The League of Legends World Championship is the pinnacle of each competitive season. As exciting as it can be, the roster shuffles that happen afterward can be more shocking than watching your favorite team getting upset in an elimination round.
Though both the European and North American League scenes came into Worlds 2020 with high hopes, the regions failed to live up to fans’ expectations. Possibly the biggest disappointment, however, was TSM, who crashed out of the groups without a single win despite entering as the LCS Summer Split champions.
Shortly after the event, long-time mid laner Bjergsen announced his retirement and that he would coach the next split’s TSM squad. The North American region found comfort in the fact that Doublelift decided not to retire alongside Bjergsen, although he admitted he had considered it.
More than a month later, though, Doublelift announced he would, in fact, be retiring from professional play. Doublelift’s departure left the LCS without two regional legends and TSM looking for a suitable AD carry to push forward into 2021.
Doublelift will always be remembered for his wittiness and his affinity for pre-game trash talk, but he certainly had the in-game talent too. With skills to back up his comments, he became arguably the greatest ADC in LCS history, as well as the league’s greatest villain.
Here are the plays that defined Doublelift as a player during his illustrious career.
The dragon slayer arrives—Team Liquid vs. Cloud9: LCS Spring Split 2019
Playing ADC may feel relatively simple in public matches since the enemy team’s level coordination may not always be on par to burst you down. Considering professional players will know what their teammates think without even talking, playing ADC in professional matches turns into a real head-scratcher.
Not only do you need to position yourself without giving any chances to the enemy, but your team will also need to play to your strength. This was the case during the second game in the 2019 LCS Summer Split finals between Team Liquid and Cloud9. Liquid were confident that Doublelift’s Varus was more than powerful enough to take down the Cloud Drake and positioned themselves aggressively to give him space.
Little did they know, C9 were also getting ready to contest the drake. The fight suddenly turned against the Liquid squad, with Liquid’s Xmithie and Jensen going down. Losing two of your core champions is usually a huge warning sign—but in this case, it was the opposite.
Doublelift ran into the fight after securing the drake, flashing in and wreaking havoc while dodging all the skillshots that’d get him one-shot on the spot.
If I’m going down, I’m going down swinging—Liquid vs. TSM: LCS Summer Split 2017
Securing the drake is one thing, but getting out safely is almost as important as the buff your team will receive. Though the river has many exits, they also serve as excellent entry points for enemies to corner you.
During week six’s second game between TSM and Liquid in the 2017 Summer Split, the TSM squad was looking for scraps on the map to catch up to Liquid in terms of gold. The Infernal Drake was the perfect gift for the team since they were in desperate need of items to make up for the damage difference.
Liquid didn’t look like they were happy about letting the objective go, so they quickly surrounded the river to take down TSM. TSM were clearly caught on the back foot and didn’t have much to offer to turn the fight around. The TSM squad decided to bail so they could live and fight another day, but getting out would almost be considered a luxury in their position.
Two members of TSM were already down when Doublelift decided to run the other way to draw the attention of two members of Liquid. Doublelift had only a quarter of his HP left while one of his chasers had almost full HP, and the other was at half.
Though it looked like Doublelift was close to turning around and accepting defeat, he suddenly turned up the heat and dodged a skillshot with flash to secure a double kill. Doublelift was brought down shortly after, but he took two down with him while also allowing his teammates to escape.
Only strike when victory is assured—TSM vs. Cloud9: LCS Summer Split 2016
When two teams decide to clash in a lane head-on, only the bravest prevail. These skirmishes test the power and item level of teams, allowing little to no opportunities for outplays. This is because when all 10 champions can see one and other, it’s extremely difficult to pull a rabbit out of a hat.
Cloud9 and TSM were matched against each other during the 2016 Summer Split finals, and C9 were getting desperate to take the third game home while denying the matchpoint for TSM. Both teams featured tanky lineups, making each engagement longer than the one before. But the first engagement in the mid lane was enough for both teams to lose their support champions.
C9’s Taliyah then separated Doublelift from the fight with a beautifully placed wall, but Doublelift was just waiting for the right moment to strike. Doublelift didn’t have much HP to work with, but he was masterfully harassing everyone on C9’s side with his Lucian during the entire fight. Once the opportunity presented himself, he let loose his ultimate and demolished the C9 squad when they least expected it.
One of the Rush Hour bot lane—CLG vs. TSM: LCS Summer Split 2015
Featuring Doublelift and Aphromoo, the Rush Hour bot lane duo has been one of the most well-known player pairings in League’s history. The chemistry between the two was off the charts, and it always looked like they were on the same page.
Jinx can look like the simplest champion on paper, but she can quickly get out of control. During the second game of the 2015 Summer Split finals, CLG played against TSM, and Doublelift was on the ever-crazy ADC champion.
CLG were sieging the bottom lane with things going relatively well for them. The fight dragged on, and Doublelift had nice openings to deal sustainable damage. The fight slowly started going downhill, however, since TSM’s Kog’Maw was also slowly chipping away CLG’s Gragas and Gnar.
CLG suddenly lost three members except Doublelift’s Jinx and Aphromoo’s Janna, but the two had to fight against four. When all eyes were turned onto Doublelift, Aphromoo’s Janna cast Monsoon just in the right place. The momentary push back and the heal allowed Doublelift to go to town on the TSM squad and secure a pentakill to his name.
Some say Bjergsen hasn’t spoken ever since this play—TSM vs. Golden Guardians: LCS Summer Split 2020
Doublelift is, no doubt, one of the finest players that NA has ever produced. Everything he accomplished was possible due to his dedication and hard work. He pushed everyone around him to be greater, even if they weren’t on his team.
He wouldn’t have become the lovable personality that he is today without his share of goofy moments, though. These are the types of plays that make you question whether someone else is playing instead of a professional player. Plays like this can look demeaning to some players, but not to Doublelift. As a player who excels at learning from his past mistakes, he always found a way to laugh it off and learn from his mistakes.
TSM finished first in the group stages of the 2020 Summer Split, but things were looking somewhat shaky in the playoffs. TSM didn’t have a single series in the playoffs that they won with a landslide and were always one step away from elimination.
During their first-round upper-bracket match, Golden Guardians were 2-0 ahead of TSM, but if TSM were to turn around any game of the series, it would be the third one. TSM were taking things slowly and trying to capitalize on mistakes until Doublelift hit Hauntzer’s Mordekaiser with an Ashe arrow. Though Hauntzer was completely alone on that side of the map and Doublelift also had Broken Blade’s Gangplank by his side, Hauntzer’s Mordekaiser quickly took down Doublelift before dying himself.
While the play may just look unlucky or sacrificial, Bjergsen’s look after it is one that’s worth a thousand words.