The one truth about occasionally controversial caster Indiana “Froskurinn” Black is that she is wildly passionate with a wealth of knowledge to go with her flamboyant fashion sense. As a color commentator for the Oceanic Pro League and China’s League of LegendsPro League, Froskurinn was part of the massive talent roster for the 2016 World Championship’s group stages. During the off-season she was part of the casting team for the International Wildcard All-Star Event and IEM Oakland.
With the LPL about to kick off on January 19th, we sat down with Froskurinn to talk about her offseason and also get some preliminary predictions for how things will go down in the LPL.
(This interview was originally posted on January 16th, 2017 on PVPLive)
What is the offseason like for a caster?
“What offseason?” is my initial reaction. It really depends on schedule and discipline as I’m sure no caster’s offseason is exactly the same. And I use the word “discipline” not to refer to their will power but to their responsibilities within the team and how many roles they cover. Majority of the OCE casting talent have two-three roles on top of their on-air broadcasting responsibilities due to the size of our team.
It’s an “all hands on deck” mentality and action. So, my offseason didn’t really exist outside literal Christmas. I was doing third party events, and prepping organization and content for the incoming split. Things like designing graphic templates, building out schedules for content releases, creating that content, and staying up-to-date on the game itself through study.
I understand it’s part of your job, but how do you keep yourself invested in League of Legends when pro play is dormant?
I honestly love the game. There’s a reason I ended up where I am and it’s this obsession with League of Legends in general – not just the professional scene. So I find it quite easy to stay invested in the game and avoid saturated burnout. It’s everything else that burns me out.
Take this week for example – I’m currently racing deadlines for three different pieces of content (written), while also spearheading narrative and rehearsals for broadcast. And those stories on air work better with graphic assistance and someone needs to build those – time to design broadcast graphics. AND I have to make sure I know the teams’ offseason changes and new patch well enough to cast the games competently. The actual LPL – ****ing hyped for that. I adore the teams, players, and league, and I genuinely really love coming up with different ways to tell those stories, especially visual with the graphic work. But it is an intensive sprint to get everything how I want it and what we think is an acceptable standard to our audience.
That sprint is where the burnout happens and any growing pains in my job; but I still live for weeks like this because of when it all clicks together — of the Power Rankings release and Preview before a slick new broadcast, with hitting high level narrative and the new roster lower thirds pop-up on screen. It’s so crisp to fall back in stride with the split.
The last time we spoke, you said that being a part of the OPL is like being a part of a festival. If the OPL is a festival, then how would you describe the LPL?
This is something we actually need to do a better job of portraying on the LPL broadcast and is a goal of the year. The LPL is the biggest league in the world. The grandeur, the bravado. I’ve been to my fair share of big esport events and – don’t get me wrong – Worlds/MSI venues and arenas are incredible in their sheer scope and size. But the LPL has the ability to dwarf even the grandest on regular basis and its something that Western Fans can’t quite connect to because Worlds and MSI is such a pulse for success.
The LPL players are already rock stars. Majority of the fans at the finals were female. Like, a heavy disparity. All those “sexy” videos of the LPL players make a bit more sense when they get on stage and you hear the girls go wild.
I can imagine. Speaking of Worlds, what can Western fans expect of the LPL’s participants of Wolds 2016?
I think the LPL teams will get better compared to their 2016 selves. This is not to suggest that their individual talent has increased. With the loss of so many superstar names back to Korea, that took a hit. But the communication – and more importantly, I think the atmosphere of the teams – got a lot healthier for competitive environments. The LPL is a demanding region to play in due to audience size and backlash, and a lot of Chinese players took the brunt of flame compared to their Korean counterparts. As strange as it sounds, hopefully with less Korean superstars in the league backlash can be a bit more evenly distributed across the team and not weight or inhibit a single player’s mental state.
That sentiment doesn’t seem that surprising to me. Will I May or Royal Never Give Up be the ones to come out on top of Group A?
We polled all the analysts and Kelsey Moser for our power rankings and only one of us put RNG first place. IM never made it higher than fifth. Everyone selected a different team, which I think speaks more to that group than our particular LPL experts. Group A theoretically has a ton of power sitting in it, but the question of if the LPL teams can execute on their talented acquisitions isn’t promising.
Yeah, after looking over the group, A seems to be stacked with teams I’m much more familiar with as good. Who is your personal pick?
I personally put LGD, but I’ll quote Raz because we had a heated discussion around it: “yeah, I can see that – I’d also put LGD first if they weren’t LGD.” And I think that’s entirely fair.
But throw a dart into Group A and anyone but IM and OMG are racing and capable of hitting first in that group.
Even my boys, Snake Esports?
SS has it’s own unique pros and cons. A role-swapped mid laner that theoretically could increase the skill ceiling and also removes the language barrier on one position; possible upgrade on marksmen, but then Ohq would be the only Korean on the roster brand new to playing in China; I’d assume the team would use basic English to communicate in whatever tricks he picked up playing abroad in the NA LCS. They have a brand new support that was a previously a sub for iG with little to no professional experience or synergy with their new ADC.
And this is before the stylistic questions. What if Flandre, SofM, and zz1Tai are all incredibly aggro and dive backlines? What happens to Ohq? Who peels for him? Maybe it’s a beautiful disaster and their forward thinking mindset makes them the ultimate threat? Maybe they keep Krystal and SS remove another language barrier? Or maybe the hot mess that was the cursed fourth place team make moves, but in the wrong direction.
Shifting to the other side of the LPL, I know you predicted EDG winning the LPL last split. Do you still hold similar opinions? Are they going to win Group B?
Team WE was unanimously decided as the strongest team in the LPL and Group A. They retained a roster that already proved formidable and picked up former Samsung White coach, Homme. Theoretically, they should be absolute legends because they get to reap the rewards of training up their talent this season.
EDG should be fine simply because they have the infrastructure to stay afloat and continue to invest in that with pickups like Coach NoFe, but they took steps backwards on their talent and can’t look to gain any ground on what they accomplished in 2016.
If there was a team to cause a major upset in the LPL, what team would that be?
OMG or LGD would be my personal picks, but this opinion will heavily differ around the framing of “upset.” Dark horses for a shot at the top are the likes of QG or SS and such. But people are putting OMG in the dumpster after almost being relegated and not changing their roster, which logically does beg questions. But it also highlights the confidence that OMG have in that roster to grow, and like WE, OMG should now get the split to reap the rewards of the training they did last year. Unlike WE, OMG also continued to get better.
Let’s say Riot had extended the Fantasy Draft to the LPL region. What player do you think is the obvious Round 1 Pick 1?
Well this is a biased question for Fantasy Draft and not true to MVP in LPL. Because it’s like: which player would get me the most points versus who is actually the best player in the LPL, and I believe mid lane gets the most points alongside junglers. But I feel there are enough good mid laners and the focus instead could be on jungler because there’s less people to rack points.
SO I’D GO CONDI!
At first I wanted to go Rookie, but I could get a good mid laner just as serviceable and there are less junglers.
What player from the West would you want to see in the LPL and what team?
You want me to import a player into my league? Why the **** would I want to do that?
I’d put Doublelift on Vici Gaming alongside Loong, Bengi, Easyhoon, and Caveman. Doublelift is incredibly famous in China and can probably speak the language.
I think he’d be a good culture fit. He’s absurdly talented. And that team needs a liftlift to save the bottom half of their map.