Yiliang “Doublelift” Peng has fulfilled the dream of every Team SoloMid fan following the team’s disappointing performance at the Mid-Season Invitational. The AD Carry’s return to the competitive stage was expected to usher a revitalised era of TSM dominance – will the reintroduction of Doublelift provide the desired effect or prove to be a placebo?
As Team SoloMid exited the stage for the last time at the 2017 Mid-Season Invitational, the online inquest into the team’s failure at the international event was already well underway.
Head Coach Parth “Parth” Naid and jungler Dennis “Svenskeren” Johnsen shouldered much of the blame, though it was the removal of Jason “Wildturtle” Tran in favour of Doublelift’s return that many fans found to be the most agreeable course of action.
The spring season was largely one of reflection for Doublelift. Hoping to avoid burnout by turning his attention to streaming, TSM’s treasured veteran was evidently wounded by his experiences at the 2016 World Championship.
Satisfied that he had put the nightmares of the tournament behind him, Doublelift soon found himself vying for a return to the NA LCS. Eager to reiterate as status as the region’s strongest ADC, Doublelift joined Team Liquid on a short-term loan towards the end of the Spring Split, hoping to single-handedly save the team from relegation.
Defeating Team SoloMid and settling a personal score with WildTurtle before triumphing comfortably in the promotion tournament, Team Liquid certainly benefited from the desired “Doublelift Effect”.
Doublelift could do little to save Team SoloMid as they squandered a seemingly insurmountable lead against G2 eSports at MSI 2017. Despite announcing his return to the fray, it was announced ahead of time that the former Counter Logic Gaming star would not travel to Brazil with the team.
Upon reuniting with his teammates, fans were hoping, rather expecting, an immediate ‘Doublelift Effect’ to take the team to new heights; the AD carry’s shot-calling abilities and mechanical prowess were all deemed as invaluable factors to TSM’s success.
Speaking to ESPN eSports however, Doublelift explained that perhaps the fanbase were misinformed as to what he would bring to the team upon his return:
“The community definitely doesn’t really understand what makes a player valuable.”
“Like, just their individual play, or is it the communication they bring to the team? Is it the help they bring to their teammates, or what is it exactly that makes a player super great?
“For example, Aphromoo might not be the best mechanical player, but he pretty much has every other aspect you would want in a teammate.
“He’s extremely likable, great leadership skills, and drives everybody on the team to a single purpose. Things happened at MSI that I would have noticed and tried to steer in the right direction.”
Yiliang “Doublelift” Peng
The desired ‘Doublelift Effect’ will look to bring Team SoloMid back to the level of dominance enjoyed in the 2016 Summer Split, whilst eradicating the flaws demonstrated in Rio de Janeiro.
Having triumphed over Cloud9 and Counter Logic Gaming in the first four games of the Summer Split, ordinarily Team SoloMid would already be considered comfortable favourites to claim North America’s top seed for the forthcoming World Championship.
Yet, with uncharacteristic defeats at the hands of Immmortals and Team Dignitas, Doublelift’s return to the starting lineup has proved rockier than many fans might have anticipated.
Whilst the community may not fully-appreciate what it is that makes that makes Double so “valuable” to TSM, results suggest that they are yet to unknowingly witness its full effect.
Just as antibiotics must complete their full course in order to cure a patient of their ailment, so too must Team SoloMid be granted an entire split with their veteran AD carry in order to enjoy the desired ‘Doublelift Effect’.