One week on from his departure from Splyce, Jakob “YamatoCannon” Mebdi has agreed terms with Team Vitality to become the team’s Head Coach for the next three competitive splits. After another innocuous split in the EU LCS, Vitality announced that they had been ‘working in the shadows’ over the past few weeks to form a ‘master plan’ for the summer months. With the announcement of their new coach, the french eSports organisation are now pitching for a playoffs spot.
Team Vitality will be hoping YamatoCannon’s drive and charisma is enough to push the underperforming roster to new limits, his track-record certainly provides him with the credentials to do so. After joining Splyce in January 2016, Yamato transformed the former Team Dignitas EU roster from a mid-table squad into one of Europe’s three World Championship representatives. Though Splyce failed to make it out of a difficult group, YamatoCannon was crowned as Coach of the Split for his miraculous work.
YamatoCannon certainly seems qualified for the position, and he may well have more talent to work with if rumours of former H2K-Gaming and Schalke 04 eSports support Oskar “Vander” Bogdan joining Team Vitality prove to be true.
“In order to carry out this plan we called upon the services of a strong strategist, a leader, someone well known on the European and the international scene.”
“It brings us pleasure to be able to say that we have come to terms with YamatoCannon on our common ideas and our ambitions.”
Team Vitality Official Announcement
YamatoCannon’s predecessor, Heo “Irean” Yeong-cheol is understood to still be a part of Vitality’s future project, discussions are underway to integrate him into a different position within the organisation.
YamatoCannon excels as a motivator, uniting and re-energising rosters to get them performing at their best. That being said, once he had developed Splyce into one of the best three teams in the region, he was unable to keep them at the highest level. Towards the end of his tenure with SPY, his drafting and team compositions were frequently called into question.
Whilst the iconic coach may be the perfect solution for Vitality’s short term ambitions, whether he can maintain top tier status remains to be seen. As a squad that has consistently underperformed, if Yamato can channel any of the success he enjoyed with Splyce, it will be a significant improvement for VIT. Team Vitality finished the Spring Split with just three wins to their name and ten defeats, ending the split one place above Origen, inarguably the worst team the EU LCS has ever seen.
Re-motivating Erlend “Nukeduck” Våtevik Holm and Lucas “Cabochard” Simon-Meslet will form the crux of Yamato’s challenge. If he can get these two former greats back on their feet and develop a squad synergy with Pierre “Steeelback” Medjaldi and potentially Vander in the bot lane, there’s no reason for Vitality and YamatoCannon to not reach their playoff ambitions.