Countries around the world are slowly lifting their COVID restrictions. For Korea, border restrictions were first imposed in March 2020, and after 25 months, those restrictions were lifted. This meant that travelers flying into Korea no longer had to quarantine upon arrival.
With these border restrictions no longer in place, League of Legends streamers, bootcampers, and pro players are starting to fly into Korea. The common denominator? Korean solo queue. It’s been widely regarded that the quality of the player base in the Korean server is a lot higher than anywhere else in the world, because not only are there pros from the LCK & LPL that practice on it every day, the overall level of the player base is simply higher.
Recently, I conducted an interview with astreamer that traveled from Sweden, Thebausffs [Baus]. Baus traveled with a close friend, who is a well known streamer in the scene as well. We at Inven also had a chance to catch up with YamatosDeath to talk about his experiences on the Korean server, his relationship with Baus, and most importantly, about himself.
How have you been enjoying your time in Korea?
It’s been really fun so far. Coming here with Simon [Thebausffs - Ed.] — it's the first time I spent so much time away from my home (one month for me is pretty long). Obviously, there's been ups and downs solo queue-wise, but still overall it's pretty good. And I would definitely come again later in the year or something.
Before we get into the ups-and-downs of the solo queue, you told me that your account got banned. What happened? Do you want to explain to our readers?
The main problem is it's not really my ID — I am not a Riot partner or a League partner, so I had to create an account through a friend. I think that was the main problem — because if a Rioter manually sees it and on my steam as well, they can just look that I'm obviously not a League partner. But overall, yeah...I'm just tilting a lot as well. So maybe that's why, in the first place it was a problem.
Looking at your experience on the Korean server: what are some of the aspects you liked and disliked?
I made a TwItlonger about this actually. The stuff that I like is that it's far more fast-paced than EU West for sure — especially if you play assassins like me. It's more fun in the long run. However, the macro is really bad compared to EUW. It's either, "Oh, let's make a Baron play or play around Dragons", or they just run five mid when they have like two items. But I think it's still more fun than EUW, for sure. Streaming-wise as well.
When Thebausffs and I talked, he discussed how people on EUW are more defensive. Did you have the same experience in that regard?
Yeah, for sure. I didn't really see any scaling champions, just early-game champions most of the time. Renekton is often picked in Korea — I’d say almost every game.
One of the biggest problems with the Korean server (potentially with others as well) are the inters. There are a lot of target inters — especially against the foreign bootcampers that come.
Yeah, that's an issue I think is one of the reasons I got banned in the first place — because there was a group of three people that I got matched with like four times in a row. And then every game they posted my social media, and made fun of me because I'm a foreigner. And also I'm pretty sure that they ticketed me as well. That's also probably why I got banned.
Do you think those target inters were gating your climb on the Korean ladder?
I wouldn't say it's the main reason. The main reason is still me. But, obviously, it's really tilting if you get those people in a row and you can't really do anything against it. Dodging has also been nerfed, so you can't really dodge them anymore. If you dodge once, then it's really bad to dodge again, especially when you're a streamer because you have to wait such a long time. So there's not really a lot you can do against that, you just have to go through it.
Tier-wise, have you hit your goal?
Yes. I wanted to get Grandmaster — that was the goal. I didn't want to set it too high. But I think that I could have gotten low Challenger, for sure. Especially with Katarina being so strong — I should have just played more Katarina in solo queue. I’m not disappointed where I finished on the ladder, but I’m not satisfied either. I'm in the middle right now.
You're known for your mastery over assassin champions. A lot of assassins (apart from LeBlanc) don't really work in pro play, but they seem to thrive really well in solo queue. Why do you think that is?
These champions thrive in chaos, and solo queue is all about chaos — there's not really a lot of controlled play. The more controlled and competitive the game gets, the weaker those champions get. Because, first of all, their laning phase is really bad compared to control mages. You can't really CS that well, and the higher you go, CSing becomes ever more valuable. If you fall behind once, it's basically over for your champions. Vice-versa: if you actually get a kill, then it's really easy to snowball. They’re feast or famine.
We've interacted quite a bit IRL since you've been here. In person, you're like the gentlest guy in the world! But when you're on stream — whether because of people target inting you or because your play maybe goes bad — your mentality just kind of seems to explode.
That's the main problem with myself. I wouldn't say it's my ego, but it's just that I get really emotional. I really care about League because I've essentially played it for the majority of my life. If I really care about something, I get really emotional. And if it doesn't work out for me, it's really hard to control my emotions.
But that only happens in League. That's the funny part. People think I'm also like that in real life, but I'm basically the opposite. The only way I actually get mad or angry or whatever is seen on stream, and it's solely because of League of Legends.
The viewers seem to love it, though. I thought it was maybe even a stream persona.
I mean, yeah, maybe I developed something like that, where I'm just getting more mad for the stream. Because, obviously, often I wouldn't just scream to myself, right? So it's just the stream as well, but still, if I could choose it, then I would not get as angry as I usually get while playing.
Are there any steps that you're taking to improve your in-game mentality?
Well I think I did actually quite improve my mentality wise. Because back in the day, I was way worse. For example, I don't even type a lot anymore. Maybe it doesn't look like it, but back in the day, I literally typed every game. Nowadays if it's really bad I still type a bit, but that's maybe one game out of twenty where I actually get typing mad.
You also said drinking soju helps with playing!
It's a funny thing. I actually watched a movie on the plane here which said that there were some scientists that said that a certain threshold of alcohol in your bloodstream makes just a better person overall, and makes you focus better. Not a lot, just a little. Maybe it's an illusion, but I actually think that if I'm half a bottle of soju in — I will just relax. I’d even say I can focus a bit better as well. Maybe it just suppresses my emotions so I can actually focus on real things.
Obviously, that's pretty bad for the long-term.
Yeah, obviously. [laughs]
Thebausffs has claimed you guys have good synergy with one another — in a yin-and-yang kind of way. Have there been any growing pains in playing together? What are some of the biggest challenges playing with one another?
I don't know how we got so close. It was so weird. We often met in solo queue, and I was literally the opposite of Simon. Maybe that's why — the more opposite you are with someone, the stronger a bond with that person becomes. That's how our friendship became stronger. I don't have to force myself to be someone else when I’m with Simon. I can be myself.
What were the biggest surprises of your trip to Korea?
Things here are so much better. For myself, I come from Germany, so I expect a lot in terms of quality of life, but stuff here is so convenient. There's so much convenient stuff that in Germany you don't think about. Just small convenient things like even ordering food — it seems like Korea is the way of the future compared to European countries, even though it shouldn't be like that. Even though Europe should be in the future. But like, I'm just surprised it's actually that well-developed as well.
Nemesis previously stated that playing on the Korean server for long-term can really affect your mentality. Would you do it?
I could see that. For myself — I'm kind of a homesick person. If that wasn't the case — if I actually got a home here with family and whatever — I could see myself staying here for a bit longer, like three months.
If you came back, how would you do things differently? I guess both in your climb and the real-life aspects.
First, I'd try to get a Riot account this time so I don't have any risks. And definitely play no typing in-game. I’d also play more champions like control mages. The problem with my champion pool is it's also really mentally draining. If you lose with Viktor or Veigar, it's not as bad as when you play Qiyana or Katarina. Maybe that's just me, but it's like ten times worse.
I wouldn't say control mages are easier to play, but assassins are just double-edged swords: if you play well for ten minutes and make one single mistake, it actually f*cks you way harder than making a mistake on Viktor. That alone is really mentally draining, especially when you're such a hungry and emotional player like me. On champions like Veigar and Viktor too, it feels like you get way less punished for not doing anything except farming.
Tell me about your experiences with the LCK pros in solo queue. What’s your opinion? Do you think they’re better than those that play on the EUW server?
No, I think they just don't care about solo queue that much. I played a couple of games with TheShy — like ten games. He was either completely 1v9ing in a game, or he was completely inting. It’s the same on EUW — they don't really care that much about solo queue because their focus is on pro play. I think that’s why those that only play solo queue sometimes think that they're inters: In reality, the pros just don't care that much about solo queue.
Do they treat it more like a training ground where they get to experiment a lot of stuff?
Yeah, it's just play to play so they don't get rusty or whatever.
Are there any players on the KR server that impressed you?
I played against T1's top laner Zeus, as well as FPX's mid laner Gori. I did win against Gori, but I don't think he was trying that hard. I also played with the DRX jungler Pyosik — he went like zero deaths in forty minutes on Zac and he was always engaging at every chance he got. You wouldn't see that on EUW.
But I wouldn't say that they're like insane GOAT humans compared to EU pro players. There's not an insane difference. But you can definitely see, at least mechanically, they're better for sure.
How did the trip affect your branding as a streamer? Obviously, synergy with Thebausffs helped.
Thanks to Simon, there have been a lot of new people to my streams. Obviously, my problem is as a streamer — people have to get used to me. It's like a scaling thing: the longer you watch me, the better it gets. That's what people at least say. And I think if you're actually a new viewer and come to my stream, you're like, "What the f*ck is that? How does that guy have viewers?
But the more often you come, the better it gets. And I think that's the same in Korea. There's a lot of new people coming to my stream, and at first they're weirded out, but it gets better the more often they watch. I also wanted to come to Korea for a long time, so it was definitely a nice experience. I really had a lot of fun in some Korea streams, for sure.
What does the future of YamatosDeath look like?
Prison. [laughs] No, I'll definitely try to become less toxic. I think I'm already less toxic than before — if you knew me before, it was really bad. My ego is also a huge problem. What I like about Simon is that his ego is not noticeable compared to other streamers. Even with a lot of viewers, Simon doesn’t have an ego. It's a trait that I strive to gain. In terms of in-game, I really want to carry games, and if I don't carry games, I get really mad about myself. This side shows on stream, and I want to improve that part about me.
Have you ever considered expanding to other formats of streaming, such as IRL streaming?
I did think about it, but I’m someone that gets bored pretty easily. If there's not really a competitive aspect about what I’m doing, then I really get bored easily. That's why I don't really play a lot of games apart from League recently, because I feel like League is the only competitive game I actually see worth pursuing. If there was a good game right now that would be fun and competitive, maybe I could play it next to League. But right now, I don't see it.
League does have very great viewership — both in esports and general streaming.
That's the problem with being a League streamer: if you're a League streamer, these "League Frogs" (that's what I call them) don't really want to watch anything else.
Why do you call them frogs?
It's just a thing. I don't know...where did it comes from? I also call new viewers ‘new frogs’
To those new frogs: what's the one thing that will get them permabanned in your chat?
There's always a thing that pops up if you're a new viewer. The first thing you type, it's like "First message". And if it's really bad, like something that is cringe or insulting me (even if it's in a funny way and not really serious), I really don't like that. That's like the one thing that actually gets you permabanned. Back in the day, asking stupid questions would get you insta-permabanned. Nowadays, I don't even do that anymore. It's just that if it's your first time here and you decide to insult me even though you don't know me — that's what I really hate.
I think you're one of the few League streamers that could swap games and keep your viewer count.
Yeah, for sure. I’d say my community cares more about me than League. That's a thing not a lot of streamers have, especially League streamers. So if I actually play another game, I would still have a close viewer count to when I play League. In the end though, it’s about what I want to play.
This is a fanmade video called "Yamato's Descent into Madness" [by Canca Clippa69 on Youtube]
I watched a video called "Yamato's Descent Into Madness" on Youtube. How do you react to stuff like that?
I have to laugh about it — obviously if I'm on stream. But if I watch it after the stream, and I'm actually reflecting about how I felt, it's kind of cringe for me. But as long as it's nothing that bad, it's whatever. If people find it funny, then it's funny.
Some people cringe really hard at content like that.
That's like what I said before — it's new frogs. You have to kind of know who I am to understand that it's comedic. It's not really that serious. That's what people think: that I'm really serious and angry about everything. But in the back of my head, I know that I’m just trying to entertain. It's a stream thing. It's why a lot of people hate me as well. They don't really know me — that I'm not like that in real life. I just do it for the stream.
To close our interview: what do you want to say to the "new frogs" that come to watch your stream?
Just be patient with me, and I implore you to tune in more than once. The more you watch me, the better it gets. I'm trying to improve myself as well: be more friendly towards new people that come to my stream. A lot of other streamers I'm friends with also complain that I'm really not new frog friendly. That's why there hasn't been a lot of growth. Obviously, I grew thanks to Simon as well, but still. If I was more friendly with new viewers, it would definitely help.
Are there any shoutouts as well?
My boy Simon.
Striving for perfection to achieve excellence in esports
I write. I rap. I run. That’s pretty much it.