Team Liquid Puts Doublelift Up for Trade
League of Legends interviewer and content creator Travis Gafford has revealed that Team Liquid is putting star ADC Doublelift up for trade going into the mid-season break. Gafford discussed the news with fellow content creator and League analyst MarkZ in a new video uploaded to his YouTube channel. He noted the shock that TL would drop him midseason, though his eventual departure from the org wasn’t surprising.
Rough Season for Liquid
Team Liquid has had a horrid season so far this year, with the four-time defending champions failing to even make the playoffs after a single roster change in the off-season, with the squad taking ninth overall in the Split. There were a plethora of factors behind the team’s struggles this year, from Broxah’s delayed visa to team synergy issues, though the biggest factor by far has been the hushed talks of issues with Doublelift’s motivation, with the seven-time LCS champion getting benched temporarily during the Split over his flagging dedication to practice and taking the Split seriously.
Many in the community had assumed Doublelift would leave after the end of the season if Liquid failed to make it to Worlds in Summer Split, so the news that the Doublelift trade takes place mid-season comes as a major surprise. The team did do quite well with his temporary replacement, the young rookie Tactical, but there were still concerns about how he’d do over a longer period as other teams came to understand his champion pool and playstyle, especially as teams start getting their acts together for the second half of the season. With talk from Travis and Mark of TL possibly getting an outside ADC like Sneaky or someone else to bring in, many have worried about the team having to rebuild their synergy with a brand new ADC in addition to fixing their already existing problems, with fears that the team could find itself sitting outside the playoff picture again if things don’t go well.
Where Will Doublelift Go?
While a lot of focus has been on Team Liquid’s plans for replacing Doublelift, a good portion of the discussion in the video also focused on where Doublelift could end up now that he’s on the open market, especially as his resume will command a huge salary, reportedly up to $2 million. His former squad, TSM, was pointed as a possible landing point for him given he has previous experience with half of the roster, though questions over the team’s likely unwillingness to pay that high salary and concerns over it being a conflicting interest due to his relationship with the org’s CEO called such a move into question.
Dignitas was also discussed as a possible landing point, as was CLG, though concerns over the ability of both to pay that high salary again called the moves into question, especially for DIG after the embarrassment around Huni. EG was also a possible option though, with former world champion Bang on the roster, the move does seem unlikely, as does a move to IMT given the chaos around their roster at this time. Cloud9’s also out of the question given how well they’re performing at the moment and a likely personality clash between how both Doublelift and the team operate and see the game.
The most likely candidates, then, would be one of 100 Thieves, Golden Guardians, or FlyQuest, all of which have performed okay this Split but could use some sort of upgrade to give them more firepower. 100 Thieves seems the least likely of three given they already have a strong ADC in Cody Sun, though someone with as much clout in the community as Doublelift would surely have owner Nadeshot drooling at the mouth as a signing option.
Golden Guardians do need an upgrade in their ADC role, as FBI has had a rather down Split, but their issues at finding a solid support would likely lead to a lot of internal problems if Doublelifts past work with supports is anything to go by (such as his time with Olleh). That leaves FlyQuest, who would benefit greatly from such a move to add another carry threat to the squad to help alleviate pressure from Solo and PoE, though their seeming focus around WildTurtle in their brand may make that a hard sell (though he could convert to a full-time content creator for them).
I’d say they’re the most likely to pursue him since such a move would surely put them in serious contention to make Worlds in Summer Split, but we’ll have to see how things play out.
While the news itself has been a big deal in the community already, it has been partially overshadowed by issues surrounding the posting of the news to the League of Legend subreddit. Many initial posts, including one directly by Gafford, were removed from the site shortly after going up, with a remark from the mods claiming they were removed because “roster rumors and leaks must come from journalistic sources.” While Gafford does not call himself a journalist, his near-decade in the scene and reliability as a source of accurate information has sparked outrage amongst users across social media, with many expressing outrage against the mods there.
All discussion of the removal in any comments or posts have been automatically deleted by the mods, only sparking more outrage over an apparent and noticeable pattern by the mod team of silencing criticism of their actions and seemingly interpreting the rules differently based upon the content. The mods themselves have yet to comment on the matter at this time.
We’ll keep you updated as the Team Liquid Doublelift trade situation develops over the coming weeks.