Doublelift admits he has “a lot of catching up to do” in the LCS

Carver Fisher

After his dominant 14-0 hard carry performance against Team Liquid, Dexerto sat down with Doublelift to get his thoughts on the current bot lane meta, whether he doubted himself coming out of retirement, and his long history alongside Bjergsen.

Saying that Peter ‘Doublelift’ Peng was a player that LCS fans were excited to see come back is an understatement. His coming out of retirement to play alongside Søren ‘Bjergsen’ Bjerg was a dream come true for old-school LCS fans – something that many thought we’d never see again.

What’s more, 100 Thieves are off to a pretty solid start. Their losses to Cloud9 and FlyQuest aside, 100 Thieves have been performing well. With the current meta leaning so heavily on bot lane, much of the responsibility to carry has been put on Doublelift, and he’s taken that responsibility in stride.

While he had doubts going into the split, many of those have been dispelled for both himself and his fans. Dexerto asked Doublelift about what it was like transitioning back into pro play, his thoughts on the double-ADC bot lane meta, and his storied history alongside Bjergsen.

Doublelift’s meteoric return to the LCS on 100 Thieves

Despite a long history of domestic dominance, LCS fans certainly had their doubts when Doublelift announced he’d be coming out of retirement. Though he’s remained a strong player in solo queue and Champions Queue through his time away, there was no telling how things would go on a roster with him playing alongside 2 rookie players.

Doublelift had some worries of his own coming in, and he thought there was a distinct possibility he could fall flat on his face.

“I definitely had a ton of doubts, yeah. I feel like it’s normal to… I feel like it’d be a pretty big red flag if I came back and I had like, absolute, unshakeable confidence that I was gonna be the best. I think that the fear is actually a little bit of a driver, you know? To put in that extra amount of work, or to basically seek perfection. I think you need like, extraneous drive.

I don’t know if it’s actually possible for you to just wander back into the LCS after a 2-year break and take it casually. I was sort of afraid that I would come back and just fall on my face and be super disappointing and tarnish my legacy.

This is why, when I signed, when I made the decision to sign with 100 Thieves and play again, I knew I was going to have to level up. To practice differently, to practice harder than I ever had before because everyone else has this huge advantage over me. They’ve been playing professionally and competing and playing scrims for 2 years and I haven’t. So, I have a lot of catching up to do.”

If starting 4-2 with your two losses being against top-of-the-table teams means you’ve got catching up to do, this new 100 Thieves roster isn’t off to a bad start. Between Doublelift’s gradual return to form and the high ceiling that Busio, Tenacity, and Closer have ahead of them, there’s a lot of raw, latent potential on this roster. Potential Bjergen and Doublelift have been doing their best to form into the next generation of strong players.

Doublelift introduces the idea of “extreme ownership”

We previously asked Bjergsen about being reunited with Doublelift and how they’re building up a strong “culture” on the team. Doublelift had a lot to say about the subject himself, and even gave us a term for the values which the team holds highest.

“We have two rookies, right? It’s their first time playing LCS, promoted from academy. Busio and Tenacity, they’re both very, very talented. Very promising futures. They’ll be playing professionally long after I’m done and just a has-been streamer again. And so, what does that mean? These guys are impressionable because they’re young.

And I think Closer, by the way, is like in-between. He’s not quite a seasoned veteran of the game that’s been playing forever, but he’s also developed himself to be a leader, a strong voice, somebody who knows how he wants to play.

So, the team culture has a great dynamic for us. That open criticism is one of the core tenets of our team; we call it extreme ownership.”

Doublelift went on to define what extreme ownership is and what it means to him. It’s a core part of 100 Thieves’ success and a core part of how he’s learned to think about League of Legends after over a decade of competitive experience.

“Extreme ownership is essentially taking as much accountability as you can, even in situations where it wouldn’t even make sense because that is the mentality that will make you a better player. If something in the game is not called, if something in the game is not being done, extreme ownership is not only admitting to your own flaws and mistakes, but trying to do as much as you can.

I’ve always said, instead of extreme ownership, ‘seek perfection’. Because that’s really what you want. The perfect player is able to control all 4 of his teammates while playing his own champion perfectly while playing every champion at the highest level while being a positive influence— Imagine what the perfect player is. No one is that, but we’re all trying to get there.”

The ups and downs of Doublelift and Bjergsen’s friendship

These two have a long history together in the LCS. Their time on TSM marked some of the greatest moments for North American fans, and their history of domestic dominance is a big part of why these two players are held in such high regard.

However, it’s important to remember that success is almost purely domestic. International competition hasn’t gone too well for this duo, and that’s something they’re looking to change this year.

“Playing with Soren is definitely a dream. It’s funny because it’s like the boy band that always breaks up. We always play together, do well, or, do ‘well’, have a tragic ending like 0-6 at Worlds, TSM, f******, I just ran it down versus Crown. There’s always something, right?

We switch teams, and then we don’t play together anymore. And I would say, just to be completely honest, it’s damaging to our friendship a little bit when we undergo something really… difficult, really upsetting. Like Worlds. And then we get over it.

We’re gonna be lifetime friends, but also I have a ton of respect for him as an individual. He has such a crazy work ethic, he believes in the same values as I do when it comes to being direct with your teammates. To be open, to be vulnerable, but at the same time to hold your teammates to a high standard.

You will never be a good player if you cannot accept your mistakes, that’s what it comes down to. And also, even if you can accept your mistakes, if you don’t put in the work, you’re also not going to be a good player.”

Bjergsen drove home how important their friendship and shared view on the game was to 100 Thieves’ success in our recent discussion with him, and Doublelift seems to feel the same. Both players are certainly hoping to reach new highs this year despite being several years into their careers.

Doublelift isn’t the only ADC in bot lane for 100 Thieves

It’s no secret that the bot lane meta is a little strange right now. Double ADCs or enchanters paired with late-game ADCs are the norms at the moment, leaving most melee support champions in the dust. While you’ll still see the odd Nautilus here and there, the vast majority of support champions picked in pro play are ranged.

We asked Doublelift about his thoughts on the current meta and whether the upcoming 13.3 patch would change anything. He wasn’t optimistic that it’d give us a shift away from the double-ADC rut pro play is in.

“Ranged supports are just absolutely out of this world right now compared to melee. There are so many things that everyone understands are kind of broken. Hail of Blades is kind of broken, Umbral Glaive is horrifically broken, Serrated Dirk rush is way too OP, and I think, in general, just the way the game is right now, you see a ton of— I call them ‘doggy junglers’ because they play for the team. That’s why every game, you see like, Maokai, Sejuani, Vi, you see Spica playing Amumu, occasionally you’ll see Elise if she’s up, because those are the highest gank pressure facilitator-type junglers you can play that operate pretty well on medium to low resources.”

4 ADCs in bot lane, a normal sight in the current meta

Doublelift went on to explain that junglers are focused on helping bot lane win, and that the winning bot lane wins the game.

“The pushing and winning bot lane continues to win and continues to get bigger and bigger advantages. I’m sure people would be like, ‘Why is Varus support a thing? Why is Ashe support a thing? Why are all these lane-only but like suspicious amount of utility-type champions, why are they good?’ And it’s two things. ADC is really overpowered, and winning lane with overpowered ADC champions is extra overpowered. It’s way too strong.”

The ADC conundrum certainly wasn’t helped by the 13.1b changes making crit ADCs hit their power spikes even earlier in the game than before. As a carry-focused player who demands a lot of resources from the team, this meta is built for Doublelift. But did the role really need these buffs? Well, Doublelift is definitely having fun even if he isn’t sure it’s the most balanced set of changes.

“All I’m gonna say, man, is I love Phreak. (laughs) Like, he’s my favorite Riot employee ever now. This guy comes in and he’s like ‘Yeah, I’m going into game design’. 2 weeks later there’s just these ridiculous ADC changes. ADCs have infinite mana ever since Phreak joined the team; I’m happy about that of course. And the 40% crit Infinity Edge Navori thing, it’s very fun. Is it balanced? I’m not sure.”

Doublelift is hungry for a challenge in the LCS

For this next section, it’s important to keep in mind that this interview was conducted before 100 Thieves’ loss to FlyQuest. It’s equally important to remember that having a sample size of a single match makes it difficult to paint a picture of how matchups are going to go.

That said, Doublelift did lose to Prince. It may have partially been due to Busio taking two early deaths in-lane, but their first matchup on stage didn’t go Doublelift’s way. When asked about the ADC pool in the LCS, he wasn’t particularly impressed with what he’d seen so far in wins and in losses.

“I thought that, when I was playing against Berserker and Prince, I was gonna see something next-level. That I was gonna see something so impressive that it was like, ‘Wow, I’m really gonna feel the gap between us.’ But… I don’t know. Maybe it’s just limited amount of scrims and stage games, and this is funny cause I’m about to play Prince, maybe he’ll just completely s*** on me, but like… I’m not that impressed by anybody.

In fact, I think that Yeon and FBI are both just as talented. They play extremely well as well. For me, the ADC pool in LCS is very strong, and that’s very motivating. To have strong competitors that I need to overcome and beat them to become a great player. Like, that is so fun. I’m really happy that they came over and elevated the region in that way, and they’re super fun to play against. Do I think anyone’s super special? I guess not.”

Doublelift during his time on TSM

Doublelift went on to describe a “David vs Goliath” feeling he got from playing against certain ADCs, from playing against players who were far and away better than he was – something he’s hungry for in NA.

“Sometimes I feel like it’s a little disappointing because I would have loved to feel like it’s David vs Goliath, you know what I mean? That is such a sick feeling. When I played against Uzi, or when I played against the super hyped international ADCs like Teddy, it felt like David vs Goliath. It made my heart race. It gave me something to look forward to every day. They’re definitely great players and strong competition and I have a lot of respect for them, but it’s not mind blowing stuff.

I don’t think there’s any Ruler-tier, no Viper-tier, Guma-tier ADC in the LCS. I mean… Yeah. F***. That’s a bit of a downer statement, a bit of a negative, self-deprecating statement, but I just don’t think so.”

While these answers could have aged better, I don’t know if it’s fair to say that Doublelift got stomped. The match didn’t go in his favor, however, but the outcome didn’t mar Prince’s meeting with Doublelift after the game.

Turns out that Prince is a huge fan of Doublelift. The jersey exchange between the two was a big moment for Prince as both a player and a person, and something that he was clearly looking forward to.

Who knows? Maybe Prince can become that S+ tier ADC Doublelift is looking for. Having that level of competition in North America will only improve the region and hopefully help Doublelift overcome his past when it comes to international performance.

One thing’s for sure, though: Both of these players are itching for a rematch.