On the 4th of July (KST), SANDBOX Gaming collected their first win of the 2020 League of Legends Champions Korea Summer Split over Team Dynamics. It was a 2-1 victory and a great welcome present to head coach Jakob "YamatoCannon" Mebdi who had just got out of the 14-day quarantine. After the match, YamatoCannon joined the press room for an interview.
Please tell us how you feel to be in Korea.
I feel really good. It's good to be here. Quarantine was easy I very wanted to go to the guys, and they have great potential and it feels good that they showed it today.
Even during your quarantine, SANDBOX Gaming kept losing. What strategy did you prepare for today's match?
I think they were frustrated from their losses. In some games, especially against T1, I think I felt like we showed a level far from what we showed in practice. I think in practice, we made a lot of progress, even when I was in quarantine, and before that too. And in progression for today, it didn't change from the other weeks. It's all about the players understanding how they affect each other. How they can help each other and support each other.
After SANDBOX Gaming lost the second set, what did you tell the players?
My philosophy is that the staff takes care of the past and the future, and I just reminded the players that now it's a best of one. It doesn't matter. Game 2 is gone, it's not going to be something similar, we just put it behind us and we focus on the next game. The draft will be different so the game will be different.
I also reminded the players that they need to support each other. They need to be like family in-game. We saw it in the game. Corki-Lucian is a very difficult matchup but everyone was helping him and then Corki carries the game. That's a present back.
It must have been a difficult decision to go to a different country. What made you decide to come?
When I told my girlfriend about this idea, to come to Korea, she thought I was crazy. The thing is, I don't like it when it's easy. I like challenges and motivations. In the past, when things become one thing, and I don't feel like I go, this is where I do worst. In the case of going to Korea working with SANDBOX, I saw the potential and staff and talked to them. I knew they were capable of great things. That and the challenge together was all the motivation I needed.
After scrimming with LCK teams, did you notice anything different from the LEC?
It's sometimes hard to see the differences because the situation is unique, with the quarantine and coming in the middle of the season... Many things would be already crazy in the LEC too. But I think the amount of hours, effort the players put in, the relationship between the player and coach, I see very very big differences. The fact that games are in Bo3s makes a big difference in terms of preparation. Honestly, I like it way more. We are very busy. There aren't enough hours in a day, but that's a good problem, to be busy all the time.
How much do you expect for the summer split?
Anyone who's competing and is not aiming to earn everything is doing something fundamentally very wrong. So we are going to aim to win it all. I think anything else would be just... Why am I here, if I don't play to win?
Is there any LCK team or player that you've been interested in?
Always when I bootcamped in Korea and practiced against Korean teams, it was always the best experience. Korean players are concentrated and focused. In Europe, scrims are sometimes disastrous. Open mid. Five minutes. [Laughs] In terms of seeing players play, it's just the usual names. Chovy, ShowMaker, Kiin, Faker. The players that everyone follows in the west.
We heard you gave Dragonballs to the players.
I'm a big fan of symbolism and rituals. If you collect seven Dragonballs, Shenron shows up... I wanted to say, if they work together, they can become Shenron too and make dreams come true.
Was there a player who was different from your expectation?
I got to know the players through their voice through Discord, and I really tried to pay attention to their manners and their behaviors so I was able to easily picture how they were in my mind. When I arrived, everyone was so welcoming, SANDBOX treated me so well. Too well, almost. It's a very very good environment to work in.
The fans are excited for the match against Hanwha Life Esports.
I always say, "fear a man that has nothing to lose". It's when crazy things come out and we're not going to underestimate Hanwha Life at all. There are some very good players, and it takes one day or one sentence to make everything click. So we're going to prepare as much as possible.
Any last comments?
I'd like to thank you all for this opportunity, it's nice to sit here, and thanks to the translator, Jay, for the nice translations. Without Jay, this isn't possible. I'm learning small Korean words and phrases. I can tell all the fans that the SANDBOX organization and the players are doing everything to get better. Whatever the scoreboard says, we're going to do the absolute best.
A managing editor who can do more things than you think.