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At the end of December 2017 Benjamin “Bkop” Kopilow set up a few goals for himself: “ Go to more than one LAN events as talent. Go to at least one event that is a major or minor as talent. Meet other casters because I know nobody. Do an outstanding job at said events. Get a better talent picture then the one used for WESG”  


So far he can check all these. EPICENTER XL was his first ever Dota 2 Major and we’ve been fortunate to be able to sit and talk to him. The interview was conducted a day after the group stage matches and here is what Benjamin “Bkop” Kopilow had to say with regards to the DPC schedule for casters, his work and the fact he was paired with another play by play caster for the group stage


 

Morning Bkop, it’s the day off at EPICENTER XL, you’ve been casting a lot of group stage matches, so I imagine today you want to go out a bit, what’s the plan, how will you use this break day?

Oh, definitely I want to go out. We’ve been casting the entire group stage from behind the stage area at the venue, so we had little to no interaction with people for five-six days now. It’s really a great weather outside and I just want go out, look up at the sky, I want to be a tourist for a few hours. EPICENTER guys are taking us to a cinema today and to the Red Square, so yeah, I can’t wait to go see a little bit of Moscow.

 

I’d like to talk to you about your casting career because although you are here with a batch of new casters to the scene, you’ve actually been around for a few years now. You’ve done a ton of qualifiers and attended a few events before as well. Most recently at the Galaxy Battles II and the WESG Barcelona qualifiers. So, tell me from your perspective why is it so hard to make a big break out, why don’t you get more LANs?

I feel like a lot has to do with the fact that I’m not good at social engineering. You know, I’m not that kind of a person that pushes himself in chats, that keeps the social media super active.

Once I talk to someone, have a real conversation, you know, I open up. I like to interact but I’m just not used to be the one going you know ”oh hi! How’re doing, what’s up? ” if I don’t know a person it’s hard for me to act. But I am a hard working person, I do put a lot of work in my casting hoping that someday it will pay off.

There were times this year when I had the most qualifiers games as an English caster but honestly I don’t know people from behind the scenes, from organizers, and so on. They probably know me, they know I cast a bunch of their qualifiers but they don’t know where to contact me perhaps, where to find me.

 

Then this event should be a good opportunity to start building those connections, get more active on the social media etc

Yeah, I’m working on improving on this part as well.

 

You’ve been paired with KillerPigeon this event so far, both of you are play by play casters and it felt in the beginning that it didn’t work perfectly. And I say you’ ve been paired, but I actually don’t know how the duos were put together. Did you guys pick or you were matched like this by the organizers?

Yeah, we’ve been paired by the organizers like this. Unfortunately, we were the only duo to have two play by play casters so we had to switch it up somehow. We did a lot of pub games practice to try to balance our cast, see who fits better the analyst role as neither I or KillerPigeon are used to it. We tried to get that connection, that chemistry but it’s really hard to make an adjustment in your casting style that fast. You know, you’re watching and commentating the game and you see that big play happening and it’s in your instinct to start shouting. On the first day, there were a lot of occasions when we both start talking at the same time, so it’s been a bit shaky but we realized we have to start compromising more.

With that being said I feel like overall, we’ve been doing a good job. We’ve been given a task that at first I didn’t think we would succeed because we both wanted to have an analyst next to us. But at the end of the day I feel good about the product I delivered. The viewers are the most important to me and I want at the end of a cast, when I put the headset down, to feel good about my work. I want to make sure that I made the game more enjoyable for the viewers.  

You are one of the few lucky casters to have experienced the Filipino crowd. The Galaxy Battles event from January I guess was a very good training experience for you and I suppose you will see that same level of passion from fans in the main event here as well. Especially at the Virtus.pro games. Do you feel ready to cast a VP game in Moscow?

Oh my god, I simply loved what happened in the crowd in Manila. There is a video on my Instagram with those fans. The arena was simply shaking every time there was an EG game, not to mention TNC. I actually got to cast a TNC game in that arena and I could not hear Tsunami. I was looking at his mouth trying to do a bit of lip reading while watching the game at the same time, that was the most insane feeling I ever had and moments like that are what makes all this work and all the grind totally worth.


That kind of energy and that kind of feeling is what  I’m looking for here as well. I don’t care if I’ll be watching or casting a Virtus.pro game here, I will be extremely happy just to experience that.  

 

Did you expect this season to unfold differently for the up and coming casters?

Yeah, definitely. You know, at the start of the season you see the schedule: 10 or 12 Minors, 9 or 10 Majors and you’re thinking “ I could do this, I could that”. There were a couple of events where I even offered to pay my own flights. I really wanted to do a little bit more this season, to get a shot to show the best I can.

 

I think I got that opportunity at Galaxy Battles and I really enjoyed working with Tsunami at that event. But it is what is, a lot of the tournament organizers will keep it the same in the next season as well. Keep it safe, work with what’s proven to be successful. So far it’s only EPICENTER who took the risk to bring so many of us here and it’s not just us, the English casters,  there are contest winners for the Russian stream as well.

I’m hoping that in the next season things will change somehow because this year we had people pushing to their maximum physical limits. There are people who worked 12 hours per day for a couple of months and they are simply exhausted. And if you are an event organizer you have at some point to chose:  do you want someone who is tired, who is exhausted or do you want someone who is ready to give it his all. Because I’m telling you, I’m gonna walk into that arena with music playing in my ears and I’m gonna sit down ready to cast, I’m gonna gather my thoughts and I’m gonna give it everything I have.


Can’t wait to see you at work Bkop, good luck with everything you do and I hope we get to talk to you a lot more in the next season. Any shout outs at the end of our interview?

Shout out to my one fan, you know who you are and I just hope I can make a good impression in the main event.


More interviews from EPICENTER XL:
MATUMBAMAN – Team Liquid: “Winning EPICENTER XL Would be the Dream for Me”
GranDGranT: “My Older Personality Wasn’t LAN Appropriate
BreakyCPK: “I Hope TOs Will Realize There is More Talent in the Scene”
Duster – paiN Gaming: “Dazzle is a Very Good Hero This Meta”
PSG.LGD Coach QQQ: “Virtus.pro is a Very Tough Opponent”

 

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