Casting, producing, and 4am starts: behind the curtain of Dazs’ Apex Legends broadcasts

How one man's passion created unrivalled English-language APAC North broadcasts

Bangalore runs away from a fight, leaving Rampart behind her

Hector ‘Dazs’ Felix is the general manager of SoaR Gaming, but Apex Legends fans probably know him for another reason. If you’ve tuned into an English-language APAC North broadcast since December 2020, they’ll have been shown live on Dazs’ channel as he shoutcasts the action.

It’s pretty much a solo effort. He researches the teams, he finds the action, he follows the storylines; you name it, and Dazs does it. While he collaborates and works with Joe Lynch, EA’s head of broadcast, and the larger Apex Legends broadcast team, he is largely left to his own devices. Why? Well it’s largely because his streams are broadcast in the dead of night, while the rest of America sleeps.

What makes a man get up in the small hours of the morning every other weekend to shoutcast a tournament for a region that he doesn’t represent, for no pay? After all, SoaR competes in the NA region, where Dazs lives and works, and in a LAN-less tournament scene it will rarely compete against teams from APAC North or any other region. But when an opportunity came about by happenstance, Dazs was committed to make the best of it.

“I’ll get to bed on Saturday at around five or six o’clock, and then get ready to wake up at four,” Dazs tells The Loadout. “Then once I’m done with APAC North, I’ll take a nap and then chill the rest of Sunday, and get back to the Monday through Friday grind trying to post YouTube videos and work on stuff within SoaR Gaming.”

As well as his full-time job with SoaR, Dazs creates Apex Legends guides on his YouTube channel, teaching players how to achieve complex techniques like bunny hopping and wall bouncing. But he didn’t intend on picking up a third job when Respawn contacted him to find someone to cast the APAC regions’ Autumn Circuit Playoffs.

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“I got a message from the team over at Respawn and EA who hit me up and they asked, ‘is there anybody available within your roster to broadcast the tournament?’” explains Dazs. “None of our talent was able to do that, because it was around Christmas time.”

I look at a battle royale like a giant script, like a giant play

However, he wasn’t going to let a golden opportunity slip through his fingers, so despite the role requiring him to cast two tournaments in the middle of the night in the week before Christmas, Dazs emailed back offering his services. He made it clear that he wasn’t an experienced caster, but EA was keen to shine more broadcast light on non-western regions. “I’ve actually never had any experience in shoutcasting before,” Dazs says, “but I figured with years of streaming, performing, and understanding Apex Legends, I could probably put on something educational and entertaining for people to tune in and watch.

“So when you saw that first broadcast, that was literally my first time ever shoutcasting any sort of tournament, let alone a battle royale. Since then, it just became a thing where I had worked with the team over at Respawn and they said, ‘hey, just keep doing APAC North, they’re loving you.’”

The robot Pathfinder swings over a lake, away from an explosion

There is beauty behind the simplicity of doing something for just as long as you can keep your energy up

Despite having no experience in casting, Dazs does have a lot of transferable skills. He specifically cites his previous career as an actor and his efforts streaming and creating content on both Twitch and YouTube, but he didn’t take the easy route with them, either. While he was acting in Off-Broadway shows, he also had a full-time human resources job, streamed regularly, and managed a Battlefield team. As time went on, his priorities moved away from the latter job, but it undoubtedly prepared him for his current role as SoaR’s general manager. Likewise his acting and streaming prepared him for his latest opportunity, which he has taken by the horns and wrestled under control to the point where he has become a regular fixture of Apex Legends broadcasting.

“I look at a battle royale like a giant script, like a giant play,” he explains. “Realistically, as much as there’s chaos, everything usually is going to play out the same way; there’s only so many different ways that a battle royale can play out.”

There are moments when things go off-script, of course, for instance when two fights break out at the same time. While casters on the main broadcasts will follow the action wherever the camera leads them – a skill in itself – Dazs has to make a split-second decision on which fight to follow, based on immediate knowledge of which teams are fighting, how popular they are, and how close they are to winning.

Wattson, Loba, and Bangalore wear brightly coloured armour and point their weapon at unseen targets

This is where casting differs greatly from an acting environment, where you would have a whole cast of fellow thespians to fall back on and collaborate with, as well as a whole host of behind-the-scenes staff working to make sure things go smoothly, no matter what unforeseen events may occur. However, Dazs’ experience in streaming makes him confident when left to his own devices.

“You can only put so many cooks in the kitchen,” he says. “The more people you have on a production team, the more complicated something becomes. I don’t necessarily go too crazy, but I try to implement new things, whether it’s a replay system just by [manually] recording the action or with the scoring, I’m just looking at a website that they update.”

I would be very excited to see what I could do for the main stage of Apex

He acknowledges that switching between different presenters, casters, and fancy graphics overlays works well on the main PlayApex Twitch channel, but he relishes the simplicity of his streams. “There is beauty behind the simplicity of doing something for just as long as you can keep your energy up and keep things going for.”

That was never more true than when Dazs cast every region’s Winter Circuit Last Chance Qualifier tournaments. With no big-name teams competing, he shoutcast five tournaments in a row in a mammoth day of streaming. “I took a nap between APAC North and Europe, woke up, cast, and then I had an hour to get something to drink, then came back for NA. It was a long day.”

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Dazs, unusually, had assistance for these streams – co-casters who helped him to pace himself and look after his voice – but it was still a gargantuan effort. Viewers love his energy and passion that has carried him this far and increased viewership of his APAC North streams from a couple of thousand when he started to ten times that number for the Winter Circuit Playoffs. He hopes this passion can carry him even further in Apex Legends broadcasting.

“I would love to cast the Championship, if they’ll have me,” he says. “I’ve actually talked with Joe [Lynch] about potential next steps. If it doesn’t happen, it doesn’t happen. I’ll gladly keep doing APAC North just because I’m enjoying the heck out of it – and people are watching. And if I move up [to cast the Championship], I’ll take whatever comes my way.”

Lynx TH explains the APAC regions’ aggressive metas

He explains that out of all the opportunities he has been offered, all the previews and spectator seats, and the opportunity to cast Apex Legends Global Series tournaments, the Championship is the only thing he has asked for. “I would be very excited to see what I could do for the main stage of Apex, to take things to that level and see how people respond.”

While Dazs acknowledges that this mammoth effort of holding three jobs may not be sustainable, he’s got experience in juggling multiple roles and knowing when to shift focus away from one of them if things start to look overwhelming. He comes across as humble and thankful for the opportunities that have come his way, but really he has created them himself through hard work and passion.

Dazs has established himself as an irreplaceable part of the Apex Legends broadcasting landscape, and a spot on the ALGS Championship team would be a just reward for his efforts to bring APAC North tournaments to a wider audience.

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