“Everyone else is trash” were the words uttered by Peter Yiliang Peng in an interview following a dominate victory at the 2013 League of Legends All-Star Event. Peng, better known by his pro-name “Doublelift,” is a longtime professional League of Legends player, who is known for his mechanical skill and notorious trash talk, in and out of game. With four North American League of Legends Championship Series (NALCS) titles on three different teams, he is widely regarded as one of the greatest players in North America, with more than enough stats to back up his words. However, after almost five years since that fateful interview, Peng has demonstrated a development in character beyond just the bad-mouthed Attack Damage Carry (ADC) of the West.

Students saw and heard this newfound maturity from the man himself at the ASPB-hosted event “Beyond the Rift,” where Peng spoke with moderator and Highlander Gaming President Sabrina Wong and answered questions from an audience of over 200 attendees on Monday, April 16 in HUB 302. During the event, Peng talked about his past experiences as a NALCS player, as well as the team dynamic of his current organization Team Liquid (TL), which recently won the 2018 Spring Split tournament with a completely new roster of five players, including Peng. “I’m really grateful because my teammates have enabled me,” he explained. “Whenever I make a mistake (in game), my teammates are willing to go in and die for me. Bjergsen (Peng’s close friend and former teammate) wouldn’t do that by the way,” he joked, much to the laughter of the audience.

Doublelift also spoke on the initial reaction of fans and analysts alike to TL’s poor teamplay at the start of the spring. “Joining Liquid, the expectations were pretty low,” he described. “At the beginning, we were just getting destroyed by everyone in the LCS, so everyone was counting us out. But I think it’s that underdog mentality that helped bring everyone together as a team.”

As a professional who has played since Season 1 of LCS, Peng reflected on the growth of eSports since his arrival on the scene in 2011. “Season 1 World Championships was really small,” he explained. “It had a $100,000 prize pool and about 50 people in the audience. Now we’re selling out Madison Square Garden for thousands of people. It’s nuts.” Peng’s perspective on the growth of eSports is shared by those both those who involved in the community, as well as outside observers.

In 2015 former NBA player and three-time NBA champion Rick Fox made waves when he founded his own eSports franchise, Echo Fox. While the team never saw much success in past years, they finished the Spring Split in third, surpassing old guard franchises such as Counter Logic Gaming (CLG) and Team SoloMid (TSM). Fox has not only invested into the industry, but helped remove some of the past stigmas held toward eSports, fervently advocating that eSports are a true sport.

Following his conversation with Wong, Peng answered questions from the audience, many of which gave words of encouragement in light of his mother’s recent death and father’s hospitalization. Following the Q&A, a small meet-and-greet was held where fans could take pictures and receive autographs from one of the NALCS’ all-time greats.