Dash on NA at Rift Rivals: "Whatever the odds, we still need to have faith"

Plus the lessons he learned during 5 years on the analyst desk.

League of Legends's Icon Steven Paul · 29 Jun 2019


Image via Riot Games

Dash has been the face of the LCS desk for almost five years, as his five year anniversary is on July 4. Upcomer sat down with him ahead of this to talk about his role as a host and his feelings about North America's chances at Rift Rivals.

How have you seen yourself develop as a host over the past 5 years? What lessons have you learned?

Well that’s a great question, because hosting has taught me more life skills than anything else. I’ve learned how to let things go. As a host, I’m constantly looking for stories to be told and narratives to draft, but the thing about League of Legends is you never know what’s going to happen next.

I might work with the producers to prepare clips of early jungle pathing to show how that impacted the early game, but depending on how the mid game goes, that pathing might be completely irrelevant to the rest of the game. I have to be able to drop stuff like that at the tip of the hat and be ready to go with something else.

It’s incredibly stressful and takes a lot of communication. There’s a certain level of trust as well with my analysts, because ultimately I’m responsible for getting them what they want to talk about during post game.

Let’s say Kobe tells me he wants something clipped, I then communicate that to the producer who communicates it to the video tech who actually clips it. There are tiers of communication, and sometimes things get lost in translation and we just have to roll with what we have. That’s my biggest development right there, is being more willing to change things and throw the preparation out the window.

When I first started, I would always write down lists of points I wanted to hit, and I would even go so far as to write down the exact questions I would ask my analysts. I was super structured in how I would deliver the narrative, and if anything didn’t go according to my planned structure then I didn’t know how to handle it. Now I’m much more comfortable throwing the prep work out the window and trusting that we can still talk about what happened in any given game.

Another thing that I’ve learned over the last five years is just a lot about League of Legends if I’m being honest. I’ve had the opportunity to hear some of the most knowledgeable voices in all of League talk about the game for five years, so my understanding of the game is so much deeper than it was way back then. That’s partly what’s given me more confidence in my extemporaneous delivery. Just knowing the game more means that I can trust myself to know what to talk about without having to write down every last thing that I’m going to say. 

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Over the past five years you have had the opportunity to travel all over the world for different events. Do you have any favorite international broadcast moments or events?

The first one I can think of isn’t my favorite event, but it’s just so memorable. It would have to be the URF invitational. It was so much fun working with the EU crew and creating something for the sole purpose of being fun and silly. We all just came together and tried to make people laugh, and it was a blast to be a part of.

One of my personal highlights was my first time hosting Worlds in 2015. I began as host of the NA LCS in summer of 2014, but Tevor (Quickshot) hosted Worlds that year. I had the opportunity to watch him do it and learn from him, and then the next year it was my time.

I remember all of the on air team got sick that year, but I wasn’t with them until the finals because we did all of the analyst desk stuff remote from NA. My Worlds started with flying to EU to do all the caster prep, then flew back to NA host the analyst desk, got sick in NA and had to change my sleep schedule to an overnight one within 24 hours, finally was feeling better before flying back to EU, and then got sick all over again *laughs*.

I remember going to the doctor and they gave me a bunch of meds and said, “Just don’t leave your hotel room unless you absolutely have to.” So that’s what I did. I stayed locked in my room for three whole days just prepping for the finals and writing my little questions. 

Over the years it feels like your voice has become the voice of North American League of Legends. As the voice of NA, what rallying cry do you have for NA fans at Rift Rivals. 

Look, just don’t give up hope. I’m not gonna lie to you, our odds are low. But whatever the odds, we need to have faith. It doesn't matter how insurmountable it may appear, we need to believe that we can do this.

You never know what the final push will be for these teams, but seeing the faith and support from the fans will definitely help. You have to be willing to follow your team no matter what. Even if your whole region jumps off a cliff, you better jump with them. Because otherwise, if they fly, you’ll be the fool standing there.

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