The North American League of Legends competitive offseason has only just started, but things are already getting spicy on the rumored roster move front—especially if you’re a fan of the LCS and the league’s old guard of veteran stars.
Legendary NA AD carry Doublelift, for example, hasn’t stepped foot on a professional stage in over two years, but he might be making a comeback in 2023. The 29-year-old star is reportedly in talks with multiple LCS teams, looking for a place to call home next year.
It’s an intriguing prospect that has temporarily distracted fans from the disappointing run that the region had at the 2022 World Championship and a move that could bring the anticipation levels for next year’s circuit to new heights. The big question, however, is which team would want to sign the eight-time LCS champion? Although Doublelift’s presence on a roster and general brand will immediately come with a supportive fan base and a ton of exposure, you are also inviting high expectations and scrutiny from analysts and fans alike.
There are plenty of risks to the rewards when it comes to signing one of the most famous players in the region’s history. Here are the LCS teams that Doublelift could join in 2023.
Impossible: TSM, Cloud9
While Reginald sits as the team’s CEO and owner, there’s a 99.9 percent chance that we’ll never see Doublelift in a TSM jersey again. There isn’t any scientific research behind that number, but after all of the trash talk that has been said over the past two years, no one should expect a TSM and Doublelift reunion in the near future.
C9, on the other hand, has stumbled on a gem of a rookie in new Korean AD carry Berserker, who has exploded onto the scene as one of the best marksmen in the region over the course of one year. Unless the young star suddenly asks for a trade or retires, Doublelift will not be sporting the blue and white.
Unlikely: Dignitas, Golden Guardians, Immortals, FlyQuest, CLG
Recently, Doublelift has said that if he were to return to pro play, the money wouldn’t matter to him since he’d be “happy to keep his sponsors and get paid a pretty modest salary.” This might seem like a good sign for some bottom and mid-tier teams who are in the market for an ADC, but realistically, the pro player would most likely want to join a team that is already in the hunt for a championship.
Dignitas, Golden Guardians, Immortals, and FlyQuest don’t have much to show from the last couple of years in terms of success, and their rosters are all decent at best when it comes to challenging for the top of the standings. As a result, it isn’t likely that Doublelift will entertain these teams—unless they shell out a good amount of money for new roster additions that will convince the experienced bottom laner to sign.
CLG has actually been on the rise in 2022 after the team cleared its coaching staff and roster at the end of last year. With a fresh mindset toward talent development and growth from within, however, it wouldn’t make much sense if the team suddenly opts for a veteran ADC over their promising AD prospect Luger.
In the ballpark: Evil Geniuses, 100 Thieves
The true contenders have arrived. Both Evil Geniuses and 100 Thieves are reeling after coming off of a horrendous Worlds 2022 performance where they bombed out of the group stage with a combined 2-10 record. They will be looking for answers wherever they can get them this offseason, and Doublelift could be an option they consider when the contracts start getting sent out this winter.
In the EG camp, the bottom lane situation with Danny will be the big focus for its coaching staff. The 18-year-old phenom is heralded as one of the fastest rising stars in NA history but recently stepped away from pro play to take care of his own mental well-being. The last time anyone saw him play was during the 2022 LCS Championship and he hasn’t appeared on-stage since.
If Danny doesn’t end up returning to the stage soon, Doublelift could be an interesting addition to a team with plenty of strong pieces already in place since he is an aggressive marksman who has proven late-game teamfighting capabilities. He might need some time to shake off the rust and might not be as honed mechanically as Danny, but his experience and leadership skills could be big pluses on such a talented roster. It also helps that Doublelift’s outspoken nature matches the team’s branding, which could let him fit in with fellow trash talkers like Jojopyun and Vulcan.
100 Thieves, on the other hand, might be searching for a new look after sticking with the same roster for the last year and a half. This organization has shown that it can successfully build a championship-winning lineup and already has some all-star caliber players like Ssumday and Closer ready to battle. If Doublelift is looking for a fresh start on a top team, 100 Thieves could be a good option to go for, even though FBI was one of the best performing ADCs in the league this past summer, according to League stats aggregate Oracle’s Elixir.
Best bet: Team Liquid
Familiar and full of friendly smiles, Team Liquid is one of the most likely places where this veteran could land next year. The last time we saw Doublelift in a Liquid jersey, he was coming off of a horrendous ninth-place finish in a year where he was benched due to motivation issues. But a disappointing ending doesn’t erase the four championships he collected with them along the way. If Bjergsen and CoreJJ stick with the team, this trio of superstar veterans could lead the horses to water—and make them drink all of it, too.
The one obstacle that could stand in the way of this reunion, however, is the team’s newfound roster building strategy heading into 2023. Liquid’s CEO Steve Arhancet said that the staff wants to “[double] down on some of the areas where we’ve seen incredible success so far, and also the opportunity to build players using the Team Liquid infrastructure rather than this concept of building superteams.” This focus on internal growth could prompt Liquid to look elsewhere for its vacant ADC spot, leaving Doublelift teamless once again.