Days before the League of Legends European Championship returned for the summer split on June 11, the league announced a rotating cast of guests, ranging from veteran esports casters like Alex “Machine” Richardson to new-faced European regional league casters like Mikkel “Guldborg” Nielsen and Jake “Hiprain” Matthews.
Guests on the LEC are not uncommon, and even Machine appeared on the broadcast in 2020. North American caster Sam “Kobe” Hartman-Kenzler and former League of Legends Korea Champions analyst Christopher “PapaSmithy” Smith have also appeared on the European broadcast at times. Guests from the European Masters circuit or the European Region Leagues are also not an uncommon occurrence throughout the years. According to LEC caster and on-air talent manager Trevor “Quickshot” Henry, that fact is one of the region’s unique strengths.
“I think it is fair to say that the LEC has a more varied approach to guests and guest on air-talent than any other broadcast.” Quickshot said. “Unfortunately for me, because it’s been very successful, we’ve had to up the ante, every time.”
With the ante upped, and the recent departure of Christy “Ender” Frierson, Quickshot and the LEC team decided to test out this new rotating carousel of talent to fill the hole he left behind.
However, the guest rotation is also an opportunity for veterans to spice up the broadcast while newcomers learn the ropes of the LEC.
Preparing the next generation of LEC casters
Going from an ERL casting setup to the glitz of the LEC broadcast can be a big step up for some casters. The Berlin studio has an assortment of production procedures that veteran LEC casters and the broadcast team must explain to the guests coming through. According to Quickshot, the transition for Week 1’s guest caster, Guldborg, was a bit jarring.
“It was more challenging in Week 1 than I anticipated, because of just how much tribal knowledge our broadcast has developed,” Quickshot said.
The learning curve is steep and the pace of the LEC is faster than the typical ERL broadcast — plus the fan expectations are also higher. Between the transition and production jargon, the LEC team might as well have walked the Danish caster through the process in an alien language, Quickshot said.
To not leave them high and dry, guests that can travel to the studio will be paired with the core members of the LEC broadcast while on air. Color casters will link up with Quickshot as their casting duo partner. Play-by-play commentators will cast with the duo of Andrew “Vedius” Day and Marc Robert “Caedrel” Lamont.
Welcome to tomorrow's in studio Analyst @GuldborgReal and on Sunday my casting partner.
— Trevor Henry (@Quickshot) June 11, 2021
Once up to speed, the casters are still held to the high standards of the LEC broadcast. The LEC producers, writers and team also “indoctrinate” the guest into their feedback system. The team and Quickshot will give the guests their feedback in the style they prefer, along with the rest of the core cast.
“We attack them with feedback,” Quickshot said with a laugh. “It is always meant with the intent of development and improvement.”
What to expect this summer and beyond
The current guest list only includes the people that are confirmed to come on the show at some point during the LEC summer split. There may be more, “crazy” guests to come according to Quickshot. Nothing is set in stone, but he did confirm Machine will return after his Week 3 and 4 run. Other casters, like the aforementioned Guldborg, and other guest casters may also return later in the summer.
“If my crazy plans work out, I’ll be able to surprise everyone with things they are not expecting, and that’s what I’m really hoping for,” Quickshot said.
While the guest rotation was born out of a need to address pandemic precautions, travel restrictions and Brexit policies proved to be a daunting task, Quickshot said the guest carousel may come back in Season 12, even as those policies possibly fade or change in 2022.
Quickshot and the decision makers at the LEC have yet to plan out 2022 in terms of hiring, but the caster said they do have a few ideas of what they may do. Ideally, the LEC will have a core cast in Berlin to set the standard for the show, with guests that delight the audience with new ideas and energy. But whether that will include casting an even wider net is still up in the air.
“I don’t yet know if we’re going to look to repeat what happens in summer, do an open casting call for applications to look beyond the net that I have right now,” Quickshot said.
The LEC caster did say, however, that diversifying talent and bringing in new people could only help improve the quality of the LEC. So for 2022, fans should expect more concrete ideas and plans from the LEC team and Quickshot around the end of 2021, and they may want to keep an eye on his social media for a possible open casting call announcement or another guest list for 2022