Image via Youtube
Team Solomid came into Worlds 2016 looking the best it ever had. But after dominating the North American LCS over the summer, the team struggled on the international stage, particularly against their Chinese group opponents Royal Never Give Up. The aggressive play of Uzi and Mata, RNG’s veteran bottom lane, proved too much to handle for rookie support Biofrost and Doublelift. Ultimately, TSM was knocked out of the tournament before quarterfinals. It was a particularly bitter loss for Doublelift, who has a reputation as one of the most mechanically gifted ADCs in the world. In the wake of TSM’s defeat, Doublelift posted some of the thoughts haunting him about his performance at the event.
“After we lost, we all came back to our practice room and talked about how we felt…When it was my turn, I wanted to say so many things, but it didn’t come out,” wrote Doublelift. “I wanted to tell them how ashamed I was, how much I hate myself and relive those moments over and over again where I made the wrong play. I wanted to ask for their forgiveness. But how could I?”
While some worried about a possible retirement, Doublelift gave no indication of what he might do going forward until yesterday.
“I’ve never had a real life. I’ve never had real relationships.”
In a tweet linking to a Youtube video, Doublelift announced that he would be absent from TSM’s Spring roster, but returning in the summer: “I’ll be taking a break, but it won’t be a retirement.” While undoubtedly TSM’s performance at Worlds was a factor in this decision, Doublelift also alluded to the specter of burnout that does away with so many League of Legends players. “Every day of these last six years, I think about it, I try to be a better player and a better teammate…I have been working tirelessly for a quarter of my life on this project.”
Until he returns to TSM, Doublelift will be spending a lot of his time streaming. Quite simply, according to the announcement video, he’s looking for a break from the demanding and often lonely life of a professional player. “I’ve never had a real life, I’ve never had real relationships, real quality time with my friends…I’ve hardly been able to take a break. We average one day off a month,” said Doublelift. “What is it like to have a real life? What is it like to be a streamer over a pro player? Is this what I really want to do? Part of it is to gain perspective, and a new sense of appreciation.”
The full announcement video can be found below.