LCK caster Maurits "Chronicler" Jan Meeusen has risen to prominence recently, from casting in the Benelux European Regional League (ERL) to EU Masters to being a staple of the LCK. Now, he's even got to cast in the Worlds 2022 quarterfinals matches, along with three South Korean teams making the semifinals.
Everything seems to be going smoothly for him. We spoke to him recently after his Worlds duties were over to find out his experience in the US, his thoughts on the LCK/LPL rivalry, and what's next for him.
“If you had to give either region as a whole an edge, I’d argue that LCK teams are more stable while LPL teams peak higher, but any analysis that disregards the teams by themselves in favour of going into ‘LPL vs LCK’ or ‘East vs West’ mode does a disservice to the teams.” - Chronicler
Road To The USA
BLIX.GG: Thank you for accepting this interview, Chronicler. First off, how has your time been in the United States? Have you been here before?
Chronicler: I have visited the US before when I was 17 and did a West Coast tour which was nice but very different from my trip this time. I wasn't the biggest fan of Los Angeles, but New York City was amazing. The overall atmosphere, the ability to walk everywhere, seeing all the broadway show signs, and it has great public transport too. I loved seeing all the sights and spending time in that city.
BLIX: What's your favorite place you've visited or favorite food you've tried?
Chronicler: The best food I had is a toss-up between artichoke pizza (a Brendan "Valdes" Valdes recommendation), which is a classic New York slice with artichokes, or the Saar Indian Bistro (Isaac "Azael" Cummings Bentley's recommendation).
For places visited, probably Ground Zero – very memorable artwork and obviously a monumental piece of human history, sad as it was. Alternatively, it'd be the area around NYU. I really enjoyed Washington Square Park and a board game cafe called The Uncommons there.
BLIX: The last time I spoke to you, you were on your way to the LCK. Now you've done Worlds quarterfinals with many people singing your praises. What has your journey been going from the ERLs to LCK and now the World's Main Event? What have been your biggest learnings?
Chronicler: In terms of broadcasting, there are obviously way more eyes on you, but the key job itself doesn't necessarily change that much. The biggest jump for me is being able to work with broadcasters and players I have watched for a literal decade, which is still kind of mindblowing to me!
The main benefit of being part of the LCK, that wasn't really there when I was in the ERLs, is that I can fully and completely focus on grinding League of Legends seven days a week for the entirety of spring and summer, which really helps with both game knowledge related matters and narratives of the LCK and its teams.
BLIX: Talk to me about your experience casting Worlds on-site. Is it everything you dreamed of and more? What's your favorite moment so far?
Chronicler: It has been better than I could've expected. I have cast events with a crowd before, but it was incomparable to Benelux events. I have also cast in much larger arenas during LCK spring and summer of 2022, but the English cast was not used in the venue. Being able to actually interact with the fans here has been an experience that I will never forget.
Feeling and seeing the passion of so many other LoL fans is the best part by far, especially for moments like the GAM Esports versus Top Esports match. Having a crowd, there was incredible. My favorite moments were dropping an F-bomb and crying my eyes out after the Kim "Deft" Hyuk-kyu interview, which I'd argue is one of the greatest League of Legends interviews of all time. Shoutout to Eefje "Sjokz" Depoortere and Park Jeesun for handling that so well.
BLIX: Before we move on to the main topic of Worlds 2022, tell me, Chronicler…how are your Pick'ems looking so far?
Chronicler: I'd rather not discuss them because they're pretty doomed…A lot of it was due to me taking some gambles, such as JD Gaming not making it out of groups instead of going for the more obvious TES collapse, although I blame Emily Rand for talking me into that one. I also forgot to do a bunch of them throughout Play-ins and groups, so…it's doomed. But that's ok; predictions are purely for entertainment value anyway!
[Author's note: Oh fret not, my Pick'ems are doomed too…]
LCK dominance in Worlds 2022
BLIX: On the topic of Worlds 2022 as well, all four LCK teams made it through to Knockouts again, just like in 2021. What are your takeaways from their performances so far? Have some of the other teams been underrated apart from Gen. G?
Chronicler: I don't think DRX or DWG KIA were over or underrated. A lot of people had a lot of faith in DK, and in my opinion, they were one of the strongest teams in the tournament.
DRX showed a lot of highlight moments domestically, but at large, the team definitely had a ton of issues. Thus far, most of those issues seem fixed. If you add that to Kim "Zeka" Geon-woo finally finding a way to maintain the highs he had shown throughout Summer and the bot lane duo that are pushing the edge in terms of bot lane creativity, the team clearly is incomparable to how they played domestically.
Gen.G initially looked subpar in the beginning but has adjusted and is still my favorite to win the whole tournament. Honestly, T1 overperformed slightly, at least to my expectations. I knew the top half of the map was exceptional, but Lee "Gumayusi" Min-hyeong and Ryu "Keria" Min-seok have improved an absurd amount.
BLIX: Any thoughts on the perceived gap between the LPL and LCK teams coming into this Worlds, or even the gap between them and the rest of the regions? Aside from Rogue, this Worlds seems to be heavily dominated by them compared to previous editions.
Chronicler: I'd rather not get into it too much because I actively detest region versus region fanning of flames, but I am looking forward to the death of the 'LCK 1 team region' and 'Top 8 LPL could clear any other region' narratives!
Jokes aside, with the current state of LoL, regional strength is not as important as an individual team strength. The only two regions that currently produce teams good enough to win Worlds are LCK and LPL, and regardless of who ends up winning, I think it is clear both regions have a ton of depth and, depending on the meta, either can pull ahead.
If you had to give either region as a whole an edge, I'd argue that LCK teams are more stable while LPL teams peak higher, but any analysis that disregards the teams by themselves in favor of going into 'LPL vs. LCK' or 'East vs. West' mode does a disservice to the teams.
BLIX: Which player or team would you say has surprised you the most so far this Worlds?
Chronicler: DRX as a team. Zeka has shown an incredible amount of promise throughout this year in the LCK, but it was generally mirrored by him having somewhat invisible games. I don't think he generally gets dunked on in lane, but there are games where he has very little impact.
However, with him hitting his peaks, Hong "Pyosik" Chang-hyeon playing way better and more consistently than he has done in around two years, and Cho "BeryL" Geon-hee diving deep into his champion pool, the team as a whole seems like somewhat of a nightmare to deal with unless you can straight up outmuscle them. And that's a tall order. Though that's what I expect GenG to do, and that's also how they lost their second game against TES.
BLIX: Conversely, which one has disappointed you or, at least, not met your expectations?
Chronicler: TES is the obvious one. Memes aside, I didn't expect another LPL team to bomb this hard after last year's debacle. Even taking into account their inherent volatility, I think they heavily underperformed. LCS and LEC performed according to my expectations by and large, besides Rogue, who positively surprised me.
BLIX: Talk to me about the two teams that will make the finals and give me the score.
Chronicler: T1 and Gen.G, GenG win 3-2. My heart wants Deft to win Worlds and continue the Cinderella story, but I think it's very unlikely.
BLIX: Before we end, you've spoken about how the LCK was your dream job, and you've also featured in a few international tournaments. Tell us what your goals are now and what you hope to achieve going forward.
Chronicler: I have no further goals. I just want to talk about my LCK players for the rest of my career. My only goal for next year is to make people care as much about LCK Challengers League instead of just LCK, cause them nerds got hands.
BLIX: We've come to the end of the interview. Anything else you'd like to add or any shoutouts you'd like to give?
Chronicler: Please listen to "Run Away with Me" by Carly Rae Jepsen and "Bites On My Neck" by Yeule!
Thank you, Chronicler, and may you continue talking about your beloved LCK stories for a long time to come. The 2022 World Championship resumes today, and you can catch it on Riot Games' channel.