Doublelift on move to TSM: “That’s not a conflict of interest, that’s an alignment of interest.”

Former Team Liquid AD Carry Yiliang “Doublelift” Peng addressed in a YouTube vlog the circumstances surrounding his transfer to Team SoloMid. The winningest LCS player switched orgs after his contract was put up for sale, following a disastrous split for Liquid, which saw them go from four-times LCS champions to ninth place in the 2020 LCS Spring Split.

In the vlog, Doublelift discussed why he lost motivation, how the process of his transfer went, and addressed community concerns about his relationship with TSM president Leena Xu.

On loss of motivation and internal issues

Doublelift started the topic by accepting all the blame for his lack of motivation during the Spring Split. The AD Carry was vocal on multiple occasions about lacking the will to play to his best abilities, which ultimately let to his benching for a number of three matches. The behavior was inexcusable, Doublelift says.

“I think it’s totally unacceptable to be in this highly competitive environment and not be highly competitive with yourself, not giving it your all, and to be holding back, which is not only holding back yourself, but holding back your teammates.”

To contextualize, Doublelift also spoke about why he lacked motivation in the first place, saying he was opposed to the roster change Team Liquid made in the jungle, swapping out Jake “Xmithie” Pucherro for Mads “Broxah” Pedersen. The poor early scrim results also led to his teammates to provide feedback to the Liquid coaches — feedback that never reached Doublelift, the player says.

“I wasn’t given the feedback. I was given it after I got benched. […] I caused a bad situation to happen, but you give people not just a warning, but feedback, criticism to change their behavior. You don’t bench them to change their behavior.”

On transfer to TSM and the conflict of interest

Despite wanting to stay with Liquid for the Summer, Doublelift felt like he’d be returning to a team that didn’t want him. When Liquid CEO Steve Arhancet approached him with the possibility that he might be traded, Doublelift gave him a list of teams he’d like to play for, TSM naturally being one of them. The two parties have already played together and Doublelift brought two domestic titles. Given prior experience playing with Soren “Bjergsen” Bjerg and Vincent “Briofrost” Wang, TSM made a natural fit.

“If I rejoin TSM and if we don’t win or at least don’t make Worlds, that’s just going to be an awful look. I know this is a do or die situation and I’m going to give them my 110%.”

“I want to have a redemption story here on TSM,” Doublelift added.

The player also addressed community concerns about the relationship between him and TSM president Leena Xu, which would represent a conflict of interest, him being Xu’s employee and partner at the same time. On Sunday, LCS commissioner Chris Greeley approved the transfer, saying Riot “found no evidence of prohibited behavior”, with Doublelift also stating that Xu did not influence his choice of team.

“If you remove her [Leena] from the equation, my decision would be exactly the same. […] That’s not a conflict of interest, that’s an alignment of interest.”

Neither of these statements lift the very valid concern about conflict of interest that Doublelift and Xu now bring to the TSM org, however. Conflict of interests do come with alignment of interests by default, official statements or not.