If you have followed the LEC for some time, Drakos is a name that you will be very familiar with. To most, he is known for two of his most iconic moments: his F-bomb or “mediocre” rap battles. That being said, Drakos has been a core member of LEC talent, playing an important role in the growth of LEC.
But who is Drakos?
Daniel “Drakos” Drakos originally had casting as his side job, being a full-time barista before becoming a full-time pitcher. Despite the two jobs, Drakos continued to develop his career in esports and eventually had the opportunity to participate in much bigger leagues. According to an old Froskurinn video, Drakos, then known as “Tsepha”, had participated in multiple events, including the IEM San José, the KeSPA cup, and LMS ‘English playoff coverage.
In 2016, Drakos finally joined the LEC, then known as the EU LCS. Since joining the LEC, Drakos has only grown more not only as a pitcher, but also as a talent.
He has proven his ability as a host both in EUphoria and on the analyst desk. Apart from that, Drakos has also become a key member when it comes to producing content for the LEC. LECtronic, League’s Edgiest Casters, and of course Mediocre Rap Battles, Drakos was essential in all of them.
After Ready Check on the LEC broadcast on July 17, 2021, we had the beautiful opportunity to interview Daniel Drakos. During the interview, we asked him about his growth as a presenter and a behind-the-scenes look at LEC content.
In bold font are Gamezo’s questions, while in standard font are Drakos’s answers.
I want to start your career as a pitcher, because you’ve been pitching LEC for quite some time. How would you describe your growth as a pitcher?
I mean, I think it was interesting. It has been a bit of an up and down process. I am very different from where I started. I was pretty bad when I started, and I just showed up and spoke. Not a bad place to start. Doing so is important, but I would say that over the years, I definitely feel like I’m one of the best pitchers in League of Legends in play-by-play. I’m really sure where I am right now, but I would say that getting there is an up and down process.
There have been years when I feel like I have made tremendous progress, I have grown a lot and I have learned a lot. And there have been years where I feel like I’ve gotten stuck and backtracked a bit or had to struggle to learn some key concepts and key things. To say the least, it has been a process, it has been complicated.
Is there a specific game or series you’ve released that is more memorable for you?
Yes, there are some. I mean the highlight was the 2019 semi-finals, G2 made it to the final, they broadcast that, they were there at the time, I really felt like I was on the same page as Vedius. To really put that together, it felt fantastic. Even more recently with Caedrel and Ender, choosing the spring finals was honestly an incredible experience, throwing the first “Neither G2 nor FNATIC” win in a long time was a pleasure. And it was also a series where, and maybe people don’t listen to it that much, we got a lot better as the series went on. It started, and we felt good about it, but then when Game 3 came along, and we started to see the reverse sweep, we really felt like the 3 of us figured out how to work together and really deliver what I felt was a fantastic product.
As I said before, during your career you managed to earn the title Rap God. You even managed to release 4 “Mediocre Rap Battles”, which most would agree are not even mediocre after G2-Origin. Even if it’s been almost a year since the last one, there was also a big gap between the Rap Rivals with NA and the 2020 Summer Playoffs. Is there a chance that another will come this year?
There is certainly a possibility. I would say that the gaps are not, we don’t want to, we don’t want to exaggerate any particular product. And when the time is right, we will. They are not finished, they are not finished. I think we would tell people if we did the last one. We wouldn’t let them quietly fade away, so more will come. I won’t say when, but more will come, more are on the way. There is more that is being worked on. It’s an exciting product and I honestly don’t want to stop doing it for nothing else.
I’m excited about it! When mentioning the rap battles, I wanted to ask a few things outside of the casting. It’s one thing the LEC is known for – its content outside of games as mentioned. And you are one of the many talented people behind it. Could we take a look inside how the LEC comes up with ideas?
A lot of ideas come from old ideas turned into new esports concepts, or from people on our team who are really into esports and have crazy ideas that they are willing to publish. It has no science whatsoever. Before COVID, it was often just people sitting in a room, randomly throwing things at the wall, just to see what would sound good, what would work, what could come together.
I think the bottom line for us at the LEC is that we are not afraid to take risks. We are not afraid to try things that have not been tried before. I think we would all rather risk doing something bad and just plain horrible. We prefer to risk creating junk content rather than boring content. And I think that’s a philosophy that has come a long way for us. So there is no exact science for that. I’d say we always try to do something a little crazy, a little out of our comfort zone to find out what works. And as long as we keep pushing ourselves like this, I feel like hopefully we’re going to keep making good content, but we’ll see.
In terms of content, one thing that has been consistent is EUphoria, which is still a top-notch podcast. How do you build that synergy with your co-hosts, as well as your guests? Or is it something that just clicks for all of you?
I think it depends on the person honestly. The nice thing about the podcast base is that it is more informal. There’s a lot less pressure, you have a lot more time, and since it’s pre-recorded, people have room to mess up, which has helped. Not all professionals have appeared on the podcast and instantly had the cleanest and clearest idea of what they want to say. We don’t edit a lot, but I think having that freedom has made many professionals feel more comfortable. They can speak their minds without filtering, and if they decide they don’t want it published, we can always remove it.
We really try to create an environment in which our guests feel comfortable. We are not here to get a big click bait title. Unless they’re down, unless they want to do it with us, unless they want to take some bold and controversial takes. We just want to make anyone who comes to the show as comfortable as possible and let them be themselves as much as possible.
Because I think it is very easy when you are a professional player, especially, to get very comfortable. You know, put on a smile and do your nice post-game interview, where you say I respect everyone. And that’s okay. That’s a good way to approach it, I’m not going to judge that. But I always want to see more. I want to see the person behind the professional player. Not just the face, but the personality, because honestly we have so many crazy and good personalities in the LEC. And it would be a shame to end up with something standard and generic.
On the host side, it’s just a process. We are people who fundamentally come together. Me and Deficio, me and Caedrel, me and Froskurinn, me and Yamato, these are all people I love spending time with. And I think as much as it is a matter of work, I don’t think EUphoria would be as successful if it weren’t for a lot of strong personal relationships behind the scenes. These are people I enjoy spending time with, and I hope that is reflected in the podcast.
Going back to your casting career, Vedius recently praised you and Caedrel for your Rogue vs. MAD match. In its cheep, said it was “an excellent framework to work on.” How does it feel to know that some of your colleagues look up to you as a standard for casting matches?
Casting is something I think that unless you’re doing it, unless you’ve really been doing it for a long time, it’s hard to know what to take from people’s feedback. So when a fellow pitcher, someone as established as Vedius, someone who is as high-level as Vedius, really praises your work, it’s always a pleasure. But I think when he goes one step further to go out and post it, it’s very nice of him. Because we’re always talking, we’re always checking ourselves behind the scenes, that’s just the process of getting better, no matter what sport you’re in, no matter what game you throw.
But people don’t always go out of their way to praise other people, because I think it might seem like they pat themselves on the back or pat their own team too much on the back, you know what I mean? So we try not to do it too much. But when someone does, when Vedius takes the time to talk specifically about why he liked the cast so much, it’s very flattering. It’s a great honor. Caedrel and I, I don’t remember when that tweet happened, but we were actually sitting next to each other. We think that “this is the most beautiful tweet of all time”. It was really cool, it was really cool from Vedi.
Finally, I wanted to ask you something to help other people. Like Vedius mentioned again in his tweet, the standard that you and Caedrel set for pitchers is one that aspiring pitchers should try to achieve. In the past, various pitchers have given their own opinions on how to become a pitcher, but if there was one piece of advice you could give aspiring commentators, what would it be?
It is difficult, because it is a question that we receive a lot. Before giving advice, one thing I want to say is that before you start, you have to start. Even if you have no idea what you’re doing, even if you think it’s going to suck, you have to go out there and start practicing and doing reps. Because at the end of the day, no matter how much you study Shoutcasting, no matter how much you look, no matter how many theories you have in your head about how shoutcasting works, ultimately, you will never know, until you do.
When there’s pressure and you’re in front of the camera, whether it’s for 3 people or just a VOD that you show to a friend later, you’ll never know unless you try. Getting started is the most important thing, then after that, finding people who share your passion to help you grow. Ultimately when you’re starting out, having people around to motivate you, having a duet partner that you can work with, someone who’s not afraid to be honest in a healthy way, in an honest way. Someone who can say “that was not good” or “that was good”. “I liked this” or “I didn’t like this”.
They will not always give you perfect feedback, because like you, they will be new, they will be getting into it. Even forcing yourself to critically assess yourself will always be good for your growth. I think a lot of people are excited and interested in the idea of shoutcasting, until you actually start doing it, until you are in the cycle of being torn down and rebuilt in this growth process that can be just like that, so brutal. It is very difficult to know if it is for you.
So for anyone who wants to go out, who wants to do it, you just have to get started. Find a tournament, there are tournaments out there. It may not be flashy, it may not be as crazy and big as the LEC or the LCK or the LCS, but you need to start doing it.
The publication Drakos, His Journey to Becoming the Rap God of the LEC appeared first on Gamezo.