“It’s just really satisfying, it’s the most satisfying feeling I’ve ever had in my life. As I said in the post-game interview, it’s the best day of my life, because...everyone in the community makes a joke, makes a mockery of CLG, and mockery of me, and tells me I can’t do it.”
Yiliang “Doublelift” Peng played an integral role in carrying his team Counter-Logic Gaming (CLG) to victory last Sunday night at the North American League of Legends Championship Series (NA LCS) finals games that took place at Madison Square Garden. It was the first such victory that CLG had won—vindicating the team after they’d spent years struggling to maintain a competitive standing in the LCS.
But for DoubleLift, the victory was extra sweet. The star player, who’s often been derided by his critics for what they see as an undeserved cocky demeanor, opened up about some of his recent struggles in a post-game interview with GameSpot reporter and longtime League of Legends eSports journalist Travis Gafford, saying that he was actually on the verge of quitting right before the start of the summer season that just ended with his and his team’s resounding, barely contested 3-0 victory against Team SoloMid (TSM).
You can watch the whole interview between Gafford, DoubleLift, and Pobelter (another of CLG’s players) in the video below:
Here’s a rough transcription of the relevant passage (I took out a lot of “likes”). DoubleLift starts talking about considering calling it a day at the beginning of the video, in response to a question from Gafford about how he feels finally winning the NA LCS finals:
It’s just really satisfying, it’s the most satisfying feeling I’ve ever had in my life. As I said in the post-game interview, it’s the best day of my life, because...everyone in the community makes a joke, makes a mockery of CLG, and mockery of me, and tells me I can’t do it.
After years of that happening—disappointing the fans, letting myself down, letting the team down, you start to believe it yourself. I lost a lot of confidence in myself. And actually, at the beginning of this split, I had a conversation with Chris [Ehrenreich] as he was hired. I told him: ‘I don’t wanna play anymore. I’m actually just considering going full-time streamer.’
And he’s like: ‘Just trust me, play this one last split out, try with me, because I’m here now.
DoubleLift ultimately decided to give it another few months before quitting completely.
“And that was just an MVP decision,” he continued, “because nobody can say I’ve never won a championship before, and nobody can say CLG is a joke anymore, because we put in the work and we did it.”
He also gave a hearty “fuck you” to all the people who doubted him at the end of the interview.
It’s a good thing for CLG that DoubleLift didn’t end up quitting; he ended up having the biggest play of all three games against TSM during the NA LCS finals when he landed a pentakill in game 2:
While DoubleLift’s comeback story over the course of the 2015 LCS summer split is entertaining in its own right, what I find interesting about his comments to Gafford are what they show about the importance of team dynamics to one’s success in League of Legends.
It’s no secret among League of Legends eSports fans that CLG has had a rough go of things in the past. Along with not being able to secure themselves a victory in past LCS seasons and splits, the team has been rife with internal conflict and drama. Back in May, the CLG player Austin “Link” Shin quit the team in a spectacularly hyperbolic manner, writing an 18-page screed dumping on his teammates, coaches, and ultimately League of Legends itself. Since then, CLG has managed to recover by getting their hands on a far better replacement to Link with Pobelter, who also played a key role in this past weekend’s victories against TSM. And they also brought on a new head coach, Chris “Blurred Limes” Ehrenreich.
DoubleLift’s story is an inspiring one. It’s always been, really—he’s the League of Legends pro who lifted himself out of homelessness by cutting his teeth in the game after his parents kicked him out of the house. His most recent triumph is ultimately a lesson in how positive team dynamics and effective management can yield the most fruitful results for a professional League of Legends team.
DoubleLift’s always been a good player, after all. It was just the specific environment around him and his teammates this summer that brought them to the top of the NA finals.