For many reasons, 2019 will be a year that European fans remember fondly for years to come. Not only did G2 Esports showcase their tremendous skill internationally, but the introduction of the League of Legends European Championship helped the league shape its own unique identity from other regions.
With the LEC, Europe gained a more distinctive look, and a different voice as the show became an entertainment extravaganza, with the usual hype videos paired with comedy skits and even a few rap battles.
Andrew “Vedius” Day appeared in a lot of that content, as did some of his alter egos, Flexius and Chefius. With the LEC’s content reaching new heights last year, you might think the league as a whole would be feeling the pressure to at least match those standards this year – but Vedius says that isn’t the case.
“We don't feel pressure. If anything, we feel more free because now we know it works,” he explains. “We have all these new ideas we want to do, like – spoiler – [Daniel "Drakos" Drakos] and I are working on more rap battles.”
And while they want to do more, Vedius says the LEC team is aiming for quality over quantity with new content this year. Striking a balance between the serious and silly segments is crucial for the show, though Vedius insists it was already more balanced than people may realise.
“It's weird because I think what happens is, the things people enjoy resonate with them, and the same can be said for what they don't enjoy – these stick with people for a long time. So if you do a lot of comedic segments – because they're different – they stand out.”
“So sometimes there's this perception that we only do comedic segments,” he says. “Which definitely isn't true. Like 80 percent of our broadcast is about the game, the esport, but every show we'll have some stupid skit involved."
While the games themselves are still the primary focus every week, the Welshman also stresses the importance of the comedic segments as they ensure fans are still entertained and engaged in-between matches. That can also apply to quieter moments during matches, which is why the caster is also trying to take himself less seriously during casts.
There’s plenty of room for both analytical and lighthearted moments during competitive matches; and a perfect example of that was in Week 1 when Vedius took over the broadcast to talk about Nocturne top during Fnatic vs Misfits, despite the fact he wasn’t even casting.
Of course, finding the LEC’s voice was a process that happened gradually over time. As everyone across the league began to experiment more with segments, they eventually realised the potential for comedic, and specifically ‘cringey’ content. One show that paved the way for that style is Picks to Watch.
“The Picks to Watch intros weren't actually my idea I'm not going to take credit for them,” Vedius admits. “The producer that did the LEC video and does a lot of the Kia interviews, she was actually the one who said we need a hook to get people interested, so she pitched why don't we do something stupid for the intro."
“As long as you care about what you do and put effort into it, people will want to watch it.”
“Obviously people thought it was cringe, but people have now bought into the cringe. Someone told me that as a result of that, I did something that has never really been done in esports before, which is take a market which is seen as negative and almost turn it into a positive.”
“I don't know if I'm blowing my trumpet too much here,” he says. “But I also feel like that's had an effect on the LEC. As long as you care about what you do and put effort into it, people will want to watch it. I'm not saying I'm the reason we're where we are but I like to think that I contributed to opening the doors.”
This season is still only just getting started, but there’s already been as much excitement off Summoner’s Rift as on it. We’ve seen Vedius’ musical side with his guitar solo in the ‘I want the LEC back!’ music video, but when asked if he has any other hidden talents he could bring to the broadcast, one sprang to mind:
“So I know how to fly a plane! Not like a commercial airline, but I was in the air cadets for a while. I did a gliding scholarship where I learned to fly a powered glider, and at the end, if you're good enough, they'll give you the opportunity to do a solo flight which I did. I could fly a glider.”
You never quite know what you’ll see each week from the LEC.