RunAway is among the most storied and well-known teams in the world. An amateur organization founded by popular South Korean streamer Dae-Hoon “Runner” Yoon in 2016, the team gained popularity and infamy in equal measure as they developed a reputation for blazing their way to the finals of major tournaments before falling short in the final moments.
When the team finally won their first title in Contenders Korea Season 2 after nearly two years of struggle, it became a near certainty that the players would make it to the Overwatch League, whether as individuals or as a full team. This was confirmed on December 1st when the Aquilini Group unveiled their new franchise, the Vancouver Titans, with the following roster.
- Hyo-Jong “Haksal” Kim (DPS)
- Dong-Eun “Hooreg” Lee (DPS)
- Min-Soo “Seominsoo” Seo (DPS)
- Choong-Hui “Stitch” Lee (DPS)
- Hyeon-Woo “JJanu” Choi (Tank)
- Sang-Beom “Bumper” Park (Tank)
- Jung-Geun “Rapel” Kim (Support)
- Sung-Jun “Slime” Kim (Support)
- Ju-Seok “Twilight” Lee (Support)
The entire roster that claimed victory for RunAway in Contenders will be playing for the Titans in the 2019 Overwatch League season. The only change was the addition of Rapel, who was acquired from Element Mystic, another top Korean team.
Longtime fans of RunAway have high expectations for the Titans’ performance, given the immense individual talent present on the roster. Haksal, one of the oldest members of the team but among the youngest in age, gained notoriety during OGN APEX Season 1 for his incredible Genji play, becoming the star of many epic Genji montages on YouTube. Though his signature hero isn’t as strong in the current meta, Haksal has shown an ability to play other heroes to a high level and will no doubt be able to adjust to whatever is required of him.
The other veteran members are Stitch and Bumper, who both joined the squad in APEX Season 2. Stitch made his name as a star Tracer, proving himself more than capable of going toe to toe with other top Tracer players. His equal prowess on hitscan heroes like McCree and Widowmaker was a huge boon for RunAway through all of Contenders, but he also has a history of playing Zarya that dates back to APEX Season 2. Given Zarya’s dominance in the current meta, he will definitely have a place on the starting roster.
Bumper is known as a top main tank player nowadays, but he’s had a history of bouncing from role to role - he joined RunAway as an off-tank player before moving to main support in APEX Season 4, then shifting to main tank in Contenders Season 1. Most main tank players are noticeably better at either Winston or Reinhardt, but Bumper has shown an equally high level of play on both heroes.
The other tank on the roster is JJanu, who has long been respected as one of the best D.Va players in Korea. Originally a streamer known for playing copious amounts of Reaper, JJanu unsuccessfully trialed for RunAway three times before being accepted on the fourth tryout. He was brought on as a main support in APEX Season 4, but soon moved to off-tank. Together Bumper and JJanu will form a solid and formidable tankline for the Titans, and it will be interesting to see how their experiences as former support players will inform their tank play.
The other former RunAway members were acquired after APEX concluded. Hooreg and Seominsoo round out the DPSes, with Hooreg having played for the London Spitfire in Season 1 before being released in Stage 4. Hooreg had generally average showings during his time on RunAway, attracting a fair amount of criticism from fans, but his history as a critical part of the APEX-winning GC Busan squad means he shouldn’t be overlooked going into 2019.
Seominsoo is also an APEX veteran who joined RunAway in Contenders Season 2. Though his former team, Foxes, never found much success, he was a crucial part of RunAway’s victory in Contenders, subbing in for Stitch when RunAway was down 1-3 and helping to orchestrate an impressive comeback, largely on the back of his excellent Zarya play. He is expected to share playtime with Stitch during the season.
Slime and Twilight joined RunAway in Contenders Season 1 as their new support duo. Though they were eliminated in the semi-finals that season, Twilight was consistently impressive with his Zenyatta play, especially considering the meta was heavily Sombra-dependent at the time. He has since shown his Ana chops as well but, like every other flex support player, will not need to flex off Zenyatta most of the time.
His longtime support partner, Slime, performed decently on Mercy in Contenders Season 1 but truly shone when Lucio returned to the meta in Season 2. He was instrumental in securing their tournament victory with his smart positioning and calmness under pressure, even when their opponents moved up to matchpoint. Lucio remains a core part of the current meta and Slime will no doubt cement himself as one of the top main support players in the League.
The Titans’ final support player, Rapel, is the only player who doesn’t hail from RunAway. While he plays an impressive Zenyatta, his synergy with the rest of the team will take some time to develop, so he isn’t expected to play much early on, but he certainly possesses the raw talent to match up to his counterpart, Twilight.
The Vancouver Titans will play their first match this Saturday against the Shanghai Dragons. They’re at a huge advantage relative to other expansion teams going into 2019 since they’re bringing one of the biggest fanbases in Overwatch Esports with them, and it seems likely that they’ll be able to repay their fanbase with in-game success. Though they’re regarded by many as a mid-tier team, the Titans definitely have the individual talent and potential to surprise everyone and make it to the top of the League.