End of an Era for the North American League of Legends As Aphromoo Announces Retirement

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End of an Era for the North American League of Legends As Aphromoo Announces Retirement

The former LCS MVP and the MSI-finalist support is stepping away from the pro play.

Doesn’t matter when they started watching, in 2012 when the league was taking its first steps or in 2022 during its 10th year anniversary, every LCS fan knows who Zaqueri “aphromoo” Black is. The first support player to ever win the Most Valuable Player award in the LCS, Aphromoo’s career has been filled with success. But as it is with any player, unfortunately, his time in the league also comes to an end.

After not getting on a roster for the LCS 2023 Season, Aphromoo announced his retirement from professional League of Legends in a video he released on his Youtube page. While the news is saddening for the LCS fans, it doesn’t mean this will be the last time we will see Aphro as he will transition into a career in content creation and streaming. He said in his retirement video that he still likes playing games like Valorant and Apex Legends, and some LoL here and there, and fans should expect a lot more content from him in the future.

Rush Hour duo and making it to the MSI finals

Aphromoo had started his League of Legends career as an ADC, playing on multiple teams even before the days of NA LCS. He switched to the support position when he joined the NA LCS with Counter Logic Gaming, with Yiliang “Peter” “Doublelift” Peng as his lane partner. The duo became hugely popular among fans, earning themselves the nickname Rush Hour, after the action comedy movie of the same name featuring  Jackie Chan and Chris Rock.

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That CLG roster went on to win the NA LCS 2015 Summer Playoffs held at Madison Square Garden against TSM. But Aphromoo’s success wasn’t only limited to his region either. In late 2015 CLG brought in a young ADC as Doublelift’s replacement, Trevor “Stixxay” ( listen) Hayes. With Stixxay and Aphromoo, CLG won another NA LCS trophy and made it to the Finals at the 2016 Mid-Season Invitational. This was the first time a North American team made it to a final at either Worlds or MSI.

Unfortunately, CLG couldn’t replicate their 2016 success in the following seasons and Aphromoo eventually left the organization and joined 100 Thieves in 2018. During the Spring Split of 2018, 100 Thieves made their first LCS Finals under Aphromoo’s leadership, with him winning the MVP award for the regular season. 100 Thieves lost in the Playoff Finals to Doublelift’s Team Liquid, which was the first of their four successive titles.

Bringing up the next generation of ADCs

After a couple of years with 100 Thieves and failed roster after failed roster, Aphro signed with Dignitas for the 2020 Spring. The 2020 and the following two years have been a different chapter for Aphromoo, as he took on a different image in the league. He was no longer on the teams that were looked at as contenders and people started doubting his abilities. But year after year, split after split, Aphro’s teams kept overperforming the expectations.

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Both Dignitas and later FlyQuest were ranked bottom of the league in preseasons, but they always seemed to make Playoffs. Another trend in his career’s later years was the difference in performances of young bot laners playing with him and then without him. He made Johnson “Johnsun” Nguyen and Toàn “Neo” Trần hot prospects in the league, but both players struggled when not playing Aphromoo.

In his successful 10-year LCS career, Aphromoo won two LCS trophies, won a regular season MVP award and made the MSI Finals. All these accolades made him the second-best support in LCS history, selected by a panel for the LCS’s 10-year anniversary on lolesports.com.

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End of an Era for the North American League of Legends As Aphromoo Announces Retirement
Rohat Dicle Kılınç
Rohat is a writer mainly focused on the League of Legends esports scene, and an LCS hopeful.