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Q&A: PiraTechnics on BO2 format, caster adjustments and Pokemon Go

Changes to the format this split in the European League of Legends Championship Series were received with mixed feelings. The switch from playing one match to best-of-twos each day, coinciding with the North American LCS’ switch to best-of-threes left Riot Games to try multiple different broadcast schedules in Europe.

The changes had a trickle down effect on the casting deck, which had to adjust to the different schedules. Slingshot’s Alexandre “DrPuppet” Weber had the chance to talk with caster Devin “PiraTechnics” Younge during Week 9 of the LCS about the best-of-two format, his broadcast experience and Pokemon Go.

Alexandre “DrPuppet” Weber: So since today is the last day of the split, I wanted to ask you about the experience with the new studio, new people and new format. How was that experience for you?

Devin “PiraTechnics” Younge: It has been a lot more rocky behind the scenes. There are a lot of things that don’t get to the broadcast that we had to adjust to. It is harder for casters to watch all the games, so we have to spend more time on VODs or just share with each other. What we usually do we share small TLDRs of the matches with each other. It has been an interesting experience and I think we’ve got a lot better on being faster and more dynamic behind the scenes.

AW: Today things didn’t start out too well and we had a server issue right at the start of the first match in the studio (stream 2). How do you deal with those kinds of issues as a caster. How do you make it possible so it looks so clean on stream?

DY: Slowdowns and delays that are out of our control like tech issues happen, so we always try to give time to fill, be able to talk about something, I think you heard Deficio and Tespha talking about breakfast, which is a great topic by the way, for 10 minutes. In the end, our job is entertainment, but what we have done as off lately since we can do it is turn the other stream on. So we are always fail safe in the case something goes on to make sure we keep the show going.

AW: So basically you have this room to use your own creativity?

DY: Yeah, basically we are free to talk about whatever, as long it is broadcast friendly, whenever we have the time.

AW: Coming back to the topic of the BO2 format, in NA we have BO3 and here in Europe we have been using the BO2 format. What do you think about it? And would you change it to BO3?

DY: I think any difference for the competition is pretty minimal. I think a lot of people oversimplify and say “more games = more competitive.” But in the end of the day it is not satisfying for a fan to watch a 1-1, but also it means that teams are trying to find consistency. If you 2-0, you should earn more points, you should move up the standings and the top teams have been able to pull that off. So competitive-wise a BO2 is as good if not better than a BO3. For planning purposes, it is actually lot better, because we know exactly how much games will be played on one day, so we don’t have to budget an extra hour on the other stream and do what NA even does and span the broadcast even further. So this is an advantage we do have in the BO2 format.

AW: so would you keep the BO2 format?

DY: Yeah! I will stick with it for now, plus it will stack up at the playoffs as we have a lot more games than just a few more games.

AW: What do you think about the lane swap changes?

DY: So I don’t delve so far onto patch notes until they become relevant for LCS, so I haven’t given it a full read to it yet. I think it will make early game a lot more interesting, but there may be a lot of backpedaling and undoing depending on how much it actually changes things. Like seeing how it drastically changes things rather than just seeing lane swaps or no lane swaps. So we will have to wait out until we see it in competitive.

AW: So here comes the last question, when are you guys going to talk about Pokemon Go on broadcast? I’ve heard you are all playing. How is your way of becoming the very best working out for you?

DY: The other casters are all ahead of me. I didn’t play it too much in a few weeks, but we slip in those references every now and then. We actually have a think tank, which Pokemon are looking like champions, and we think about how we can come up with this one and use it later. There a couple of those coming, so just keep paying attention!

AW: Is there some sort of competition backstage going on?

DY: Nothing formal. It is just seeing who can become the very best.

AW: So do you have any Shoutouts left?

DY: Thanks for interviewing me for Slingshot Esports. Big props to the entire EU LCS team who made this quick week turn out after coming back from LA, and thanks to everyone who watches every week. We couldn’t do it without you guys.

Cover photo courtesy of Riot Games.