RunAway and WGS Phoenix have a chance to add to their legacies.
Now that the Overwatch League season is finished, attention switches to the Contenders scene to find emerging talent in the competitive scene. However, fans shouldn't view Contenders simply as a scouting ground. Every week these players are pushing themselves to begin their legacy and add to their franchise's achievements. The level of play in this upcoming final is sure to be exciting and will have a lasting impact on the franchises' histories.
With the Overwatch League offseason already showing a long list of roster transactions, there will definitely be some names in this match that might just appear in the Overwatch League next year. For the underage players, they will look to become the next Contenders superstar like Overwatch League Rookie of the Year, Kyung-bo "Alarm" Kim. The stakes are high for everyone involved, and the legacies formed in Korean Contenders are those of the greatest talent grounds in Overwatch.
WGS Phoenix had a much tougher road to the finals than their opponents, specifically in their semifinal matchup against Element Mystic, another historic team. Element Mystic only dropped two maps throughout their group stage, and their toughness showed against WGS. The series came down to the final fight on Lijiang Tower, and the entire series felt like a toss-up when trying to predict who would come out on top. WGS Phoenix showed up when it mattered and secured their first-ever finals appearance. Defeating Element Mystic and potentially RunAway would begin their legacy in Korean Contenders in magnificent fashion, defeating two of the most well-known teams in Overwatch history.
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While WGS Phoenix only barely made it, they had some great play from players like Kim "ACE" Min-soo and Yun "GaeBullSsi" Young-sun. Together, ACE's Sombra play and GaeBullSsi's D. Va performance helped negate the opponent's Roadhog, a hero who has shown dominance at both Contenders and in the Overwatch League. Kim "Valentine" Byeong-ju would play Reaper most of his time in the game, and tagged alongside ACE, and it proved to be a deadly duo. The only time that WGS Phoenix seemed significantly outclassed was when they matched Element Mystic on the double sniper composition. Hong "im37" Jin-ui, a former Toronto Defiant player, came in for Valentine on those two maps and they failed to take either one.
Fortunately for WGS Phoenix, they have the tools to defeat RunAway and avoid their weaknesses. RunAway did not play the double sniper composition, so providing ACE and Valentine with the opportunity to run Sombra and Reaper for a significant portion of the series should favour them. RunAway also did not play Roadhog much which WGS Phoenix were effective at shutting down, so the matchup will be interesting as both their strengths and weaknesses will be tested in a different fashion once gameday arrives. It will be a test, but it is only through tests like these that teams can begin to form their legacies.
RunAway is the opposite of WGS Phoenix at the moment. As one of the most storied franchises in all of Overwatch, dating back to the days of APEX, they have won tournaments more often than WGS Phoenix have finished higher than eighth place. They have produced around fifteen players who would end up playing in the Overwatch League, including the entire superstar roster of the 2019 Vancouver Titans. This past season, they had to rebuild after losing players like Lee "Leejaegon" Jae-Gon and Jeong "Heesu" Hee-su, both players who would end up in the Grand Finals bracket in the Overwatch League. If it isn't tough enough to consistently field a great team, add on the fact that they have had to rebuild and still make such an impact is reason enough for their fame.
The road to the finals was much more convincing for RunAway as they swept 02 Blast and Talon Esports. RunAway's dominating play through the efforts of DPS duo Choi "MER1T" Tae-min and Kim "Assassin" Sung-won and their instrumental roles in shutting down Talon's play. While MER1T played the Ashe, Assassin's Genji play might be what puts them over the edge against WGS Phoenix who didn't have to face that sort of play in their semifinals match. As mentioned before, WGS Phoenix struggled in the sniper matchup, so MER1T could once again be a core part of his team's victory. While Assassin had a great performance on the Genji, the dynamic changes once he has to play ACE's Sombra. All in all, these matchups provide some intricacies that are hard to measure ahead of time.
With both teams playing for their spot as the best team in Korean Contenders, the stories of these franchises and individual players will be impacted forever. WGS Phoenix looks to claim their first-ever Korean Contenders trophy while RunAway look to add their cramped trophy case. No matter who wins, it is a chance for these players to make a statement to the staff of Overwatch League teams who are looking for new pieces before the 2021 season begins. The San Francisco Shock recently added to their claim as the greatest Overwatch League team ever, and these Contenders teams look to add to their reputation. The lore of competitive Overwatch continues to develop, and the Contender's scene continues to be a source of unforgettable moments.
Image via Overwatch League