Podcast video topics and time stamps:
3:05 - Why YamatoCannon decided to review every game at Worlds
11:12 - Coaching for Vitality and preparing for the off season
17:25 - Samsung’s surprise victory at Worlds
25:22 - The dragon has awoken: why SKT will come back stronger
33:23 - What the state of the EU LCS means for its players
41:40 - All-Star voting and who Europe should send
45:45 - How coaching is developing in League
49:07 - The All-Star event getting serious
There are some truly dedicated League of Legends analysts out there, but even the most enthusiastic might balk at the idea of reviewing every single game from Worlds 2017. But that's exactly what Team Vitality coach Jakob "YamatoCannon" Mebdi set out to do.
As you might expect, reviewing the China-based tournament from Europe had a number of challenges.
"Getting used to the sleeping schedule was crazy hard," YamatoCannon told theScore esports Podcast. "There was a time where I was up and usually my sleep schedule was till 3 and I was like 'Yeah, I'm just gonna try to stay up.' and then that was the most stupidest idea that I've ever done."
To make matters worse, YamatoCannon said he did at all with a severe cough.
"The hardest part about it was my lungs were incredibly strained. I think I had acute bronchitis at one point," he said. "I just kept going because, I don't know, I told myself to be sick later. Because in esports you can't really be sick, so usually at the end of a season I'm sick for like two weeks."
While this was an opportunity for the well-known coach to flex his analytical muscles, his motivations also come from a place of altruism. The revenue gained will be given to not-yet-decided charity.
"I like to think that we're all connected somehow," he said. "If we can spread good, even something as simple as a smile towards a person... I like this is the purpose for everyone on Earth. We are all connected somehow and we're supposed to push each other to be happier, to be healthier and to be better in every way possible. So I'm, in some way, just trying to give back."
You don't need to be a professional level coach, or have reviewed every single game of Worlds, to know that the eventual result of that tournament shook the competitive scene.
Samsung Galaxy's 3-0 sweep of SK Telecom T1 in the grand finals put one question on everyone's lips: Is this the end of the SKT era?
"I think what is happening right here is that SKT is pissed," YamatoCannon said. "I think unless the entire team jumps, I think SKT as an organization still has the opportunity to pick and choose whoever the hell they want on the team. And I think coming into the next season they're going to come in with a roster that's even scarier than before."
"I think some replacements will happen for sure and when that day comes, people will be like, 'holy moly, look at that SKT roster.' I wouldn't be surprised if they brought in Score, maybe they bring in Uzi in, I don't know. I doubt that's going to happen, but I feel like they have their choice of players."
While the storyline from SKT at Worlds 2017 could be seen as a failure by some fans, YamatoCannon took a step back to talk about SKT's legacy thus far.
"In the end, what SKT has accomplished, it's unheard of. It's insane what they did, knowing that they've won three world championships and expected to win four," he said.
"But in all seriousness, what they’ve accomplished, no one is going to come close to this."
As for YamatoCannon's professional life, he's already been making plans for the EU LCS off season.
"Currently, I am contracted with Vitality for the upcoming year," he said. "So my plan, I know it's keeping me very busy, is planning for the off season, which is going to be an absolute party; everyone is invited."
And this time around, YamatoCannon will have a more active role in Vitality's player selection process, being contracted to the team for a full year.
"When I worked with Splyce for a full year we achieved a lot of success, while MeetYourMakers we worked for a full split, ROCCAT also a full split, and I could always feel that if we had more time I feel we could have done so much more," he said. "In this case, I get to have a lot of impact on the players we get, so I'm super excited for the upcoming season."
YamatoCannon also took a step back to talk about the outlook the upcoming EU LCS season and how the recent changes to the NA LCS may affect it.
The biggest question being, will we see a European exodus to the franchised NA LCS?
"North America already has a shit ton of imports, there are not a lot of import slots that are available and maybe some players get replaced," he said. "If we lose three of our absolute best, let's say Perkz, Mithy and Zven disappear from Europe, this means a great deal."
Despite their skill, or the skill of any player from EU, many "import slots" in NA are already taken by Korean players.
"An exodus might happen, not as harsh as people might think," YamatoCannon said. "I think maybe the top four or five players disappear and that's going to leave a dent, but I don't think EU's going to be completely empty."