Following the disappointing end of the World Championship, one of the most worrying possibilities for Team SoloMid was that some of its players would be too disappointed with the lackluster result after putting in so much effort to keep competing and striving to get even better. As it turns out, one of the players on TSM, Yiliang “Doublelift” Peng, one of the Last Mohicans of League of Legends, decided to take a break for the 2017 Spring Split.
In the official announcement, Doublelift is quoted saying – “I am not so talented as many believe. The quality that has kept me domestically dominant for five straight seasons isn't nature, it’s determination. So many of my peers from Season 1 lacked the fire and willpower to be the best, and they have long faded away. When I do something, I put my heart and soul into it, striving to achieve greatness.” He goes on to point out that, “That's why it's time for a small break. After our convincing performance in Summer, NALCS Spring is considerably less appetizing.”
Now, the most pressing issue for any Doublelift fan to consider is what the roster situation is going to be when and if LiftLift decides to come back for the Summer Split. The owner of Team SoloMid, Andy “Reginald” Dinh, had this to say: “In the event that he decides to come back, we would require him to compete for his old position. At the end of the day, we don’t recruit based on popularity, what’s important to TSM is for us to take the best person for the position and win."
Open Tryouts for the new starting AD Carry for Team SoloMid will be held sometime in November. Possible applicants are reassured that the new AD Carry won’t be a placeholder for Doublelift.
Doublelift himself is going to try and stream full-time, planning to try and come back for the Summer Split. This brings up the discussion about the uselessness of the Spring Split in the grand scheme of things. Yes, a great performance in that Split can help a team to qualify for Worlds, but the problem is that teams can become dramatically weaker between Splits, both due to meta shifts, roster changes, and drops in teams’ form. As an example, let’s look at what happened to Counter Logic Gaming in the 2016 NA LCS Summer Split. They won Spring, got a lot of points, but failed hard in Summer and yet, they still qualified for Worlds. That’s not a very good system. Basically, if you wreck noobs in Summer, you can slack off a bit in the Spring. With that in mind, Doublelift’s hiatus isn’t such a bad thing.
It remains to be seen who’s going to replace Doublelift. If he’s good, the superstar might not have a team to come back to if he decides to keep going ham in the Summer Split. Another possibility to consider is that Doublelift is one of the most popular players in the world. He could go down the route of Michael “Imaqtpie” Santana and Marcus “Dyrus” Hill, streaming full time and raking in the easy bucks. If he did that, who would blame him? The Last Mohican gave a quarter of his life to the pro scene, cashing out might be what the doctor ordered.