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Phreak here with a glimpse into the world of shoutcasting.

By Phreak

Before I jump onto a plane for the 2018 Mid-Season Invitational, I’m David “Phreak” Turley with another edition of Quick Notes. In this post, I’ll cover what shoutcasters dospeak about how I approach casting, and share how I prepare for international tournaments like MSI 2018.


Major tournaments like the Mid-Season Invitational and Worlds are celebrations of the best teams from all around the world where we crown (bold prediction) six or so Koreans the best team in the world. It’s our job as shoutcasters to amplify everything the players are achieving and bring their stories to the world. Truly, the job of a shoutcaster is that of a storyteller.

Anyone who cares to read this article knows that Faker’s the best player to ever play League of Legends, but that story doesn’t matter right now because he’s not going to MSI 2018. How many fans know about Zz1tai? He’s one of RNG’s two Top Laners and we haven’t seen him outside of domestic play since Worlds 2015, where he first role-swapped from Mid Lane. When Zz1tai hits the Rift, we want viewers to understand his career history and why it’s important to this game.

2018 NA LCS  - Kobe and Phreak


In my opinion, the single most important thread to a cast is honesty. As a caster, you should tell the honest story of the game. Sometimes, the biggest story is, “This is the World Championship Final and one of these teams will be crowned the best in the world.” Sometimes a major story is, “This is the second week of Group Stage and a North American team is playing. Let’s see if they choke like their predecessors.” It’s not the only storyline, but even at such a high-stakes tournament, it’s important to share more lighthearted stories with our long-standing community.

Honest stories are not limited to out-of-game topics. During Champion Select, analysts and color commentators will share their thoughts about which matchups are advantageous for which team, who’s expected to win in the late game, and what kind of gameplay both squads have in store as we hit the Rift.


There are two types of shoutcasters for League of Legends. I’m a play-by-play caster, as opposed to a color caster or analyst. My duty is to call the action in skirmishes and team fights as they happen. All play-by-play casters have more duties than simply yelling during pentakills, though. As any Jin Air fan knows, there’s often plenty of down time between fights and you can’t always rely on PapaSmithy to go on 15-minute monologues during that time. Our jobs are to keep the conversation flowing and on-topic. So while not all of us play-by-plays know all of Nocturne’s jungle routes, we do need to be experts on team histories and expectations.

Conversation topics are not just limited to pre-planned storylines. The games themselves have an ebb and flow with questions that will be answered by the action on Summoner’s Rift. If I hear my co-caster deliver the line, “TL need to get First Turret in Bot Lane” during Champion Select, you can bet I’ll be constantly checking back on how Doublelift is faring in that lane, what health the turret’s at, and tracking any Junglers or Mid Laners headed down that way.

This informed look ahead of the stories that my color caster wants to share will also shape my casting of team fights. I generally have a pretty good handle on how a fight is expected to shake out and what the key moments are. That said, it’s simply impossible to call every champion’s every ability when 10 of them could be going off at once, which means I have to internally pare that down to the parts that matter. I’m not calling Mystic Shot unless someone’s going to die when hit. My job is to frame the action as it unfolds.

Even the tone of voice matters. Again, casting has to be genuine. A 5v1 kill isn’t terribly important or exciting. Unless it’s the jungler and that sets up Baron; then, it’s huge. If you match the moment’s intensity, you’re doing it right. I remember getting a lot of love for “Quaaaaaaadra kill for Huni!” I don’t think I did anything special. I just matched the hype of the moment. The play was sick, and I got credit for call that wasn’t particularly nuanced but it was genuine and that’s what matters.

NA LCS Analyst Desk - Dash, Kobe, Jatt, and Phreak


VOD reviews

Now that we’ve talked about shoutcasting and how I define a good cast, let’s get into actually preparing for the matches. Up first is what happens before we’re even considering a tournament like MSI. I don’t know about you, but I watch more than just my home region’s pro league. I’m a League of Legends esports fan through and through. You can bet any time EU LCS, LCK, and LPL are live while I’m at my computer, I’m watching. Even for the games that start at 5 a.m. I’m still going to go back and watch the VODs. I don’t know a single caster who hadn’t followed Kingzone’s whole season. I tracked Invictus, too, for all the good that did me (RIP).

Once the seasons end, you know who’s actually headed to the tournament, and that’s when preparation begins in earnest. Here are some quick examples:

  • What are simple factual tendencies of players, such as what champions they play?
  • How does their performance on these champions go? Are they getting CS leads? First blood?
  • How does the team approach the game? Are they winning through Bot Lane? Late game team fights?

Some of this comes from our illustrious color casters and analysts as well as hefty prep documents made by our stats team. We’re all talking consistently, sharing information and bouncing ideas off each other.

Major storylines

I focus a lot on performance history. Here’s a few of the questions that I ask in order to prepare key beats for the upcoming tournament, including ones that are specific to MSI 2018:

  • Who’s made it to major international competition before?
  • For those that have, what’s the best they’ve ever done?
  • What’s the best their region has ever done?
  • Can RNG pull off what EDG did in 2015 and slay the LCK champion?
  • Can TL or Fnatic make another finals run like CLG and G2 before?
  • Flash Wolves have been known to take some really incredible wins but the LMS has struggled in the past few years. What will Maple and co. be able to do this time around?


Our talent producer works with regional casting leads from around the globe to get performance reviews and tiers for each region’s English-language casters. Our talent producer then works with the show producers to come up with casting assignments. After casters get the assignments, we can focus our research on the teams we will cast. If I know I’m casting Kingzone and Team Liquid but not Fnatic, for example, I’ll spend more time looking at Doublelift’s and PraY’s stats than Rekkles’s.

Story Meetings

As we gather all this information, it is brought to the table at our story meetings, where casters, production, and everyone else gets together to prepare the broadcast for the day. Most of our pre-game topics are pre-planned as there’s almost nothing that would affect the thirty minutes leading up to the game. This allows us to create graphical or video support for our game introductions. If we know we want to contrast Uzi and Rekkles, we find the angles we want to approach the matchup from. We’ll probably pull some stats support and plan out the discussion’s skeleton so that we can show as well as tell their histories. The on-camera talent for the section typically has final say on topics and content that they cover.

MSI 2017 Casters - Deficio, Kobe, and Phreak


Major international events like MSI are the peak of League of Legends competition. It’s our duty as shoutcasters to bring you peak form on our end as well. I’m committed to bringing you the best casts I’m capable of and am always looking for ways to improve with every single cast. If there’s something you think shoutcasters should be covering but aren’t, or have any feedback at all on how to bring games to life even more, please drop by and leave a comment.

If you have any questions left unanswered by this article, I’ll be hanging out to answer questions for a couple hours as well. And finally, if you want to get into shoutcasting yourself, the best advice I can give you is to simply start doing it. I think learning to shoutcast is a lot like learning to draw: draw some apples until they actually look edible. But imagine this is a metaphor for talking to strangers on the internet and not fake fruit.

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