Doublelift’s Indecision Over His Future Has Screwed Team SoloMid’s Season

“I’ll return in Summer”, “I’ll see how I feel in Summer”, “I’ll come back even stronger, believe me”, “I like streaming, but I’ll come back if they need me”… the swinging pendulum of Yiliang “Doublelift” Peng’s future with Team SoloMid is emotionally draining. Since he announced his ‘retirement’ following the 2016 World Championship, Doublelift has seemingly changed his stance on a weekly basis.

Jason “Wildturtle” Tran’s reintroduction to the Team SoloMid roster was met with the a notably lukewarm reaction from a significant proportion of the fanbase. Turtle was immediately labelled as a placeholder for TSM, a player of sufficient quality to keep the the seat warm during Doublelift’s hiatus to try-out streaming and live with his girlfriend.

The unfortunate WildTurtle branding is understandable, considering Doublelift had essentially previously guaranteed his return to the roster for the Summer Split.

Team SoloMid immediately opened up applications for a replacement, with every potential applicant understanding the likelihood that they would represent the team for a single split before standing down for Doublelift’s return to the stage. For all the discussion on high-calibre talent such as the former ROX Tigers’ star, Kim “PraY” Jong-in – without the promise of a long-term future – there were seemingly few incentives for a world class AD Carry to join the NA LCS champions.

WildTurtle fit the bill perfectly as an established player for the organisations and a solid record in the previous split with Immortals. The biggest issue with this roster addition is that by adding Turtle, the team is now committed to building around his strengths and weaknesses if they want to succeed.

Source: Riot Games Flickr
Source: Riot Games Flickr

Of course this would’ve been entirely manageable for Team SoloMid… had it been for a single split. Yet, every time Doublelift is pitched a question regarding his future, the answer seems to change each time. Speaking most recently at the League of Legends All-Star Event Barcelona 2016, Doublelift was asked how he felt about returning to TSM and having to fight for his spot in the summer?

“I’m kind of just sad that the initial response was… like most of the fans say that TSM doesn’t really care about winning because they went with Wildturtle, but they can probably still do really well without me, just because the core of the team is really strong.

“I actually really enjoy streaming a lot more than I would, just like the life that I have is really nice. So I’ll comeback if they need me, but I hope that I can be successful doing my own thing and they can be successful without me.”

Yiliang “Doublelift” Peng

It’s looking increasingly likely that Doublelift will switch to the glamorous life of a streamer on a permanent basis, making the signing of WildTurtle – on the provision that it was to be for a single split – an oversight from the Team SoloMid management.

Source: Riot Games Flickr
Source: Riot Games Flickr

Spring 2017 could have been the split where the team builds synergy around a convincing replacement AD Carry, but instead TSM are going to end up wasting a split with a known commodity in WildTurtle.

Most of the teams in the league made moves to improve during the off-season; the NA LCS has never seen such a wealth of talent flooding in to strengthen the region. Yet Team SoloMid, as a result of Doublelift continued indecisiveness, have effectively shot themselves in the foot.