I got the opportunity to talk to professional Hearthstone caster Neil “L0rinda” Bond on Friday to talk about how he got started in his esports career and what it’s like casting for the big leagues. I first heard him commentating matches at the Dreamhack Grand Prix series this last month, as well as the smaller Loot.Bet Brawl series, he’s been hard at work casting tournaments in Europe and Asia as he continues to make a name for himself. Here’s the full interview:
Count: How did you start getting into commentary?
L0rinda: I was a small streamer and saw a project on Twitter where people were covering Chinese hearthstone (unpaid, it’s almost always unpaid at first) and volunteered to do that for a lot of hours and days. Slowly got experience, and name slowly got out there.
So you were streaming a little, did you have any other background in esports work?
No other background in esports, but I’d streamed six days a week for about two years. I had played a couple of MTG pro tours back in the day, and was an arcade game player waaaaaaay back in the day.
Wow, six days a week for two years? I guess that experience came in handy for being able to commentate. Now is your commentary work and writing your career now? Or is it more of a hobby? You mentioned how much work is unpaid, are you able to support yourself doing what you do?
It is now my career. The filling time comes with practice, and with research. I think that the main thing the average viewer doesn’t see is that for each piece of research that gets used, there’s a lot more that don’t. If you’re in a 30 minute control grind, you have to have a talking point in mind, or it can go downhill fast.
Hah, I hope you aren’t stuck in a Dead Man’s Hand Warrior mirror any time soon.
Yeah, I’ve tried to ask tourney organizers what happens if they keep rematching that and it keeps being a draw, but nobody’s got an answer yet.
If you could somehow send a message to your past self with career advice for what you do now, what would that be? Or, if someone wanted to do what you do, what would you tell them?
My past self, I would tell to do things the same, I got lucky like that. If someone wants to do it, firstly you’ve got to actually want to do it, not just feel you want to do it, it’s very competitive and if you’re not putting in the time someone else will.
If they get past the “can’t quite be bothered” phase, which most do not, then the advice I’ve been given by many, which is definitely good advice, is “Don’t copy anyone, be the best version of YOU that you can be”.
That’s harder to do than it sounds as you naturally want to learn from the best.
What’s the hardest part about your work? And what is your favorite part?
Hardest part is either the travel (and being away from fiancee), or not knowing from day to day what is happening next. Some bookings are VERY late. The favorite part is being in rooms full of people playing games that they love. LANs are exciting places to me (see the arcade background), and getting to see the world is also great.
If someone wanted to check out your commentary, what’s the next event you’ll be casting?
I can’t tell you that at the moment, but there should be an announcement soon, so keep an eye on my twitter. 😛
You can find L0rinda’s twitter here and I hope to see a lot more of L0rinda down the line.