Team Liquid star bot laner Yiliang “Doublelift” Peng explained why he wasn’t on stage for his team in week 6 — and why it might be some time until fans see him.
While Doublelift’s health has been bad for some time, the player himself revealed there’s more to his absence and that’s lack of motivation. Doublelift has on several occasion spoken about how he struggles finding a purpose to compete and win in the Spring Split — a season which carries zero weight towards Worlds qualification — including in official Riot interviews.
“The first half [of the Spring Split] pretty much sucked for me and my team. Everyone’s not playing their best. For me, personally, I feel like I should’ve put myself to a higher standard but I pretty much just didn’t care. And now that we’re behind, I think I care a lot more. When we started losing a lot, a realized I care a lot about my reputation and that I don’t have indestructible reputation because I won so much domestically.”
The lack of motivation showed in Doublelift’s performance. Usually almost unkillable on the Rift, Doublelift now holds the lowest KDA among bot laners in the entire LCS, despite his continuously outstanding CS and XP scores. His team damage % has also fallen significantly: from 32.1% in the 2019 Summer Playoffs to just 27% in this current Spring Split.
Team Liquid’s solution was to bring up Edward “Tactical” Ra from the Academy team to sub in for Doublelift in week 5. The rookie played two great matches for Liquid, putting on a perfect 8/0/6 KDA combined in the wins against TSM and 100 Thieves and pushed Liquid from the bottom half of the table to a tied third place in the current rankings.
On Wednesday, both Doublelift and Team Liquid CEO Steve Arhancet confirmed, that Peng has been benched for reasons not pertaining to his health.
Arhancet further added, that the starting roster will be evaluated on a week by week basis, essentially saying that Doublelift will have to fight for his spot and renew his motivation now that a hungry new bot laner is igniting Liquid’s fans and bringing results. For the coming week 7, Tactical will start for Liquid against CLG and Immortals.