Best Of League Of Legends, Overwatch Caster PapaSmithy's AMA

by Tanner Dedmon

(Photo: PapaSmithy)

A veteran esports caster and a devout fan of professional gaming, Christopher “PapaSmithy” Smith is a well-known face and voice in the realm of esports. Most known for his knowledge and casting talent when covering professional League of Legends games, PapaSmithy has also casted Hearthstone and, more recently, Overwatch.

Recently, PapaSmithy has been featured as one of the casting talents covering MSI, joining a team of other popular casters such as David "Phreak" Turley and Mitch "Krepo" Voorspoels. With one of the biggest yearly events that League has to offer currently underway, fans of both the game and of PapaSmithy's style had plenty of questions for the caster in a recent AMA he conducted on Reddit.

With over 1,000 comments stemming from the AMA, there's a lot of information there to sift through. We've compiled some of the best questions and answers that the AMA had to offer below to give an insight into why, and how, PapaSmithy does what he does best.

Q: When and why did you start casting, who influenced you the most out of your co casters and who did you like/do like working the most with?

A: I started casting due to listening to the Kings of Europe tournament and hearing Jatt be the first true colour caster in League of Legends, opening my mind to the dynamic of expert caster/hype caster in Esports. From there I tried my hand at it with my first cast being with a small community caster you probably haven't heard of (Pastrytime?) and a crazy road led me to today.

If I have to pick favourites, outside my OGN crew my favourite person to work with is Deficio as he and I have a pretty strong friendship and enjoy bantering about the game.

Q: What do you think TSM's primary downfall of MSI was? (ie. drafts, individual play, just purely outclassed)

A: I think the meta shifting to largely encourage botlane focus hurt TSM and Flash Wolves coming into this tournament - you can play around topside in games but the standard push up, teleport bot as the minionwave crashes gameplan has largely been solved by there being a growing toplane fighter pool that beats the tank matchups and junglers ganking top early to snowball fighter vs. fighter matchups.

To be successful at an international event you need to be able to master your own approach to the game but also have at minimum an answer to other dominant meta strategies - I don't think TSM were decisive enough to translate their well drilled macro decision making into closing out games or flexible enough to play true protect-the-ADC comps at an international level.

Q: How did you get your name?

A: When I was playing as a 'pro' player in the infancy of the Australia scene back in early 2012 I was known to the other players for two things: Firstly, I held a full time job as a school counselor so my teammates (often 16-19 year old students) knew they could come to me for life advice, and secondly I was always very interested in theorycrafting builds and understanding the game at a deep level, so people came to me about that topic as well. Being 25 and already being older than everyone else in the scene, being targeted by so many people for varying types of advice, I felt a bit like a "Papa Smurf" type character and thus the name was born.

Q: In non-specific terms (unless you feel comfortable being specific), has Riot's treatment of freelance casters as yourself improved over the years? This can involve anything from straight up pay increase to better benefits and job security and such.

A: I felt very strongly about the open letter I cosigned with Monte & Doa before last year's MSI and it's the principles that were outlined there that inform my every dealing as a freelancer. There was every possibility that speaking publically about caster treatment, especially given it was the first Riot event I'd ever been invited to, would have ending our working relationship before it ever started. Despite dreaming of working a Riot Games international event from the moment I skyped into my first cast, I recognised that the principles at play were bigger than just me and needed to be addressed.

Riot have since that point negotiated in good faith and strived to meet industry standards. It is always an ongoing process of negotiation for every event, but if you see me at a Riot event know that I have and will continue to stick by the principle of moving the industry forward for all casters, freelance or contracted.

Q: What was your favourite casting moment you were apart of?

A: If its strictly as a caster, it would have to be CJ Entus vs. GSG NLB Winter 2012/2013 Final, Jungle Heimerdinger from Mandu.

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