100 Thieves player Yiliang “Doublelift” Peng published a YouTube video on June 3, going over what happened in the past two weeks with the LCS walkout, explaining why he voted for the walkout despite disagreeing with the majority of the requests made by the LCSPA.
In the discussion video, Doublelift first mentions that Riot Games did a “really bad job” dealing with the tier two league since they didn’t give any notice about removing the requirement for LCS teams to field an academy lineup, putting players in a troublesome situation. “All their lives are going to be completely abrupt and disrupted,” he added. “[Players] deserve at least some level of warning that your entire scene is exterminated.”
When going over the LCSPA’s requests, Doublelift started off by saying he was disappointed and felt the demands were “either unreasonable or not the right way of coming to the table with something that everyone should want.”
Then, he added that even though the “VALORANT-style” relegation and promotion system would be great in theory, potentially giving tier two teams a way to get to Worlds, he also thinks that the LCS doesn’t have enough competitive LCS-level players and that by adding two teams, it would only dilute the league with worse teams.
“Instead of adding two spots, they need to somehow find a way to cut two teams. I think the LCS should have eight teams. There are too many spots and not enough competitive teams,” the veteran player said.
He continued by tackling the LCSPA’s request for a minimum revenue pool of $300,000 for each NACL team to pay players’ salaries. While he thinks that there should be a “reasonable floor,” it shouldn’t be as high as $60,000 per player and he would rather reward strong performances with better pay. For that reason, he wishes to bring back tournament prize pools for tier two teams and use that as an incentive for players.
Doublelift also added that high salaries in the LCSPA would disincentivize players from chasing promotion since performing poorly on a low-ranking LCS team would tank the player’s value and increase the risk of losing their job. “At that point, it would be much better to get the ‘guaranteed cushy’ opportunity in the NACL,” he said.
Doubelift found himself in agreement with the third request by LCSPA, happy that Riot agreed to allow LCS teams to partner with affiliates. That said, Doublelift was confused by the request to guarantee LCS minimum contracts for the players winning the LCS Academy Summers finals each year, mentioning how there might be times when players are hard-carried to victory. “It’s a competitive market, I don’t think anyone should be guaranteed a contract. If you’re good, you will be picked up,” he added.
The LCSPA also asked for a continuity rule that provides players on a released NACL roster the first priority in maintaining the slot if the majority of the players want to compete together. Doublelift was neutral on this, mentioning he could see “upside and downsides one way or the other”.
In the final part of the video, he also revealed that all 50 players within the LCS participated in the meeting when the voting occurred, to Doublelift’s surprise. He also clarified why he voted for the walkout even though he wasn’t in line with all of the LCSPA’s demands, explicitly saying that they didn’t vote on the bullet points discussed so far.
“We want Riot to support the tier two scene, not kill it. And especially in the way that they killed it with no notice, lying to Philip’s [Philip Aram, LCSPA’s executive director] face about it and to the LCSPA,” he said. “Riot shouldn’t be able to make changes that kill people’s jobs with no notice and no discussion, and that’s why we took a stand.”
Ultimately, however, Doublelift mentioned that if he had to make a choice between standing by Academy and having the LCS Summer Split canceled, he would go back to playing. “I’m not, like, so gung-ho about it that I’m willing to not play Summer Split.”
Regardless of how the negotiations will go, Doublelift is hoping to have a new tier two system. “It’s not on the teams, but it is more like a free market where a team like Disguised Toast’s can be made, and they are actively seeking to compete in Academy.”
With Riot Games and the LCSPA looking to have a productive discussion about the future of the NACL, the LCS Summer Split has taken a two-week break and will resume on June 15.