League of Legends star Yiliang ‘Doublelift’ Peng revealed more about the strained timeline of Team SoloMid’s negotiations with Hu ‘SwordArt’ Shuo-Chieh, which ultimately led the North American veteran to retire.
Doublelift went into the off-season with a single objective for TSM: sign an elite support who spoke English. SwordArt just got done with a stellar season lifting his team to win the LPL 2020 Regional Finals and getting second place at Worlds.
The TSM veteran also recommended Team Flash’s Nguyễn ‘Palette’ Hải Trung as a suitable support for TSM. However, DL really wanted to play with a bot-lane partner that spoke his native English; a requirement Palette didn’t fulfill, but SwordArt did.
TSM were looking forward to staving off Doublelift’s retirement by making a deal with SwordArt. However, TSM later told their star ADC that negotiations were shaky, and asked if he would be okay with Palette instead. He wasn’t.
“No, I didn’t know SwordArt was coming before I retired,” Doublelift said, before explaining how rough transfer discussions made him lean into retirement. “I was really excited for the whole SwordArt thing. They told me SwordArt was confirmed, and I got really excited
“And then I guess the negotiations were going really bad at certain points. So then they told me: ‘Actually, (the deal with SwordArt) fell through. It’s not going to work. Would you still be committed if your support was Palette?’”
Although impressed with Palette, DL was really keen on getting the bot-lane synergy rolling with someone he could effectively communicate with.
At this point, SwordArt was the unobtainable lynchpin in keeping Doublelift from retirement.
But it wasn’t until a day after Doublelift, 27, decided to retire, after production had wrapped on his retirement video, and after TSM were already moving past the seasoned ADC, that the org announced the new support.
“The whole situation made me realize: I’m better off retired,” Doublelift said.