When the color caster for LCK Global Nicholas “LS” De Cesare left the LCK in pursuit of new opportunities in late 2020, LCK Global held open applications for the color caster position. With it, LCK Global welcomed two newcomers for the 2021 season. Wolf "Wolf" Schröder, is an esports commentator with over 10 years of experience in the Korean scene and well-known Budae-jjigae (Army stew) connoisseur. Maurits "Chronicler" Jan Meeusen, is a relatively unknown commentator who’s been working in the regional scene of the UK and the Benelux.
To find out more about Chronicler, Inven Global met up with him for a conversation on a very chilly day at LoL Park. It didn’t take long to find out that he’s been an LCK superfan for the longest time, as his excitement of just being at LoL Park was oozing out. As our conversation went on, it became clear he’s the perfect guy to continue on the legacy built by those that made it into the LCK history books.
First, can you please introduce yourself?
Hello, everyone. My name is Maurits "Chronicler" Jan Meeusen, and I’ve been a freelance caster since 2018. I’ve been an LCK fan since 2013, which is Season 3, when the LCK won their first Summoner’s Cup at Worlds. I’m the newest LCK Global caster, which is still weird for me to say because it’s a long-time dream coming to fruition. I’m really excited to really start working here and am looking forward to the rest of the split as well.
Let’s dial back time to your beginning days. What were your early days in your esports journey?
I first got into esports with StarCraft 2, which was 2009-2010. I got into gaming with WoW, so the path has been WoW, to StarCraft, to League of Legends. I was a huge StarCraft fan, and it actually cost me two years of university. [laughs] I didn’t really do anything with my esports obsession until I came back from Korea because the trip itself was super motivating. I visited the OGN studios to watch LCK, and the energy from the stadium made me think, “I should really try to do something with this”.
I founded the gaming association at my university, and I was also managing and coaching a team. Then, I got in touch with someone that was more involved in the esports scene in my area and started off as an interviewer/host.
During your time in EU, which cast is your most memorable one and why?
It’s really hard to choose because they were all good in their own way. The most recent one was EU Masters, and that was really cool. I lived in London for a year, and the LAN parties/other offline events we had were cool as well. I’ve done ESL Proximus twice, which was actually with Sjokz, and it was amazing to work with her. I also cast the Dutch/Belgian league, which would’ve been much cooler if COVID didn’t ruin the amazing offline finals plans that they had.
As a self-confessed diehard LCK fan, what drew you to the LCK over the other leagues? How is LCK different?
I think it comes from my roots in StarCraft. I grew up watching the history, the culture, and the legacy behind the players such as Flash and Jaedong, and watching how these ‘Bonjwas’ continue to be staple names in esports is incredibly interesting. Because of such, it was a smooth transition into the LCK. LCK had such an interesting storyline, because they lost the title of being best in the world to the LPL in 2017, then reclaimed that title last year, with DAMWON Gaming dominating last year’s Worlds.
What’s your favorite LCK moment?
It has to be DWG winning Worlds last year. The players’ stories are all interesting, where players like Ghost went from being relegated out of the LCK to becoming a world champion. I was watching the Worlds finals with a friend that not only got me into esports but also has an even bigger love for Korea. When they lost game 2, we were out of our seats and were super worried, but everything turned out perfectly. From a viewership experience, I think that loss made the finals better, but as a DWG fan, I just wanted a clean 3-0, without any hiccups.
Their storyline at Worlds last year was a hyped one to watch as well, because they originally lost to G2 at quarterfinals in 2019 Worlds, only to return in 2020 and knock the same team out in the semifinals. I was very happy that they won, and they’re doing very well this split as well, so I’m happy about that as well.
What is your overall take on how the LCK teams are performing so far? Have there been any teams that surprised you with their level of performance? Vice-versa?
The top teams seemingly get stuck in their own heads, and sometimes aren’t playing well. For T1, they have an unorthodox approach, where they’re shuffling around a huge roster, and it has been a hit or miss. Hanwha Life Esports’ draft against Liiv SANDBOX was a super greedy one, and for no reason as well. Currently, their best win condition is to give Chovy a champion that he can stomp his opponents on, and letting their entire top side be a weak side doesn’t work.
DWG KIA losing to Fredit BRION seems like it was just a fluke, as they’re on an undefeated streak since then. Gen.G looks okay, but they still look shaky. They were a team that could easily beat anyone that wasn’t top four, but now, that top four became top six, which isn’t really good for them. I feel like Gen.G is in a weird spot right now because on some days, they look like one of the best teams in the world, but on other days, they just look clueless. There are so many reasons why teams don’t perform, so people can only speculate why Gen.G isn’t performing better. They should be a lot better, and I hope that they do because we need more great teams.
DRX is obviously a team that’s way better than people initially anticipated. I love Pyosik as a player, because I love his playstyle on champions that run really fast, and he’s also that jester that everybody loves during interviews and whatnot.
From a caster’s perspective, casting DRX and even Fredit BRION is always fun, because you can clearly tell what they’re trying to do. However, NS RedForce and Liiv SANDBOX seem like they haven’t found their identity just yet, because they haven’t shown moments where I was not able to see their game plan in their sets.
I will say that the gap between the best and the worst of the LCK isn’t as big as people may think. Every player that you see in the LCK, even players on underperforming teams like NS or LSB, are still players that play in the best league in the world, so clearly, there’s room for upsets and overall improvement.
I also want to talk about the meta. What is your overall impression of the current competitive meta right now? Do you think that Riot’s heading in the right direction when it comes to balancing the game?
The meta has been pretty much the same since last Summer, where you saw champions like Graves and Nidalee get all resources funneled into them; basically, the ‘carry jungler’ meta. I feel that the dragon souls are a little overtuned. There were a lot of LCK matches that we saw where teams were down in the early game, but snuck a lot of dragon stacks early, then proceeded to win mid-late game teamfights to take dragon soul and win the game. Even the worst dragon soul, the Cloud soul, is OP; Riot nerfed Janna’s global movespeed buff for a good reason!
Then, we have champions like Seraphine, who I think still needs more nerfs. She’s just too strong, especially with ‘Moonstaff’ being such a great item combination on her, as well as her being so flexible in draft. I expect to see more of her nerfs on patch 11.5.
With so many meta junglers (Elise, Olaf, Taliyah) this patch, as well as the 11.4 patch that nerfed jungle EXP, how do you think the overall meta will change?
I’m curious to see how the meta will shift on 11.4, because that’s the point where I feel that teams will start moving away from the meta that started during Worlds. I hope that we move away from the carry jungler meta to something new. We haven’t seen a mid-focused meta in a while, and I want to see players like ShowMaker carry games on assassins.
The reason why he’s so good is because he’s able to support his jungler through the lane priority he gains. A good example of this was when Canyon played Pantheon into Pyosik’s Dr. Mundo. First of all, Canyon’s Pantheon had a CS lead on Mundo, which makes no sense. He basically played that champion like a Graves, so it was both entertaining and interesting to watch him play that way.
In that game, the reason why Canyon was able to pressure Pyosik so hard was because ShowMaker always had lane priority. No matter what the matchup is, ShowMaker always wins the matchup. Dr. Mundo’s game plan is to basically get ahead in farm and scale into late-game, but if your mid lane falls behind, it’s so hard to jungle, as he won’t survive the early game against Syndra-Pantheon.
I would love to see some meta shifts. One of the great things about casting League of Legends is that there’s so much variance, so with the meta shifting, I’m really excited to watch just how well DWG KIA will thrive in a different meta. There have been very few teams that have been consistently good throughout meta shifts, and I’m hoping that DWG KIA will be one of them, as I hope that they win Worlds again this year.
When I spoke to the coach from C9 Max Waldo on his thoughts about the 11.4 jungle changes, he stated that either really aggressive junglers like Jarvan IV and Lee Sin come back into the meta, or tank junglers that require lower economy, like Sejuani, will make a return. How do you think the jungle itself will change?
Changes like these are so big, that it’s impossible to know how things are going to change. The problem with tank junglers is that they need time to hit their item spikes and come online, but not only are they bad at early dueling, if you’re facing aggressive junglers like Elise that got early two kills or whatever, it just becomes impossible to actually play the game.
My hope is that with carry junglers going out of the meta, we’re going to see an initial shift towards aggressive junglers. Then, the question is, “Is the meta going to get figured out or not?” Are teams going to be able to utilize weaker early game jungler champions to win the teamfight for dragon soul? Will early game junglers be able to snowball and win the game by hunting for early kills? Or, will that not be enough?
In recent days, ‘Moonstaff’ is one of the topics that have been talked about heavily. While everyone agrees that it’s an OP item combination on enchanter champions, some have argued against it when it comes to non-enchanter champions, like Lillia and Nidalee. What is your take on Moonstaff?
I think Moonstaff in solo queue is trash on most occasions. Obviously, if you have a Seraphine with a strong front line, then it’s good, but then again, we’re talking about Seraphine here. [laughs]
A problem that Moonstaff has, which was actually a problem that was glossed over initially, is the lack of damage, especially after the recent nerfs on the AP option. However, I think that it still remains good to a limited number of scenarios. Lillia and Nidalee are great examples of champions that can build Moonstaff.
What happens in the LCK, is that, let’s say a team has an Ornn, a LIllia, an Azir, and a random bot lane. The team already has Azir as the consistent source of AP damage, so again, with a strong front line, Moonstaff is great. Although it’s good, it’ll never be a substitute for bringing more AP into a team composition.
Are any caster traits from other casters in LoL esports that you feel you can learn from?
Hmm… This is a really hard question, because every caster that I can think of has their own unique traits. For example, what makes Kobe a world-class caster to me, is how much fun he’s having when he’s casting. Kobe always sounds like he’s casting with a smile. From a viewer’s perspective, I feel that traits like this matter a lot more.
Atlus is also very good at bringing that joy and passion to the viewers, because no matter what kind of game you’re in for, everyone’s going to have fun watching the game. That’s the kind of caster I want to be. I’m really lucky that I’m a part of the LCK, because the LCK really embraces that. If there’s one league that really embraces casters having fun during the cast, not talking about League of Legends, it’s LCK Global.
Then you have people like PapaSmithy, who naturally expressed his love for the players, the scene, and the history of the region. It’s something that I want to bring to my casts, and in that regard, it’s really great to be working with Wolf, because he’s also someone that is really good at it. Valdes is very strong analytically; his understanding of the game is much deeper than you’d expect from a play-by-play caster, and is a strength that I’m working towards as well.
You’re continuing the legacy that was left behind by individuals in the likes of DoA, MonteCristo, Papasmithy, and LS. Does the job come with a lot of pressure?
Not really. No one knows who I am, so nobody really cares about me, right? [laughs] I’m not even joking! That’s the beauty of this whole thing! Wolf has like 200K followers on Twitter, he’s cast various esports titles over so many years, and is like this Korean icon. I’m just a guy that was picked up from a blind audition in Europe. Even in Europe, nobody really knew who I am, outside of Benelux and the UK. It just means that there isn’t a whole lot of pressure on my shoulders, so it’s easy to positively surprise people.
I love the LCK. I’ve loved it for seven years now, and I want to do it justice. If anything, that feels more pressuring. Also, the community responses have been super positive, which surprised me; I actually expected no response or negative response. (Really?) Yeah! I would’ve been happy with no response. However the responses may be, I’m still going to work as hard as I can to do the LCK justice.
I want people to have as much fun as I did watching LCK. That’s the goal.
What kind of a legacy do you want to leave in the LCK? How do you want to be remembered?
Just as a guy who loves League of Legends. That’d be great. I love League, I love the LCK, I love the players.If anything, I’m not critical enough of the players and teams doing really dumb stuff in draft. I’m too weak-hearted, because I know how hard all the players work, and I know how frustrated they are when things aren’t clicking. Bringing just the right amount of critique is something I want to find a sweet spot on.
Is there any advice that you’d like to give to the people aspiring to become casters in this industry?
It still feels very unreal to me that I’m even in Korea doing this interview. I always jokingly told people that I’m going to cast the LCK one day. Now that I’m here, what’s next? A guy like me can make it into the LCK, so dreams do come true. Captain Flowers is also a great example of someone that got scouted out of nowhere, so keep grinding, and find that thing that separates you from the rest of the pack.
You can do everything right, super talented, very hard working, but you need to get lucky. If you’re not in the right place at the right time, or if you leave a bad impression on someone that’s going to find you your next gig or whatever, things aren’t just going to work out. I have a background in law, and as long as you take the necessary steps to advance in law, you’re good. Casting doesn’t work that way, because you don’t have much control over on getting gigs and fan reception.
Is there a dream match that you hope to cast one day?
If I can just choose, I’d go with DWG KIA vs T1 at the Worlds finals. If we can make that happen, it has to be Faker’s last series, and he retires after that series. [laughs] That’s the dream.
If it’s not DWG KIA, then maybe Invictus Gaming can face off against T1 as well. (Are you trying to retire both Rookie and Faker in the same series?) [Laughs] Exactly. If I can cast such a ridiculous dream match like this, then I’d need time to recalibrate what’s next [laughs].
Striving for perfection to achieve excellence in esports