South Korea’s RunAway had a series of unbelievable performances at Apex over the last few weeks, pulling off upsets against many fan-favorite teams in their push to be crowned season 2 champions. Their most notable victory came against Lunatic-Hai in the quarter finals, as they were able to hand Miro and company their first loss in a tournament where they hadn’t dropped more than a map prior to that engagement. The Cinderella story would see its end in the Grand Finals rematch against Lunatic-Hai, but RunAway’s winning streak had already stolen the show. From solid tanking to clutch ultimates, here are a few of the reasons for their success.
Even though dive compositions have been maintaining their effectiveness over the last couple of months, cannot be overlooked. RunAway has a couple of excellent tanks in Kaiser and Bumper. Kaiser in particular has emerged as one of the best Reinhardt’s around, making fantastic plays under stressful circumstances. By having sharp game sense, Kaiser was able to turn several questionable fights into landslide victories. Take the following clip, for example:
His positioning is something we can all learn from. Point B on Anubis is a deceptive area to tank. You may feel it necessary to stand with your shield up at the primary entrance, but often times it’s more beneficial to save some shield HP by lying in wait off to the side. When Miro initiates the attack with Primal Rage, Kaiser counters with his own ultimate from the side, knocking down the bulk of Lunatic-Hai which allows Stitch to clean house. Had he been trying to block out front, this play might not have been possible.
Blocking damage is your primary goal as a tank, but you need to be aware of what’s going on and plan accordingly. If you’re only reacting to what’s happening instead of making an effort to read the opposition and communicate, you’re going to have to work a lot harder than necessary.
Never let a good opportunity go to waste
One of the most annoying things that you’ll encounter on the ladder is a good opportunity that deteriorates due to lack of coordination. Anything from Mercy holding onto a rez for too long to someone being out of position could lead to failure in the brightest of situations. RunAway did a great job throughout the tournament of making sure they won fights that needed to be won. In particular, they rarely let numbers and ult advantages go down the drain. The following clip demonstrates this perfectly:
Once Lunatic-Hai dropped a clutch teleporter, things were looking a little grim for RunAway. But once Tobi switched off of Symmetra, they were in the perfect position to flip point A of Eichenwalde. With five ultimates in the bank, RunAway initiates the fight with a devastating Nano-Blade that opens up Lunatic-Hai with ease, leading to a point conversion. Never hold onto ultimates when you’re fighting for a point unless your team is telling you otherwise. That goes double if time is running out.
Other opportunities might present themselves on a more individual or positional level. When fighting in an open area, you need to be aware of how the other team has been reinforcing the battlefield. If they’re prone to trickling in and you’re on DPS, you’d do well to create a bit of discomfort by ambushing them as they exit the spawn room. This is quite easy to do on the second point of Gibraltar, but it happens often enough on Lijiang as well:
Haksal is one of the most vicious Genji players in professional Overwatch, as you can see. LW Blue wasn’t playing with any confidence or teamwork on this map, and Haksal’s mobility and precision made it even more difficult for them to get anything going. Sometimes a little disrespect goes a long way when your opponents can’t seem to get it together.
High risk, high reward
There are going to be times where doing something a little reckless might be necessary to get the ball rolling. Or, you know, the payload moving. If the fight develops in such a way that it begs you to rush in for a few selfish kills, you should go for it if you’re comfortable doing so. Solider:76, Genji and Tracer are the best heroes to do that with because they have the mobility and survivability tools to get away with it. In the following play, Stitch shows us what can happen if you think outside the box a little bit:
He spearheads this attack by taking the tunnel on Eichenwalde, and he’s a little bit out of position at the start. With a little help from his self-heal, he’s able to withstand the 2 v 1 until his support arrives and then goes for a flanking Tac Visor that helps RunAway get the payload across the bridge. Nothing gets to the other team quite like a near full wipe.
Just be mindful of your own teammates and make sure they have decent positioning and a couple of ults stored up should your attack not go as planned. It’s kind of embarrassing if you Rambo your way to the spawn room when your team has nothing else to work with.
Apex continues to be one of the most successful and entertaining Overwatch tournaments in the world. It’s a pretty huge spectacle, too, with popular players getting mobbed by fans outside of the esports arena and people cheering in unison as the plays unfold. Esports is more of a way of life in mainstream Korean culture and it’s a real treat to see. With the industry blowing up, some Western teams such as have tried to bottle some of that lightning as of late by recruiting some heavy-hitting Korean players. Next season should be interesting at Apex with speculated to make their returns as Western invitees. Until then, keep your eyes open for more as Overwatch League approaches.