Tanner Metro, a Valorant Caster, sat down with Esports Heaven to discuss his foray into esports casting, and his life before it. Furthermore, Tanner provided his insight on the recently concluded Masters Reykjavik, the upcoming Masters in Berlin, as well as the NA Valorant scene. Lastly, he also shared a few tips for people interested in entering the casting world.
Thank you for taking the time to give us an interview, Tanner. To start off, what is your opinion on the recently concluded Masters in Reykjavik? How was it compared to events in the past?
Masters Reykjavik was unlike anything we’ve ever seen when it comes to Valorant and it really put the stamp of approval on the game. We also saw history being made and some of the best players playing on the LARGEST stage they’ve ever had the chance to play on. Masters Reykjavik was everything we could ever ask for honestly.
What inspired you to get into a casting role? Did you delve into anything else relating to your field before you arrived at your destination, like playing competitively yourself, etc.?
I’ve never competed myself but I’ve been a fan of esports since 2011, I started watching League of Legends in Season 2 and fell in love with esports across the board. My casting career was really just on a whim. I was messing around casting a game called Battlerite on my own stream and people thought it sounded pretty good. That’s when it clicked to me that the voices I’ve been hearing on broadcast are PAID professionals and that it’s something I can actually pursue if people enjoyed my work.
Has the shift of esports events to an online platform instead of the traditional LANs affected your broadcasting opportunities?
I’m fairly green or new in the casting scene. I’ve only been doing it for about 2 years with things really heating up for me this year (2021) so the online platform has probably made it easier for me to find work. I’m not sure how travelling works when it comes to LAN events as far as talent getting their travel paid for which probably makes online easier for TO’s as well. Either way, I’m hoping by the end of 2021 or 2022 people will get to see my ugly mug in person.
You had the opportunity to cast for the Stage 2 Challengers’ event. How do events conducted by developers themselves differ from community-based events, be it in terms of organization, structure, hype, etc.?
There’s definitely a different kind of energy when it comes to the Dev conducted events. We get the analyst desk which brings on more faces and different energies. We get to play off one another a bit more through the talking points we get to hear. The production package is a bit more put together as well so we get all the bells and whistles which makes it feel like a level ahead. NSG obviously kills the show when it comes to handling everything leading up but you can always expect something extra when Riot gets involved.
What motivated you to start casting for Valorant, making the switch from casting Apex Legends? Why go with Valorant and not any other title?
I’ve always been in the realm of shooters but nothing Tactical. I didn’t do much or any CS:GO casting and the shooters I did do were the Apex Legends, Overwatch and COD Warzone. I’ve also casted League of Legends and Valorant being another Riot Games title makes it almost a shoo-in when it comes to the esports scene. I was bouncing around games and I jokingly applied to be a community broadcaster for Nerdstgamers during First Strike. They got back to me and had me casting and following Sentinels and at that point, I realized I needed to start putting my focus on Valorant. All the support I received after the broadcast made it clear that Valorant was my Home.
What did you do or maybe even aspire to before your foray into esports broadcasting and had you not opted for this career, what would your current occupation be?
I honestly don’t know where I would be. I did 4 years in the United States Marine Corps which means I had my college paid for when I decided to go. At the time I made my break in casting I was in college for acting and communications. I had 6 different jobs after the Marines, failing to find something I REALLY enjoyed, so I used my time in college to focus on pursuing something I loved which was esports and casting.
How would you describe the esports casting scene in terms of competitiveness, opportunities, and the like? Furthermore, do you have any suggestions on how those who aspire to walk in your footsteps should hone their skills?
I believe as the esports scene grows the casting scene will grow as well. It is incredibly competitive but the opportunities are endless. Not only are there an infinite amount of game titles, but there are also infinite, or what feels like infinite, tournament organizers from small to big who are putting on events for such titles. What I would recommend to someone trying to get into casting is just jump into it. Start by casting your friends’ games or VODs on YouTube. Once they feel comfortable being able to carry themselves through the game, reach out to small organizers on the internet. I started by putting League of Legends casting videos on my own YouTube, then started casting with a TO whose audience was 14 people on Twitch. From there you just keep looking forward and try to find what’s next.
For those who perhaps have not kept a close eye on the NA Valorant scene, what can we expect from the next Stage of VCT? Which player – or players – should viewers keep their eyes on?
For people who haven’t been watching the obvious team that even they should know is Sentinels. Outside of that Version1 is going to come back even stronger with Wippie rejoining the roster for Stage 3. I think, to speak more broadly on the topic, the teams that we’ve seen in the top 4 or 5 for quite some time (Envy, 100T, C9, Gen.G, etc.) are going to come out of the gates firing for stage 3. I think we saw some teams or players not really LOVE what they’re doing and going through the motions because it’s all online, they have to worry about ping, and there wasn’t really a driving force. With Masters 2 Reykjavik delivering the way it did, I believe we’ll see teams fired up and putting in extra hours to secure their spot in the next LAN event.
Which esports games outside of FPS do you enjoy? Would you ever consider being involved in a non-shooter title?
I enjoy playing RPGs, MOBAs, and obviously shooters. When I’m not playing Valorant I’m usually playing League of Legends or World of Warcraft with friends. I love the Valorant scene, from the game itself to the pro scene and the community behind it. Valorant is my home. With that being said I wouldn’t be opposed to putting some time into another game, I did a lot of League of Legends in my rise to where I am now so there is always a place in my heart for casting that.
What has been your personal favorite moment or highlight in the VCT NA so far? Riot has also announced that the VCT Masters 3 will be taking place in Berlin. What are your thoughts on that?
My favorite moment or highlight is more of a storyline created by a team. I’ve been working in and out of the VCT and other tournaments when I’m available. One of the other TOs I work with are the Pittsburgh Knights and the team Neverdone which is now Version1. Watching the team go from Winning a Knights Monthly at the beginning of the year to shocking the world being the #2 team representing North America in Iceland is just an insane story and I could only imagine what it would feel like to be in their shoes. Everyone loves an underdog story and theirs delivered tenfold.
As for Berlin, we got to see the first-ever LAN for Masters 2 and it was ELECTRIC. Masters 3 is going to be extraordinary. I’m interested in seeing how the rosters change and the teams representing the different regions change. We also have more slots for more teams which just proves that it’s always going to get better, Riot Games and Valorant will continue to evolve and grow in more ways than just the game itself and it’s incredibly exciting to watch and be a part of.
Tanner, once again I would like to thank you for taking your time out to answer this interview. The floor is yours for any final things you’d like to say, shoutouts, etc.
Thank you for the opportunity. I appreciate the work done by Esports Haven. It helps bring the community together and keep people involved. I want to thank everyone who has been supporting me and my work this far. If it wasn’t for the support from the community I wouldn’t be where I’m at today. Shoutouts to Pr0phie for being in Boq’s DMs fighting for me and shoutout to Boq and everyone at Nerdstgamers for taking a chance on me and continuing to believe in me. I’ve been humbled by my journey so far, I love this game and this community and I can’t wait for the years to come.
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