Yiliang "Doublelift" Peng, an iconic figure in the professional League of Legends (LoL) scene, has officially announced his retirement on Saturday (1 December) after an illustrious career that spanned over a decade.
Doublelift announced his retirement in a 14-minute-long video going over his decision and his career as a whole.
“I’m retiring, for real this time,” he said in the video.
This isn’t the first time the LoL Championship Series (LCS) pro has announced his retirement. However, Doublelift emphasised in the video that the first time he took a break was not actually retirement, but a “hiatus” due to mental health issues.
“It was always a break, it was announced [as a] hiatus,” he said.
The second time was in 2020 after Season 10. However, the player claims he “never wanted to retire” then, and felt like he was “forced to.”
Doublelift's return to professional play in 2023, following a hiatus after TSM's challenging 2020 Worlds run, was motivated by his desire to compete and a willingness to take a pay cut from streaming.
“I knew in my heart I was going to come back and give it one last shot,” he explained. “And now that I have, I feel like I did prove quite a lot to myself and my fans. This is just a decision that I’m never going to walk back from,” he added.
“This is final.”
An illustrious career
Doublelift started his career in 2011 with Counter Logic Gaming, where he showcased his AD Carry skills and started growing into one of the most iconic LoL players of all time.
Notable for his versatility, he navigated through teams like TSM and Team Liquid, earning three LCS titles with TSM and contributing back-to-back wins with Team Liquid.
Despite never raising the Summoner's Cup, his influence on the U.S. League scene is undeniable.
With eight LCS championships, including a historic third consecutive title in 2020, Doublelift became a dominant force in the North American League of Legends, surpassing even his longtime teammate Bjergsen, who also retired in April.
Taking a break in 2020, Doublelift focused on streaming, but he returned in 2023 under the banner of 100 Thieves, where he helped the team become the third runner-up in the LCS Spring.
LCS climate was main reason for Doublelift’s retirement
“I made a really big financial sacrifice going from streaming this last year, cause I wanted to play, and money is not really that important to me,” he said.
Citing the evolving landscape of the LCS and esports in general, Doublelift expressed concerns about teams scaling back on spending, impacting their ability to assemble competitive rosters capable of winning internationally.
With the LCS suddenly dropping to eight teams in 2024 and LCS rosters facing plenty of uncertainty, Doublelift expressed that the sacrifice he would have to make would be much bigger this time.
And with fewer teams to compete with, Doublelift believed that the competition's quality could also be reduced.
“There’s not many teams willing to spend and not many competitive rosters. It just reduces all of the important aspects outside the roster, like support staff and resources for the players to improve and get better.”
This means that his ultimate goal, winning Worlds, seemed increasingly elusive, prompting him to step away from his final major ambition as a professional player.
“That dream is always going to be there—I’ll always look at it through the window just feel like, ‘I want that so bad!’, like it’s so painful that I can’t try for it, that I can’t be there—I wish I was there to win it all.”
Doublelift emphasised that things were different compared to seasons 6-8, and that the sacrifices he had to make had stacked up.
“I am older now,” he said. “I’m 30, and I’m aware that I’m 30,” he added, reflecting on the next stage of his life.
Doublelift added that he had other things he cared about, like his loved ones, and expressed his desire to get married and start a family.
“If I was to continue playing pro and thinking that I could juggle that stuff—that’s just being unreasonable!” he exclaimed.
He said playing League and excelling at it had always been number one. “Before, the list ended at number one. And now, there’s numbers 1, 2, 3, 4, and 5. And I do have to think about those things, so that’s a pretty big reason why.”
What’s next for Doublelift?
The retired LoL pro will focus on full-time content creation, something he mentioned he always liked. Doubelift said that he appreciated his community and all the people in it.
Also, since he felt like he grew up with the League community, he wants to keep contributing to it and be a part of it in other ways.
“I still have a ton of passion for the game and the community, and I’m going to be more engaged with it more than ever.”
Doublelift reminisced about the shared experiences with fans who witnessed his growth from a 17-year-old rookie. From his initial struggle in CLG to his first win with the team, the second one with TSM, and the back-to-back-to-back regional win he achieved with Team Liquid, Doublelift said that he felt he was a part of something special.
“The hype, the heartbreak, those moments are forever burned into my memory.”
“Looking back, I am genuinely happy,” he added. He also reminisced the first pro players he looked up to growing up, and how he dreamt of being them.
“That I was actually able to live out that dream that I had is so amazing.” Doublelift also thanked his fans for the support, the journey, saying that he will always be grateful to them.
Anna is a freelance writer and photographer. She is a gamer who loves RPGs and platformers, and is a League of Legends geek. She's also a food enthusiast who loves a good cup of black coffee.