The 2018 LCS Spring Split MVP Zaqueri “Aphromoo” Black has been released from 100 Thieves and not exactly at the best time. The team announced that Stunt would be taking over the starting role and this left Aphromoo in a tough position.
There is no doubt that 2019 was a tough year for him. 100 Thieves brought in former World Champion, Bang in order to create one of the best bot lanes in the LCS, instead, they were one of the worst. At times, Aphromoo looked disinterested or possibly even just out of practice. It is possible that he could be leaning towards streaming and retirement as he is 27 and would be heading into his ninth year of professional play. Assuming he doesn’t, here are three teams that could use the former MVP’s skillset.
While Aphromoo has spent his entire career in NA, a shift to Europe may not be a bad thing for him. SK Gaming have thus far lost their Jungler and replaced him with Trick. Other than that, they will be running it back with Sacre and Crownshot. Jenax has not been confirmed for a starting spot, although it is worth noting that he was playing Support for the Premiere Tour 2019 Winter Cup. Crownshot is a rising Bot Laner who showed plenty of times last year that he could go toe to toe with some of the best the LEC had to offer.
Should Aphromoo look towards the LEC he could have some options in terms of fighting for a spot but, this is the only one that is clearly open. Even with Jenax playing Support at the Winter Cup, Aphromoo would be a major upgrade as Jenax would be shifting from being a Mid Laner. Aphromoo would bring stability to a team that has only one year of experience being on the big stage. While losing Selfmade will be a big blow to the team, they could bring in one of the most popular LCS players of all time and one of the best Supports NA has ever produced. He would bring stability and a veteran presence for the team to not only play well but also to continue helping their star player, Crownshot, develop. Aphromoo would also provide some much-needed shotcalling. If he was willing to head to Europe, this should be the team he takes a look at.
If Aphromoo wanted a starting spot and wanted to stay in the LCS, Dignitas would be his only true option left. Currently, Dignitas have one confirmed player, Huni. He signed a massive deal this offseason that could have major ramifications on the payroll for the team, similar to what seems to be happening with Immortals. This could be why the team has not signed anyone. If not maybe they are just playing a big-brained game that no one can see yet? Either way, bringing in another solid star player like Aphromoo would make a lot of sense here.
The only problem is that Aphromoo would likely have to take a big pay cut. But, as they say, beggars can be choosers, right? This would likely lead to Aphromoo only signing a one year deal, which may not be the worst thing. He could go to Dignitas and prove he still can play at a high level. Which, would either give him leverage in negotiations for an extension with Dig or he could even play it into a brand new deal with another team. He could even look after the Spring Split, depending on the need at Support, if some top tier teams have struggled. Whatever the situation may be, this is really Aphromoo’s only option at the LCS level should he decide that he is not retiring.
Golden Guardians/Golden Guardians Academy
This option is a bit contradictory to the statement above. That said, this may end up being the fallback plan to the two already mentioned for Aphromoo. This team recently stated that Keith would be making the transition from Bot Lane to Support. It is possible that they didn’t know Aphromoo was available or would be available but either way that doesn’t matter now. Keith is apparently already in Korea practicing with the team and GGS would look pretty bad if they made the whole video about him becoming Support and then went out and signed Aphromoo to the starting role. Maybe they wouldn’t care?
The more likely scenario is that Aphromoo signs with the team to be their Academy Support. This would obviously not be his ideal scenario and would likely be a hit to his pride but, with Keith being a first-time Support, Aphromoo could have a clear shot to a starting role at some point in 2020. This signing could also be a win for GGS. Either Keith feels the pressure from Aphromoo and performs really well as this is likely his last chance at a starting LCS gig or Aphromoo steps in. He would help FBI immensely as he is still a very young player and would bring some much-needed stability to a team that is banking on little to no LCS experience in Closer, Goldenglue, FBI and Keith.
This one is just a little extra. Aphromoo has a ton of experience and knowledge. This is likely what made 100 Thieves so interested in making him their star player when they signed him. Now, he is potentially without a starting role as a player but there are still plenty of coaching roles open. Last week it was reported that mithy would be transitioning from player to head coach of Fnatic. Aphromoo could make the same sort of jump given the right situation. An interesting team to keep an eye out for in this regard would be TSM. They still have yet to announce their coaching situation and if Regi is looking at what Fnatic are doing and likes what he sees then he might think, “Why couldn’t we do the same?” But, this couldn’t really happen. Right?
“From Our Haus to Yours”