Interview with DIG LoL Aphromoo
Sun 19th Jan 2020 - 3:41pm
Zaqueri "Aphromoo" Black is arguably the most well known NA Support in League of Legends history. Having played for a variety of teams since the early days of competitive LoL, very few players have stayed in the top flight as long as Aphro. Now, in the next chapter of his career, he joins us at Dignitas to flex on the competition as part of our exciting 2020 roster. I had the opportunity to chat to him about the fast approaching season we're all looking forward to!
To fans of League of Legends, you’re a man that needs no introduction - but for the new fans of Aphromoo, what are three words that can be used to describe you and why?
Aphromoo: In three words… “support is easy.” That would be it, for sure - of course it came from one of the first times I played support on stream, I used to be an ADC main but I got autofilled and said “alright guys, I’m gonna show you how to actually play support.” Obviously the iconic (Leona) clip came from that, and I picked it up from there.
Having played competitive League of Legends longer than many people in the game right now, how does it feel to be wearing Dignitas colors in our first season back in the LCS?
Aphromoo: I’ve been on all 3 teams that first qualified for LCS, being TSM, CLG and finally DIG, so it’s like all the infinity stones have aligned. I’ve always liked DIG you know, when they first came to LCS a lot of my friends were on that team, the OGs like Scarra and Imaqtpie, so it’s awesome to be here.
You’re joining a roster of both familiar and fresh faces to the top-tier of League of Legends. How has it been working with the team so far?
Aphromoo: Playing with Froggen was really surprising. The guy is actually a god on everything he plays and is why he’s such a nuisance in pick/ban phase and I can see exactly why that dude is just insane. I’ve also really been enjoying playing with Johnsun, the guy has like 4 top 10 accounts and I quickly figured out why… he’s also the only rookie in LCS this year. Thomas (Thinkcard) also surprised me a lot, I used to play with him back on CLG while he was in Jungle, and he’s definitely grown so much. I love working with him as a coach. I love working with Grig too. Man, that guy is so funny. The only person I haven’t met yet is Huni, but he’s on the way now and I’ll know more when the time comes.
2020 is shaping up to be a thrilling year for NA LCS fans, with huge personalities and top talent set to clash for our viewing pleasure, but what’s it like as a player in such a contested league?
Aphromoo: I think it’s awesome having lots of people from different regions coming to play in the NA LCS. You normally wouldn’t get the opportunity to play against them since they’re from a different region, but having a lot of individually skilled players coming over will really raise the bar in competition. It can’t get any more exciting than that honestly.
In an interview I had with DIG LoL’s Head Coach Thinkcard, he said that we can “look forward to explosive team compositions and a high pressure style of play” in the upcoming Split. What are your expectations coming into this new season?
Aphromoo: Well DIG last year was also pretty explosive, playing a lot of Rumble and Qiyana and always fighting, contesting every Herald and every Dragon, which is what they were known for. I think now a lot of the players on our team in 2020 also like to play in that style, so for my team I couldn’t be happier. I really enjoy fighting, contesting as much as we can, and pressuring really hard, and even though we’re often in that chaotic zone, we can also be controlled and patient and decide which fights we take.
You took home the title of MVP in the Spring Split of 2018 with a dominant performance as both shotcaller and support in equal measure, but how would you say you’ve changed since then?
Aphromoo: With our team currently, I definitely don’t have to say as much as I used to, which is a big plus. Froggen and Grig definitely call a lot of the things that are specific to those roles, Mid and Jungle, which make it so much easier. I’m really finding myself honing in on individual performance more than making sure we’re all on the same page as a team because we’re already on top of it. I’m just super excited and I’m really enjoying playing the game right now because this team is so fun. I know individually I had a pretty bad year last year on 100 Thieves. We didn’t do too hot, so I’m just ready to come in and do 100 times better. I’m ready to set up my team for easy kills and the right fights to cause a ruckus on the map.
Speaking of change, a lot has changed on Summoner’s Rift over the preseason with the introduction of Elemental Rifts, changes to Support items, and new champion releases (as just a few examples), so what are your thoughts on the current state of the meta from a competitive perspective?
Aphromoo: I love all the new Elemental Dragons, that’s for sure, I think all the changes to the map are really healthy and provide a lot more competitive action for both spectators and players. I mean there are now two Heralds, stacking Elemental Dragons is really important, once you get to Elder Dragon it ends the game even faster and I love those changes. The only thing that’s still kind of a problem is all the new champion releases; I mean, nearly every champion on release is too powerful and now we’re getting to the point that we got to a few years ago where they had to add in a ban because there were just too many champions. At the same time, it makes it more exciting when new champions come in so I’m all for releasing new champions as long as they’re compensated for.
What are your thoughts on the changes to playoffs, in terms of the double elimination format and Worlds Qualification, and the introduction of Monday Night League?
Aphromoo: I’m all for the Double Elimination format. CS:GO is my favourite esport to watch, period, because of all the story and plot potential based on brackets (teams that are supposed to be good going to the losers’ bracket and then coming back up in a redemption arc), so I think it’s really healthy playoff-wise. It kind of sucks that there’s no Championship points in spring, but I do like that the top 8 teams in Summer are all going to playoffs, because it makes third and fourth place matter in terms of the bracket.
I think the fact that only the Summer matters for Worlds Qualification makes it even more stressful and intense. I also definitely think that, because of that, Spring will be more experimental with rosters and figuring out what your final gameplan will be for Summer.
As for Monday Night League, I don’t know how that’s going to work out, as Monday is usually everyone’s off-day. You end up with one less day of practice, but I’ll just have to play one Monday to see what it’s like.
You’ve played with and against so many people in the upcoming LCS, are there any matchups ahead that you’re particularly keen for?
Aphromoo: I think it’ll be fun playing against every single bottom lane in LCS right now with Johnsun. My main goal right now is to just beat all the other guys. I know Ignar joined FlyQuest, which will be really fun, Doublelift and CoreJJ are the favorites right now, but we’re gonna beat those guys anyway, and in our first game against CLG, we’re gonna beat them as well.
Talk to me a little more about the future; you’ve said that DIG’s not stopping at groups this year, how do you and the team plan on shaking things up across all competitions? (LCS, MSI, Worlds)
Aphromoo: I think the coaching staff did a really good job of picking the players on this team. I really enjoy playing with everybody. I think we’re going to have a really great shot at qualifying for Worlds in Summer and building team cohesion in Spring so that we can dominate. The main thing is just focusing on getting individually better so that I can set up my team properly.
How are you preparing for your first game of the season against one of your former teams, CLG?
Aphromoo: Well we’ll probably end up getting around a week of practice with Huni, but I think the core four that we have right now, with Lourlo filling in, have been improving a lot in terms of our macro game and synergy… I’d say we laugh at least once a game together, I’m just having a lot of fun man.
Finally, is there anyone you’d like to give a shoutout to or anything you’d like to say before we part ways?
Aphromoo: Yeah, shout out Johnsun bro- let’s go!
We'd like to wish Aphro and the team the best of luck in the upcoming Spring Split; you can catch Aphromoo on Twitter @aphromoo, and hope you'll all join us in cheering him along when the NA LCS returns on the 25th of January!