Thinking Tactical: Doublelift to share starting role as Rikara signs with Liquid Academy
The four-time defending LCS champions altered their roster last week after a string of uninspired performances from Doublelift. While the lethargy for Spring split may have been felt by Team Liquid’s talisman, the rest of the team have not shared that sentiment as they have looked to their Academy talent in order to reinvigorate some fire into the team.
Team Liquid’s CEO Steve Arhancet confirmed via Twitter that Tactical will be sharing starter responsibilities with Doublelift as Rikara fills in his shoes within Team Liquid Academy until further notice.
This move comes at an optimal time for Team Liquid as the stakes aren’t as high, while providing a much needed ego check to their star player. Last week’s results are an indicator that things are moving in the right direction for Team Liquid, but will Doublelift find his form in time for playoffs? Or will Team Liquid have to find success without him?
Stop & Go
Team Liquid have had a rough start to the 2020 season after their visa issues forced them to make last minute roster changes. Going 0-4 after two weeks dug them into a whole, but little by little this roster of champions have been able to string together wins against their circumstances.
Last week’s 2-0 outing was even more impressive given their recent benching of Doublelift. Doublelift has been a franchise player on any team he’s on, and making the decision to step down in order to reevaluate his own game is a commendable move. This change works twofold for Team Liquid as this forces them to build an identity without their biggest asset in mind.
Broxah’s finally turned a corner for TL as the jet lag and grogginess have worn off, and with that, his performances have flourished. Between CoreJJ and Broxah, TL seem to have all the capabilities to end games on their own terms regardless of who is piloting the ship at AD Carry.
Future of Doublelift
Doublelift has been one of the longest lasting names in the LCS since the leagues inception in 2013. However, consistency hasn’t always been a virtue for him as he’s had noticeable dips in form during the course of a season. This year is reminiscent of the Spring split he took off in 2017, only this time instead of willingly taking himself out the mix, he wore out his welcome with a string of questionable performances.
At the beginning of the season, interviews with Doublelift made it clear that his ambitions were elsewhere. The ‘spring split doesn’t matter’ campaign has been a drum players like Doublelift have been banging for a few seasons now, and having that kind of energy on your team that discounts half of the season in terms of competitive viability can be poisonous to long-term growth.
In that sense, Steve Arhancet is completely within his right to exercise a sense of urgency to his star player. Regardless of however many consecutive titles won, Team Liquid are a far cry from the best team in the world, let alone their region, and that’s why this move is the right one.
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