Marcus “djWHEAT” Graham Talks The Art Of eSports Casting And Red Bull Battle Grounds New York

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That means he’s trying to keep multiple roles in mind when he’s got his headset on. A good caster now needs to be part play-by-play man, part analyst, part entertainer (“Why else are people going to watch 12 hours of an entire event from start to finish?”), and increasingly, part teacher. The balance between those disciplines is constantly in flux, and one that Graham always has in the back of his mind.

“Sometimes different events require more teaching than others,” he said. “And every time, it’s sort of an evaluation of who is our audience this weekend, who are we speaking to, always keeping in mind that your core audience is those hardcore folks who do know the game inside and out. I think over time, they’ve begun to accept it too, because they know that in order to reach the mainstream, there are certainly going to be people that this will reach who may not fully understand the game.”

While he’s sharing his knowledge and insight, Graham also isn’t afraid to take an unpopular stance. For Red Bull Battle Grounds New York, the hot button issue involves the seven player-created maps that will test the players in ways beyond standard “StarCraft II” play.

Not everyone is a fan of this kind of twist, but Graham feels the chance to involve the greater game community and the opportunity to see how top pro gamers respond to it outweigh any negatives.

“You’re going to find a lot of different opinions about the maps,” Graham said. “I probably have one of the least favorite opinions, and that is that I feel like there is a skill to be uncovered in championship gaming, and that is the ability to adapt to any situation. I think that is as valuable a skill as being able to control your units or making the right decisions, and really, is it any different than a football player having to play a game on a wet day versus a dry day? As far as I’m concerned, give me new maps every week.”

Red Bull Battle Grounds New York is just one event on a busy casting and streaming schedule for Graham, but it’s one that he seems particularly excited about. He compares the field of eight to having all of the top boxers in one tournament to duke it out for supremacy, with storylines that begin right from the start of Saturday’s first matches.

Above all, he believes it will make for compelling viewing.

“I think people expect fireworks, and honestly I think that this group of eight players will absolutely bring it,” Graham said. You’ve got a lot of famous people, players who have been around since the very beginning of ‘StarCraft II.’ You’ve got some recent champions and newer players. It’s just a perfect clash of talent, and of champions, in my opinion, so I think that people can just expect fantastic games all the way to the end.”

There’s also one more thing viewers can count on: an excited djWHEAT using all of his experience to paint the picture all weekend.

“I won’t lie, I love my job.”

Check out our Viewer’s Guide for Red Bull Battle Grounds New York and come back Saturday and Sunday for livestreams of all the matches.