LCS: Top 3 Reasons Team Liquid Should Not Trade Doublelift

League of Legends. Photo Courtesy of Riot Games.
League of Legends. Photo Courtesy of Riot Games. /
Team Liquid.
League of Legends. Photo courtesy of Riot Games. /

With all the speculation that Team Liquid might trade away Doublelift before the LCS Summer Split, here are three reasons why the team should wait to pull the trigger.

From the time the news broke that Team Liquid (“TL”) was considering trading their star AD Carry, Yiliang “Doublelift” Peng, the LCS universe has been aflutter with speculation about where one of the best players in LCS history might end up. In the midst of all the speculation, though, the one destination that most have overlooked is for Doublelift to stay right where he is with Team Liquid.

In fact, incredibly, no one is even asking the question of whether trading Doublelift is a good idea or not. Remember, when TSM decided to release him years ago, they were crucified for that decision despite the fact that they were bringing in one of the best western bot lane duos ever to replace him. Now, years later (granted under different circumstances) Team Liquid looks prepared to do the same thing with no backup plan in place.

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Here are three reasons Team Liquid should not trade Doublelift.

1. They Won’t Get Fair Value

The obvious first point against trading Doublelift is that there is no way TL will get fair value for the star bot laner in return. In all likelihood, they’ll have to eat a lot of his remaining contract just to get him off their hands and there’s little chance they get back any player who holds the same value to his team. They’re not going to be able to swap him to Evil Geniuses for Jiizuke or to TSM for Broken Blade, but they probably will even have a hard time convincing Dignitas to trade him for Johnsun.

The big reason for this is that Doublelift only has half of one year left on his current contract. Whatever team trades for him will therefore just be getting him for the summer, unless they’re able to re-sign him in 2021 and beyond. That means either the team will have to know they want Doublelift as their ADC for the foreseeable future and that Doublelift wants to join their team.

With these factors, plus the uncertainty of COVID-19, it shrinks the pool of teams that realistically can acquire Doublelift to maybe four teams and he might only agree to re-sign with two of them. That puts a lot of leverage in the hands of TL’s trade partner and drives down Doublelift’s price.

2. They Don’t Have to Trade Him

What happens if Doublelift doesn’t get traded by the time Summer Split rolls around? Is the situation with Team Liquid so untenable that he would refuse to play, the coaching staff would be unable to work with him, and the team would fall apart?

Even if that worst-case scenario was the outcome (and from what I’ve seen and heard, I don’t think we’re close to that level of animosity on either side), TL still has an option outside of trading Doublelift: send him to Academy. While his fans might cry out at the atrocity that is Doublelift playing in Academy, remember that 100 Thieves had to do this with Ssumday last year and Blaber was in Academy for almost all of 2019 before re-emerging as the MVP.

If Double is truly underperforming and TL cannot find a suitable trade partner, they can simply stick him in Academy. And that could be the best thing for him.

Playing in the Academy League could motivate Doublelift, provide him with the drive to re-dedicate himself to League of Legends, and make him improve. It could also give him a chance away from the spotlight to reassess his priorities and figure out what he wants out of his career. Remember, he took a split off in 2017 to stream and came back more invigorated then ever. A split in Academy could be the reset and motivation Doublelift needs to come back and help TL for their Worlds push.

3. He’s Still Really Good

As bad as Doublelift was at the beginning of the 2020 Spring Split (and he was bad), after his illness/benching, he was actually quite strong for TL down the stretch. His positioning and laning improved, he seemed to find a bit of his synergy with CoreJJ again, and by the end of the split I had him my 7th-best ADC in the LCS.

Next. LCS 2020 Preseason Player Ranking. dark

Obviously, the idea that there are six LCS ADCs rated ahead of Doublelift is discouraging to his team, his fans, and himself, but my point is this: even on an off year Doublelift was still an incredibly productive ADC. For Team Liquid to trade him after a single bad split rather than to stick with their star and see if he can correct whatever issues were holding him back in summer is a massive mistake.

If it doesn’t work out, as noted above, the team can let Doublelift’s contract expire and lose nothing other than a shot at Worlds that appears to be growing dimmer by the day. If they keep him, though, and his bad performance from the spring motivates him to get back to his previous form, Team Liquid might be able to reclaim their spot at the top of the LCS.