Nobody enjoys third-wheeling – even personalities, who exist with a near permanent heart-warming grin on their face, will find discomfort in being the spare part to an otherwise enamoured couple. As Team SoloMid welcome back AD Carry Yiliang “Doublelift” Peng with open arms, it’s set to be a challenging split for the man who kept the seat warm in his absence, Jason “WildTurtle” Tran.
His mission accomplished and Team Liquid’s NA LCS status maintained for yet another split, Doublelift has inevitably returned to Team SoloMid to begin his training for the Summer Split. TSM’s official announcement on the TL situation, clearly outlined that Doublelift’s position with the relegation threatened squad would terminate at the end of the LCS 2017 Spring Split.
With WildTurtle still grateful to have a bed to his name in the TSM house, the reigning champions have delivered on their pitch for a six-man roster. Fitting all the pieces into the puzzle however will prove to be a difficult task for the heavyweight eSports brand.
As part of Team SoloMid’s official announcement welcoming the AD Carry back to the roster, Doublelift reiterated his enthusiasm to play at the highest level:
“I’m really excited to be playing again on TSM, and feel reinvigorated from this break.
“After last season’s Worlds, I was overwhelmed by the weight of my massive underperformance when it mattered most.
“Coming back into LCS, my only priority is to win worlds and nothing else. It’s a huge honor to be able to play with everyone on TSM and I will make the most of it.
“This is the hungriest that I’ve ever been to succeed, and soon I will prove it to my teammates, my fans, and the world.”
Yiliang “Doublelift” Peng
How will a six man roster work for Team SoloMid?
Substitutes within a League of Legends roster certainly aren’t unheard of, proven to be an effective form of strategic diversity by three-time World Champions SK Telecom T1 on numerous occasions. The Korean squad highlighted the value of internal competition, even for positions such as the Mid lane, where SKT pitched two of the best players in the games history against one another to earn a spot in the starting roster: Lee “Faker” Sang-hyeok and Lee “Easyhoon” Ji-hoon.
Whilst the rotation system has proved beneficial in South Korea, it is yet to find notable success in the western LCS setup. In looking to successfully incorporate both Doublelift and WildTurtle into the roster’s strategy, Team SoloMid will need to accomplish something no other side has previously achieved; not even in Korea are AD Carries rotated on a game by game basis.
Given that Doublelift was brought in as WildTurtle’s replacement, it’s difficult to imagine a scenario in which the former Immortals man would be given the nod over Doublelift. Team SoloMid have outlined that the two ADC’s would focus on their own quota of diverse strategies, though finding a strategy in which WildTurtle presents a better fit to Doublelift is certainly a head-scratching predicament. When the World Championship dawns, where will WildTurtle fit into the equation when every opposition is the best their respective region has to offer?
Irrespective of any previous heroics, it remains difficult to picture a scenario in which picking WildTurtle would provide an overwhelming advantage to omitting Doublelift from the starting roster. As a natural shotcaller and renowned as the best AD Carry in North America, Doublelift is widely accepted to be a better player overall.
The sitcom of Team SoloMid’s AD Carry position is framed for a series of classic ‘third wheeling’ episodes. Yet not even in the farcical world of television would a script be acceptable as plausible in which: after a lengthy and enjoyable relationship, the love of your life kicks you out in favour of a better looking suitor, only to then take you back after it doesn’t work out with your replacement… before later asking that you split the time, that was once yours entirely, with the guy who replaced you, to give him another chance!
Wildturtle has already shown a willingness to leave TSM once before, and with Team Liquid evidently in the market for an AD Carry, it’s hard to imagine that he would choose to remain in Doublelift’s shadow rather than pursuing his options elsewhere. Whilst the prospect of a six man Team SoloMid roster fulfils its purpose of appeasing the community, the far more realistic outcome will be that TSM thank WildTurtle for his services once more, and usher Doublelift back to his former glory.
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