Team Liquid have reportedly put Yiliang “Doublelift” Peng’s contract up for sale, according to journalist and insider Travis Gafford. If Liquid part ways with the bot laner ahead of the Summer Split, this will end Doublelift’s two and a half year stint with the four-times LCS champions one split earlier before the official expiration of his contract.
The decision comes in the wake of a very disappointing season for Team Liquid. The four-in-a-row LCS champions came into the Spring Split after a very strong 2019 campaign, which not only cemented them as the best team in North America, but also saw them play the Mid-Season Invitational finals. Despite crashing out of Worlds group stage, Team Liquid were still considered the favorites to win 2020 Spring.
The reality of their performance was much different. Liquid’s new jungler, former Fnatic player Mads “Broxah” Pedersen, remained stuck in Europe due to visa issues and Liquid had to play with substitute Shern “Shernfire” Cherng Tai for the first three weeks. But very soon it became clear that the jungle was not Liquid’s only weak spot.
Usually in perfect sync, the bot lane duo of Doublelift and Jo “CoreJJ” Yong-in struggled to win lane game after game. In the process, Doublelift’s stats crumbled and by the end of the split, he was tied for the worst KDA among all bot laners.
On several occasions, Doublelift also spoke about his lack of motivation in regards to the format of the Spring Split, which awards no qualifier points for the World Championship. This led to Doublelift’s subsequent benching for three matches, but when he returned, things didn’t look much different — Liquid’s bot lane was still struggling.
In later interviews, Doublelift further hinted about disharmony within the team, stating there’s no “clear plan” on how to play and that he was no longer the primary shotcaller.
Given Doublelift’s marquee career as the LCS GOAT, Liquid’s decision to sell his contract likely doesn’t have anything to do with ability, but rather the very internal disagreements he’s spoken about. If the team is never on the same page, there will be no more titles for Liquid — and likely no Worlds qualification either — regardless of how good its individual players are.
The summer off-season is approaching, with LCS Finals happening this weekend, so very soon we’ll know whether Doublelift will really leave, where he will go, and who will take his place in Liquid.