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BDog: “I don’t want to be this caster that recites statistics… I want to give meaningful analysis”

In our first interview for the weekend, UKCSGO sits down with Brandon “BDog” Rawlings who is best known for his casting and making it out of groups with a Binmen roster, but at this event he has changed role.

BDog is temporarily at the event coaching MC Village, a lower-seeded team, but one with motivation and determination. However, the event gets cut off short for the 26-year-old as he will be travelling to Romania to cast the PGL CS2 Asia and Americas RMR alongside duo Lucy “LucyLuce” Eastwood.

In this interview we talk about what it is like to coach and how it helps his casting, what it feels like to be casting an RMRs, and what his rise in the esports world has been like.

Welcome to EPIC.LAN 41 BDog. Firstly, explain what your role at this event is.

I am coaching for the first ever time. It is a bunch of my friends who formed a team a few months ago. I asked if they needed some help and we have been practicing a fair bit. They have been really good to work with, they have a good mindset and are hungry to learn. Right now it is just getting that experience. There is a good blend of experienced players who have been to previous EPICs. We have RJS for example who hasn’t been to a LAN before.

BDog playing for the Binmen at EPIC.LAN 38.

It is a good group of people and I am appreciated to have them let me be on board. However, I am only here for Thursday and Friday so going to make the most of it.

Do you have any expectations for this LAN or are you just coming in and seeing what happens?

It is more the latter. We have come in with no expectations. Look if I can get out of groups, if Dweg can get out of groups anything is possible, I want to remain optimistic. I want to remain optimistic and not pessimistic. The vibes are good on the team and they have been playing well recently, lets hope for a good weekend.

You are more known as a caster, seeing you as a coach might come as a surprise for some people. Is this a career path that you are looking to explore more in the future?

One step at a time. I am only at the beginning of my casting journey. Is this something I can see myself doing in the future, maybe? It would be an interesting progression. Coaching has been challenging, even with these guys whom I have been friends with for quite a while, it has presented several hurdles in several ways you have to manage and mitigate different hurdles and overcome them together as a team, and there are naturally different ways that people learn. That has been a really big learning experience for me in itself.

I would be open to coaching more in the future, but for the moment I am focusing on casting.

Speaking of casting, you are a color caster, [the more analytical caster in the duo] are you looking to coach to compliment your casting abilities?

I think it definitely helps. In all honesty that was not the original intention, the original intention was that I watch a lot of Counter-Strike on the professional level, I knew that I could help to structure and the basics. Entry pathing, knowing when to save utility, when to go for mid-round pushes, and how to gain information. Adding those extra elements to a team can go a long way. That was what I was brought in to do, and having a good relationship with the guys elevates it.

the original intention was that I watch a lot of Counter-Strike on the professional level, I knew that I could help to structure and the basics. Entry pathing, knowing when to save utility, when to go for mid-round pushes, and how to gain information.

You mentioned your casting career already. The only reason why you are here for the first two days is because you are casting the PGL CS2 Asia and America RMRs. Talk me through when you first got that email.

It is a surreal feeling. When you get that email it is a real pinch-me moment. It doesn’t quite sink in until a few days after, even now while we are sitting here, everything is booked, I am heading there on Saturday and It won’t sink in till I am at the event.

BDog casting at the CCT Malta Finals

What really helps is that I am quite familiar with some of the talent already, I have been fortunate enough to work events alongside them previously. This is the biggest event I have worked on in my career and it helps having familiar faces around me. I am super grateful for this opportunity, so grateful that PGL has given the opportunity to casters such as myself and Lucy. We have been given this breakout opportunity and just have to take advantage of it.

You started casting on a whim, you casted a lot of big events early on in your career. Have those bigger events helped going into the PGL?

It definitely makes it easier, you have that experience of getting on a plane, going to a studio, you knowing what the run of show is going to be. You have the reps doing it. The teams I am casting I am familiar with in Asia through doing events like ESL Challenger League. And with the Americas doing a lot of South America CCT has helped a lot with the prep. I look at these teams, I have casted a lot of them and am familiar with them.

I don’t want to be this caster that recites statistics for the sake of statistics, I want to give meaningful analysis of not only what is going on on the map but what we should anticipate and expect when looking at these matchups.

When it comes to the prep work it is making sure I am understanding things. I don’t want to be this caster that recites statistics for the sake of statistics, I want to give meaningful analysis of not only what is going on on the map but what we should anticipate and expect when looking at these matchups. A lot of the viewer base, especially when it comes to the RMRs will not have heard of these teams. For me, it is my job to present the teams in a light where ‘this is the player you want to be looking out for’. But it is not just based on rating, based on impact players.

What was it like doing those bigger events really early on in your career as well?

Daunting. I was still doing my full-time job alongside casting and when it all started I obviously never anticipated to be at the point I am now, I never expected to go full-time casting ever. Now we are here and everything is incredibly surreal, I am just trying to make the most of this opportunity.

When you went through this Daunting period where there talent that supported you and helped you through your journey. Has there also been any casters you looked up to?

I got a lot of support from other talents in the UK scene and also UK orgs. If it wasn’t for UK organizations such as TLR, Esports Wales, Into the Breach, Coalesce, and Endpoint giving us opportunities to be on their platform and saying “We like what you do, you have a clear interest” I would have never got my start.

The UK scene as a collective is quite supportive of each other and it is getting to a point where it does feel like we are celebrating each other a lot more. This was reflected in the Paris major with Into the Breach.

BDog and GrimyRannarr casting at EPIC.LAN 36

From a casting perspective, it is really nice to have this. You go to EPIC.LANs, and you cast them, I casted one with you [GrimyRannarr] for example and it feels like it is a right of passage to cast an EPIC.LAN. Once you cast one you solidify yourself a lot more in the scene. I feel like I have followed in the footsteps of so many great casters. You have like four people who have casted EPICs going to the RMRs and everyone is super supportive of each other. You can sometimes feel like the barrier to entry to esports is high especially when it comes to talent, but everyone I have interacted with is supportive and positive, it is fantastic.

Going back to the question and answering who I look up to in the scene obviously it has to be Harry and Hugo. I have known those guys for such a long time now and they are some of my very best friends in the scene, without their support I wouldn’t be where I am today. They are incredibly uplifting and motivational in terms of what they have achieved and how hard they work behind the scenes. I am very grateful to have them in my life.

The post BDog: “I don’t want to be this caster that recites statistics… I want to give meaningful analysis” appeared first on UKCSGO.

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