Although 10 players will take to the Rift during Sunday’s NA LCS Spring Final, the eyes of thousands will be focused directly onto the bottom lane, as old friends in Yiliang “Doublelift” Peng and Zaqueri “Aphromoo” Black will once again rekindle an old flame as they write yet another chapter of League of Legends history.
Since Doublelift and Aphromoo last played together in 2015, the former duo has faced off against each other a total of 28 times, while Doublelift holds the all-time advantage in their personal head-to-head with a record of 19-7. However, when the two last faced off on March 3, Team Liquid held a massive advantage throughout the entirety of the game, as a gold differential of over 17,000 helped strangulate 100 Thieves. Although Doublelift and Co. dominated that 31 minute rout of 100T, it would be the the Thieves’ only loss during the 2nd half of the split en route to a first place finish in the regular season. But on Sunday, the slate is clean, as only 3 wins stand between both teams, a banner, and a trip to the Mid-Season Invitational.
Nearly two years ago to the date, TSM and Counter Logic Gaming squared off in Las Vegas for the NA LCS title, and although both of those teams have veered far away from Sunday’s contest, the timeless matchup of Doublelift and Aphromoo still stands after all this time. Then, Aphromoo and CLG were able to get the better of TSM and Doublelift, as the team secured a trip to MSI, where they eventually fell to SK Telecom in the Grand Finals, posting the best showing by a North American team at an international event ever. And although the rosters of old have dissipated since then, the competitive spirit of seasons past lives on through these veterans in a new era in North American League of Legends.
In 2018, two complete strangers to the regional finals in 100 Thieves and Team Liquid will face off, and North America will send an entirely new organization to represent the region at the international level when the dust finally settles. No matter which team brings home the title on Sunday, be sure that either Doublelift or Aphromoo will be at the center of attention when their respective team reaches Paris. Whether it be the historically dominant superstar in Doublelift or the revitalized MVP in Aphromoo, both players have shined consistently for the past 11 weeks, and now, each of them have something to prove during Sunday’s series, as the Spring title and a ticket to international play rest on the horizon.
Both players have served as the figurative and even literal heart and soul of their respective teams, as their sheer presence alone has helped to drive their squads to an appearance in the Spring finals. Aphromoo’s shotcalling prowess and veteran foresight were enough to make him the first ever Support player to win the MVP award for a split, while Doublelift’s 39.0 KDA in the playoffs has been enough to net Team Liquid a spot in the finals.
On Sunday, the narrative is obvious, and the gameplay will speak for itself, but with Doublelift and Aphromoo at the center of it all, the NA LCS may be turning a new page, but the legacy of its founders still lives on, even today.