Podcast video topics and time stamps:
4:21 Semmler on couch casting Malmö with Thorin, Vuggo and natu
12:33 On the meta moving from headshots to a more structured style
14:30 After DreamHack Masters, should FaZe Clan fans be worried?
23:37 OpTiC's all-European lineup, and the problem with NA CS:GO
32:17 Why PUBG is so popular, especially with CS players
51:30 Overwatch, and how a failed OWL could hurt esports
1:01:18 On pros complaining on social media
1:09:40 Semmler reveals that he and Anders are on a hiatus as a duo
With CS:GO getting back into high gear after a short post-Major break, theScore esports Podcast welcomed Auguste "Semmler" Massonnat back to the show to discuss FaZe Clan's roster changes, the growth of PLAYERUNKNOWN's Battlegrounds and his break from casting with longtime partner Anders Blume.
Following FaZe Clan's disappointing performance at PGL Major Kraków 2017, where they tied for last place, the team spent the following weeks rebuilding their roster, adding Ladislav "GuardiaN" Kovács from Natus Vincere and Olof "olofmeister" Kajbjer from Fnatic. With their new star power, the team placed 9th-12th at DreamHack Masters Malmö 2017 and failed to make it out of the groups stage.
For Semmler, FaZe's roster decisions are worrisome in that the substantial roster changes coupled with their poor Major performance signals that the problem may not lie in the team's gameplay, but in the players themselves.
"I think we should be worried a little bit," Semmler said. "I don't think that it was justified getting rid of [Fabien "kioShiMa" Fiey] just for the sake of olofmeister. I think that was kind of a poor... kioShiMa was doing everything he needed.
"Really, to me, it feels like there must have been something...that spurred this on," he continued. "Because when you think about it... karrigan can try and play like a defensive, support kind of anchor but kioShiMa was doing his job. They had a good machine going there with FaZe and to completely self-destruct like that, going 0-3 in the groups at the Major, it feels like it wasn't to do with the game or the strats. It felt like it was to do with the players and there must have been some bullshit going on there. I don't know if changing the players is going to solve everything or not for this team, but personally, from a game perspective, getting rid of kioShiMa is an interesting decision."
Though Semmler may be getting back into the swing of things with CS:GO, it is not the only game he has his eyes on. PUBG has quickly become one of the most popular PC games in the world, and recently held their first esports tournament at Gamescom. And while the competitive scene still has room to grow, Semmler thinks that PUBG has a lot of potential to be the next big thing.
"I think that PUBG is where CS was in 2013," Semmler said. "It's much more complicated, obviously, then hosting a CS tournament and I don't even know if the future of PUBG is going to be LAN, but there's definitely a future for online. It's all just going to come down to even just rudimentary tools of easily observing multiple perspectives in a match. You should be able to bounce around to whoever you want to see and if you pull up the map you should be able to see everybody on the map. Even just rudimentary tools, if they can implement that, why the f**k not? Why wouldn't you run online tournaments every weekend and start doing things?"
More importantly for Semmler, PUBG is not following the same path that many other aspiring esports have taken, considering that it wasn't made with the intention of becoming an esport off the bat.
"There is an element of skill and learning there, and there is obviously a massive community," he said. "And this is what I've always said about esports. People say that they want to create an esports game. I say, do you have a community? 'Well no, because we're creating esports.' No, no, no, [that's] not how it works. You have to have a community first, and that community will care about the game to watch the elite few. Maybe not all of the community right, because you've got a game like League of Legends who have a fraction of the player base who actually watch the LCS. But you have a community first and then there will be the hardcore element of people wanting to see the best play that game. And that's how that actually happens. So PUBG right now? They are in the best possible situation."
Towards the end of the podcast, Semmler revealed to theScore esports that he and longtime casting partner Anders Blume are taking a break from commentating together. As he puts it, Semmler wanted to work on a variety of different projects apart from casting, which he has dedicated much of the last four years towards.
"Really, it's interesting, because I could just get down and be like, 'Oh my God, it's all over,' all that sort of shit," Semmler said. "But really what I'm thinking about is like, this is an opportunity to get back into what I used to do, which is a variety of things, not just casting. Because casting... has just absorbed everything for like four years now," he said. "It's just casting. Back when I started, it was StarCraft II and it was hosting, it was interviews, it was a variety of different things that kind of challenged me."
Though the duo may not be casting with each other for the time being, Semmler is not closing the door on returning to commentate alongside Anders in the future. For now, he is looking forward to doing what he wants in the months ahead.
"But that being said, who knows what the future holds?" he said. "I haven't closed any doors and I hold nothing personal. I think if we want to get back together again, we get back together again. If we don't, we don't. But right now the way that I'm approaching it is that I'm a free agent and I get to do what I want."
Preston Dozsa is a news editor for theScore esports. You can follow him on Twitter.