With a victory over Echo Fox in Week 8 of the 2018 NA LCS Summer Split, 100Thieves have solidified themselves as the second best team in North America. MVP Candidate Kim “Ssumday” Chan-ho suffocated Heo “Huni” Seung-hoon in the Top Lane Tank matchup, and 100Thieves disposed of Echo Fox in clinical fashion.
Now in sole possession of 2nd place, 100Thieves look like the top threat to knock reigning champions Team Liquid from their perch. After shotcalling his team to victory, Support Zaqueri “Aphromoo” Black sat down with Inven Global to give his thoughts on recent happenings around the North American League of Legends scene.
We’re here with 100Thieves Support Aphromoo. Your team is now in sole possession of 2nd place after defeating Echo Fox. What was your game plan today?
The only game plan was to make sure Huni didn’t play a carry matchup in the Top Lane. Echo Fox is at their best with Huni on a carry, so we wanted to force him to play a tank matchup so Ssumday could neutralize him with no issue. Echo Fox thrives in chaos, so we wanted to make them play our tempo and run them all around the map. I think everything was pretty clean aside from the first two fights that we took.
Part of handling that Top Lane matchup is also the responsibility of your Jungler AnDa, who has been on the team for about four weeks now. How have you guys helped him integrate into the team and step into Meteos’ shoes and make the spot his own?
Andy’s a quiet guy, and very humble. He’s super hungry to learn - right now he’s all about taking information in regarding how we want to play as a team. He’ll respond by telling us how he wants to play the jungle based off of that information.
Everything stylistically culminates in a great way. AnDA and Ryu have the best relationship, and all of my teammates are Asian so they were immediately super friendly and comfortable with each other. It’s really good for our team chemistry.
AnDa has a champion ocean. He can play anything at the highest level, but he’s working on his movement, positioning, pathing, and discipline during rotations. Since he’s supposed to be with me most of the time, I try to coach him through setting up the map as jungle/support duo. At least one of us will be on engage champion, so it’s all about finding that balance and I think he’s doing a great job.
He’s also Balls’ cousin, so he’s really good friends with all of my old CLG friends like Link, Chauster, and Benny.
He showcased that flexibility on the Poppy Jungle today. Was that specifically prepared for Dardoch’s Lee Sin, or did the situation unfold in the draft naturally?
We prepared a lot of things for this game. They were going for a Yasuo composition, so we expected the Lee Sin because he was the best Jungler with a knock up available. And since AnDa has a champion ocean, it just so happens that we had the right pick in Poppy. Dardoch didn’t do anything the whole game.
In your post-game interview with Ovilee May, you mentioned that you had spoken to Zikz since his removal from Counter Logic Gaming. You said while the terms were different, you could relate to what he was feeling since you had parted ways with CLG to join 100Thieves at the beginning of the year. Are you still in touch with anyone in the CLG organization?
HuHi, Stixxay, and Darshan. That’s it, I’ve never really had a relationship with Reignover or Biofrost.
It makes sense that it would only be your former teammates. You’ve also worked with CLG Assistant Coach Zach Goldman, who is now serving as Interim Head Coach. Do you think the transition from Zikz to Goldman will be smooth?
I don’t think it’s going to be an easy transition. When I was on the team, he was usually scouting enemy teams’ game plans. Him coming in for pick & bans might be a little rough for them, so hopefully, the players can get around that.
When Tony’s on stage, everything is structured. He had everything planned out and knew what he had to talk to everyone about during the draft. It was pretty simple. I don’t know exactly what Goldman is going to do, but he used to be my coach. He’s going to do his best.
He definitely has big shoes to fill. Zikz is the most decorated Head Coach in NA LCS history. The last release we witnessed in the NA LCS was a few weeks ago when Fenix, Altec, and Adrian were suddenly removed from Echo Fox. As a veteran player, is it surprising to hear of these types of situations?
All that stuff is supposed to be gone since franchising, but it’s not surprising that it’s still a problem. The year before franchising, all of the teams simply transferred their contracts over to the franchised organizations and didn’t re-negotiate the terms of their contract all too much. So if they already had a bad contract, then they just handed their bad contract over to another organization.
It’s up to the player and the organization to look over those clauses and change what needs to be changed, and if you don’t, you’re gonna get f****d.
Right, it’s still the same contract you’re bringing into the franchising era if you’re not re-negotiating terms.
Once those contracts expire, all the players are going to be safe. But I think it’s on the players to not talk about that when they get transferred to a new team.
What can the NA LCS Players Association do to prevent these types of situations in the future?
I just don’t think there’s much you can do until your contract expires. I don’t know what the Players Association can do if someone already signed a contract. So you have to wait until it expires, and then on your next contract you negotiate, you go through the Players Association.
[Executive Director] Hal [Biagas] is really good at looking over all of the clauses and making sure you don’t get f****d. If you want to get an agent, they do the same thing. After that, I think everyone will be good.
As a veteran, have you ever thought of doing more in the NA LCS Players Association and be involved with helping other players?
We already have elected all of the roles. So I only offer my opinions on things. Other than that, I don’t want to really look towards those types of roles too much, because...eh. (laughs) I’m just not interested I guess, but I have no problem giving my opinions on things if I am asked.
Right, being the captain of a top team is a lot of responsibility. In a recent interview with Inven Global, Doublelift commended your leadership and mastery of shotcalling. However, he also said that he thought Cody Sun was extremely overrated, and that his statistics were only good because he was carried by you and the rest of your teammates. You and Cody Sun were the NA LCS All-Pro Bot Lane last split, so where do you think Doublelift is coming from here?
In our game against Team Liquid, Cody Sun built for poke on Varus instead of DPS. When Team Liquid had three tanks. We were winning the game, but because of the build, he didn’t end up doing too much. So I think that’s where Doublelift is coming from with those comments. Cody Sun does have to be more team focused on what we need in every game.
The comet Varus poke build is so popular right now because you win laning phase and mid game no matter what. It’s so broken, but you fall off very hard in the late game. In hindsight, I think we tunneled too hard on that strategy.
Other than that mistake, I think he’s very team-focused. I think all marksmen have a problem with being selfish, at least in my experience. He’s still pretty young, and only has one previous year of experience in the NA LCS with Immortals. There’s a little immaturity, but I’m used to that from playing with Doublelift and Stixxay.
Cody is in the early years of his career, and he has to learn how to equally balance his selfishness with playing for the team, and he’s going through that right now. Our practice is very intense and frustrating because we have to get through several conversations regarding positioning, macro, builds, jungle pathing, draft phase, champion picks, playstyle, etc.
The difference between a good team and a great team is that the great team is willing to have those tough conversations. Aphromoo, as the 2018 NA LCS Spring Split MVP, the Summer MVP conversation has started and the name being thrown around the most is that of your Top Laner, Ssumday. Do you think he’s deserving of following you up?
Yeah, we’re actually trying to help him get it. Unfortunately, this game against Echo Fox was a tank matchup, so it’s kind of hard to show your skill in that situation. But I think he locked down Huni pretty well; Huni didn’t really do anything the whole game.
In our last three games, we’re going to try to help him get it by roaming to his lane to help him pop off and letting him secure kills in teamfights. I think he deserves it. He definitely played really well in the beginning and middle of this split.
Now, towards the end of the split, we’ve become more team-focused. We’re not as solo-carry oriented as we were in the early weeks of the split where Ssumday would just be s******g on people with Darius all of the time (Laughs). As long as we have three more clean games, and maybe give Ssumday a carry matchup in one of those games, I think he’ll be able to get MVP.
Is there anything you’d like to say to the 100Thieves fans?
We actually have four people here from the Rocket Mortgage VIP contest that we had. They won a trip to come and see us play this weekend, and they’ll be coming by the house and eating with us later. I met those guys and they’re really awesome.
Thanks to everyone who supports us. Playoffs is going to be fun.