The last week was quite tame by esports’ standards. Due to the upcoming Easter holiday, the only big events to be scheduled were the LCS Spring Split Semifinals in Europe and North America.
In Europe, Splyce and Team Vitality tried to challenge the goliaths of Europe, G2 Esports and Fnatic respectively. Splyce started off well, winning Game 1 but G2 Esports proved their championship mettle and refused to be cowed, coming back in the series and winning it 3-1.
In the second Semifinals match, Fnatic started the series with their strong foot forward, winning games 1 and 2, before Vitality found their strength and tried for a comeback. It was all for nought, however, because Fnatic rallied in the fourth game, winning it and advancing to the Finals to face G2 Esports for the Iron Throne of Europe.
In North America, Team Liquid proved that the memes are over against Echo Fox, winning their series 3-1, with Yiliang “Doublelift” Peng playing like an absolute god. On the other side of the bracket, things were much less certain. While the 100 Thieves won the series 3-2, they had more trouble than any other team in the West.
Doublelift vs. Zaqueri “Aphromoo” Black, that’s a great story for the Finals, right? Normally, it would be but something happened that changed the narrative and shook the esports world.
Unfortunately, it had nothing to do with in-game matters.
On April the 1st, ESPN broke a story about Doublelift’s family tragedy. At first, people suspected this to be a really dark, inappropriate and misguided April Fools joke but Doublelift confirmed the news in a TwitLonger post.
What followed was a flood of sympathy, support, and prayers for the pro and his family.
It remains to be seen whether Doublelift will play in the Finals match against 100 Thieves. We, for one, wouldn’t bat an eye if he didn’t and Team Liquid forfeited the match or had to use a sub ADC. Tragedy of this magnitude is hard to imagine.
If Doublelift plays in the match and loses, there should be no criticism about the outcome. If Liquid wins, this could be a small ray of positive emotion in the sea of confusion, grief and sadness surrounding the Peng family at this moment.
What we hope to see is none of the DrakeMoon and DrakeLounge users memeing about the subject on the Internet, both on Twitter, Reddit and the NA LCS Finals broadcast. This will also be a big test for the NA LCS broadcast crew and their professionalism. The way they handle the situation will set the trend for the future and establish the way to deal with it. We hope that they don’t make any missteps.