10 Great UK Counter-Strike Casters & Broadcast Talent

James Banks PGL 2024 photo by João Ferreira

Ad

In this special series of in-depth articles, Esports News UK, in collaboration with the betting partner GGBET UK, delves into the stories, moments, and personalities that have left a lasting impression on the past, present, and future of the UK esports scene.
While we might not be blessed enough to have 10+ top level UK players in Counter-Strike, we do have a plethora of world-class broadcast talent. In this article, Reece Barrett and Dom Sacco picks some of their favourite CS personalities – in no particular order – that guide viewers from behind the microphone and dominate the desks with their presence.

James Banks

If you want to bring the hype, there aren’t many that do it like James Banks does (pictured, top, photo by João Ferreira).

Do not let his colourful suits fool you, as they are not the only thing that will catch a crowd’s attention – Banks brings a booming voice to the stage that is certainly to get the audience interested.

James has been involved in the competitive gaming space for a long time now, across a myriad of roles from player to coach and more. He started to carve out his broadcast talent career with Gfinity G3 back in 2014.

He’s done it all – commentator, desk hosting, sideline reporting and stage hosting too.

He is a jack of all trades with a ridiculous work ethic, a real passion for Counter-Strike and esports, and a nice guy to boot.

Banks spoke to Vitality’s William ‘mezii’ Merriman in an interview for Esports News UK a couple of years ago here.

BDog

Next on our list is more of a breakthrough talent: Brandon ‘BDog’ Rawlings has already worked 15+ events in 2024 according to Liquipedia, with highlights coming at IEM Chengdu and the ESL Pro League Season 19.

Often paired with Australian commentator Lucy ‘LucyLuce’ Eastwood, BDog has done some exceptional work in the ESL Impact and Tradeit FE Masters scenes – proving that he can do the job no matter who he has on co-comms.

He was recently announced as one of the ESL Impact Season 5 Global Finals casters.

BDog has been putting in the work since 2022 and already has an incredible CV: expect him to really take off this year.

Hugo Byron

From a rising star to one who has cemented their position in recent years, Hugo Byron has a voice that is quickly becoming synonymous with Counter-Strike.

Often compared to Henry ‘HenryG’ Greer due to sounding similar, Hugo has stepped up and out of the shadows to make a real star for himself in recent years.

His efforts were rewarded at the PGL Copenhagen Major 2024, where he and long-time casting partner Harry ‘JustHarry’ Russell commentated the grand final.

A much deserved opportunity for one of Counter-Strike’s hardest workers and a name who will be operating at the top for years to come.

Hugo was also one of the standout actors in ESL’s Pro League skits – watch him win an Oskar 2024 award below.

JustHarry

JustHarry
Image: PGL/Liquipedia

Much like his casting partner, JustHarry is another name that has been active for years but had a meteoric rise in the past couple of years.

Casting that Copenhagen final will long be a highlight for Harry and it does not feel like it was that long ago that he was casting Insomnia 58 back on home soil.

Strong performances at domestic events like the ECS Season Two led Harry’s work to grow in popularity, and he has not looked back since – he has now casted five majors and paid his dues on the minor circuit too.

Not only has he done all of that, but Harry is also Level 10 on Faceit with a 2500+ elo, and reportedly “dunked on” Patrik ‘f0rest’ Lindberg during a playtest of the CS2 alpha. 

Freya Spiers

freya spiers desk

Freya Spiers is another UK talent with an unbreakable work ethic. After co-founding the esports content website topmid.gg, Freya entered a competition to win a trip to Faceit’s ECS Finals Season Four in Cancun.

She did not win the contest, but the bosses at Faceit quickly got in touch, and soon enough Freya was on-screen as a reporter for the ECS Finals Season Five.

Ever since then, Freya has not looked back, being a mainstay at events and even previously doing production work for Faceit.

An event without her is one that feels incomplete – see Freya tell her story into esports in this interview with Esports News UK here.

James Bardolph

“This is not FPL, this is a major!”

James Bardolph commentating on s1mple’s breathtaking double no-scope

James Bardolph has voiced some of Counter-Strike greatest moments, none more iconic than the Oleksandr “s1mple” Kostyljev double no-scope.

Bardolph is known for being the voice of Faceit, still acting as the Vice President for Faceit Media, and has gone far beyond his own company’s events, appearing at nine majors as a broadcast talent.

Perhaps you can even argue that Bardolph invented the outrageous suit in CS, wearing this monstrosity during an ELeague broadcast.

what happened to bardolph was used to seeing casting in v0 4b8rth1lcdm91
James Bardolph wearing a Christmas themed suit. Credit: ELeague

He has also been a supporter of UK esports too, having donated Faceit Points to the UK & Ireland Circuit Faceit profile, attended Esports News UK’s IEM Katowice 2024 viewing party, and worked at the London Major.

Bardolph is not so active as a caster these days. While he is yet to work an event in 2024 – last broadcasting the ESL Challenger in DreamHack Atlanta 2023 in December – he has a voice that will always be recognised, especially as he uses it to try to help upcoming talent break through now too.

Machine

Alex ‘Machine’ Richardson got his start in Call of Duty and has since become a jack of all trades in the esports world.

Machine jumped straight into a job with ESL after graduating university with a bachelor’s degree in media production, desk hosting for events in Counter-Strike, Dota 2, Rocket League and League of Legends.

In the modern day, he now commentates, where he is a mainstay at major events and brings the hype, alongside taking some phenomenal photos for his Instagram whenever he travels to events.

A big CS broadcast without Machine would just feel wrong to us now.

HenryG

henryg

As a former professional-turned-commentator, HenryG has lived through countless eras of Counter-Strike and features prominently in the history of UK CS

HenryG cut his teeth on CS:Source, made waves with Team ZBoard and represented the scene in the Championship Gaming Series with London Mint. 

But these days though, he has made his name as a stalwart in the commentary sector, featuring at 11 different Valve-sponsored majors as broadcast talent. 

Like James Banks, HenryG got his start casting the UK-held Gfinity G3 LAN in August 2014 and then partnered with Sadokist for years. 

He has since forged a full-time affiliation with Anders Blume and they have casted together since May 2023. 

Putting all commentary aside, HenryG can do a great Tyler Durden too…

Richard Lewis

Richard Lewis stream

Veteran journalist and esports personality Richard Lewis recently returned to his desk host habits for the PGL Copenhagen Major 2024 – his first LAN Counter-Strike event as talent since the PGL Stockholm Major 2021.

Lewis did not miss a beat, rolling back the years to put in a charismatic performance as we had seen him do before for ELeague in 2018.

While he may be well known for his written work, particularly breaking the story of the IBuyPower matchfixing scandal, the existence of CS2 and many others, Lewis should also been on your radar as a desk host.

He has been around the UK CS scene since its beginnings and while his broadcast appearances may be limited these days, he’ll always put in a shift when he’s involved.

And, he knows when he’s been Sacco’d. Richard, you’ve been Sacco’d again.

Frankie Ward

While Frankie isn’t working in CS right now, we felt she’s earnt a place in this article for her past work.

A multi-game talent, Frankie has lent her stage hosting and interviewing skills to many differing broadcasts, from League of Legends to Warzone, FC to Fortnite, Twitch Rivals and everything in-between, but we can’t forget her appearances on the CS stage, with her quips at IEM Sydney and more.

Frankie once spilled her interview secrets with Esports News UK editor Dom Sacco in an old discussion here, with her ‘charm and disarm’ technique making the toughest of esports pros at ease.

She’s had a storied background, working at the BBC and Twitch to becoming an esports broadcast talent, juggling parenthood with work, and speaking out and penning blogs about industry challenges and being a woman in esports.

“Last year I’d felt unable to truly pull apart from CS:GO – once you’ve begun working in Counter-Strike, it’s very hard to let go,” Frankie Ward admitted in this blog post on leaving Counter-Strike behind.

Notable Mentions

There are many more decent CS casters, hosts and more not mentioned in this article, but we couldn’t pack them all in. Here are some more we’d like to mention, starting with a few in particular who are no longer active on the Counter-Strike circuit.

After a brief professional run in Call of Duty 4 Promod, Lauren ‘Pansy’ Scott started shoutcasting some Wolfenstein: Enemy Territory, before moving on to Counter-Strike and eventually Valorant upon its release in 2020. 

Pansy has left a legacy having been the voice behind some iconic moments in the early days of Counter-Strike Global Offensive, first working with Dreamhack back in 2012 and lending her dulcet tones for four majors. 

The British-born caster also has experience casting World of Tanks and Battlefield among others, and is sorely missed in the CS scene.

And, love him or hate him, we have to mention Duncan ‘Thorin’ Shields, who defined Counter-Strike by being the outspoken opinion that anchored every desk back to reality.

As controversial as Thorin was – and still is – his legacy is undeniable, being a regular presence across all events and even sticking it to Shaquille O’Neal while working on ELeague.

Box office was putting it lightly.

Listing all of the events he was involved with would take the entire article, but Thorin was working the desk way before Global Offensive, and continues to create Counter-Strike and other esports content on his YouTube channel in similarly-vociferous podcasts with other talent, as well as on his social media and now more recently in articles again, on his Substack.

Whether you consider Thorin to be esports or not, he is another face that that has made a big impact in CS broadcasts.

DDK is another UK caster that has had a big impact in CS broadcasts over the years, that isn’t active anymore, but still deserves a mention.

And in terms of those who are more active, we have the likes of Jacky, OJ Borg, Veracity, Vince Hill, Ne0kai, ReTr00 and Hawka to name a few.

This list is ultimately subjective, and if you feel we’ve missed anyone, please drop us a comment on social media or in the comments below.

Stay tuned for more articles powered by GGBET UK soon. See more UK esports history content here:

Subscribe
Notify of
guest

0 Comments
Inline Feedbacks
View all comments