Today we sat down with Michele “Yariet” Maneggia, the current Head Analyst for Dignitas and its LoL team that is competing in the LCS. This marks the sequel of our series covering those roles and jobs that may go unnoticed within the world of esports.
From his career to his current job in the LCS, to his thoughts on the difference between the LCS and the ERLs, Yariet shared with us his perspective with some great insights.
Interview with Yariet, the LCS Head Analyst for Dignitas
Q: Hi Yariet and welcome! Please introduce yourself and tell us more about what you do in the esports world!
Hi everyone, I’m Yariet, the current Head Analyst for Dignitas in the LCS. I officially joined DIG this year, after spending multiple years in the Italian scene with MACKO Esports and Atlas before that.
Q: How many years have you been working in this industry and how did you start working in it?
I started towards the end of 2019 so it’s around three years and a little more. In the beginning, I didn’t have the particular goal of becoming a data analyst and it was a new role that teams didn’t really bother with initially.
My passion for esports really kicked in when I went to Berlin for Worlds in 2019. The live experience and the adrenaline I felt in that period made me think: “F***, I want to be a part of this.”
After that, I started learning more about the Italian competitive scene and had the chance to work as a host on the analyst desk for the Italian league, which was organized by Piazza Esports. Luckily, thanks to my experience as an IT manager in my main job, I was able to transfer my data management skills and have them as an added value to the league.
After my first experience as a data analyst on Atlas, I was able to get into MACKO Esports thanks to Sergio “Annibal”, who was the head analyst on the team (Sergio is now working as a Business analyst for Team Liquid). Since then, I’ve been with MACKO until the end of 2022.
Q: How did you manage to get to work with Dignitas in the LCS?
Just like most things in life, it was purely by chance. I have a portfolio of my own work that I usually send to teams every offseason. Given how good I felt with MACKO, I told myself I would take it to the next step only if I could get into a major region.
After getting rejected several times, I was told by a fellow colleague that Dignitas was looking for a head analyst so I contacted Enatron (the coach). After showing him my work and having talked with the manager, as well as giving him a sample, the org decided to hire me. Personally, it felt unreal.
I couldn’t believe that I would be working with players like Jensen, Santorin, and Armut, which I only dreamt of talking to a few years ago. It was an incredible moment for me.
READ ALSO: NA LCS 2023 Power Rankings
Q: What are the expectations for Dignitas this year?
When the LCS was working on the season start video where they asked all the players the goals of the year, I think Santorin summed it up perfectly for us: the Championship.
Things, however, haven’t gone well for us. Armut was only able to get to NA one week prior to the start of the league, and IgNar just got here recently after having visa issues. Considering that we played with Biofrost for the first part of the split, it will take more time for IgNar to get used to breaking in.
While the split is not looking good for us currently, we’re still aiming to make our goal a reality.
Q: Is there a big difference in how teams work in EU/Italy compared to NA?
I think there’s quite a big difference. I’ve noticed that there is greater attention to detail, almost maniacal. There are times when players come to us and want to know exactly how specific champions or item builds perform at certain points of the game and how much it differs from another champion or item.
Q: They are obviously a lot more demanding from that perspective.
Definitely. In Italy, you could be a successful team without really diving deep into exact numbers: it was much more important to find the identity or mix of players that worked. For me, of course, this also means focusing a lot more on trying to assist the players and give them the best answers.
Q: What’s your daily routine like?
Since I’m still working as an IT manager, I do my “normal” job during the day. While I usually don’t get a lot of time, there are times when I can work on the scripts and prepare the analysis for both the main team and the academy team.
On Sunday, we usually have a meeting with the entire team staff to talk about everything. It can last from half an hour to two hours, depending on the topics. What usually happens is that we talk about the patch if we’re playing on the new one the following week, and discuss potential new picks or builds.
After that, we talk about and analyze the official matches and what we can improve. One great thing about Enatron is that he listens to everyone, and takes in feedback even if it might not align with his. He’s great at finding the right balance and a great mediator for discussions. Lastly, we plan the program for the upcoming week and have everyone on the same page.
Q: Given your origins in the Italian esports scene, do you still follow PG Nats? What are the most exciting teams to watch in 2023?
Yes, of course, I would never want to forget PG and where everything started. I think that coming into the new season, there was a clear cut between the top 4 and the rest: MACKO, DSYRE, Outplayed, and DREN Esports’ rosters were a tier above. That said, ranking these four teams was a lot trickier.
Unfortunately, DREN had major struggles with its roster, after they were promoted at the last minute from the second division (since Atleta gave up their spot in the first division). The other three, though, have more or less maintained the expectations, as they are currently in the top three.
I’m expecting Outplayed and MACKO in the top two at the end of the regular split, but the other two teams (one likely being DSYRE) will also be there to contend for the title.
Q: We’re almost to the end of our interview! One last question: is there anyone in the scene you look up to and want to shout out?
If there’s someone I want to mention, it’s my boy Noodlez (former Vitality’s head analyst), and it’s for some very simple reasons. First of all, he was one of the nicest guys who always helped me out. But what’s more important, is the fact that he is also Genovese, just like me, so there’s that particular bond between us!
I always tell him to come and watch football games at the stadium but he never answers me, so I’m still waiting for that invite to be reality…
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