Devin “HellbirD” Rigotti is best known in the local esports scene for his time as a player and caster for Dota 2, but was recently announced as the panel host for the upcoming Mega8 Autumn Cup CS:GO tournament. We caught up with him to find out what brought about this change of pixelated scenery.
While HellbirD might be taking his first stab at a spot behind the desk at a CS:GO event, it’s not his first encounter with Mega8. He was both panel host and caster for the inaugural Dota 2 tournament when they launched in 2016 and, while the event did have some technical glitches, the quality of the casting makes it no surprise he was included for the follow up CS:GO tournament.
“I worked with the Mega8 team for their first Dota 2 competition in November last year, they seemed keen to work with me again and I was also looking forward to an opportunity to work with them.”
Some may be surprised to see him included because of his lack of specific CS:GO experience, some CS:GO fans who have never seen or heard of him might even ask themselves, ‘Why is Hagrid casting this local CS:GO event?’. But the role of the panel host is more guiding hand than expert know-how.
Paul “ReDeYe” Chaloner openly admitted that he had very little knowledge of the game prior to his first ever Dota 2 event and he’s known as one of the best panel hosts out there. Plus, it’s not like HellbirD is going in blind as a bat.
“I’ve actually been interested in doing CS:GO for some time, last year I attended the ECL event and was used as a panel guest and did some mock casting for the stream setups, it wasn’t a smart time to change titles with so many Dota 2 events just around the corner, but it was definitely the moment I thought, ‘Hey, why not?’
I personally find the transition between titles quite easy, I’ve done a number of different titles already and would say that I am experienced enough to understand that different expectations need to be embraced when you do want to make a move.”
However, before every shoutcaster out there starts signing up for every esports title under the sun, well under a roof, there is a chance it can all go 2GD-shaped if you aren’t 100% certain of yourself and your knowledge of the extra titles.
“The truth is though, I don’t think it’s for everyone. You really want to feel completely confident in one title before you even consider taking on a second or third and sometimes it can do more harm than good.
I do recommend that experienced shoutcasters consider it, a successful move definitely helps your career, but know that it takes a lot of hard work and has a real risk attached to it. It can go very wrong.
If you get torn apart by a community for failing to deliver to their expectations, it’s going to have the opposite effect, because your current supporters may end up second guessing you and you could potentially have a group of very unhappy viewers reducing your brand value in front of the same organisers you are trying to build a better rapport with.
Let’s just make sure everyone is on the same page here, this is new to me. I’ve done my homework, I play regularly, watch regularly and my goal is to improve day after day until I can give the same sort of quality I do for Dota 2, but right now, the finer details and nuances of the game still need a lot of hours from my side.
Additionally, this is my first time as a panel host, I’ve worked on many panels before and I know the drill, but there’s definitely an additional hurdle I need to get over there.
With all the ‘excuses’ out of the way, I have a phenomenal team beside me and I intend to walk out of this event with a performance that does justice to both Mega8 and those individuals alongside me on the mic. And in all honesty, I have very high standards I set for myself too.”
With all the ifs, buts and how’s about HellbirD out the way, it’s probably time to give you some information about the event so you can see how he gets on at his first CS:GO tournament.
“The inaugural MTN Mega8 Autumn Cup will be held from the 31st of March to the 2nd of April, with the qualifiers already completed over the weekend of 17 March.
Although the players will be playing online, it’s got a full studio behind it for production and I am hoping it’ll be another fine step in showing what esports in South Africa can be like. The prize pool is R50 000, not shabby for 2 weekends work in South Africa.”
If you missed those qualifiers last weekend, the eight teams that made it to the main event are Bravado Gaming, Energy eSports (GLHF: Don’t hate us for writing eSports ReDeYe, it’s their name.), White Rabbit Gaming, Exdee Gaming, Damage Control, Aperture Gaming, Flipsid3 Tactics South Africa and Veneration E-Sports (GLHF: Again, it’s out of our hands.) so all the big guns will be there.
For the Dota fans that may be concerned HellbirD is considering a permanent career shift over to CS:GO, fear not. He is just adding another arrow to his quiver and remains dedicated to even the more quirky parts of his Dota casting career.
“I am what I have always been, an esports man. You are still going to find me casting Dota 2 events, hopefully some more fighting genre events as well. And, to be frank, you will still find me casting Dota 2 online events with unknown teams or crazy sides from Pakistan.
At times I can be a little arrogant about what I can do, but I’ll never be too arrogant to turn my back on the people who support me or just want to hear their nicknames screamed over a mic once and awhile.”
Who doesn’t love hearing their nickname screamed over a mic? Much better than having your actual name screamed at you by your mother, while she tries to get you to pause an online game. You can’t, jees ma.
After the announcement of Mettlestate’s R1million event and HellbirD trying his hand at casting another esport, it’s clear 2017 promises to be an unpredictable and exciting year. Who knows, Doni might even say something positive about the local Dota 2 scene? Anything is possible.