I’ve waited 3 years for this moment.
When I first encountered the LPL, it was through the lens of Kelsey Moser. She would be writing for lolesports soon — a dream job at the time — and had to select a specialty. It was between the LMS and LPL due to lack of coverage and knowledge.
I remember the conversation.
“China always does well internationally. They’re important.”
Kelsey never does anything halfway. Between working 50 hours in the financial industry, she would work another 20–30 freelance for China. Not just writing articles for lolesports, but putting together content plans in several different mediums; the most notable being “China Talk”.
it was known as the Runeterra Report when I joined.
See, at the time, I was heavily invested in the European challenger scene. I’d been working with the North American ESL branch as a shoutcaster for their go4LoL tournaments. Due to my work schedule, I couldn’t make the NA timezones, but I could do the European ladder early mornings — before work — then head out.
I was casting under a mentor, Spellruler, who would eventually push me to apply for the ESL’s EPS position; which was the Challenger Circuit before NACS existed.
But before that, I was sitting in a skype conversation with Kelsey, Drexxin, Hughbo, and Nilu because a little website known as Mundoverse wanted to run a talk show similar to Summoning Insight, but about Chinese League of Legends.
I knew only pieces at the time. My obsession was Moscow5 and their “see hero, kill hero” mentality. I’d only gathered snippets of the Chinese scene at international events and through Kelsey’s work load.
Originally, the host of China Talk was supposed to be Rapid Casting but due to poor communication and timing, the show was constantly being delayed. I volunteered to run the show for them; I had plenty of experience creating video content due to running OBS for ESL tournaments and my own streaming career at the time.
I remember how hesitant Nilu was at the time.
That first video still exists on the web somewhere.
It was boot camp from that point, Kelsey making a point to get me up to speed and soundboard ideas off me for the league. And it wasn’t long before the purposed LPLen conversation came up.
She wanted an English stream of the league. I wanted practice casting to prepare for the EPS. We invited my co-caster at the time, PiraTechnics, and worked in tandem with GosuGamers (Drexxin) to provide English Coverage of the LPL.
We took a stream from 8 people to 44,000 for the Finals. On the grace of Twitch, Pira, Kelsey, and I were flown out to Twitch’s studio in California to use their setup to cast the finals.
We made the graphics, ran the OBS, and secured a deal to have a spectator spot in the client. It was an incredible achievement on the back of three people -and I extend all my gratitude to Garvy at Twitch, Kelsey for being our producer, and Pira for carrying me through it.
We’d spent the last year shouting at each other through different timezones, sound proofing bedrooms to not disturb the neighbors at 3am, and shoveling dinner between technical difficulties. It was a slow, burning love of the LPL — not an immediate infatuation — but the type of obsession that creeps through routine and habit.
I fell in love with the Chinese Aggression and didn’t realize until it was too late. And despite what people think of my casting — good or bad — the one thing that is true, above all else, is that I love that league. Whether you think I completely missed the mark in the analysis, or fluently navigated a point in flawless execution, everyone will agree that I fucking love that league.
Eventually, the LPLen project would close and Riot would open an official stream through the Oceanic Office. Pira left for the EULCS, Kelsey Moser for thescore, and I would sit out of the first split.
I don’t think it’s any secret that my personal brand didn’t align well with others at the time. And I don’t think it’s hard to figure out why I wasn’t initially invited to join the LPL team in OCE. I won’t beat around the bush, it stung.
But when I did finally get the chance, I picked up my life, moved across the globe, and threw myself headfirst into the opportunity. And damn, did I suck.
Like whoa, bad.
Casting alongside legends like PastryTime is no easy task, despite how much that guy can carry. And it was really rough for a few goes (sorry, BiscuitMan)— but the great thing about the LPL is the grind. And through the assistance of my colleagues at OCE and the scrape of the league, I started to shed bad habits.
The Sydney office casts in a beautiful basement studio. There is a desk, three monitors, and a silent audience of cameras. When that Penta kill winds up to turn the tide of the game, we’re at the desk, shouting to a crowd thousands of miles away.
I’d like to think that they can hear us in the same way the office upstairs shakes during a teamfight.
I’ve been fortunate enough in my short career to cast two live events, one in an audience in Korea. There’s nothing quite like riding the energy of a crowd as a play turns over on screen. The sixth man for the teams: the roar of the fans.
I wasn’t ready to cast a live event 3 years ago. I’m still nowhere near my ceiling, and I acknowledge that there is still plenty to fix and refine. I am not the perfect caster. Confidence has always been an issue for my casting, but today — today I am confident.
I’ve waited three years for this moment and today I get the honor of casting two of the most accomplished teams the LPL has ever produced. And I am confident that when I shout, cheer, and cry to the camera that my voice will not be alone.
To Kelsey, PiraTechnics, and my incredible co-casters joining me today in Rusty and Fish — we did it.
Now, let’s fucking do it.