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Killer Insight: EVO KI Champion Johnathan “Rico Suave” De Leon

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Welcome back to Killer Insight, a new interview series that lets you meet key members of the Killer Instinct community!

This week we talk to the EVO 2015 Killer Instinct Champion, Johnathan “Rico Suave” De Leon from New York. Rico is a man of few words, so he lets his gameplay and tournament history do the talking!

RicoSuave  vs GutterMagic during EVO 2015 Finals
RicoSuave vs GutterMagic during EVO 2015 Finals

Tell us about your tournament history in Killer Instinct.

Johnathan “Rico Suave” De Leon: More top 3s & top 8s than I can remember, 3rd at MLG, Winter Brawl 14 Winner, EVO 2014 Runner Up,  Shadowloo Showdown 15 Winner, Biggest 8Bit Beatdown Winner,  EVO 2015 Champion.

Who is your favorite character?

Rico: I have the most fun using Omen.

Favorite KI Music Track?

Rico:  Aganos’ theme is by far my favorite.

What got you into playing Killer Instinct?

Rico: I played the SNES version.

Is KI your first Competitive fighting game? What do you enjoy about competing in KI?

Rico: I played Street Fighter 4 before Killer Instinct competitively. I just had all the fundamentals and tools I needed when I picked up KI. I enjoy competing in KI, besides it being my main game it is a lot of fun.

What did it feel like winning the KI Community Fund prize pot at EVO 2015 and how did you feel going into the tournament?

Rico: It didn’t feel real until I got to the hotel room, going into the whole thing I felt prepared, I was ready.

What other games or activities do you enjoy in your free time since winning EVO?

Rico: I’ve really taken a big break from gaming since EVO, I’ve been trying to transform into the iron fortress I was before.

Have any advice for upcoming players in KI? What is your usual practice regimen like for a tournament?

Rico: Practice, study your match ups and keep playing. I like to play a lot of character specialists, this helps me with getting match up knowledge and prepares me for when people counter pick.

Excited for KI World Cup?

Rico: I’m excited. I hope the competition is fierce and I cannot wait to play.

Any features you’d like to see in Season 3?

Rico: Team battle or online training mode.

EVO 2015 Killer Instinct Champion

Be sure to follow Rico on and cheer him on at the Killer Instinct World Cup in January.

Discuss the interview here:

Photos courtesy of Robert Paul