Meet the Koreans — the ‘Who’s Who’ of Korean Overwatch, AF Blue & Runaway
We are already nearly a month deep into APEX, a tournament featuring twelve Korean and four Western squads, but we have more than two weeks to go until the group stage is finished. I took the opportunity to do a sort of power ranking in which I look at the teams’ recent performances and history as well as what might await them in the near future.
The squads are divided between several tiers that are explained below, but the order of listing within a tier is completely arbitrary.
These teams have it within themselves to reach the Ro8, but also have displayed flaws which make the possibility an unlikely one. They are able dominate the teams that are not quite at their level, but tend to crumble whenever they face a superior opponent. That leaves to a degree both of these squads’ fate in the hands of their future opponents, more so with Runaway than AF Blue.
Afreeca Freecs Blue:
Current record: 1–1 (0–1 as of the writing of the article)
Support: AMON, Mano
Tank: adam, DongHyun
DPS: ArHaN, Recry
After multiple decent finishes in 2016, the squad finally tried to address their weak links in terms of individual performances. And while AMON and Mano are indeed outperforming Dayfly and Yesman on individual level — which really isn’t hard — the performance of ArHaN seems to have suffered as a result of the changes. An additional concern about the roster, other than their Genji specialist’s level, would be if they’ve been able to retain the ability to communicate well. One of the best traits of the previous roster was not overcommitting ultimates or manpower. That lead to having a strong defense once they got an advantage over their opponents.
At this point, whether or not they’ve maintained that quality is as much of a speculation as if ArHaN’s underperformance against Uncia was a one off. It is hard to gather much from a single match, especially when it is one sided stomp. As a result, it is hard to get a reliable read on what their real level is at the moment. However it is important to mention that their poor performance was against a championship level opponent. Additionally, they’ve replaced their worst players with better individual performers; they don’t have to face any (proven) elite level teams for the rest of the group stage and Recry and ArHaN have already shown themselves more than capable to hard carry the team, should an opponent fail to contain even one of them.
Players to watch: ArHaN, Recry.
Current record: 1–1
Support: CoMa**, Runner, Shine
Tank: BUMPER**, Kaiser
DPS: Haksal, Stitch, KoX*
After the impressive debut in APEX S1 Runaway lost all their matches and went straight to the Challengers league. Several roster changes later they requalified for APEX, but after a win over the weakest squad in the tournament (Flash Lux) they lost convincingly to KongDoo Panthera. Now, they’re facing Fnatic in a must win situation if they want to continue to the Ro8.
The playstyle of the squad has remained similar, but now it is favored by the meta. The curious thing about the new-look Runaway is that they have added two more strong DPS players. While KoX is technically a flex player, he has spent the majority of his time on offensive and defensive heroes. This makes them an interesting puzzle for Fnatic to solve, especially when the North American squad is often criticized for lacking particularly in the firepower department.
Player to watch: KoX.
Ro8 locks: KongDoo Panthera, Meta Athena, KongDoo Uncia
Almost made it, but remain alert: Lunatic-Hai, LuxuryWatch Blue
Flawed gems: Afreeca Freecs Blue, Runaway
Salvagable… in theory: Afreeca Freecs Red, BK Stars, MVP Infinity
We don’t talk about those: CONBOX Spirit, Flash Lux
About the author:
Hello readers! I go by the ID RadoN and probably similarly to many of you, I’ve been playing video games for years. My introduction to esports happened in 2009 and ever since, I’ve been following different titles within the industry. Other games I currently follow are CS:GO, LoL, QL with the occasional SFV and DOTA2. If you wish to provide feedback, support and follow future content, or simply know more about my thoughts on gaming and esports, follow me at @RadoNonfire on twitter.