Amidst the legion of screaming fan-girls, Lunatic-Hai stayed composed enough while falling behind 3-1 in games to come back and win an epic Grand Final that will be remembered for a very long time. Doing so, Lunatic-Hai launched themselves into stardom as the best team in a new burgeoning esports scene.
The run from the start of OGN Apex Season Two for the Korean based squad wasn’t easy. The two group stages netted them a 5-1 record, but overall Lunatic-Hai had closer games than expected. The struggle really began when they faced off for the first time with the upstart free agent team, RunAway.
The story of Season Two was all about RunAway’s improbable run to the Finals, putting Lunatic-Hai’s consistency in the back seat. It’s incredible what momentum can accomplish, and after RunAway took the group over Lunatic-Hai in round two, the pink sweaters looked unstoppable. The momentum from that win carried over into the playoff stage and into the Finals.
The actual match was truly an epic one that deserves to be looked at as one of the most exciting Grand Finals ever. It not only provided fans with close games, but also set up a collapse on par with the Cleveland Indians and Golden State Warriors. RunAway continued the trend, going up 3-1 in sets, only to fall back down to earth in the most soul-crushing way imaginable.
RunAway got the early lead, winning on Oasis, a map they went 6-3 on during the regular season. It went to game three but Lee “Stitch” Choong Hui and Kim “Haksal” Hyo Jong outplayed their DPS counterparts while Ryu “Kaiser” Sang Hoon controlled the defense with Reinhardt and Winston.
Game two was an instant classic. Lunatic-Hai and RunAway are both known for their excellent play on hybrid maps. Lunatic-Hai is especially good on these maps, fronting a 7-2 record with the only losses coming to RunAway in group two. RunAway, on the other hand, finished the season 3-0 on Hollywood.
However, early on it looked like Lunatic-Hai was going to roll through map two. It took a valiant last point defense spearheaded by Kaiser and strong ultimate usage to hold-off the offense. The hold opened the door for a full RunAway cap and a 2-0 series lead. At that point, the unthinkable started to slowly become reality. RunAway had a legitimate shot to take home the top prize.
Despite the series deficit, Lunatic-Hai never seemed down on themselves in the booth. They took a quick 2-1 victory on Volskaya Industries in game three with Gong “Miro” Jin-hyuk playing the aggressive Winston and turning disadvantaged team fights with primal rage. Lee “Whoru” Seung Joon finished off RunAway with two separate three kill nano-boosted demon blades.
Once again, game four displayed the pure skill on RunAway’s roster. Without question, the best Reinhardt in season two, Kaiser, stuck to his aggressive style out of shield and propelled RunAway to the final cap. Stitch continues to improve on his Soldier: 76 play and that was apparent once again on Route 66. The win put RunAway one game away from the ultimate glory.
Lunatic-Hai, after a dream season, was on the brink of elimination. The best team had to win three straight games on a two control point map, an escort map, and finally a hybrid. Luckily for Lunatic-Hai, those game types match up with exactly how they like to play. Lunatic-Hai had a 12-5 record on those three map types, but three of those losses were at the hands of RunAway who also excel on them.
Lunatic-Hai’s smart strategic, game planning showed through on Hanamura. On the defensive side second point, the upstairs defense with Kim “Esca” In-jae on Mei and Whoru getting three kill team fights with demon blade was a good combo. The best Ana in Overwatch also played an enormous role. Ryu “Ryujehong” Je-Hong landed an immaculate amount of sleep darts, not only on Hanamura, but the entire set. He would get sleep darts to delay spawns and that was a huge advantage for Lunatic-Hai.
On offense, it took Yang “Tobi” Jin-mo holding off a Haksal graviton surge with Lucio’s sound barrier to eventually push RunAway back to win the map. It was a team effort as almost everyone contributed. It wasn’t until this win that momentum started to build for Lunatic-Hai. After the win, I’ve never seen a more excited Lunatic squad.
It was only Lunatic-Hai’s second game on Dorado all season. The first came against MetaAthena in the semifinals, a game they lost 2-3. Against RunAway on offense, it was looking bleak. Big ultimate pushes were being held on last point and as we saw against MetaAthena, that’s the area they struggle in. It took chipping away and forcing RunAway into bad situations to barely get the final cap before overtime.
Now in an elimination game, Lunatic-Hai needed a full-hold more than ever. This was RunAway’s first game on Dorado, so strats might not have been as refined as other escort maps. The inexperience showed for RunAway, as the aggressive defense from Lunatic-Hai gave them problems. RunAway couldn’t find a way to damage the back line. Whoru continued to get four kill demon blades and Esca’s hit and run style with Tracer gave RunAway fits on the cart.
A full-hold on Dorado had completely shifted any sort of momentum back to Lunatic-Hai’s favor. The two DPS mains were playing fantastic while Tobi and Ryujehong made it real tough for RunAway with their survivability.
There’s absolutely nothing greater in sports than a game seven. Every play in a game seven is infinitely more crucial and teams have to take advantage of every little opportunity. Lunatic-Hai, with two consecutive wins, knew they were in the drivers seat. It all came down to Eichenwalde. Win and forever be a champion, lose and go home thinking “what if.”
In the round two set, RunAway got the better of Lunatic-Hai on Eichenwalde. A last point Pharah defense was the difference there. RunAway, up until game seven, was the most proficient team on Eichenwalde, holding a 3-0 record. Lunatic-Hai had one last chance to even the score in the biggest moment of their careers.
Lunatic-Hai started on offense first. The first real surprise came with Ryujehong switching off his usual Ana and going Zenyatta. This decision alone carried them on offense. Four team engagements took place and Lunatic-Hai WON ALL FOUR convincingly. It didn’t take much as the discord let Esca and Whoru cause havoc on RunAway’s tanks. The run ended with four minutes on the clock and a very confident Lunatic-Hai heading into defense.
Every championship team has their moment. It’s a moment where it feels and looks like no one is on your level. That moment came on the defensive side of Eichenwalde for Lunatic-Hai. In every way imaginable, Lunatic-Hai took control of their own destiny by outplaying, outsmarting, and keeping their nerves to a minimum.
Finally, Lunatic-Hai is the OGN Apex Season Two champions, the best team in the world at Overwatch. It was a valiant effort from RunAway, but from the start of group one, it was clear who the best team in Overwatch was and now it’s solidified.