Doublelift’s Trophy Case: From Punchline to Paragon

Photo by Riot Games.
Photo by Riot Games. /

A look back at the career of one of the greatest LCS players ever, Doublelift.

Peter Yiliang “Doublelift” Peng has officially announced his retirement from competitive play. The announcement came a few weeks after Team SoloMid franchise mid laner Soren “Bjergsen” Bjerg announced his own retirement. The retirement of both Bjergsen and Doublelift truly marks the end of an era in the LCS.

Each announcement received a flood of fanfare and well-wishers from across the North American scene. Former teammates, coaches, casters, and fans all took to social media to celebrate the two most decorated players in the history of the region.

The gap from these two titans of the region closing the book on their playing career will likely be felt for years to come. Their careers are forever linked both as teammates and rivals.

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Since Summer 2015 Doublelift has shaped the landscape of North America. He won every single split for the last six years except for three: Spring 2016, Spring 2017, and Spring 2020.

In Spring 2016 he and the newly rebuilt TSM took his old team Counter Logic Gaming, who had kicked him in the offseason, to five games in the LCS finals. In Spring 2017 Doublelift famously took a break from competitive play, before being loaned to Team Liquid for the second half of the split.

Doublelift dismantled WildTurtle and Biofrost in the team’s match against TSM and, despite ultimately having the play in the promotion tournament, saved Team Liquid from relegation. A team he would ironically play for after being kicked from TSM later that year and would also bring that organization championship after championship.

For then next 13 splits Doublelift lifted the LCS trophy in ten on them. The only instances he did not win were the splits where his new team went five games in the finals and a split where he took a break of his own volition.

With teammates and organizations changing frequently during that period, Doublelift was the one constant. This is without mentioning that on nearly every single one of these championship rosters Doublelift was the primary carry and best individual player. That is a streak of individual excellence that rivals the greatest players from every region, not just North America.

An often-overlooked aspect of Doublelift’s legacy is just how long he has been playing the game at the highest competitive level. He was at the Season 1 world championship dream hack tournament with Epik Gamer bot laning alongside Dyrus. Since the establishment of the bottom lane tandem we know today in the wake of that event, Doublelift has been one of the best North American AD Carry for the last nine years.

The brief stints in which there were legitimate arguments against that claim were in 2013 when he flat out refused to play new champions like Draven, and earlier this year when he similarly seemed unwilling to practice and adapt to new bot lane champions like Aphelios and Senna. However, these were temporary conditions of perhaps the most consistently excellent player in not only the history of North America, but competitive League of Legends as a whole.

Every year a big-name AD Carry would come to North America and attempt to usurp Doublelift’s throne as the best AD in the region. Every year they would fail. Zven, Arrow, Bang, each one took their shot, but Doublelift proved to be their superior.

While he only managed to claim one MVP award in the Summer of 2018, Doublelift was nearly always the best player on every team he played on. There are several splits where one could make a very strong case Doublelift should have been the MVP. The best example was Summer 2015, where Rush controversially received the award despite CLG being one tiebreaker away from placing first place in the regular season.

Additionally, the MVP award of Summer 2016, which was given to Bjergsen, could very easily and was very nearly awarded to Doublelift. Many claim, including myself, the primary reason TSM 2016 were able to be so dominant was because a guarantee TSM’s bottom lane would win the 2v2, secure dragon control, and display superior team-fighting, which nearly every Doublelift team has excelled at.

Another seemingly overlooked aspect of Doublelift’s career is the reputation he acquired early on as a toxic player who would routinely destroy the team environment. Players on CLG would detail how when things started to fall apart Doublelift would exacerbate team issues eroding the environment. The most famous example of this came when Aphromoo went to CLG management after Worlds 2015.

CLG had won their first championship together that very split in dominating fashion. Aphromoo gave CLG management an ultimatum, they needed to choose him or Doublelift, he would not play with him anymore.

Doublelift was also let go from TSM in the 2017 offseason when Zven and Mithy were brought over from G2 after yet another failure for TSM to make it out of the group stage at Worlds. Doublelift was also let go from Team Liquid earlier this year after the four-time champions failed to make the playoffs. His teammates cited a clear lack of willingness to practice or participate with the team, and his performance on the rift may have been the worst of his career.

His subsequent buyout from TSM and now recently revealed “forced” retirement is the last in a long line of teams siding against Doublelift. The fact remains that Doublelift has never left any team he has played for. He has always either been kicked or let go in favor of a player management believes will be better in the long run.

Perhaps the most surprising fact about Doublelift’s career is during the 2015 offseason TSM made him an offer before he was kicked, an offer that he rejected due to feeling loyalty towards his team, that CLG was his home.

Yet every single time a team has kicked Doublelift, he has directly made them pay for letting him go. In 2016 Spring CLG got the better of Doublelift, but in every match after Doublelift emerged victorious. After being let go by TSM, Doublelift established a new dynasty on Team Liquid with four straight championships. After Liquid let him go Doublelift defeated them this past summer in the loser’s finals in five games.

For all his domestic success the one black spot of his career has been his performance internationally. No matter how good his teams looked in NA there was a failure to translate play to the international stage. In the six times Doublelift attended Worlds in the LCS era he never made it out of groups.

There is always the exception of 2016 where, despite being a strong team, TSM were drawn into an unlucky group. The fact remains Doublelift only managed to make it out of a group stage at an international event one time.

In 2019, Team Liquid made the MSI semifinals with a 4-6 record. Their opponents were the LPL champions from China and the reigning world champions Invictus Gaming. Unlike most teams that win worlds, Invictus had not made a single change to their player roster in the offseason. The meta was perfect for them with a mix of strong top lane carries for hyper carry top laner TheShy and a solid complementary champion pool for mid laner Rookie. There was no world where Team Liquid would defeat IG, yet they did so three games to one.

Doublelift and his teammates pulled off THE biggest upset in the history of League of Legends. They defeated a prime Invictus Gaming in a best of five at the Mid-Season Invitational in a meta that was perfect for IG.

Even reexamining Doublelift’s 2018 MSI performance paints the North American AD Carry in a positive light. Despite his lane partner Olleh stepping down during the tournament for a brief period, TL went 4-6. Doublelift was hard carrying his team which had no other carry threat.

He battled legendary AD Carries such as Rekkles, Pray, and Uzi and took them to task. His performance at that tournament was probably the best of his entire career, especially internationally.

Next. Ranking the 50 greatest LCS players of all time. dark

His career began with the running joke of an empty trophy case; yet when he finally decided to hang up his jersey he had more than anyone else. 8 LCS trophies (which could have easily been 9), the best international showing by any North American team, Rift Rival Champion, MVP of the league, and many more.

He is the best AD Carry in the history of North America and a strong contender for the best Western AD Carry. He is the best North American born player of all time.

He is the GOAT of NA.