We sit down with Dignitas support Aphromoo to discuss his career and helping younger players develop.
Originally perceived to be the 10th place team, Dignitas enter the second half of 2021 in a position to make playoffs once again. Adding two wins to their 11-7 first half, Dignitas are off to a hot start once again.
In this piece, I speak to Dignitas support Aphromoo to discuss his past years in the LCS, how his role is developing in esports and his impact on the younger players on Dignitas.
What is it like being back in the LCS studio after spending nearly a year just playing your games at home?
DIG Aphromoo: Been having a lot of fun man. The stage is just a completely different environment than what we are used to. Obviously, there are still corona protocols, but it is definitely nice. You are going into a stadium and it is expected that everybody is at their A game. It is something that we need to get used to again. The environment, the atmosphere, temperature, new setup, using a fresh set of gear than the one we use during Covid. I have been having a lot of fun.
What are your thoughts on this new LCS format where you enter the second half with your previous record? Is it something you are a fan of?
DIG Aphromoo: I grew up playing basketball so I am all for it. I really enjoy these really long seasons and at the end, figuring out who is the best team consistently. That is more enjoyable than the previous format with splits and points. Some teams can be insane in spring, but in summer, now they are bad and still make it to worlds. This format is definitely my preference moving forward.
Favorite NBA team?
DIG Aphromoo: Definitely the Lakers, but I don’t want to think about that Suns series laughs still hurts.
I am a Knicks fan so I feel your pain as well.
DIG Aphromoo: laughs Oh jesus dude, I am so sorry for you.
Talk to me about what you did during the offseason and how you reset for the second half of 2021?
DIG Aphromoo: During the offseason, it is important to reset mentally. Take a week or two away from the game, but not too long. It is important to keep playing in offseason and keep up because patches still change when you are not playing at MSI. It is important to take care of yourself. For botlane, it is important to continue speaking to your lane partner. Make sure they are up-to-date on the lane meta and just doing well.
How has your relationship with NEO developed?
DIG Aphromoo: It’s going great. We are at the point where we can flame each other no problem and I am here for it. laughs We are both here on this team wanting to win and we love playing with each other.
He is a really talented kid. His first half in 2021 this year is his first real stint in the LCS and it was a good first split. Now that he has that under his belt, he has an opportunity to shine even more in the second half of 2021. He is a really great asset to this team in general and I am really excited to play more games with him.
You play with really young players on this team. Talk to me about your role in helping these players develop? What was it like getting them comfortable together?
DIG Aphromoo: All of them are introverted, but it was not bad warming them up. We currently have two very vocal players with myself and Dardoch. What matters to us is that they handle their lanes and are adaptable champions. We will handle all of the macro and teaching. When it comes to lane, that is their responsibility.
When you come in as a young player, it is really difficult to do both at the same time. Either your gameplay or macro will suffer if you spread yourself thin as a young player. We did have that a lot in the first half of the season, but that is alright with me. What is important is that they are getting these experiences under their belt. They are doing their best to where it is starting to become natural being in this team. It is on us to really continue the development of this team. We got to the playoffs, take that as motivation to do even better this second half.
2019 and 2020 were really tough years for you in your career, talk to me about going from an MVP candidate to those years. Could you talk to me about what those two years were like and how you bounce back from that period.
DIG Aphromoo: It was not the worst thing I have dealt with in my career. Things just weren't working out in the team and it happens. We had a good start and then things started to go downhill from there. Everyone has low points in their career and it is bound to happen. That is alright.
What matters is how you bounce back and deal with rough periods. You just need to continue moving forward no matter what.
At any given moment, you are going to get flamed by the community. It just happens and you really need to learn how to manage dealing with it. With Dignitas, my goal is to focus on helping this team become contenders so we can win the LCS.
How have you transformed as a player since your days with CLG versus now with Dignitas?
DIG Aphromoo: I do think I am definitely a people person. I am easy to talk to, take criticism very well and I never yell at my teammates.
My role in every team is always being a mediator and keeping everyone on the flow. Keep the flow going and not be too cold. My main thing is fixing communication in places where it falters.
I do not want the team to be in an LCS game and for it to look like solo queue. We do have that sometimes, but that is okay, we aren’t perfect. That is my role most of the time. When I do have young players on a team and even when there are veterans, I think it is important to just talk about how you want to play the game. Everybody gets on the same page to talk about their likes and dislikes to make the team better.
That is what makes a team so great. It is all about communicating these ideas. I think that will be the same format for every team.
The veterans definitely have their way to play, but for my personality, I am very adaptable. I will acclimate to the playstyle of my teammates if it means they can play at their best. If I do think something is better though, I will voice it. It is up to me and the person I am talking to to have that line of communication and versatility.
DIG Aphromoo: To our fans, it is really fun so far. We have a lot to learn, but that is alright. There is a lot of nervousness for all the teams and us for sure. Once we get used to everything, the quality of games will be amazing.