Written By: Steve Vegvari
Sean “Stax” Stackhouse will be coming to the Scotiabank Theatre in Toronto, Ontario on August 19th. He will be sitting in the caster chair during the WorldGaming Network’s Rocket League Canadian Challenge finals, providing excellent commentary and analysis during the event.
Sean has been a voice of the community for many years. He has been a participating caster for the Rocket League Championship Series. Recently, he was brought to Toronto for Northern Arena’s Rocket League Invitational and looks forward to returning to the city.
I was able to speak to Sean and get his insight on the future of Rocket League and his thoughts on the Canadian Challenge finalists.
Steve: Can you tell us a little about yourself?
Sean: I go by “Stax” online. My real name is Sean Stackhouse. I’m from Maine and I have been casting Rocket League for a couple of years. I work with the University of Maine. I’ve done a little bit of baseball and basketball stuff on the radio but for the better part of two years Rocket League has kind of taken over my life.
Steve: How did you discover Rocket League?
Sean: It was free for a month on PlayStation 4 and I was kind of on the fence about if I really wanted to take the time and download it. A couple friends talked me into it. I played a lot of the offline season mode, doing a bit of commentary to myself when I was playing. Once I learned all the cool stuff you could do in the game I thought to myself “This game is legit.” I’ve just been fascinated by the game since that time.
Steve: What was the first tournament you were a part of?
Sean: Some online tournaments mostly. I started casting around the summer of 2016. The first live event I got to do was the Dallas Live Open with Texas RL.
It may not have been the best player in the world but we had Ambition there. Premature Superhero Cops from the Rival Series was cleaning up at the event. Joro was also there finding his way into the RLCS. These small events were a nice little launching pad that a lot of teams and people were able to get to.
Steve: The community is often very vocal about your presence while behind the microphone. Did you have any inspiration or role models when you began casting?
Sean: When I started casting Rocket League, not really. At least none that I did not already have. I am a huge fan of Vin Scully, Jim Nance, Mike Emrick, Gary Thorne; who is more of a local guy who has found success on the national stage.
Those are guys who I have tried to take a little bit of what they do and use it on my end. Kevin Harlan is another announcer doing TNT and CBS who sounds fantastic. I figure if I can sound half as good as some of them then I am doing alright.
Steve: How has the Rocket League changed in the last three years?
Sean: It has been steadily improving over time. We went from a relatively small MLG event, where players were assigned their roles. You has a goalie, you had a midfielder. Now everybody is faster, the game is played on a much higher level. You have players doing things that were even possible a couple of years ago. I mean they just announced a million dollar prize pool for the RLCS today.
If you would have told me that were would be at this point two years ago, I don’t think I would have believed it. I think Psyonix has done a really good job especially with what they’ve got.
Steve: What can Rocket League do to continue to bring in more players?
Sean: I think that it will be very important for Psyonix to continue to build the foundation of the competitive scene. It is great that there are opportunities for guys at the top. Don’t forget there are second and third tier players that need opportunities and incentive to really put their lives on hold and go chase that dream.
Having a million dollar prize pool is great, a hundred thousand is going to the Rival Series, which is up from last year. There still needs to be something for players trying to get into the Rival Series. We need more live events at say TwitchCon, PAX, or DreamHack where the prize money is not always being taken by the top players.
The Canadian Challenge is a good example where there really are no RLCS players. A few are from the Rival Series but now a month from now there is going to be a lot of players looking to make a name for themselves.
Steve: What do the finalists of the Rocket League Canadian Challenge have to do to stand out?
Sean: They have to show that they can play as a team. A lot of these guys, especially Incognito have not all played together. NickyMac and GoRocksGo did in the Rival Series, while DudeWithTheNose was from Splice. Ralph and AXB of Croissant Bois were also in the RS.
There is a lot of mixing and matching of the players and for them to be successful they’ll have to put their egos aside and play as a team.
Steve: What will propel them to success?
Sean: Trust. Trust is the most important aspect of any great Rocket League team. There are many times you’ll see in the lower levels of Ranked players commit to something because they do not trust their teammates.
A player will stay back because they believe their players will miss the shot. All these players have to trust that if someone is coming for the ball, they are going to make contact. Their teammate is not going to completely whiff and miss the ball. They can not be selfish, they have to put the team first. The team that does that the best will be the clear favourite.
Steve: When you are in the caster seat, what are you always focusing on?
Sean: I try to always look at the edge of the screen, see if somebody is getting boost. Trying to see if someone is out of position, which is hard to see because the game moves so quickly. I try to see where all players are and if someone is up in the air. Did somebody pre-jump? Are the expecting a pass? Stuff like that.
You have to keep an eye on boost management. If someone is trying to go towards the ball, see how much boost they have whether it is 50-100. That will dictate their decisions.
Sometimes you won’t be able to look at the scoreboard, but you can look down and see the information of the player. If you can commit the shots each player has taken to memory you can almost calculate how many shots the team has overall.
The big thing for me is always looking at the edge and watching what the average spectator may not be watching.
Steve: Where can fans keep up with you online?
Sean: You can find me on Twitter and that is about it for social media. If you happen to be around the University of Maine for a game, I’ll probably be there.
For more Rocket League Canadian Challenge interviews, keep it locked to Inside WorldGaming Network.
About The Author: Steve Vegvari
Steve is based in Toronto, Ontario. His enthusiasm and adoration of the video game industry go back to the days of SNES. Find him on Twitter and join in on the escapades.