How the Doublelift roster swap improved both Liquid and TSM

Christian V. September 1, 2020

Since Yiliang “Doublelift” Peng moved back to Team SoloMid from Team Liquid in April, both teams have improved drastically. But how did that happen?

Doublelift has been playing at the top of the LCS for many years and has been an impactful player on both Liquid and TSM, winning a total of seven LCS trophies throughout his career. His original swap to Liquid in 2017 made the team a juggernaut in North America that no other team could stop for two years straight. His career before the swap was also filled with success at both TSM and Counter Logic Gaming.

The 2020 LCS Spring Split was not something to write home about though, as Liquid ended the split in ninth place after winning only seven games. The poor performance in spring started very early on because new jungler Mads “Broxah” Brock-Pedersen couldn’t get his visa approved and Doublelift couldn’t find the motivation to play. 

Doublelift said in an interview that he didn’t think there was much to play for during the spring split, since teams would now qualify for the World Championship exclusively through the summer split. This public statement in the spring seemingly had an effect on the teams’ performance, something that Doublelift said he regretted in a recent interview.

Coming into the summer split, Liquid decided to release Doublelift from the team so he could join TSM once again. This swap would ignite both teams once again and have the two organizations climb back to the top of the LCS. 

Liquid refined its play after release of Doublelift

Most notable has been the improvement from Liquid, who ended the 2020 LCS Summer Split in first place after the regular split’s games. Liquid suddenly started to perform individually again and didn’t necessarily have to play through the bot lane anymore, as they did with Doublelift. 

Even after losing the best bot laner in LCS history, Liquid is still a team to be feared in the bottom lane. Edward “Tactical” Ra has stepped up to the task and has learned a lot over the course of the split with support Jo “CoreJJ” Yong-in by his side. The young bot laner proved himself against FlyQuest in the summer playoffs, where he carried his team to a game five on Kalista.

The shotcalling on Liquid has also changed, now that a vocal player like Doublelift is no longer on the team. This has most likely allowed players such as Broxah and Nicolaj “Jensen” Jensen to have a bigger influence on in-game decisions. The newly updated coaching staff with Joshua “Jatt” Leesman in front also seems to have had a great impact on the team.

Doublelift's return helped TSM get back in shape

Even though Doublelift’s time at Liquid had a poor ending, he has made a great comeback on TSM. Being reunited with Søren “Bjergsen” Bjerg and Vincent “Biofrost” Wang has seemingly been good for Doublelift, who has again found his motivation. 

TSM finished the spring split in fifth place, but was knocked out of the playoffs after losing a close series to FlyQuest. Even though TSM managed to win some games, they did not live up to expectations. This meant that import bot laner Kasper “Kobbe” Kobberup was sent back to Europe after a short stay in North America.

The addition of Doublelift gave fans a nostalgic vibe, knowing that the old successful bot lane duo was back together. The results also started to improve on Summoner’s Rift, with TSM ending the regular summer split in fourth place with a solid 12-6 record. 

The consistency in the bot lane seems to be what TSM needed, giving the team an experienced veteran back on the team to call the shots when things get hectic. Doublelift still has to show that he can carry games on his own, but up until now, it has not been needed. 

TSM and Liquid will clash in the lower bracket final on September 5, and the winner qualifies for the final against FlyQuest.