From Home to the Studio - Sternab

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We spoke to James “Sternab” Parkinson, the OGA Pit, CCS and T3H League caster, to discuss his career so far.

Sternab is a British R6 caster who has seen a huge growth in popularity and success in recent months as he went from casting just the amateur “E-Sports Association” (ESA) League to now cast over 20 Pro League teams in the "One Game Agency" (OGA) Pit tournament. We asked him what it was like to work with these various leagues as well as his thoughts on the ongoing OGA Pit tournament:

To start, tell us a bit about yourself.

I'm 21 years old originally from Manchester, England but currently living in Cambridge. I am just about to finish my degree in Electronic Engineering and I've had a long standing passion for video games going back to some of those original classics like Quake and Unreal Tournament.

How did you originally get into Siege as a player?

I was a big fan of the Rainbow Six: Vegas series and I still play it from time to time. I played the beta and realised that siege was a completely different type of game and instantly fell in love with it and I've been playing it on PC ever since.

Back in April, you began casting the T3H League alongside mzo, NeTfLeX and Demo. What was this like as a caster to cover?

Most of the casting for T3H was just me doing it solo, I had a bit of a rough time at the start as I had to run the production, camera and casting all by myself. I was thankful to cast alongside mzo a few times and he has honestly been my favourite person to cast with to date. The smaller teams showed an interesting and diverse play style, especially WiLD and Edenity who had some clever strategies for maps such as Oregon and Clubhouse that I had never seen before.

Shortly after that, you started casting the European League of CCS Season 3 alongside the ex-Pro League caster of Panky. What is it like casting with a Siege personality such as him?

Panky is a caster that I've looked up to for a long time, he's a great caster and also a great guy. I'll admit that I was a little nervous to start with but since then I think we've improved a lot as a duo. When you cast with someone else for the first time it's hard to really remove those awkward pauses from when one person stops talking and the other picks it up again. I hope as we cast more together that our ability to work together will only further improve.

Most people, however, will know you from the casting of the OGA Pit series which involves 22 Pro League teams. What differences would you say there is casting these higher tier teams compared to T3H or CCS teams?

The Pro League teams here early on didn't particularly show an interest in revealing any advanced strategies which is very understanding. The big difference I would say between these teams is that CCS and T3H teams while they know the basics of competitive often make small but devastating mistakes and some of them hesitate on their defence and offence strategy. While pro teams still make mistakes they have a much better idea of what exactly they want to do in a round and are very quick to set up.

We have seen a number of surprise team showings in the OGA Pit series so far, especially in the Latin America League, which teams have you been the most surprised with so far?

I'm very surprised so far at how dominant paiN gaming have been so far. They've had some amazing clutch moments especially from Yoona and gCR. The other big upsets have been that FaZe, NiP and Liquid have all been knocked out very early on which while disappointing to see I doubt those teams will be particularly stunned by those defeats given that they will also be attending various other events throughout the next few months.

The OGA Pit LATAM Bracket via Liquipedia with the top-seeded team’s defeats highlighted.

In order to cast the OGA tournament you and your co-caster, med1czs, have been living in Croatia for the last week. How have you been finding this change and do you think this improves the casting quality?

There have been a lot fewer pauses and it's allowed us to talk a lot before the match about the strategies of teams and what we expect. Just being next to your co-caster instantly gives you that extra synergy and you eventually pick up on each other's body language to use as prompts for when I want to start speaking or where med1cz wants to pass something over to me. It allows you to have a better conversation and put a lot more emotion into it.

Other than R6 have you cast any other games?

I tried to cast Counter Strike: Global Offensive and Overwatch but my lack of game knowledge and the much quicker pace of the games often left me dumbfounded. I would eventually like to learn other games, know the callouts and the advanced strategies but at the moment Rainbow is my main focus.

Do you have any tips for anyone aiming to become an R6 caster?

It's not for everyone, not everyone has the voice or the ability to speak in clear sentences that many professional casters do. If you want to get into it there are a massive range of community leagues to get involved in and just start casting. You have to have a passion for it and see it as a hobby, you will find though that as you continue casting and more people recognise your name more opportunities will become available to you.

Finally, going into the future is there any extra projects we can expect?

There is a lot of exciting things planned for later this year which I can't wait to announce to everyone. Across all of the leagues, I have worked for Ubisoft has been amazingly supportive and everyone is keen to be further involved with them. Hopefully, we will have more seasons of OGA R6 Pit, CCS and T3H.

Sternab will next be casting tonight at 5PM CEST when the OGA Pit European tournament restarts with PENTA Sports vs Mock-it Esports which you can watch on the ogarainbow6pit Twitch channel.