This year, we've met him in Spring and we've met him again right before the Worlds. Although it was a rather frustrating result, Jakob "YamatoCannon" Mebdi and his Vitality crew indeed fulfilled their goal for the 2018 Worlds which was displaying their own playstyle in confidence.
As he seemed ever so confident in our previous interviews, Vitality displayed one of the most aggressive early-game performance throughout the Groups round 2. As a result, they defeated the defending Worlds champions, Gen.G again and also defeated RNG.
Although their journey for this Worlds came to an end, YamatoCannon gladly accepted our interview request. Like always, he filled the room with passion and confidence.
The following is the interview with Vitality head coach, Jakob "YamatoCannon" Mebdi.
What are your overall thought on the 2018 Worlds?
It’s been crazy; I barely know what happened in the other groups. What happened today… Well, history was made. It was a day that would be remembered for long. This was the first Worlds where the western teams started to not copy the better regions. I feel every EU team had the right entity. If you only chase Korea and China, you’re going to be a downgrade version of them. My role for the entire season was to keep my boys confident. When I think of what happened today, it was a massive roller coaster.
Vitality managed to succeed on bringing in their aggressive, early-game focused playstyle in this Worlds. How did you do this?
We’ve never tried to get cheap wins throughout the LCS. There was the gold funnel meta which I knew would disappear. Teams started to focus on their late games which we didn’t want to do. We always wanted to put ourselves in a position where we have the gun.
If you’re using an early-game composition, it’s like having a gun with a single bullet. When you are in charge, you get to shoot first. If you miss, you’re out of bullets which means you can only fight using an empty gun. In this case, you have to hope the enemies would shoot themselves by making mistakes. We played by this philosophy. Although we knew that it was a fragile strategy, we remained confident. This requires aggression. It also requires fast and smart decision making. It’s something we’ve trained throughout the year.
The Groups was a showcase for us to show-off our philosophy. I don’t like to be passive and I don’t like to wait for the others to make mistakes. If you want to beat the best, you need to be taking charge of the gun.
You’ve experienced Worlds during your times in Splyce. What was different this year compared to your past Worlds experience?
When I was in Splyce, it was very difficult to convince the players that they had opportunities to beat the best. I was pretty much in the same group; I met TSM, Samsung (Gen.G), and RNG. We were the third seed team coming into the tournament. The meta changed a lot which wasn’t favorable for us.
I think a big difference this year was that we came in with high confidence. We came in with hope and had no limitations. I knew that we can beat anyone. Vitality was confident. As a result, we struck everyone way harder than expected.
Vitality visited Korea for a boot camp twice this year; once in Spring and once right before the Worlds. Do you think it helped shape the team’s confidence?
For sure. I think we learned so much. The confidence part was what we had all along and it helped us push through when we were getting smashed in scrims. As a matter of fact, both times during our boot camp, we got defeated multiple times. We learned from our defeats and applied the positive things to the team. We applied everything and put it into our own kind of style.
We had so many strategies that we named after our scrim opponents. “Let’s do the Broxah!”, “How about the Doinb?”... We’ve been so inspired by the teams, but at the same time, we remained true to ourselves. Every boot camp has been fruitful. We’ll be coming back every year for sure.
For most of our interviews, we asked to say something for the fans. But this time, do you have any words for your players?
I’m speechless in terms of... You know, I cannot explain how proud I am. It’s unbelievable to see what they’ve accomplished as a team. It’s unbelievable how much growth they made individually, personality wise, in-game/outside the game… This year was a massive success for me, not in the sense of coaching but also in the sense of… I see them as my closest friends. I see them as my brothers. I love them and it fills me with warmth when thinking of how they grew and knowing that this is just the beginning for them. Regardless of what the next year would bring, I'm pretty sure for all of them, they’ll have a long, long, long journey ahead of them with a lot of success. This group… I’m so grateful for this group. I have so many memories. I’ve also learned so much about myself. I can’t thank this group enough for all that I’ve received.
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