25 Sep 2020 5:22 PM +00:00

Aphromoo: Recreating Rush Hour

Image courtesy of Riot Games.

When Zaqueri "Aphromoo" Black joined Yiliang "Doublelift" Peng on Counter Logic Gaming, it was instantly clear there was something special about this duo. They took on TSM’s veteran Chaox/Xpecial bot lane for their first game of the 2013 NA LCS Spring Split—a trial by fire for Aphromoo, who had just role swapped from ADC to support. He passed that trial with flying colors, outmuscling the enemy duo and scoring a convincing victory against CLG’s biggest rival. 

The two kept the momentum going, establishing themselves as the #1 bot lane in North America and earning the self-proclaimed nickname “Rush Hour”. They were so in sync, it felt like one person controlling both champions. The synergy that united them in game spread to things outside of it. Aphromoo and Doublelift weren’t just colleagues. They were friends that engaged in light-hearted banter and always had each other’s back on the Rift, and it’s this dynamic that made them the most beloved bot lane in the region. It was the definition of lightning in a bottle.

Until it suddenly wasn’t. 

The end of 2015 saw Aphromoo going to CLG’s management and issuing an ultimatum: it’s either him or Doublelift. CLG chose him. With Doublelift gone, Aphromoo teamed up with a complete newcomer in Trevor "Stixxay" Hayes. He was confident there would be a moment when his new ADC surpassed his previous lane partner. 

Yet, that moment never came. 

It didn’t come with Stixxay, it didn’t come with Cody Sun, and it certainly didn’t come with Rikara. There were only so many world-class ADCs in North America, and finding a worthy lane partner for Aphromoo seemed all but impossible. 


There was also a shift in the perfection of Aphromoo himself. As the glory days of Rush Hour grew more and more distant, Aphromoo gradually lost his stranglehold on the bot lane. He still had the brains and the brawn to take over the game from the least influential position in League of Legends, but there was an alarming inconsistency to his play. And for every two games Aphromoo carried, there would be a game where he mispositioned, misread the situation or misplayed a key skirmish.  

His name was still up there, sure. But the title of the #1 support in the NA LCS no longer belonged to him.

Of course, it’s hard to put all the blame on him. The bot lane has always been more than the sum of its parts, and if your lane partner isn’t up to par, even the strongest player in the world can struggle to make his presence known.

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