Fnatic has announced another change coming to its League of Legends department. After two years of service, Jakob “YamatoCannon” Mebdi is leaving the organization. Last week, Fnatic also parted ways with support player Zdravets “Hylissang” Galabov.
In the official announcement on Fnatic’s site, team director Javier “Dardo” Zafra said, “Me and everyone at Fnatic [wish] Jakob all the best moving forward, and I want to thank him for his hard work these last two years. His energy and attitude made these last two years truly memorable, and his presence [on] the team continuously helped us push forward against the odds, even when things looked hard and impossible with this summer split being a prime example.”
One LEC final, two bronze medals
YamatoCannon joined Fnatic ahead of the 2021 LEC season and had the difficult task to reassemble the team in wake of Fnatic icon Martin “Rekkles” Larsson’s departure. Fnatic struggled immensely in its first split under YamatoCannon’s leadership. The team, which had consistently placed at the top of the standings in seasons prior, did not get further than fifth place in the 2021 LEC Spring Split. YamatoCannon made the surprising decision to place top laner Gabriël “Bwipo” Rau in the jungle role for the subsequent Summer Split. The gamble paid off. Though Fnatic struggled to find balance in the regular season, they made an incredible lower bracket run in the playoffs and claimed a silver medal.
In 2022, Fnatic built what many considered to be one of the two superteams that would compete in the LEC, the other being Team Vitality. Fnatic triumphed in the Spring Split’s best-of-one phase. However, the glory wore off in the playoffs. Rogue reverse-swept Fnatic in the upper bracket semifinal and G2 finished the job in the lower bracket. The Summer Split played out inversely for Fnatic; they barely made it to the playoffs, but once there, they fought their way to the lower bracket final. They couldn’t get past Rogue again, though, and ended in third place for a second time.
Two Worlds appearances
YamatoCannon led Fnatic to both world championships that took place during his stay on the team. Both, unfortunately, were quite disastrous. In 2021, bot laner Elias “Upset” Lipp left the team for personal reasons just moments before the tournament kicked off. Fnatic lost all but one game in the Group Stage and exited the tournament swiftly. The team endured more personal struggles at Worlds 2022. Initially, two players caught COVID just before Fnatic had to play. Fnatic managed to escape the Play-In Stage, but the Group Stage proved to be too large of a hurdle once again. Fnatic won only one game and once again left the tournament in last place of its group.