TIMMO: “When I stopped competing it felt like something was missing in my life”

We have seen many commentators start and progress through EPIC.LAN. Names like Joshua “Dweg” Nathan, Jamie “TheEternalJay” Martin, and Brandon “BDog” Rawlings spring to mind – now we have a new rising duo that is looking to emulate their predecessors’ success.

Tim ‘TIMMO’ Musters and Harry “index” Bayliss shape up to cast their first stage at the EPIC.LAN 41 grandfinals. UKCSGO sat down with the casting duo beforehand to talk about why they got into commentating, and what it is like going from winning and competing at EPIC.LANs to now commenting, and index‘s other venues he works on.

This is your third time as a commentator at the event, how has the event been, and were there any teams you had an eye on coming into this tournament?

TIMMO: It has been going pretty decent

Index: I am enjoying it. We have done the last three EPIC.LANs on the bounce everyone is super friendly and the staff are a pleasure to work with. It usually runs very smoothly, we know what is going on… [Laughs] Usually.

EPIC.LAN is a pretty cool opportunity for casters of your stature. How important is EPIC.LAN been for you guys as a duo.

Index: For me and I know Tim feels the same way. It is massive, being in the same room and seeing each other while casting makes a world of difference. I feel more energized on LAN.

TIMMO: It is really good for chemistry to physically bounce off each other. There will be times when one of us wants to say something but the other is in the middle of a rant and we can quickly point out something on the screen.

Talk me through why you guys started commenting and how this duo came about.

Index: I started commenting years ago but for a laugh. I would just do it for the org I was playing under for the time. I was on an academy team for an org that had two open teams lol. But then I wanted to focus on playing, so I spent four or five years competing but ran out of steam with that and decided to take a break. I then got linked to a tweet that Tim wanted to get into casting.

TIMMO: For me, it was around a year ago after I had stopped competing. I love Counter-Strike, it is a huge part of my life and when I stopped competing it felt like something was missing in my life. I was trying to find a way to get CS back in my life in a way that is also productive.

Around the same time, ESL Prem was doing their community broadcasts so I just put up a tweet asking if anyone wanted to cast with me. I knew that I had a decent mind for the game and I wanted to exercise and actually showcase that. Our friend woodz connected us after I put the tweet out.

Index: I had played a few pugs with Tim and I had a really long conversation with him after I got out of the team that I spent most of my playing time with. I had a while where I was looking to go into IGLing. I had a long chat with Tim about the game and his approach as he was calling briefly as I knew he had a great mind for the game.

So how does this duo work if you both come from positions of knowledge, how do you balance that on broadcast and bring more PBP?

TIMMO: At the start, I was not confident in my PBP whatsoever, I knew the game but I was not confident being on camera. We started with me as color and Harry on PBP. Neither of us wants to be pigeonholed, however, so now when Harry has analysis I give him room to give color, and that goes both ways. Getting to a stage where we can do hybrid and having that chemistry to understand when the other person wants to talk.

We had a conversation about it early on that we would stay in strict roles as we got used to each other, or responsibilities. But as we get more familiar with each other we can blend them more.


Index: We had a conversation about it early on that we would stay in strict roles as we got used to each other, or responsibilities. But as we get more familiar with each other we can blend them more. My favorite commentator duo at the minute is Anders and HenryG. HenryG has a great mind for the game but is also a strong PBP. Similar to Anders who has a fantastic mind. For me, it keeps it interesting.

TIMMO: You don’t want to be that PBP guy that doesn’t know anything about the game, but at the same time if you just do the analysis you don’t want to be that dry guy that just does analysis.

You mentioned HenryG and Anders. Are there any other casters you look up to and try to emulate?

TIMMO: For me, Hugo and Harry were the first ones because I knew them personally long before I knew anyone in the UK scene. I went to the Faceit major with them and that is how me and Harry first met.

Index: We hadn’t spoken before but through a mutual friend Harry had helped me price way back some small online league that wanted me to cast 10 BO1s in a row. It was paid and I got 40 euros, I thought I had made it. So I messaged Harry how to price it and I had no idea how much people were charging. When I got to the Faceit major none of my mates had arrived so I messaged Harry to see if he wanted to watch some games. Met Hugo and met Tim.

I would say the other casters I looked up to are actually yourself and Brandon [BDog].


TIMMO: I would say the other casters I looked up to are actually yourself and Brandon [BDog]. I was friends with you and Brandon before I was competing, and so after my career when I saw you guys make your way into commentary it made me think ‘They don’t know as much about the game as I do, but they clearly made their way through.’ I would argue that you guys are more successful in esports than I was competing, so I thought ‘If they can do it, so can I’.

Picking up your playing career Tim, you won EPIC.LAN 34 with Coalesce, and have won an international tournament in Malta. How is it going from competing to commentating? Do you miss it sometimes?

TIMMO: I miss competing every day. The number of times I am breaking down games or watching games for advanced-level teams I sit there and think ‘These are a bunch of mistakes that I can clearly point out, I can play better than this.’ At the same time, there are reasons I left competing due to my schedule and not being able to balance playing in my life.

I miss competing every day.


Index: The number of times we both have looked at each other and just gone ‘Should we do it again?’ It is so tempting. The reason why I left is that I had a full-time job and would play CS for the same amount of hours as my full-time job, thus, I had no social life. I was already getting stressed and burnout with my job and that bled into CS. One had to go and I quite like money so I picked the job.

TIMMO: For me, it is just scratching an itch, I love Counter-Strike and that is probably why I started casting in the first place. I love the game so much, but you have to have an obsession with the game to compete at a high level. That never goes too.

Index: Snodz is back playing, so maybe one day.

How is it at an EPIC.LAN casting and not competing?

TIMMO: At the back of my mind I am always thinking, I remember the days of me at EPIC pre covid. I was just a lonely inters player making my way through on hypnotic with cazanap. After Covid, I came back with Coalesce and won the first EPIC. You have energy when you are winning that nothing compares to, I wish I could go back but obviously, I cannot complain about what I am doing right now.

You have energy when you are winning that nothing compares to, I wish I could go back but obviously.


Index: I have been able to get to know a lot more players since starting casting. When you are on camera people tend to recognise you more naturally. But in the last few years, I have done a lot of personal growth. When playing I was a very anxious and socially awkward person. I wouldn’t have dreamed of going up to half the people at LAN. But now I am happy to go talk to people and have a chat.

Focusing on you Index, you go down some different avenues with bsite and stratbox, talk to me about what are they, what is the idea behind them and what are you trying to build with them.

Index: Stratbox comes from an idea I had years ago. I built an initial version that never went public. It is a team manager and has a custom strat editor, it presents all the roles in a really nice format that you can have in your in-game overlay. At the time when I was playing google docs and spreadsheets sucked so I wanted to build something easier. There are a few teams at the event that use it which is great. I really enjoy chatting to them about it.

The Danish, Swedish, and French scenes all have these different live HLTV score bots. We don’t have anything like that, so that is my goal. We have the live score bot, the live stats are a work in progress but I can plug demos in after and get accurate stats. A lot of the UK tournaments don’t make it to HLTV, you have playoffs at best. At some point the goal is, we plug in an EPIC group stage and you can see everything. We are a little far off and I suppose while this is going I would like to bring contributors to maintain the data side of it. So if anyone is interested in that they can DM me on Twitter. It is a glamorous job with absolutely no compensation.

I have caster box which is in beta which is a prep tool, we use that religiously.

TIMMO: Caster box is a really cool tool that Harry made which is basically a one-stop shop for any notes. When we start doing tier-3 games that are not on HLTV. You have to find some way to collect all the data to streamline our notes and preparation before games. At the time it could collect ESEA records and you can get map pools from the team.

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