Dive into League of Legends European Championship color caster Andrew "Vedius" Day's first steps into his first LoL experience, going to college, cooking - terribly, advice for aspiring casters and accidentally swearing on his first cast!
I want to start off by asking you about before you got to the LEC. I know you’re worked on casting in some other Leagues, but let’s go way back, when you first started playing League of Legends:
Ooh! I started playing League of Legends I think when I was seventeen, eighteen, just before I went to university.
And how old are you now?
I’m 27 right now.
Okay, so about 10 years ago.
About 10 years ago. I started playing in season one, but I actually really started playing in season two, I think I started right as I got into university.
Okay, and what drew you into the game?
So, at the time, when I learned about it I was playing an MMO, called Cabal. Someone in my guild at the time suggested that this game came out and we should give it a go. Initially I didn’t play it, but Cabal was kind of dying, I was getting bored of the game and I was looking for something else, I messaged my mate and I was like “Do you wanna give this game a go?” and he was like “Sure” so we both played it. I played Irelia top and he played, I think Amumu jungle, whatever was on free rotation.
I am amazed that you remember that honestly.
Yeah, I ran my first game as Irelia cause she was really complicated because her old R used to be diamonds that threw from her back and her W was true damage and it would only stun people if you had more HP, and her Q -- well yeah, anyway, it was complicated and I didn’t understand Irelia, I had no idea what I was doing and then I became a Brand main, he was released the week that I started playing, and the week after, he was on free rotation, so I started playing him and he became my main.
You mentioned you went to school. What did you go to school for?
I have a degree in psychology.
That’s really cool. How do you use that do your day job--
I really don’t!
Really?! No way, that’s impossible.
So, the problem with the psychology degree is that it only teaches you about the different fields of psychology, so I didn’t know this going into university, and I needed something to do and I thought psychology was really interesting, and I hoped that by studying psychology I would have a direction for life but it didn’t really give me one, it just kind of introduces you to all the different fields, so while I did find it very interesting, I wasn’t super passionate about it, cause I had no end goal, once you graduate you then have to go into further study, and then once you get that further study then you can start your job, it’s a whole thing. And I was like “yeah, I don’t wanna do that”, so…
I would say that the experience of going through university was way more valuable than the degree itself.
Why is that?
I mean, you basically learn to become much more of an adult. I became a lot more independent by living by myself, living with other people, learning how to cook poorly…
I mean, okay, so, my cooking is basic!
So like, fiber, carbs and protein are what needs to exist in my dishes and as long as they are there, I don’t really care. My go to dish is rice, chicken, peas and pepper.
Yeah, and I put sweet and sour sauce on it. It’s my favorite sauce. So yeah, I thought the experience of university was really valuable, because it’s also what got me into League.
The experience of cooking or…?
No, the university! *laughs* Good job.
In regards to the cooking, I still do the basics. I don’t appreciate food, I don’t enjoy food.
What is wrong with you?!
I’m sad that I don’t enjoy food, but I eat to survive,I gain no enjoyment from it, I can’t appreciate good food. It’s also why I don’t drink, because all beers, all wines and all alcohols in that category all taste the same to me, I’ve offended my father on many occasions, cause he gave me this really expensive old gin and it tastes like…
*laughs* Yeah! Exactly. So it’s the same for food. I was with Trevor, Quickshot, we went to dinner and he was like “This is the best salmon I’ve ever had!”, so he let me try it and I was like “This salmon tastes like every other salmon I’ve ever had in my life”
That’s kind of sad.
That’s what people tell me, but at the same time a five star salmon is the same as I get from my freezer. So I like salmon.
I guess you don’t spend a lot on it.
I don’t spend a lot on it. Anyway, so that’s the food stuff! How is this relevant to League of Legends? When I was at university I was really competitive and I found teams to try to play on, I was in a 5v5 team that actually made it to challenger on two different teams, but we were never good enough to compete on the top level. We were called the 420Crack *laughs*
That’s great, I’m sure you’re really proud of that… *laughs*
We had a website and everything.
Then I started playing in my university league, I think it still runs today. That introduced me to a lot of different people in the scene which is what gave me the opportunity to be in an analyst desk, and have some practice casting. Because of the friends I made through University and through League of Legends they put me in contact with people here and that gave me a leg up when it came to applying. It’s kind of how I ended up here.
My brain was like “You gave me nothing else, that’s what you give me?!”
And how was your first experience? You remember your first League experience so I’m going to assume you remember your first casting experience too.
Oh, my first cast that one was one of my biggest regrets ever. I was casting with Quickshot. I was casting on Varus and he was going for a full lethality build, and you know how much damage that is, so I said it in my brain “that Q hurts like a--” and I was going to use a bad word, so my brain was like “use any other word aside from the bad word” and instead I said “female dog” which is so much more infinitely worse *laughs* because it’s basically saying the same thing without saying the same thing and I was just so upset. My brain was like “You gave me nothing else, that’s what you give me?!”
That’s terrible, don’t do that! Have you done anything like that recently?
No, I actually don’t normally swear on broadcasts. That scarred me forever.
What’s the biggest difference from you back then to you right now?
I am a lot more confident in myself now than I was back then. I understand the game significantly more. I think about it way more like a pro player does rather than like an outsider does, I also understand myself a lot more, so you get a lot more of my personality without it being overwhelming or cringey, as many people like to call it. I think I have found a very healthy and happy balance right now and before there was a lot of inexperience, I’ve been doing the job for 3 and half years now…
What actually inspired you to cast then?
I did an event with the National University Esports League (The NUEL) and my colleague at the time, his name was Excoundrel was telling me how he was applying for a shoutcasting position at that time, and that made me think I could do it. After I did my analyst desk thing there I thought about it a lot, but I wanted to pursue being a pro player for the time, not casting too much, but once I got towards the end of my degree, I was like “Ok, I cannot be a pro player, I am not good enough”, so I was like “Maybe I could try this casting thing out because I actually think I can be quite good at it” and that leads me to a great funny story, which is…
One of the first big events I ever got I was casting the Nordic East Riot tournament, and it was a quarterfinal game and they needed me because Excoundrel had gotten sick so at the event I worked with another commentator on the desk and our lower thirds were swapped out, so he had @Vedius under him, and I had his name underneath mine. Excoundrel recommended me to take his place, so when they watched the VOD they thought he was me, so when they requested Vedius and I showed up they were super confused. They weren’t expecting me to be there and when I did show up they were like “oh god, who did we get, you’re the wrong person, but then you turned out to be good”, and I was like “it’s because Scoundrel is recommending ME!” laughs
And what advice do you have for people that want to start casting?
It’s not an easy field to get into, there are two roles, play-by-play and color casting, you can also apply for hosting and interviewing but those are slightly more niche and specific roles. For play-by-play casting the field is very competitive because the flexibility of that role is a little bit limited, since they primarily focus on casting, which means that there is an abundance of people to fill that position, and in color casting you have to be both the color caster and an analyst and the main people you are competing with are former pro players, which is the most difficult thing. If you’re aspiring to be play-by-play, the most important thing is just consistent practice and being involved in as many different products as possible, because you need to be able to showcase what you’re capable of.
One of the cool things over in NA is the Blitz thing they get to do on Friday nights, it has an opportunity for new casters to showcase some of that cool stuff because it’s definitely a lot more laid back and it’s a little bit more free and you won’t get judged super harshly while also getting positive feedback. Try to get involved in EU Masters, or being involved in the ERL Leagues is another way for Europeans that do play-by-play to actively cast and showcase their stuff.
For color casters the most important thing to do is to build your credibility, and to do that you have to learn how to learn the game, which is the most challenging part. I was a diamond one player for a very long time and I thought I knew my stuff and when you get in with the big leagues you realize you don’t know a lot, so I would encourage people to watch a lot of educational videos, listen to what commentators talk about.
The important aspects are “how do I watch a game and learn?”. The best advice I can give is watch 5 minutes of a game, pause and write down what you think is going to happen over the next five minutes. You then watch it and you see what happens and then you actually line up with what you thought would happen and then you compare the two and you have to think about it. If you got it wrong you either don’t know, or you need to ask questions, you need to grind research and figure out why is it that you believe that you believed is different from what happened and if it lines up, yay bonus points for you, but then you have to ask the questions: was it the right decision?
These are things that help you understand more and help you see the game in a positive light and then the worst part is you understand the game up to that point, and then you need to be able to bring it back down to explain it to the silver players that is the majority of the audience. You can add your nuggets, where the high level players can appreciate it, but the vast majority of our content is tailored towards the average viewer which is silver, gold player. If I sit there and talk about how you micromanage your wave in order to set it up for this dive and it’s gonna happen in three minutes time a lot of silver payers will be like “what…”
You gotta make sure that you can add those nuggets for those players that are looking to learn. I’m really happy we introduced Marc “Caedrel” Robert Lamont in the desk, that is a direction we want to take, where you can get 10 minutes of high level stuff, which will probably go over the heads of the majority of people, but for the really hungry League of Legends fans that really want to learn in-depth that’s why pro players are excellent, because they can give you that specific insightful view. There’s also people that are aspiring color casters and are always competing with.
That’s the challenge. The thing about pro players is that they are not very camera friendly.
That’s how I was able to get an advantage over other pros. I’m very good on-camera, I have a lot of personality, dynamic, I know how to work in a broadcast environment and these skills are extremely valuable outside of just being smart about the game.
Anything you want to say to the people watching the LEC?
Thanks, I hope you enjoyed learning about my weird cooking adventures and my history...
Follow him on: www.twitter.com/RiotVedius
Follow Lara on: www.twitter.com/LaraLunardi
Follow Inven Global on: www.twitter.com/InvenGlobal
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