Quickshot: “MAD Lions and Rogue have to be celebrated immensely”
The first weekend of the LEC Summer Split Playoffs came with all the excitement and intrigue fans could’ve possibly hoped for. With nail-biting series’ and teams rising to the occasion, it was the perfect storm for a shoutcaster to set sail and let fate determine the outcome. Even for a caster as seasoned as Trevor “Quickshot” Henry, the series between Rogue and Misfits Gaming was a unique experience.
After the series, an exhausted but elated Quickshot sat down for a chat. He walked through the series from his perspective and how everything fell into place perfectly for an instantly classic moment in League of Legends esports. Quickshot also discussed how each caster’s strengths and weaknesses are accounted for on broadcast, ensuring that no memorable moment will go to waste.
Hotspawn: Welcome, Quickshot! We just had one of the most intense ends to a series in the LEC this year and I can see the adrenaline still pumping through you. [Laughs] How long will it take you to wind down after that one?
Quickshot: Oh I’ll be buzzing for the next couple of hours. On a personal level, it’s very rare that you get five-game series. And then when you do get them, for them to actually be back and forth, and to have a competitive game five, is something really, really special. I actually lost control of myself in the Inspired pentakill. I’m normally very deliberate, very aware, but I just got so lost in the heat of the moment, the intensity of that fight, that I screamed my lungs out. I feel like everyone watching at home was feeling and thinking the same. So I’m really, really grateful, really thankful.
I also think it was a special series because it was supposed to be a 3-0. Rogue were and are the better team. But as with every sport, as with every game, no matter what it is: whoever shows up on the day can win. And today was one of those special moments where Misfits showed that their ceiling can be good enough to compete with the best.
Hotspawn: I want to talk about two things you mentioned, the first one being about the teams and the narrative. When you’re casting the conclusion of such a crazy series, do you realize the value of everything that’s going on on the screen?
Quickshot: Of course, yes! The real challenge is not actually recognizing it—because if you listen to our casts, and especially mine, I go out of my way to ensure that every viewer knows the stakes. You know, there are a lot of very loud voices on Reddit who are the most hardcore, most passionate fans that criticize narratives and storytelling. But what that percentage of our viewer base doesn’t realize is that there is a massive, massive portion of viewers who don’t watch as often, who are not as informed or invested.
So the real challenge is balancing how to tell that story, how to convey the stakes and the emotions, and the impact of what you’re witnessing. And you have to do it in a way that hits as many people as possible. I feel really proud today, I think we hit the balance right. It was Troubleinc’s first Playoffs series and she had a fantastic read. I think her picks and bans were exceptional. Her ability to back me up and follow me up on the leads was great. We’re just very, very fortunate that we were gifted such a great series to watch.
Hotspawn: In the LEC whenever the stakes were high, it used to be that either G2 or Fnatic was involved. But now we see Rogue and Misfits in such a position. Does that change something for you?
Quickshot: I mean, it does! For the first time in a long time we are not a two-horse league, right? Until last year, it was G2 and Fnatic. That’s it. Before that, it was Fnatic and, what, SK Gaming for a bit? SK and Gambit?
Hotspawn: Origen, perhaps.
Quickshot: Yeah Origen for what, like, one Split? [Laughs] The truth is that Europe, until 2020, was a region that was top-heavy. It was dominated by one or two teams, and traditionally by one team. It was either G2 or Fnatic for four years, five years. In 2020, competition started to emerge. Truthfully, MAD Lions and Rogue have to be celebrated immensely. They invested in support structures, they invested in local talent, they invested in the players they brought in. They were complimentary, they worked.
Misfits is a team that has not made a good roster decision in four years. And in 2021, they stuck with the rookies. They brought Vander in, who was the experienced voice to join Kobbe. They stuck with three rookies that a lot of people wrote off. All Summer long, Misfits have been underestimated. All Summer long, they have surprised. So now you’re looking at G2, Fnatic, MAD Lions, Rogue, who are competitive, Misfits who are surprising. You can debate until the end of time whether this means that the number one and number two are now weaker than in previous years. But if the result of that is that you have five or six teams that are legitimately competitive, I’ll take that trade any day.
Hotspawn: The second topic I want to talk about following your first answer is that “losing control” during a cast. Is that scary?
Quickshot: Not for me. [Laughs] It depends so much on the individual, right? There is no ‘one size fits all’. I teach a principle to all the casters I work with that there is no such thing as right and wrong when it comes to shoutcasting. It’s a performing art much like acting, much like music. Things that you do, things that you say, people either like it or dislike it. The trick and the goal is to understand that. I personally am very strong at intent. I understand that if I do X or Y, the result will be A or B. One of the things that we try to do, especially in the LEC, is to weigh up those choices.
In the heat of the moment, for a play-by-play caster, losing yourself, having that raw emotion come through, is one of the biggest benefits you can have. I’ll give you an example that is really tangential: Medic lost himself in the Fiddlesticks ultimate from Rogue against Misfits. He just screamed “CROOOWSTOOORM” from his guts and it captured the moment perfectly. Then I got a chance to cast a Fiddlesticks later and I weighed off in my head: Ok, if I see a Crowstorm, if that moment comes, I can’t do that. Not on command. Medic has got a much more powerful voice. He’s much stronger at team fighting than I am. But I am very deliberate and aware. So, when I got the opportunity instead and I went high-pitched “caw caw caw”. That’s the trick. Understanding when it makes sense and also understanding what the opportunity cost is.
Hotspawn: I can see why you called yourself a ‘deliberate’ caster! [Laughs]
Quickshot: We have a limited amount of time. We’re broadcasting live. We don’t have time to decide exactly what we want to say, unlike analysts on the desk or people doing VOD reviews. If you’re watching a VOD on a YouTube breakdown and someone talks three hours about a forty-minute game, they can pause, rewind, review whatever they want to say. I get a split second, like the players in-game. So it’s just being aware of that.
A lot of it goes into preparation, a lot of it goes into understanding what the goals are for the game. Today’s series is a good example, where Trouble and I spent a lot of time looking at which words we wanted to use if Misfits won. How big of an upset is it? What verbiage do you use? We weigh those pros and cons, with the hope that the words that we pick resonate with the most people and that more people like it than dislike it. And if they don’t, if we pick the wrong words, you adapt and learn and now you have more information for the next time.
Hotspawn: About teaching the casters that there is ‘no right and wrong’ for shoutcasting: has it gotten easier to teach new casters these things, given you’ve been doing it for a long time?
Quickshot: It varies between every individual. What I’ll tell you now is that the new casters coming into the ERLs and into the LEC are at a higher level than all previous years. I think the baseline has gone up. But that’s expected, in the same way, that new pros coming into the league now are way better than new pros in 2013/2014. As the industry evolves and grows, as more professionalism and more experience is shed more broadly at lower division leagues, at events like EU Masters, that level goes up. The thing that will always be tailored and nuanced: every single caster has different strengths and weaknesses. What we figure out is whether you prioritize leaning into the strengths or if you prioritize working on the weaknesses. That always takes time, it takes games, it takes different amounts of effort for different individuals.
The LEC Summer Split Playoffs continue on Friday, August 20, at 6 PM CEST with the series between Misfits Gaming and Fnatic. You can watch the series live on the official LoL Esports site.