Team Liquid have announced the signing of star AD Carry Yiliang “Doublelift” Peng for the remainder of the 2017 Spring Split, a move that will immediately move the ‘former’ Team SoloMid man into the starting roster and give a struggling Team Liquid hope for a better future. With the addition of Doublelift and the transition of Chae “Piglet” Gwang-jin to the Mid lane, Team Liquid finally possess a roster capable of capturing a spot at the World Championships.
This is the roster Team Liquid fans have been waiting for. After the huge influx of investment into Team Liquid during the off-season from names such as Peter Guber and Ted Leonsis, Liquid fans were expecting a roster that would challenge for the top spot in the NA LCS. Sadly, that roster never materialized, and when the final roster was announced many fans were left disappointed.
As Team Liquid spun into a free-fall during the first half of the Spring Split, it became immediately apparent changes were going to be needed to avoid relegation. It started with the removal of Mid laner Greyson “GoldenGlue” Gilmer and his replacement by Piglet, an AD Carry renowned for his mechanical skill and ability to carry, shifting into an unfamiliar role. With Piglet’s transition, Young-bin “Youngbin” Chung was brought in to replace him at the ADC position. Youngbin had formerly been a Mid lane for Team Liquid Academy, and was similarly moving to a role he had never played professionally.
The first week with Team Liquid’s new roster was a mixed bag of results. Playing against two middle of the pack teams (Echo Fox and Immortals), TL emerged from the week with a record of 1-1. While Piglet showed flashes of brilliance in the mid lane and captured two player of the game awards, he also struggled at times to adapt to his new position. Still, given more time Piglet has shown he has the potential to evolve into at least a decent LCS Mid laner for Team Liquid, with the ability to pop off during any given game.
The more troubling trend for Team Liquid was the play of Youngbin along with their support Matthew “Matt” Elento. The duo looked overwhelmed in almost every game, with Youngbin looking extremely uncomfortable in his new role against two of the worst bot lanes in the LCS. Basic positioning mistakes and ill-advised trades highlighted the fact that this would not be a sustainable choice if Team Liquid hoped to compete for a playoff position, let alone a spot at the World Championship.
Doublelift has not played professionally since a disappointing finish at last year’s World Championships with the NA LCS Champions, Team SoloMid. After carrying high expectations that had many analysts predicting a top four finish, TSM failed to escape the group stages and ended with a 3-3 record. Doublelift would later announce his decision to take a break from professional play to recharge and focus on streaming, but he was adamant he would be back again for the Summer Split. Whether Doublelift would actually return to professional play has been debated, but very few could have predicted his return to professional play would be with Team Liquid.
Doublelift immediately catapults Team Liquid’s roster into contention within the NA LCS, as many considered him to be NA’s top ADC before he announced his break. He plays with a very high level of mechanical skill and brings a sorely needed shot-calling presence to Team Liquid.
“Doublelift has a proven track record in high pressure situations and he will bring a leadership presence to this team.
“Not only is he extremely mechanically gifted, he brings a veteran shotcalling presence that the team needed. I believe with his skill and work ethic he will have a positive impact on the team that we are searching for.
“I am very excited to work with him through the rest of the split.”
David “Dlim” Lim, Team Liquid Head Coach
Doublelift has always been highly regarded for his work ethic and dedication to the game, and his presence on the team should have a tremendous impact further than just in the game. His mentorship abilities have evolved throughout his career, and this was something specifically highlighted in his time with rookie support Vincent “Biofrost” Wang.
There is a catch to Doublelift joining Team Liquid, in that the contract is only temporary and will terminate at the end of this split. After that, Team SoloMid has announced Doublelift plans to once again join TSM where they will field a six-man roster until the end of the season. They have characterized Doublelift’s move to Team Liquid as more of a conditioning run, where he can be eased back into competitive lay before rejoining TSM.
“During my break, I realized that playing competitively is my calling and although I didn’t intend to come back before the Summer Split, an opportunity came up for me to return the to pro play earlier.
“My time on TL will help me ease back into the competitive environment and prepare me for my tryout with TSM in the summer.
“In the meantime, please cheer for me on Team Liquid! ”
Yiliang ‘Doublelift’ Peng
Even if that’s the story being publicly announced, it would be easy to assume things may not fully play out that way. Although TSM claims they will field a six-man roster, it would be reasonable to assume that either Doublelift or current TSM ADC Jason “Wildturtle” Tran would depart the team if they were not awarded the starting position. Either one of these players would be a huge addition to Team Liquid moving forward towards the future.
Regardless, Team Liquid have finally put together a roster to be excited about. The actions of owner Steve “Liquid112” Arhancet have shown once again he is dedicated to the success of the team and committed to finding the pieces they need to be successful. Although this may be temporary, Doublelift’s arrival can be a stabilizing force for a struggling roster, a catalyst to propel them towards future successes.