LCS veteran Zaqueri ‘Aphromoo’ Black is still confident in his team’s potential despite changes to Dignitas throughout the 2021 campaign. DIG are working to get back in form, and the NA veteran believes it will be the perfect chance for Toàn ‘Neo’ Tran to get them back on course.
Dignitas came into the LCS Summer Split with a strong foundation to improve from their 11-7 Spring split record. However, they’ve since had a change in jungler and mid laner. They’ve since slid to 18-18, trailing the bulk of the league’s best teams, including 100 Thieves, TSM, Cloud9, Evil Geniuses, and Liquid.
The team isn’t in panic-mode just yet though.
Since the start of the season, we knew the young guys were going to look to their veterans for leadership to keep up their aggression on the Rift.
But now there’s one less vet in the lineup since Joshua ‘Dardoch’ Hartnett was dropped, and the team is looking to hammer in the basics to get back on top.
“We feel like we just lose to ourselves just because, yeah, we’re making the wrong decisions,” Aphromoo told Dexerto. “Not playing for early setup, so you have that advantage… Once we get it down, we should be good again.”
Practice has been great, according to the 28-year-old support. But stage games tend to go sour at the worst times from a combination of wrong decisions and nerves while playing.
“Bit of a knowledge gap, I would say, for some of our guys,” Aphromoo said. “Cause we don’t recognize the correct decision in the moment. So it’s important to get experience like that.
“Our practice has been very good, but on stage, nervousness… especially when you’re playing against the top teams for our young guys. It happens.”
There’s nothing wrong with DIG’s aggression. Even after Matthew ‘Akaadian’ Higginbotham slotted in as jungler, they managed to get First Blood against TL, C9, and CLG — as well as a follow-up kill in each of those matches.
But the team lacks focus. And here’s where Neo can flourish for Dignitas when the game’s go down to the wire.
“[Neo’s] doing pretty well,” Aphromoo said. “Obviously it’s hard, when your team is losing, to stand out. But [he’s] important. Once we get the team sh*t down, Neo is excellent at skirmishing, period. Any skirmish, he’s always playing to the maximum.
The NA support added: “I have full faith in him.”
Neo and Aphromoo are one of the stronger bot lanes in the league. But Aphromoo kept reiterating how crucial it was for DIG to nail their macro game to focus on objectives.
“Our gap is just knowledge-based for macro,” he said. “Not in the right spot, we’re not in the right time. You can hammer that in. We are really good at fighting, but what’s most important is just setting up the right fight for us. If we do that, get to the right spot, we should win nine times out of 10.”
In their game vs TL, while DIG had great fights, they eventually started to trail in Drakes and Towers. That quickly gave Liquid all the tools and map pressure they needed to end the game shortly after.
Something similar happened against Cloud9. Every turret DIG took was matched by C9, but the boys-in-blue were stacking Drakes which then transitioned to a Baron-empowered push to the Nexus.
As disheartening as those games are, they were caused by problems the team can fix. Neo and Aphromoo can lead this team’s offense along with their impressive laners, but the team is working on its discipline to convert early leads into objectives – then to wins.
Dignitas takes on 100 Thieves, Golden Guardians, and Evil Geniuses in Week 7, where they’ll have more reps in by then to start mounting their push for playoffs.
Dexerto’s interview with Zaqueri ‘Aphromoo’ Black was conducted by Isaac McIntyre.