Arbalet Cup Dallas the very same week, losing to eventual finalists mouz in bracket play. Following that the team moved to WinOut but their time together was somewhat shortlived and aside from a failed bid to earn Rambo his 7th WCG USA title the team petered out, Rambo again receding from competitive play's spotlight.
28) Since his retirement from competitive play in December of 2010 Rambo has been seen in a new role: that of analyst commentator. He has provided insight for a number of the ESEA-i LAN finals and even e-Stars Seoul 2011 in South Korea.
Rambo's retirement saw him leave Counter-Strike as the last of the old school top tier North American players still competing. From 2000 to 2006 he was never outside of the top 10 players in North America and likely would have placed in most people's top 5s during that entire period. Where others came and went with flashes and a bang Rambo consistently ground out a reputation as one of the most consistent and successful North American players of all time, respected by team-mates and opponents alike for his ability to seemingly make the correct decision at each moment of a round.
Rambo's domestic consistency is highlighted by his reaching 16 online league finals in 22 seasons of play, with six titles resulting from those appearance. In seven WCG USA qualifier appearances he emerged the winner the first six straight times. He played for some of the most famous names in the history of NA CS: X3, 3D and coL.
Rambo managed the rare feat of achieving success at all of the majors of his era. He placed top 3 at three major CPL seasonal events, top 4 at ESWC 2006, won two WCG gold medals, won a WCG silver medal and placed 2nd at the WSVG NY finals. With over $385,000 in career team winnings Rambo will go down in history as one of the all time great North American players. Happy 28th birthday Rambo!
@Thooorin on twitter.
2001-2002 Pro-cybernews (Editor-in-Chief)
2002-2003 Gamers.nu (Lead Editor)
2004-2005 ESportsEA (Editor-in-Chief, Consultant)
2006-2008 ESportsEA (Editor, Community feature host)
2008 TAO-CS volume 1 (Co-author)
2008 TAO-fRoD (Co-author)
2008-2009 WinOut.net (Editor-in-Chief, Consultant)
2009-2012 SK Gaming (Editor-in-Chief)
2012-2013 Team Acer (Editor-in-Chief)
2013-2014 OnGamers (Senior eSports Content Creator)
Pro bono publico:
2001-2002 XSReality (Site administrator)
2003-2004 Team3D (Editor-in-Chief, Consultant)
2012-2013 fragbite (Blogger)
2013-XXXX [POD]Cast (Co-host)
2005 Down with the s1ckn3ss
2009 fRoD Quick and nasty (part 1)
Events attended for coverage purposes:
2001 CPL London (Pro-cybernews)
2001 WCG Qualifier (Pro-cybernews)
2002 CPL Summer (Gamers.nu)
2002 WCG Qualifier (Gamers.nu)
2002 CPL Oslo (Gamers.nu)
2002 CPL Winter (Gamers.nu)
2003 CPL Cannes (Gamers.nu)
2003 Clikarena (Gamers.nu)
2004 CPL Winter (ESportsEA)
2009 WEM (SK Gaming)
2010 IEM IV European Championship (SK Gaming)
2010 IEM IV World Championship (SK Gaming)
2010 Arbalet Best of Four (SK Gaming)
2010 Arbalet Cup Europe (SK Gaming)
2010 e-Stars Seoul (SK Gaming)
2010 WCG (SK Gaming)
2010 WEM (SK Gaming)
2011 IEM V European Championship (SK Gaming)
2011 Assembly Winter (SK Gaming)
2011 IEM V World Championship (SK Gaming)
2011 Copenhagen Games (SK Gaming)
2011 Dreamhack Summer (SK Gaming)
2011 SK vs. FX showmatch (SK Gaming)
2011 e-Stars Seoul (SK Gaming)
2011 ESWC (SK Gaming)
2012 IEM VI Kiev (SK Gaming)
2012 IEM VI World Championship (SK Gaming)
2012 WCS Europe (Team Acer)
2012 Dreamhack Open Valencia (Team Acer)
2012 Dreamhack Winter (Team Acer)
2012 IPL5 (Team Acer)
2012 HomeStory Cup VI (Team Acer)
2013 IEM VII World Championship (Team Acer)
2013 MLG Winter Championship (Team Acer)
2013 LCS Europe Spring Week 10 (Team Acer)
2013 WCS EU S1 Ro16 (Team Acer)
2013 LCS Europe Summer Week 9 (Team Acer)
2013 WCS EU S2 final / LCS Europe Summer playoffs (Team Acer)
2013 Riot S3 World Championship (Team Acer)
2013 Battle of the Atlantic (OnGamers)
2013 Battle of the Atlantic (OnGamers)
2014 LCS Europe Spring Week 5 (OnGamers)
2010 IEM IV European Championship (ESL-TV)
2010 IEM IV Asian Finals (ESL-TV)
2010 IEM IV World Championship (ESL-TV)
2010 IEM V Shanghai (ESL-TV)
2011 ESEA-invite S8 (WinOut)
2011 GameGune (WinOut)
2011 SEC (WinOut)
2013 Dreamhack SteelSeries CS:GO Championship (DH-TV)
2014 Dreamhack Steelseries CS:GO Invitational (DH-TV)
2014 Dreamhack Summer (DH-TV)
2014 Gfinity G3
2014 Dreamhack Stockholm CS:GO Invitational (DH-TV)
Pro bono publico:
2010 ESWC (lvl^)
2010 Arbalet Cup Dallas (lvl^)
2010 GameGune (lvl^)
2010 fnatic PLAY (lvl^)
2010 WCG Nordic (SK Gaming)
2011 Dreamhack Winter BEAT IT (whisenhunt)
2011 EPS Winter (whisenhunt/ESL-TV)
2011 WCG (whisenhunt)
2011 IEM VI Kiev EU qualifier (SK Gaming)
2013 FACEIT Sunday Cup April 28th (FACEIT)
2013 Prague Challenge (District)
2013 FACEIT Sunday Cup September 8th (FACEIT)
2013 FACEIT Monday Cup September 9th (FACEIT)
2014 ESEA Invite S15 LAN finals (NiPTV)
* Winner of the Heaven Media 'E-sports Journalist of the year' awards for 2012 and 2013.
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