When Martin “Deficio” Lynge became a League of Legends caster in 2014, he’d already carved out a name for himself as one of the founding personalities of competitive League in Europe. But over the last five years, his career as a caster has been simply extraordinary. Before he left to become general manager of LEC team Origen, he had become the most popular caster in the world and could have been one of the most beloved casters ever.
For those who fear that they won’t hear from Deficio now that he’s moved into a team role, don’t worry. In an AMA on Reddit a month ago, Deficio indicated that he will “for sure do analyst desk,” and would look to work out an arrangement with Riot to cast non-Origen games.
This shouldn’t be a huge change for hardcore Deficio fans. For most of last year, Deficio worked as a freelancer instead of a Riot employee. He was still on the analyst desk a lot despite spending a considerable amount of time helping to prepare Origen’s bid for franchising. And fans of League esports in general should be pleased that Riot has developed a whole stable of veteran talent and up-and-coming personalities who have kept the production quality high over the years. There will always be those who hearken back to the early days of Leigh “Deman” Smith and Joe Miller, but seriously, the quality of League’s cast has never been better.
But having Deficio get back into the caster booth could be a bit more problematic. Of course, it would be a conflict of interest for him to cast Origen games. But casters don’t just call the games—they develop narratives that often persist in the minds of the viewers. They craft a more raw, unfiltered story than the back-and-forth of the analyst desk.
Riot has had players and coaches participate in its analyst desk for years, but it’s rare to see one step into the booth. And if Riot shows favoritism toward Origen by giving Deficio more airtime, despite how popular he is, it could raise questions about the fairness of the league.
It’s important to remember that the access that Riot gives fans by having team personalities on the broadcast is pretty unique in Western sports, both in the U.S. and in Europe. Overall, it’s pretty uncommon for players and coaches to be featured on a broadcast until their teams are eliminated from that season’s competition. Riot has gone the route of giving fans more access, and that’s been an important factor contributing to the growth of League esports. Riot and its teams should be looking for more ways to connect the best personalities with the fans watching at home. But as the scene continues to grow and mature, these questions over fairness and proper conduct become more important to address.
We hope to see a lot of Deficio next year with Origen because we hope to see the coaches, players, analysts, and manager for all 10 LEC teams featured on broadcast. That’s a solution that could work for everyone.