Team Liquid have traded Yiliang ‘Doublelift’ Peng back to Team SoloMid, a move that was finalized on April 26 by the LCS Commissioner.
TSM was one of many teams that inquired about Doublelift after Liquid put up the player’s contract for trade following a less-than-stellar split. After having all the options on the table, the 2019 Spring Finals MVP chose to go back to his former team and rejoin with Søren ‘Bjergsen’ Bjerg.
“I'm unbelievably excited to play on TSM again," he said in the official announcement. "Soren and Vincent have been my close friends and together with this roster, I expect to dominate LCS. I intend to help TSM regain status as a top team, make worlds for the first time in 3 years, and look for the international success we were on the brink of years ago.”
"I'm excited to have Doublelift return to us at TSM," Bjergsen said following the move. "We won a lot of championships together, and share a vision of how a team should operate for performance."
As part of the announcement, TSM also confirmed that they were looking to move Kasper 'Kobbe' Kobberup to a new team, although the details of that remain murky at this time.
"Alongside this momentous announcement, we would also like to mention that we’re currently in talks with other organizations to find Kasper “Kobbe” Kobberup a new team, and will provide an announcement with more details on this at a later date."
— TSM (@TSM) April 26, 2020
This trade didn't come without any bumps in the road, however, as there had been rumors of it stalling due to compliance issues with the LCS rules regarding roster changes.
However, on April 26, LCS Commissioner Chris Greeley put out a statement confirming that their investigation into the matter hadn't yielded proof of any wrongdoing.
"We conducted interviews of the relevant individuals as well as reviewed documents and communications in connection with the trade," Greely said. "We found no evidence of prohibited behavior and accordingly, we have approved the trade.
— LCS (@LCSOfficial) April 26, 2020
Since leaving CounterLogic Gaming in October 2015, Doublelift has been bouncing to and from TSM and TL through hiatuses, trades, and loans. The 26-year-old will now play out the rest of his deal, which expires November 2020, on the team where he lifted his second LCS trophy.
The trade caps off a historic run for Team Liquid that started immediately after locking in DL to a three-year deal and permanently implementing him in the starting roster.
In that time, Liquid went on to win an astounding four split playoffs in a row since Spring 2018. Doublelift was the face of the NA juggernauts that ran the LCS for multiple years.
DL headlined a team filled with talented players like Jung ‘Impact’ Eon-yeong, Jake Kevin ‘Xmithie’ Puchero, Jo ‘CoreJJ’ Yong-in, and Eugene ‘Pobelter’ Park later replaced with Nicolaj ‘Jensen’ Jensen.
The star-studded rosters did enough in the regular season and playoffs to convince everyone that this was the North American standard.
Though the era started on shaky grounds, Liquid would eventually prove there wasn’t anyone else within a reasonable margin of their skill level in the LCS.
"When you're good, you'll tell everyone. When you're great, they'll tell you."
Thank you, Doublelift. pic.twitter.com/U0fx9gRjXn
— Team Liquid LoL (@TeamLiquidLoL) April 26, 2020
In four consecutive split finals, the 2018-2019 Liquid roster lost a total of four games in playoff finals. At the highest level of the league, Doublelift was able to consistently lead his team to end-of-the-split hardware, raising multiple banners in the LCS studios.
However, international success has eluded him. Upon signing for Liquid, DL noted how he wanted to extend his legacy of a dominant ADC on the world stage.
“I just want to show the world that I’ve been the best AD Carry in this region for a really really long time,” Doublelift said. “I wanna extend that to international success and being on this roster, makes me feel like that can be a reality.”
The roster that was “built to win” didn’t translate regional success to international events; they were unsuccessful in advancing from the group stage during both of their Worlds trips and were runner-ups at Rift Rivals as well as the Mid Season Invitational (MSI) in 2018 and 2019.
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Doublelift now goes back to the organization that let him lift his only international trophy, the 2017 Rift Rivals award Team SoloMid received after beating the Unicorns of Love 3-0.
The seven-time LCS champion can get that chance as early as Worlds 2020, barring TSM’s Summer Split 2020 results and, it has to be noted, any influence the international event might have due to the world health crisis.