European No. 3 seed Splyce has struggled to an 0-2 start at Worlds after losses to Samsung Galaxy and Royal Never Give Up. The European underdogs are in a tough group, with North American champions Team SoloMid waiting, and The Rift Herald was able to catch up with Splyce head coach Jakob “YamatoCannon” Mebdi after the team’s loss Friday to RNG.
Here’s a full transcript of the interview:
Christopher "chhopsky" Pollock: This is chhopsky, here for Rift Herald, and I have with me YamatoCannon, coach of Splyce. Obviously, that game didn’t go as intended, and it seems like Europe in general, their games seem to be not going as intended. Is this something that, a trend that you think is reversible, and how does this kind of situation come about?
Jakob “YamatoCannon” Mebdi: I think, you know, ever since [Patch] 6.15 came out to play, we’ve been struggling as a team because we managed to cover up a lot of our weaknesses lane-swapping and the mind games of level one. So as a team, we’ve always been striving to get to the point where we are stronger than most teams, and that is the mid to late game, and 6.15 kind of shot us in the foot, because we just can’t do the lane swaps so we need to get through that early stage of the game, which has always been our weakness. And of course, when 6.15 appeared we tried to work on it, we worked on it as much as possible, and you know, it is still a weakness of ours.
We tried to patch it up somehow, but in the end you are put in those lane matchups and very small things swing games. So in both of these games that we played, there was a scenario where we could have done better, you know, I definitely feel like we have the tools to know what to do in an early game scenario, but sometimes we just fail to apply it because these are scenarios that we are not completely kind of, these are not the scenarios that we want to be in because we are the mid-to-late game team.
And of course, you know, we’ve been practicing on this for a very long time and tried to improve, but when those small things happen, like for example in the Samsung game we failed to deflect the dive on top lane that was very telegraphed, they managed to get an advantage in the bot lane as well, of course they’re going to swing this into a good mid-to-late game, which is only the case if you’re at Worlds. If you’re playing against the top teams, small leads are going to lead into very great things.
Same thing happened against RNG. In mid lane today, we managed to slow-push a wave when Cassiopeia was OOM, Viktor was playing very, very far up and he should have been punished for it, and we punished it in a very, very long way and Viktor, because he’s pushing very aggressively, he’s taking a risk, he can poke out Cassiopeia and get an advantage through the minion advantage that he creates, but it’s very risky to do this. And the risk wasn’t punished, we even made it worse by slow-pushing the wave, and Viktor through this is going to get a 20 CS advantage because we just screwed up.
And also in the bot lane, a hard matchup, we picked Karma blind into Nami, very dynamic matchup that we see a lot of at Worlds, but I think it can go 50/50, some people think Nami is better into Karma, Karma is better into Nami, I think Karma has the strength at level one because of her Mantra, it only makes sense that she can take over the lane at level one, that’s what she needs to do. In this game, we managed to kind of lose pressure in lane at level one, then Nami’s going to gain traction and harass. In bot lane, it’s very important to get this tempo advantage from level one, you keep pushing in and you have better position for the next wave coming in, and you just keep pushing in, pushing in, pushing in, that is just the case for every bot lane. So when these two things didn’t fall into place, RNG took over and really smashed us.
chhopsky: Yes, unfortunate turn of events. Do you think that this is something that you can adjust to by changing your draft, modifying early roam strategies, going for more waveclear... What’s your plan out of this?
YamatoCannon: Well, I think that, you know, draft-wise, I don’t think it was an issue there, I think we need to just try to compete at the level it is. We can’t really hide any weaknesses right now because the game is very, very straightforward and simple. You need to win lanes, and you need to play mechanically well, and you need to take those risks that put you ahead in the game. And, of course, in these two games we should we are weaker at that, but in the end I know my team, we know we have the tools and we know what to do. We have like, the vision is there, we just need to completely paint it. In the end, I think it’s just execution that has faulted us in two games, and of course we are the underdog coming into all of these games, so with that in mind I think that there is still a chance for Splyce.
chhopsky: Yeah, I definitely agree, and especially if you compare Splyce now with Splyce six months ago. You guys have shown that the entire team is capable of learning and improving and iterating quite quickly on the things that they learned, so I, for one, look forward to seeing what you can do with that. With the remaining games of the group stages, is there any particular team that you’re excited to see? Like a rematch of one of your existing ones or one of the teams you haven’t played yet?
YamatoCannon: Well, right now I would love to see EDG vs. INTZ again, no but there’s been a lot of good matchups, I think I would love to see ROX against a better team, I think they play later today, but to be honest I’m not really following the schedule - I think they have the break they took today to be honest - but I think it’s not, in particular, specific matchups that I like watching, it’s just specific teams, because you can see their ideas behind drafts and their ideas behind the game and I think they show that no matter who they play against, because they could put in the lane scenario, the lane matchup scenario, and they need to apply the same strategies that they would against the better teams as well, so that’s always interesting for me to see and that would be SKT, ROX Tigers and RNG right now.
chhopsky: For me, some of the ones I’ve really enjoyed has been watching INTZ, and watching I May, again, some more teams that would have been considered underdogs, that have come out with some unusual strategies and really try to mix things up, and have seen some success. Do you think that those playstyles have legs, in that can the rest of the competition adjust to handle those, or did these guys just get lucky in the first couple days?
YamatoCannon: I think it’s a bit too soon to say, I think I May pulled off a classic Athena composition with the Varus, I think this is something that is very common, but if, of course, you get past the early game phase, like they did in that game, with Zac, then the enemy team is going to have a bad time, because Zac just scales incredibly well, and they managed to get through that early game, but I felt like Flash Wolves played too slow. They had the weaker composition in the late game and definitely they kind of slowed down a bit, which is to me very uncommon to see with Flash Wolves because they tend to be very dynamic with Maple and Karsa, but this time around I felt like they were about to slow. I think it’s too soon to see if INTZ or I MAY have figured out the right way to play, because in the end, if things go the way they were supposed to, in these drafts where they had the weaker early game in a meta that is like this, then I think they should be punished.
chhopsky: Yeah, agree. Alright, well thanks for your time today, it’s always good to see you, and very interesting to see you on this side of the desk for once, although I think we’d all agree while the caster desk is weaker without you, the competition is stronger with you, so thanks for your time, and look forward to seeing Splyce take it through the rest of the competition.