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A Decade of Doublelift

Oddball 2021-02-18 10:29:52
  Doublelift is the greatest North American player in history. End of story. On Counter Logic Gaming, Team SoloMid, and Team Liquid, the region has never seen a more talented AD carry. With his recent retirement, he has left behind an impressive decade-long legacy. Izento and I teamed up again to analyze Doublelift’s entire career. We’ll compare each year of Doublelift’s play, ranking them accordingly. This is determined primarily by three factors: Individual Statistics - Taking a look at his KDA, CS averages, and champion diversity Tournament Success - What he actually accomplished that year with his team Context - Mostly based around what the meta was like, how good his team was, and how strong the competition was. No player has had such a long and complex career arc. Doublelift stands as one of the most iconic and talented competitors in esports. Hopefully, this article will give us a better appreciation for his storied timeline. Note: Statistics only for those available
Related: The Best of Bjergsen: Ranking Every Year of TSM Bjergsen's Career
2011 Oddball Rank: 9th - Comparing this season to others is difficult for a few reasons. One, the competition was so small, it’s like comparing 60s basketball to modern day. Second, it was an unstable season, switching teams several times by the end of the year. Third, he played half the season as a support Funnily enough, his team Epik Gamer made the semi-finals of the Season One World Championship. It’d remain the highest Worlds* placement of his career. Still, even in this competitive stone-age, Doublelift never proved to be a winner. Throughout the entire year, he failed to win a single competition. A strong start to a beautiful story, but nowhere close to his future highs. Izento Rank: 10th - I will say that there was a blessing in the curse when Doublelift got kicked out of his house and ended up rooming with Travis Gafford. He used his earnings from DreamHack, which was the World* Championship at the time. Who knows what would have happened if he didn’t place 4th at that tournament, giving him both encouragement and money to continue on his journey within esports. Doublelift’s story and origins are a theater ride into the tragic comedy we call life, and it’s through his beginnings that he was set to be forged in the fire. Stats CS: 104.71 KDA: 3.13 Champion Diversity: 5 Champions in 7 games Tournament Success:
  • 3rd/4th at Season One World Championship
  • 2nd at NESL Premier League Season I
  • 4th at MLG 2011 Raleigh
  • 5th-8th at IPL 3 Atlantic City
  • 5th-6th at IEM Season 6 New York
2012 Oddball Rank: 8th - Here Doublelift demonstrated how talented he was as a marksman, but also showed the flaws he’d have to overcome to reach success. Footage at the time shows an unreal amount of hostility among the CLG roster, and Doublelift was a noted contributor to this. His thinking on competing was also very self-centered, brushing off any defeat by bringing up his high CS count. He was very talented at this time, perhaps the best carry in the west, but the flaws mentioned held him back from any notable achievements.  Izento Rank: 4th - Although this is probably peak mechanics with brain-off mode, Doublelift was still impressive, maybe even more so for this factor: CLG went to OGN to compete against the best teams in the world at the time: WE, MiG Frost, MiG Blaze, Azubu Frost, Azubu Blaze and Fnatic. Korea and China were quickly catching up to NA, and coincidentally, this was during the time where CLG’s rival TSM, stayed in NA to both win domestically from a region which no longer had their main competitor, but also focus on the streaming market. Although I doubt Doublelift thought it through about leaving NA and potentially growing his stream, it should be respected what this team went through in order to attain the best form they thought possible. This was also during the era where teams would compete against each other regularly in international competition, meaning that he faced the likes of Moscow 5, Against All Authority, and SK Gaming on the regular. Domestically, there was also strong competition, as Dignitas was a good team at the time, as well as TSM and the newly formed Team Curse. This was the year that, if you couldn’t cut it, you would have no future in LoL esports, and Doublelift proved otherwise. Stats CS: 278.42 KDA: 3.7 Champion Diversity: 9 Champions in 52 games Tournament Success:
  • 2nd at OGN LoL Invitational 2012
  • 3rd at IEM Season 6 World Championship
  • 2nd at IPL 4 Las Vegas
  • 5th-8th at Champions 2012 Spring
  • 3rd at GIGABYTE Esports LAN
  • 3rd at the Season Two Regional Finals - Seattle
  • 9th-10th at the Season Two World Championship
  • 5th-6th at IPL 5 
2013 Doublelift Oddball Rank: 10th - Chuck this one in the bin. The only accomplishments of this season were getting a pentakill for his All-Star team and producing his best interview to date. Besides that? Not much. Several teams stood above his, as CLG had to consistently fight to stave off relegation. Even individually, Sneaky and WildTurtle arguably outshined him. All around, Doublelift was lost in his ways.  Izento Rank: 9th - This year was really bad, mainly because of the team’s constant roster changes and upheavals. HotshotGG retired from pro play (or so he thought), Chauster had left and was replaced with Aphromoo, and it was clear that the team was incredibly dysfunctional without their vocal voices. Doublelift made no attempts to step up and lead the team and so in some part, he’s to blame for that failure, but then again, you could very well consider this the beginning of when Doublelift started to realize that this was his shortcoming, and he made steady improvements to remedy this later on in his career. Stats CS: 338.12 KDA: 3.54 Champion Diversity: 11 Champions in 75 games Tournament Success:
  • 4th at NA LCS 2013 Spring
  • 5th-6th at NA LCS 2013 Spring Playoffs
  • 6th at NA LCS 2013 Summer
  • 5th at NA LCS 2013 Summer Playoffs
  • 3rd-4th at IEM Season 8 Cologne
2014 Doublelift Oddball Rank: 7th - Though his team did rather poorly - barely making it back to the LCS during relegations, Doublelift really shined by himself this season. He helped bring CLG their first top 3 finish in the LCS, and performed well in the beginning of the summer split. However, the team chemistry was at an all time low, and the team completely melted down by the playoffs. Still, Doublelift deserves huge credit for being arguably the sole bright spot of the downtrodden roster. In their close relegation match against Curse Academy, he single handedly carried CLG to a reverse sweep. All things considered, that brute-force will was impressive to see. Izento Rank: 8th - The turmoil of CLG continued as he and his cohort couldn’t find success. They got a new top laner in Nien briefly, which would then be replaced by Seraph in the Summer Split. HotshotGG was forced to play mid lane in the Spring Split, Link would play jungle momentarily, and even Chauster made an appearance again back in the team. I really lump this one in with 2013, in that it really is not anywhere near Doublelift’s fault how this all ended up. Although he even was given resources to carry, it was because no one else on the team was in the condition to do so. This year bears little weight in my mind. Stats CS: 289.42 KDA: 4.47 Champion Diversity: 9 Champions in 71 games Tournament Success:
  • 3rd at NA LCS 2014 Spring
  • 3rd at NA LCS 2014 Spring Playoffs
  • 5th at NA LCS 2014 Summer
  • 6th at NA LCS 2014 Summer Playoffs
  • 2nd at IEM Season 9 Cologne
2015 Oddball Rank: 4th - This is definitely my favorite year for Doublelift individually. The season he finally tasted the gold. Yes, their performance in the Spring was the business-as-usual disappointment we had come to know from CLG. The Summer, however, is one of the most heartwarming stories in the history of the LCS. With the team finally clicking as a unit - not just a collective of talented players - we saw CLG finally reach the pinnacle of North American success. Against their rivals TSM no less. In many ways, it can be seen as the turning point in Doublelift’s career. He finally learned how to win. Other seasons he would perform stronger, but none would be possible without the lessons he learned this year.  Izento Rank: 5th - Towards the tail-end of the season, Doublelift became the best ADC in NA, but it did look shaky in Spring Split, as both Sneaky and Piglet looked better. What should be said about this year is that Doublelift helped CLG survive relegations in the Spring Promotion tournament by defeating Team Curse. Doublelift is the only player in LCS history to save 2 different organizations from relegations. Heading into Summer Split playoffs, many thought that Doublelift deserved MVP, but it went to Rush from Team Impulse. It’s quite impressive that this year isn’t even Doublelift’s peak, as it would be for many other players of a lesser caliber; this just shows how brilliant Doublelift’s career truly was. Stats CS: 336.06 KDA: 4.36 Champion Diversity: 11 Champions in 68 games Tournament Success:
  • 3rd at NA LCS 2015 Spring
  • 5th-6th at NA LCS 2015 Spring Playoffs
  • 2nd at NA LCS 2015 Summer
  • 1st at NA LCS 2015 Summer Playoffs
  • 12-13th at 2015 World Championship
  • 3rd-4th at IEM Season 10 San Jose
  • 3rd-4th IEM Season 10 World Championship
2016 Oddball Rank: 3rd - This year acted as a hybrid between the two types of Doublelifts we’ve come to know: the aggressive hard-carry version and the more reserved team-centered one. While he certainly carried, many times it did seem to devolve back into the Doublelift-show. Given his circumstance he performed well. Really well, almost winning both splits with frequent roster stability. Though strong domestically, it joins the long list of international performances NA has underperformed in.  Though probably his best in a vacuum if we are to judge his individual performance, it fades because of the short amount of time as a top team. In Spring, the team only put it together (shocking, considering how hyped that team was going into it) at the tail end of the split, and although their Summer performance was very good, the disappointment and Worlds does fade it a bit. Ultimately I believe that one’s strength as a teammate is more valuable than the individual performance, and Doublelift reflects this better in other seasons.  Izento Rank: 1st - Far and away Doublelift’s best year individually. He carried a twinkling YellOwStaR, a since expired red dwarf support, all the way to the finals during Spring Split. In Summer, he had to train a rookie support player to play at a world class level, ultimately winning Summer Split and setting one of the best records ever in the history of the LCS at 17-1 W/L, dismantling a surging C9 roster in the finals. Heading into Worlds, this roster was rated top 5 in almost everyone’s power rankings, stating that TSM’s roster looked like the strongest NA lineup ever. With a prime Doublelift and Bjergsen, this team looked unstoppable. Sadly, all NA stories stop here with praises of any NA player, and Doublelift is no exception. Luckily, this is ranking a player against himself, and not against other regions. Stats CS: 300.66 KDA: 4.61 Champion Diversity: 12 Champions in 99 games Tournament Success:
  • 6th at NA LCS 2016 Spring
  • 2nd at NA LCS 2016 Spring Playoffs
  • 1st at NA LCS 2016 Summer
  • 1st at NA LCS 2016 Summer Playoffs
  • 9th-12th at 2016 World Championship
2017 Doublelift Oddball Rank: 5th - This is my most hated year. It was boring, the most average of Doublelift’s career. There was no real struggle, nor any cathartic triumphs. It was just okay.  To begin he didn’t even play in the Spring - taking a sabbatical leaving Team Liquid to slowly starve before saving them from relegation. He rejoined for another championship with TSM in the Summer, but that’s about it. If a player doesn’t make an impression internationally (which he didn’t) they must do something extraordinary on their home turf.  He didn’t. It wasn’t a season where he at least utterly dominated domestically - they were pretty weak as far as top teams go. In the regular season; Immortals, Cloud9, and CLG all looked just as strong as TSM. I don’t like this season because Doublelift seemed to have gotten comfortable. He was fine sleepwalking his way to the top of NA. Decent results, but that’s it. Izento Rank: 7th - The simple reason why this year was a low point in my eyes is because of Doublelift’s lack of drive. He took off the Spring Split to spend time with his girlfriend and stream, which certainly is a blemish on his career and maybe foreshadowing his thoughts about retirement. He did do the absolute gangster move by coming back just in time to be a mercenary for Team Liquid, and subsequently probably making a ton of money off the deal. He brought TL from the grasps of relegations, narrowly saving the complete debauchery that was TL’s lineup at the time. Doublelift would reclaim his spot in TSM during Summer Split, and by the end, he was back in form, but TSM still suffered from their usual problems of being inactive for the mid game and thoroughly getting exposed at Worlds. The only caveat I would put for Doublelift’s Worlds run was that Bjergsen was heavily criticized for lack of roams, and justly so, which led to stagnation for TSM. Stats CS: 324.11 KDA: 4.63 Champion Diversity: 14 Champions in 89 games Tournament Success:
  • 9th at NA LCS 2017 Spring
  • 1st at NA LCS 2017 Summer
  • 1st at NA LCS 2017 Summer Playoffs
  • 9th-11th at 2017 World Championship
2018 Oddball Rank: 2nd - A prime example of Doublelift’s strength as a competitor. Despite suffering one of the saddest-known tragedies in esports, he was somehow able to keep trudging forward to two more LCS titles. It’s an amount of will I can’t even comprehend.  What I love so much about this year is just how well Doublelift fits into the team here. It was seamless. Other seasons you could argue for him being a better player individually, but I’d argue he was a far more impactful teammate here. His synergy in the bot lane, strong presence in team fights, and copacetic decision making led Team Liquid to become a true powerhouse. This was the practice round, though. The following year would be the real fight.  Izento Rank: 2nd - This split would be one of the greatest testaments to Doublelift’s growth as a player for the entirety of his career. A fresh start in Team Liquid where he would be the central focal point for plays around the map, and also having to adapt to a support which he showed great synergy almost right out the gate. Couple this with his family problems in the Spring Split, and if almost to prove that he could be the best in spite of the worst conditions, he powered on to win the Spring Split championship, as well as Summer Split. While their run at MSI wasn’t great, especially due to TL’s starting support Olleh benching himself, Doublelift was still a standout player throughout. If not for Doublelift in this lineup, TL would not have been as successful as they were this year. Stats CS: 351.62 KDA: 6.8 Champion Diversity: 13 Champions in 76 games Tournament Success:
  • 4th at NA LCS 2018 Spring
  • 1st at NA LCS 2018 Spring Playoffs
  • 5th at 2018 Mid-Season Invitational 
  • 1st at NA LCS 2018 Summer
  • 1st at NA LCS 2018 Summer Playoffs
  • 9th-12th at 2018 World Championship
2019 Doublelift Oddball Rank: 1st - This is the Doublelift of Doublelift performances. He succeeded in nearly every respect. Impressive individual performance, unreal domestic dominance, all topped-off with the greatest international performance by a North American team. It was the single best result of Doublelift as a teammate - the most important part of League of Legends to me. People have often joked (more early on in his career) about the massive size of Doublelift’s ego. Despite how good he was, it seemed in interviews he viewed himself as even better. The best. This is the closest glimpse, I think, of the player he saw himself as. The greatest season in North American history. Izento Rank: 3rd - One of Doublelift’s best years on paper. 2nd at MSI, won both Spring and Summer split in LCS — there was no one that could stop Team Liquid at that time. Far and away, Doublelift and CoreJJ were the best bot lane in North America. One could argue this was his best year, but the only reason why I take this one down a couple pegs is because this was more of a team effort than anything. Also, it’s at this point where CoreJJ was starting to show that he’s an absolute monster on the server, and in large part, is carrying the bot lane and the entire team. Fans, analysts, and maybe even TL themselves realized that CoreJJ was the better player in the bot lane, which might be the first time ever since Chauster, where Doublelift was the lesser player in bot lane. Regardless, Team Liquid would play through Doublelift’s lane quite frequently, but they still had the firepower of Jensen in mid lane to help balance things out, so while Doublelift still played great, he had some help this time. This year could easily be considered the best, especially if you’re more inclined to look at it stats-wise, but my eye test gives me unease to put this any higher. Stats CS: 307.21 KDA: 5.08 Champion Diversity: 12 Champions in 84 games Tournament Success:
  • 1st at LCS 2019 Spring
  • 1st LCS 2019 Spring Playoffs
  • 2nd at 2019 Mid-Season Invitational 
  • 1st LCS 2019 Summer
  • 1st LCS 2019 Summer Playoffs
  • 9th-12th at 2019 World Championship
2020 Doublelift Oddball Rank: 6th - The Last Dance. It was clear the Doublelift of old had left the building, but would show a flash of brilliance every once in a while to show he meant business. Though overall this wasn’t the best season for him, it was an excellent cap-off to a wonderful career. He didn’t peter out with his tail between his legs by quitting with a regular-season exit. Instead, he tried again and proudly finished with his head held high.  Izento Rank: 6th Doublelift most certainly could have played another year after this. At no point did he look like a bottom tier ADC, but it’s tough to hang onto the crown if you aren’t considered the best. He still got a decent amount of resources from his team, still got his choice of support player, and had a very selfless mid laner, almost even to the detriment of the team, at least when it came to Worlds. By no means did Doublelift go out with a whimper, and his career will forever inspire rookie talent. The final lesson that should not be forgotten with Doublelift, is that if you diversify your skills, and shore up your weaknesses, you can become a powerhouse...in any discipline. He has always shown a nonchalant attitude towards interviewers and fans, but underneath, it’s impossible that Doublelift wasn’t an insatiable personification of the word victory. Stats CS: 331.22 KDA: 3.62 Champion Diversity: 13 Champions in 64 games Tournament Success:
  • 9th at LCS 2020 Spring
  • 4th at LCS 2020 Summer
  • 1st at LCS 2020 Summer Playoffs
  • 13th-16th at 2020 World Championship
  *Season 2 Championship was technically not Worlds, but the placement still stands.
If you enjoyed this article, follow the authors on Twitter at @OddballCreator and @GGIzento. Image credits in respective order: Epik Gamer, Riot Games, Gamespot, OnGameNet, Inven, Team SoloMid
 

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