With the League of Legends Pacific Rift Rivals just around the corner, teams from all over Australasia are converging on Sydney to compete for the title of Pacific Champions. This year, we have teams from three regions, South-East Asia (Garena Premier League), Japan (LoL Japan League) and Oceania (Oceanic Pro League) bringing up the rear with home-court advantage.

As the finals draws close, I caught up with veteran OPL caster Jake ‘Spawn’ Tiberi to talk about all things Rift Rivals and shoutcasting League of Legends

How is it having an international tournament coming to Sydney and bringing competition not normally seen to our teams?

So far I think the tournament has been great. It’s really fun being the host city and I think Riot Sydney have done a spectacular job with every part of this tournament. The competition itself has also been really fun. Whilst the results are one sided this is a rare opportunity for Oceanic players to play in front of a home crowd in a home venue and I think they are loving it.

Coming in to the competition, who did you think were the biggest competition for Oceania?

Coming in I think everyone thought defending champions LJL would have a great shot at taking this. We saw good play out of Pentagram historically and DetFM by every measure were as good if not better. However this just hasn’t been the case. The Japanese teams are struggling with the pace of the meta and this has hurt them immensely.

Would you contribute Oceania’s setting of the pace this Rift Rivals to them being able to adapt to the meta then? Or is there something else that’s helped them dominate so far?

I think Oceania is very comfortable with an early to mid game meta that revolves around fighting. Without long range ADCs, and Banner of Command we have seen most of these games become scrappy teamfights. This is historically what OCE has done well. I also think with the influx of imports our players’ skill is just also levelling up. Right now it looks very promising across the board.

Following on from that, what do you believe that Oceania as a region needs to do to be able to translate these results to the world stage?

I still think that is a tough question to answer. And it’s obviously not a simple question as historically regions outside of OCE have also struggled. But I think given how isolated OCE is geographically it will take all the teams in the OPL continuing to level up. This will push our top teams to new heights. That with a lucky meta and a good draw and who knows what could happen.

Jumping across to casting now, how has it been having a fresh caster this year with EGym? How well have you two meshed?

I love casting with Bryce. We have been good mates for a few years now and I always thought he would make a great transition to casting. This year has proved it. He is incredibly dedicated. He puts a ton of prep in behind the scenes and is constantly trying to get better. The move over to PBP (play-by-play) has been a tough one for me. But I think we have good synergy and we just try and bring the fun out of the game when we cast. I think we are pretty unique in that way and hope people enjoy it.

I’m enjoying it for sure. With Rift Rivals, what’s it been like to team up with Rusty once again as well as with Hiprain?

Rusty is really easy to cast with because I have known him for such a long time. This is a guy I lived with for over a year, and hung out with every day. Chemistry in casting is really important so this just gives us a really good foundation in tricasts and even our duo. Hiprain has some great calls. He was a bit nervous at the top of both days, but I think as he has warmed into them, he has brought the hype. He’s a super nice guy and has really thrown himself into Rift Rivals which is what I like to see from new casters. Gotta seize every opportunity.

With the final day of group stage coming up, who’s going to take on Oceania in the final? Will Japan claw their way back or will SEA take the spot?

I think at this stage the favourites for second are South East Asia. Ascension look good and KLH bounced back well in day number 2 after a disappointing opening day. LJL looks a bit lost on the current patch and whilst they have got to a few late games, they can’t seem to generate early gold leads which will hurt their ability to convert wins.

Who have been the standout players in your opinion from each region so far?

Swip3rr for OCE. I think Shern, ry0ma and Triple were all expected to play well and they have. But Big Swips has found some rare form this international. He is just continuing the narrative of him being a big game player and adds a much needed topside threat to the Chiefs when they need it most. Ceros from the LJL has been a player to watch. He plays everything and has really tried his best to hold down the midlane for Detonation FocusMe. OzoraVeki from KLH was super impressive yesterday. People are still avoiding crit marksmen, his performance with SOUPerior on Xayah and Rakan was pretty damn spectacular.

How long do you see yourself casting for? Is it something you just want to keep on doing?

For the last 4 years casting has been my fulltime job. I was lucky enough to travel the world with it and be apart of some really great events. I am a career caster, I will cast in Australia as long as there is a video game and an audience to enjoy it with me.

From the Oceanic Rift Rivals teams, who would be your “super team”?

  • Swip3rR – Top
  • Shernfire – Jungler
  • Triple – Mid
  • K1ng – ADC
  • Cupcake – Support

League of Legends Rift Rivals will take place July 2–5 at the State Theatre. Tickets are available from here