LCS 2021: Three Big Questions About Doublelift’s Retirement

Photo by Robert Reiners/Getty Images.
Photo by Robert Reiners/Getty Images. /

Eight-time LCS champion Doublelift has announced his retirement from the LCS.

Did you think the offseason was done? After watching Bjergsen retire, Perkz leave G2, and Rekkles leave Fnatic, we have now seen another seismic shift of power in professional League of Legends. Today, eight-time LCS champion – including being a part of the defending champions TSM – Yiliang “Doublelift” Peng, announced his retirement from professional play.

While this certainly isn’t the first time that Doublelift has taken time off from professional play and flirted with retirement (he took off the Spring Split of 2017 to try his hand at streaming before returning), this announcement feels quite definitive. There have been a number of rumors that the retirement might be coming if TSM could not land a top-tier support like SwordArt, and Doublelift himself seemed to have some waning passion to grind League (saying the Spring Split didn’t matter).

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But with the news that another of the best LCS players ever has retired, here are three big questions we still have.

1. What is Next for Doublelift?

In the cases of Bjergsen, Rekkles, and Perkz, there was a clear path forward. Bjergsen transitioned to TSM’s head coach, Perkz came across the Atlantic to join Cloud9, and Rekkles took over for Perkz with G2.

For Doublelift, though, there is no clear path forward. His Twitlonger describes the “next chapter” in vague terms, which makes me believe he doesn’t necessarily have an identified next step in his career.

The possibilities are endless for him. He could easily step into a coaching, management, or analyst position at any time and provide incredible value, but I would actually love to see him transition to an on-camera position. He has, historically, been a strong member of an analyst desk during Worlds of years past, and he could be a great addition to the LCS production team.

2. What Does this Mean for TSM’s Roster?

Obviously, this throws a massive wrench into TSM’s plans for next season. TSM released top laner Sergen “Broken Blade” Çelik and Erik “Treatz” Wessén to make room for an import slot to use in the support role. Both Broken Blade and Treatz signed in the LEC. 

That leaves TSM now with open spots in the top lane, ADC, and support positions. They have one import slot, which was going to be used on a support to pair with Doublelift, but now TSM has a lot more options.

With the presumptive ADC now becoming TSM’s Academy bot laner Lawrence “Lost” Sze Yuy Hui, TSM could look at a domestic support (Zeyzal is still available, as are OPL standouts like Rogue, Decoy, and Eyla) and spend that import slot on a top laner.

The problem, though, is that all of this comes late in the free agency process, after TSM missed out on the chance to rebuild their team around PowerofEvil. Imagine if they had moved on from Doublelift and went into 2021 with a roster of Broken Blade/Spica/PoE/Lost/Treatz? That is a roster that could have had a lot of upside. For now, though, TSM is going to struggle to fill their remaining holes.

3. What does this Mean for Evil Geniuses?

The other team that this now impacts is Evil Geniuses, who had been involved in a trade that would send Lost to EG as their starting ADC and allow TSM to acquire Heo “Huni” Seung-hoon. Since that trade was never finalized, TSM will likely try to walk back and keep Lost as their starting ADC, leaving EG without many good options at ADC.

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In addition, EG now is unable to offload Huni while also having still committed to Impact. With two top laners on their roster and no ADC, we might see some wild wheeling and dealing yet from EG.