Less than two months ago, Excel jungler Marc ‘Caedrel’ Lamont made his on-screen debut as part of the League of Legends European Championship Summer Playoffs broadcast team. Now, he’s appearing regularly on the analyst desk at LoL Worlds, the melting pot of the world’s best players and broadcast talent.
The general perception of Caedrel’s analysis and insight has been overwhelmingly positive, and seeing an active player fit so naturally into the broadcast team is a rare sight. However, with the jungler announcing this week that Excel was allowing him to explore other options for 2021, is there a chance he may turn his back on competing altogether?
Well we got the chance to ask Caedrel just that, following the conclusion of Worlds Group A, which saw Suning and G2 progress to the knockout stage and Team Liquid and Machi crash out of the competition. As well as talking about his future, Caedrel gives us his picks for the best players at Worlds so far, explains where it went wrong for Liquid, and what he’s learned from the broadcasting giants around him.
The Loadout: We’ve just seen G2 and Suning qualify from Group A and Team Liquid crash out. I know you’ve been memeing NA just as much as everyone else recently, but where do you think Liquid fell short?
Caedrel: I think with TL their champion pools are just too small. I mean, they got way too abused in drafts most of the time, even though I think some of their drafts were good. To be fair, I think Joshua ‘Jatt’ Leesman really did a lot with what he had. I think most of the drafts are actually pretty fine. I suppose it was just a lack of comfort and individual talent that made them lose.
They didn’t have much clutch factor, apart from Nicolaj ‘Jensen’ Jensen. Jung ‘Impact’ Eon-yeong was smurfing in play-ins, but I think he was a bit quiet in the group stage. And when you look at a team like G2 you have like three or four players who could just clutch the entire game. I mean, you saw it with Mihael ‘Mikyx’ Mehle, with Rasmus ‘Caps’ Winther, and with Luka ‘Perkz’ Perkovic, so yeah, I feel like Team Liquid just didn’t have that firepower.
When it comes to a game that’s even, they don’t have players who will step up and carry it apart from Jensen really. Edward ‘Tactical’ Ra had a few decent moments, but the top side was kind of quiet. I think they were really good, but against a team like G2 they just weren’t enough for me.
On G2, were you surprised to see them miss out on the top spot in Group A? Even in the tiebreaker, when they looked like they’d done a classic G2 and gone the long way round to win, they still couldn’t close it out. Was that a surprise for you?
Yeah, I think G2 should have beaten Suning. Suning is the third seed from the LPL, and I thought that they were kind of underwhelming compared to JDG and Top Esports, who are on another level. So I came into it thinking, well, G2 should be able to take on Suning. I mean, they’ve had three games now. So essentially, it’s been a best of three, and Suning’s 2-1. It’s slightly worrying.
But I think the bigger concern for G2 now is the fact that they’re second seed, and they’re probably gonna get drawn into DAMWON or Top. There’s obviously a chance where they can go against Gen.G or whoever finishes first in Group C, so maybe they’ll get lucky there. But Perkz said in the interview straight after the final Suning match that he doesn’t give a fuck who he faces, so fair enough.
You gotta respect the confidence, right?
For sure, Perkz always has that confidence.
As you just mentioned, the likes of Top and DAMWON are widely dubbed as the favourites. Do you have a standout favourite, or is that too hard to call at this stage?
Yeah, I think it’s just between DAMWON and Top. I don’t think there are any dark horses in this tournament that are going to surprise us and win the championship.
As boring as it may sound, I think G2 has a good chance at going far in the tournament, but I’m not sure about winning the whole thing. I think DRX has a chance as well. Gen.G also has a small chance too, but I don’t see them winning the whole tournament against teams like DAMWON and Top.
Could you separate Top and DAMWON?
No, I have no idea who would win actually. I guess I would favour Top… Ah no I wouldn’t favour Top actually. I don’t know! It’s hard.
It’s a tough one, I don’t blame you! Which individual players have impressed you so far? Who’s looked pretty unstoppable in your opinion?
Jang ‘Nuguri’ Ha-gwon has been great, and I think Hung ‘Karsa’ Hau-Hsuan and Yu ‘Jackeylove’ Wen-Bo from Top have especially looked really good. I think Jackeylove has been insane so far on Senna especially. I think G2’s Martin ‘Wunder’ Hansen has been really good as well.
Are there any players that have surprised you with how good they’ve been?
I guess the Suning top/jungle in Chen ‘Bin’ Ze-Bin and Le ‘SofM’ Quang Duy have really been smurfing, but I would say they surprised me just because I wasn’t as familiar with them as I could have been perhaps.
On the other side of the coin, are there any players or teams that have been surprisingly bad?
I can’t be answering that question. I can’t answer that. I’ll get my head chopped off!
I have a feeling I know who you’d say anyway…
Yeah. We’ve mentioned a couple of Western players on the broadcast but I won’t say it now…
Before we land you in trouble, let’s move on to you specifically. This is obviously your first Worlds as an analyst but this new venture into casting and being on-screen has taken off quite quickly. Is this something you’ve always wanted to do, or something you’ve just stumbled into?
Well I was on the analysts desk for the LEC playoffs for like a week or two. It was just a couple of appearances, but it was really fun. Then I was doing some practice casts for fun with Ceirnan ‘Excoundrel’ Lowe because I was asked to do casting for EU Masters.
I didn’t expect much. I’ve got nothing else to do and I’m still in Berlin, so it fits pretty well. And then I did the EU Masters Finals, which I didn’t expect. It kind of went week by week. You know, it’s like one week I’m on the LEC analyst desk, next week it’s the EU Masters play-ins, next week it’s gonna be the EU Masters groups. So now you can do the EU Masters finals, too? And after that, I got the message: ‘Do you want to do Worlds as well?’
So it’s just been going upwards nonstop, like a train. Every week just gets bigger and bigger. And I didn’t really expect to end up at Worlds with such talented people.
Was it quite daunting when you got that Worlds call?
Not really, I just knew I had to make sure that I was prepared. I knew I would be comfortable with the broadcast. I just wanted to make sure that I would deliver because Worlds is another level of production, right? So you want to make sure that you’re bringing your A-game so I just did tonnes and tonnes of research, made sure I knew the teams in and out, and then once I learned it all I just felt comfortable.
Have the other members of LEC talent who have been working alongside you at Worlds, like Eefje ‘Sjokz’ Depoortere and Indiana ‘Froskurinn’ Black, helped you out and offered any pearls of wisdom?
People want you to be a caster and then there's me wanting to be a player - it's been a bit confusing
Yeah everyone’s been helping me out. Literally everyone – Christy ‘Ender’ Frierson, Aaron ‘Medic’ Chamberlain, Frosk, Sjokz… everyone’s giving me broadcast advice. Even some of the NA LCS casters and hosts have been messaging me with tips and just saying I’m doing a good job. It’s given me a lot of motivation as well. They’re just all super welcoming and it made me feel comfortable super quickly.
This week you announced that you are free to explore the options for 2021. You’re still an Excel player but they are letting you shop around. What’s your ideal situation for next year? Is it finding a new team in the LEC or turning your back on it all to pursue broadcasting work?
It’s hard to say right now what I want to do. I think the main thing that I can say is that I do want to keep competing. And I will try my hardest to keep competing, because I still think I’m a really, really good player. I think I had a pretty decent split, even though we finished seventh, but I think I played well individually at least.
While still in talks with @EXCEL, my contract will run out in November. They have therefore allowed me to explore my options going forwards, before the Free Agency period begins, so feel free to reach out to me directly via email [email protected] or through DMs
— Marc (@Caedrel) October 7, 2020
So going forwards, I’m looking for a spot on teams for sure. The casting thing is fun, it’s really enjoyable. It is a career that I’m also considering, but I’m definitely leaning towards playing the most because it’s something I really love. So that’s where my head’s at right now.
So competing is definitely taking precedence over the casting for the minute?
Yeah, there’s a lot of things I have to factor in, think about, and consider, but my general analysis of what I want next year is being a player. It’s actually been a bit overwhelming. I think after getting so many messages from people wanting you to be a caster and saying they’re enjoying that, and then me wanting to be a player, it’s been a bit confusing.
I can imagine. If you did get offers to continue playing at a high level, would you like to stay in Europe? Or would you be open to move abroad? Or is it just a case of seeing what comes through the door?
I don’t know. Maybe Europe, maybe America? Maybe LCK or LPL? I don’t know, I’ll just see what comes and weigh up the advantages and disadvantages of each thing and then make my decision from there. But yeah, I really like Europe. So I think staying in Europe is probably number one on my list.
And finally, there was another big announcement by Excel this week that Joel Holmes-Darby, one of the organisation’s founders, is leaving. What kind of relationship did you have with him and was it a surprise that he was leaving?
Yeah, I had no idea that he was leaving, or that they were parting ways. So I don’t actually know what happened at all there. But yeah, Joel’s been with me from the start and I had loads of conversations with him from the beginning. I’ve been able to go for a couple of drinks with him as well, so we’re quite close friends.
It’s kind of sad to see him go because I know how much he loved this project. He’s gonna be a lifelong friend of mine, regardless of what happens. I suppose it’s sad in a way, but the grass is sometimes greener on the other side.