Shoutcasters: The Unsung Heroes of the LCS



Mon 24th Nov 2014 - 5:46pm

Imagine, for a moment, an LCS game without shoutcasters: the uncomfortable silence hanging over the studio, as fans were left to piece together what was happening on the Rift. Although they do not receive the same attention that the players do, shoutcasters are an invaluable part of anyone’s viewing experience. They do more than simply explain the actions of the players; they make games an immersive experience for the viewer and create excitement about the game.

As Riot expands the number of teams from 8 to 10 in the NA LCS 2015 Expansion Tournament, we are met with many new faces. Dan “EGAD” and TJ “Azumoqt” Sanders are two of the four casters joining the Expansion Tournament. I had the opportunity to talk to them about their experience.

Azumoqt’s History with ESL

Azumoqt got his start around three years ago after playing semi-professional League of Legends. He wanted to stay in the competitive scene, but didn’t feel as though he was good enough to continue playing competitively. That’s when he decided to try his hand at casting.”I saw a post on Reddit by ESL asking for volunteer casters for their Go4LoL tournaments, so I applied.”

He still plays League as much as he can, hitting mid-diamond last season. However, he says that there isn’t nearly as much time to play now that he is working as a caster. “I definitely spend a lot more time watching than I do playing, and I actually think watching is more beneficial than playing when it comes to expanding your knowledge about the game in an analytical sense.”

After volunteering with ESL, Azumoqt’s career gained momentum. “The main project I’ve been a part of over my casting career has been the ESL Pro Series. In 2011 and 2012 that tournament was the largest online tournament in the LoL scene. It was pre-LCS, so we had teams like CLG, Curse, and Dignitas.” He has also recently been working with the Black Monster Cup, a challenger tournament sponsored by Western Digital, which he says “made [him] a huge fan of a lot of the NA Challenger teams.”

League of Legends is not the only eSport that Azumoqt has cast,. He cast the online portion of the NA Blizzcon Hearthstone qualifiers, as well as many of ESL’s King of the Hill tournaments.

As for the Expansion Tournament, he became involved after working almost exclusively with ESL over the years. “I talked with [the producers and admins there] when I found out that they would be producing the Expansion Tournament and I told them that I was interested in casting [it,] and also recommended my co-caster at the time, PiraTechnics.”

EGAD’s Experience

Meanwhile, EGAD has been casting for two years after being a very active high-ELO streamer. A friend recommended that he try casting online tournaments, and he got hooked. He says that he doesn’t regret any of the time that he has spent casting. “Casting was another way of teaching people about the game and getting hype about plays.” Although EGAD hasn’t played League in a while, he is really looking forward to the new 4.20 patch. “I am actually really excited to see how the players adapt and what new strategies we will see.”

Outside of the Expansion Tournament, EGAD has worked on projects with many other big organizations. “I have done work with MLG, NACL, ESL, and IEM Singapore.” These events are very geographically distant from each other, and he says that he has learned a lot from travelling between them. “It has given me a lot of insight on how much work goes into these events.”

He became involved with the NA LCS Expansion Tournament after moving to California in August to continue casting and to find a sustainable job. “ESL reached out to me and I was shocked but accepted it with open arms.” He says that working with ESL has been a pleasure, and that they really know how to run a show.

EGAD and Azumoqt both stated that they look forward to more casting opportunities. “I would love to cast the LCS or NACS someday!” says Azumoqt. “I’ve always looked up to the Riot casters, and it would be amazing to cast with those guys and get to share my passion for League of Legends with more fans around the world.”

EGAD doesn’t mind casting a different eSport, so long as he can keep doing what he loves. “I have put in the time and effort and would love nothing more than just seeing the excitement in chat or the live faces of the audience.”

Pro Tip:

As for aspiring shoutcasters, both of them offered some simple advice. “Learn to take criticism,” warns EGAD. “I still to this day get negative feedback, and no matter how harsh I read it and learn for the next cast.”

Azumoqt suggests that those interesting in pursuing shoutcasting should cast everything possible. “Make a YouTube channel, cast some of your friends’ replays or any replays you can get a hold of.”

Most importantly, EGAD reminds us that you should just try to have fun. “No one starts off as the perfect caster. Hell, I am still nowhere perfect, but who knows-you could be casting the next ESL event! So don’t give up, because I sure as hell haven’t.”