A Tireless Opponent - Doublelift vs Everyone
Yiliang “Doublelift” Peng is undoubtedly the best player the North American region has ever produced. Nearly a decade of pro League of Legends play — going from Season 1 in 2011 to Season 10 in 2020 — and the record-holding eight LCS titles prove that. Doublelift had an extensive career longer than anyone in the esport; this means that he got to play and face off against a plethora of opponents.
Doublelift got his first start on Epik Gamer, shortly moving on to Counter Logic Gaming where he would gain even more notoriety. After finally filling his often-subject-to-memes empty trophy case with an LCS title, he was let go from Counter Logic Gaming, setting him up to join their rivals, Team SoloMid. Once on Team SoloMid, he was destined to reach even greater international heights, but he and his team couldn’t quite get it done. After Team SoloMid decided to change the team up, Doublelift joined Team Liquid. At Team Liquid, the start of his championship-winning really flourished. Four straight League of Legends Championship (LCS) titles, multiple international appearances, and a Mid-Season Invitational (MSI) second place cemented him as one of the greatest to ever play this game — at least for his region.
Back when League of Legends esports as we know it was in its infancy, Doublelift got to compete in his first-ever tournament, DreamHack Summer 2011, also known as the first League of Legends World Championship. Representing Epik Gamer, he got to face on known names in the North American region, such as George “HotshotGG” Georgallidis and Steve “Chauster” Chau on Counter Logic Gaming — who he would later join for a bulk of his career. There were also other household North American names he faced such as Andy “Reginald” Dinh, Alex “Xpecial” Chu and the rest of the original Team SoloMid squad.
But North American players weren’t the only ones he went against though, as at this tournament there were also legendary names from Europe. Players like Enrique “xPeke” Cedeño and Lauri “Cyanide” Happonen who played for Fnatic as well as Paul “sOAZ” Boyer and Bora “YellOwStaR” Kim who played for against All authority all got to face him. In this tournament, Doublelift went up against numerous players who he’d later team with and play against in years to come. This was only the start of his career, and he already obtained a number of noteworthy players on his matchups list.
In Season 2, in 2012 at the OnGameNet’s LoL Invitational in Korea, Doublelift faced what are now infamous players. Players such as the hook god himself, Hong “MadLife” Min-gi, and Lee “CloudTemplar” Hyun-woo representing MiG Frost got a taste of a still young ADC At the time, Doublelift was seen as one of the best, if not the best AD Carry in the world. One of the other players contesting that was Gao “WeiXiao” Xue-Cheng from Team WE. The North American AD Carry got to face off against him, another legendary Chinese player in Yu “Misaya” Jingxi and the rest of Team WE.
Doublelift played against numerous players early on in his career, most of them were players who came and went in the scene — mainly in North America. As the scene was still young, there was no stable footing, and possible long-lasting rivalries or matchups couldn’t come to fruition. Moving on in the season, Counter Logic Gaming once again got to visit Korea, but this time for Champions 2012 Summer. In this tournament, he matched up against Azubu Blaze. This team was stacked with players that in this day and age are well-known names. Players like Shin "Helios" Dong-jin and Kang “Ambition” Chan-yong were part of this roster; as well as having to lane against the notorious ADC, Kang “CaptainJack” Hung-woo and his Support, Ham “Lustboy” Jang-sik. With even more tournaments between him and other teams in North American in between, Doublelift qualified once again for Worlds.
At Season 2 Worlds he once again went up against MadLife and CloudTemplar, but this time they’d be accompanied by Park “Shy” Sang-myeon and Jung “RapidStar” Min-sung — more players to add to his already long list. Other teams he faced were SK Gaming, who had known players in the European scene such as Alvar "Araneae” Martín Aleñar and now G2 Esports owner, Carlos “ocelote” Rodríguez Santiago. He also went up against Invictus Gaming, an organisation that is still to this day going strong. Invictus Gaming had the likes of Liu “Zz1tai” Zhi-Hao, Ge “Kid” Yan and Sun “XiaoXiao” Ya-Long.
After Champions 2012 Summer and Season 2 Worlds, the last notable tournament in which Doublelift added more players to his matchup resume would be IGN ProLeague (IPL) Season 5. At IPL, Doublelift went up against the well-known Moscow 5 (now Gambit). Back then, Moscow 5 were on an absolute tear and were a team to be feared. Each player on this roster was known, from their top laner in Evgeny “Darien” Mazaev to the carry of a mid laner in Alexy “Alex Ich” Ichetovkin. With Danil “Diamondprox” Reshetnikov, Evgeny “Genja” Andryushin and Edward “Edward” Abgaryan to round out the rest of the team. This tournament was also the start of the Doublelift versus Martin “Rekkles” Larsson rivalry as this was the first time Rekkles played for Fnatic. He also faced off against his team’s sister team in CLG.EU. Like Moscow 5, this was yet another European team to be feared having players such as Henrik “Froggen” Hansen, Mike “Wickd” Petersen and Mitch “Krepo” Voorspoels — one could include most if not all of the players in this team on his resume as notable.
Going into Season 3, the League of Legends Championship Series (LCS) was first implemented, keeping Doublelift away from international play for the most part. At All-Star 2013 in Shanghai, Doublelift once again saw familiar foes. He’d revisit old matchups such as some of the players from Fnatic, and some from Moscow 5, as well as some of his recently acquired foes from Korea and China — MadLife, Ambition, Misaya, Weixiao and XiaoXiao. But revisiting old matchups wasn’t the only thing he did, as this All-Stars brought new ones to the table. His first time facing off against lane counterpart, Kim “PraY” Jong-in occurred here, as well getting to play against the Lee Sin master himself in Choi “inSec” In-seok.
He also finally got to face off against some of the Season 2 World Champions in Lau “Toyz” Wai Kin, Chen “MiSTakE” Hui-Chung and Wang “Stanley” June-Tsan. This could’ve happened earlier in his career, but their tournament paths did not cross back in Season 2 Worlds.
Having such a long-lasting career also means he faced a hard to topple number of players he went up against in the North American region. Ranging from players like Søren “Bjergsen” Bjerg, who he later teamed with for a number of splits and seasons, to players like William “Scarra” Li, Joedat “Voyboy” Esfahani, Hai “Hai” Du Lam, Zachary “Sneaky” Scuderi and countless others. One of the players who directly got to compete against him was Ainslie “Maplestreet” Wyllie. Maplestreet, also an AD Carry, played against him numerous times on Velocity eSports back in Season 3 as well as on Team 8 in Season 4.
He does have an aura of greatness and people get angsty to prove themselves against him. But I think his choice of champions made it playable [in the match-up] very often when in fact he’d just flat out win on stronger lane pressure champions. I think most teams knew CLG was Doublelift centric for fights. So sometimes you get situations where players go too deep and keep charging in one at a time — like that time TSM got penta’d by Jinx. He drew IRL aggro by being cocky.
One could make a whole list of the quality and quantity of players Doublelift faced in the LCS alone as his well-tenured career is nothing short of that.
With the LCS implemented, Counter Logic Gaming could never seem to get the big one — preventing them from going into international tournaments such as the Mid-Season Invitational (MSI) and Worlds. Doublelift missed out on two straight Worlds trips until his team finally broke their curse (and his), winning the NA LCS 2015 Finals — making it his and his organisation’s first LCS title.
While at his first Worlds back in two years, Doublelift expanded his resume even further. The North American AD Carry partook in the small yet intriguing rivalry of him versus paiN Gaming’s Felipe "brTT" Gonçalves — brTT was seen as 'the Brazilian Doublelift'. That wasn’t all, as he played against the infamous KOO Tigers team. As one of the favourites to win the tournament, their roster was nothing short of amazing. Song “Smeb” Kyung-ho, Lee “Kuro” Seo-haeng, Kang “GorillA” Beom-hyun and PraY who he played against in years past all got to become part of Doublelift’s long list of players he went up against. He also added Huang “Maple” Yi-Tang, Hung “Karsa” Hao-Hsuan and Hu “SwordArt” Shuo-Chieh to his list as his team faced the Flash Wolves in that same group.
After the surprising decision of Counter Logic Gaming letting go of Doublelift, Doublelift moved on to their rivals, Team SoloMid. Without skipping a beat, Team SoloMid participated in the IEM Season 10 World Championships. But first was IEM San Jose, where Doublelift and his team played Origen. Doublelift got his first taste of Jesper “Zven” Svenningsen before he’d eventually move to North America. To accompany Zven, Tristan “PowerOfEvil” Schrage and Alfonso “Mithy” Aguirre Rodriguez also got to play against him. Moving on to the actual championships, Doublelift finally added Lee “Faker” Sang-hyeok and the rest of the SKT Telecom T1 roster to his ever-growing list. One player of that SKT Telecom T1 roster was Bae “Bang” Jun-sik, like in his matchups and rivalry with Rekkles, one with Bang was highly sought after.
At his first Worlds with Team Solomid back in Season 6, Doublelift once again added even more players to his list. When facing Samsung Galaxy, he got to replay Ambition after a number of years. He also got to play against Lee “Crown” Min-ho, Park “Ruler” Jae-hyuk and Jo “CoreJJ” Yong-in who he’d later team with for half of that dominant Team Liquid run in North America. There was also Royal Never Give Up, which need no introduction. Like how he checked off Faker on his list, he finally got to check off Jian “Uzi” Zi-Hao. That wasn’t all, as Uzi was accompanied by extraordinary support in Cho “Mata” Se-hyeong in the bottom lane. There was also Jang “Looper” Hyeong-seok — like Mata — from that extremely dominant Samsung White team who won Season 4 Worlds. And to top it all off, he got an early start to players that are now massive in the European scene and part of the G2 Esports dynasty in Martin “Wunder” Hansen and Mihael “Mikyx” Mehle when facing off against Splyce in that same group.
A year later, at Season 7’s Worlds, he got to keep adding to his list. His group had Team WE from China, Misfits Gaming from Europe and Flash Wolves from the LMS. While his list didn’t gain an immense number of players, he was able to add players like Barney “Alphari” Morris and Lee “IgNar” Dong-geun while also getting to revisit old matchups he had played in years past. This was Doublelift’s last international tournament on Team SoloMid before he’d eventually take part in the Team Liquid dynasty, winning four straight LCS titles.
His first MSI in 2018 gave his list another significant boost, while also retouching matchups he’s done time and time again. He faced another iteration of Fnatic while also keeping the Doublelift versus Rekkles matchup strong. This Fnatic roster had players that to this day are competing at the highest level in Europe. Ramus “Caps” Winther, Zdravets “Hylissang” Galabov and Gabriel “Bwipo” Rau all got to be involved in his list, while Mads “Broxah” Brock-Pedersen got to be part of the special list of players who both played with and against him. He got another go at Royal Never Give Up and Flash Wolves, allowing him to once again face off against Uzi, Maple and SwordArt. This tournament was also the first tournament going against Kim “Khan” Dong-ha, Moon “Cuzz” Woo-chan and Gwak “Bdd” Bo-seong who all played for Kingzone DragonX — this team also had PraY and GorillA who he had gone up against previously.
Later, in that same year’s Worlds, Doublelift got his first taste of the storied organisation, KT Rolster. KT Rolster housed a roster of Smeb and Mata — who had played before — while also going up against the well-known, veteran jungler in Go “Score” Dong-bin. This matchup, also added to the list of matchups versus the top of the line AD Carries as he faced Kim “Deft” Hyuk-kyu as well. The other team from the East he got to play against was China’s EDward Gaming. In his matches versus them, he got to experience Ming “Clearlove” Kai’s jungling as well as Hu “iBoy” xian-Zhao and Tian “Meiko” Ye’s bottom lane play. And to round it all out, the last team in his group was MAD Team in which he got to face the likes of Hsiao “Kongyue” Jen-Tso and Chen “Uniboy” Chang-Chu.
For his second and last MSI, he really took his list to new heights. What was perhaps his best placing internationally - getting second to the powerhouse that was G2 Esports. Doublelift went up against both new and old players. To start off, he once again played against Flash Wolves, but this time it would be one without Maple and SwordArt. This team still had Lu “Betty” Yu-Hung while also bringing Su “Hanabi” Chia-Hsiang to light. When it came to facing the team, they eventually finished second to, G2 Esports; he had faced all of the players previously. Wunder, Jankos, Caps and Mikyx all got to partake in his list; the only odd one out was Luka “Perkz” Perkovic. Perkz is seen as one of the greatest if not the greatest European player of all time. Getting to face him — especially with his new role swap to ADC — could be seen on the higher end of his extensive list.
To go along with his already impressive new additions to his player matchups, there was Invictus Gaming who he had already faced as an organisation years before. This was a completely different Invictus Gaming, but it was the one who came off of a 2018 Worlds Championship win. Kang “TheShy” Seung-lok, Gao “Ning” Zhen-Ning and carry mid laner Song “Rookie” Eui-jin all got to tag along in the list. But the most eye-catching player in that team was Yu “JackeyLove” Wen-Bo. A strong ADC like Doublelift in his respective region; this would be another one to add to his ADC list. That isn’t all; the list just keeps going. Like other matchups he had in the past, he once again played against SK Telecom T1. But like Invictus Gaming, it was an overhauled roster besides Faker. Some of the players in this team he had faced before like Khan and Mata, but he also got to add to the list Kim “Clid” Tae-min and most importantly, Park “Teddy” Jin-seong — yet another strong ADC from his respective region.
In his second to last international tournament at Worlds 2019, he just kept tacking on to his list. For the group stage, he got pit up against DAMWON Gaming, ahq eSports Club and once again, Invictus Gaming. While facing DAMWON Gaming, he got to play against players who are still top in their respective roles to this day. One could realistically put the whole roster in this list. Jan “Nuguri” Ha-gwon, Kim “Canyon” Geon-bu, Heo “ShowMaker” Su, Shin “Nuclear” Jeong-hyeon and Cho “BeryL” Geon-hee are all noteworthy. While ahq eSports Club’s players weren’t as noteworthy as other past competitors, they still could be added to the list. While his face-off against Invictus Gaming remained the same as they had faced this exact same team a couple of months prior.
Worlds 2020, Doublelift’s last international and non-international tournament — the last time he played professional League of Legends. As it was customary for his career, he faced off against players he played before while adding finishing touches to his list. Fnatic, Gen.G, and LGD Gaming all got to be Doublelift’s last opponents. Fnatic’s roster remained largely unchanged from the last time they met up, but there were a few tweaks in the adding of Oskar “Selfmade” Boderek and Tim “Nemesis” Lipovsek. Gen.G was more or less comparable to FNATIC’s but while he did face the same organisation in essence - as Gen.G replaced Samsung Galaxy - he also faced players he had played before. Players like Ruler, Bdd and Clid all come to mind while also adding Kim “Rascal” Kwang-hee and Kim “Life” Jeong-min whom he had not faced before.
Last but not least was LGD Gaming, they had some powerhouse players in former World Champion Peanut while also having Su “xiye” Han-Wei and Ha “Kramer” Jong-hun who were nothing to scoff at in their respective roles.
All of this doesn’t do Doublelift justice. Everything that he was able to accomplish is just awesome. From his championships to his top of the line mechanics, to every player he faced in his nearly decade long career. Doublelift had a career that perhaps may never be beaten.
Images via Riot Games