Mar 24 2017 - 5:21 pm

No one Earthshatters like RunAway's Overwatch tank player Kaiser

Kaiser swung his hammer all the way to the OGN Overwatch APEX grand finals.
Overwatch Staff Reporter
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Image via OGN Global

"Hammer down!"

Cracks on Eichenwalde's castle floor stream from RunAway tank player Ryu "Kaiser" Sang Hoon's Reinhardt hammer, as it knocks five of LW Blue's players off their feet. Moments before, RunAway's Zarya, Park "Bumper" Sang Beom, was taken out by LW Blue's D.Va—and it looked like RunAway was going to have to fall back from the Eichenwalde payload. Kaiser, however, sees an opening: Kim "Haksal" Hyo Jung, on Genji, dashes past the payload. LW Blue's Reinhardt, distracted for just one moment by Genji, turns away from Kaiser.

And it's that moment where Kaiser slams his hammer down—and creates just enough space to push RunAway forward to Eichenwalde's golden parking space, knocking LW Blue out of the running for the OGN Overwatch APEX season two championship.

The fake out flick

Positioning himself behind the Eichenwalde payload, Kaiser knows that LW Blue knows he has Earthshatter. His positioning—and clever fake out just before using his ultimate—is what made this particular Earthshatter so good. With his shield up, Kaiser is standing toward the left of the payload; LW Blue's positioning is a reaction to that. Song "janus" Jun-hwa, on Reinhardt, is positioning facing Kaiser as to block his Earthshatter should he pull out the hammer. The rest of the team sits further back, either behind janus' shield—which he doesn't actually have up much of this fight—or out of range from where they think Kaiser will use his ultimate.

Janus drops his shield for a split second, when Kaiser is still positioned to the left of the payload. Kaiser could have pulled out the hammer there—and probably land a decent enough Earthshatter on Reinhardt. But he doesn't: he holds onto his ultimate for just a few seconds longer, jumping to the right side of the payload and knocking nearly everyone down. The angle of Kaiser's engagement makes it impossible for LW Blue to avoid.

And right after popping the Earthshatter, Kim "KoX" Min Soo on Ana has Kaiser in his sights. Kaiser is already swinging away by the time Ana's Nano-boost hits him. LW Blue doesn't stand a chance against Kaiser's hammer—and from there on out, it's a relatively easy stroll (with one more Earthshatter) to the map's end.

"Eye of the Kaiser"

Kaiser's Eichenwalde play wasn't a fluke: He's been playing consistently on Reinhardt throughout RunAway's matches against LW Blue—and throughout the rest of the tournament. Building up to his clutch ultimate on Eichenwalde, Kaiser started heating up on the series' first map Lijiang Tower.

It's Kaiser's positioning and game sense that pushed RunAway toward recapturing the point. Once again, Kaiser and janus are face-to-face, both shields up, until Park "Bumper" Sang Beom on Roadhog launches janus back with Whole Hog. With janus tossed to the side, there's no one to protect LW Blue from Kaiser's Earthshatter. Two LW Blue players are knocked down, and Hwang "Fl0w3r" Yeon-oh goes for the Deadeye to push RunAway back and prevent a second kill.

But Kaiser's already repositioned to charge behind the Lijiang Tower capture point as soon as Fl0w3r's Deadeye times out. And it's not a move wherein he charged just to see if he could grab anything. As RunAway pushed forward down the stairs, LW Blue began pushing back off the point—Kaiser saw an opening and took it.

Play like this shines in that Kaiser is being both "reactive and proactive," as Overwatch site Winston's Lab noted. Should Kaiser see the space for his team to make a play, he'll react accordingly—just as he did with the Lijiang Tower Earthshatter. But in an instant, Kaiser flipped into proactivity to actually create that space, even if LW Blue wasn't giving it up. Aggressive anchor tank play like this is hard to pull off, and no one does it like Kaiser.

With LW Blue knocked down to the third place decider match, RunAway will move on to the grand finals. Meta Athena will play Lunatic-Hai on March 28 to determine who will see RunAway in the finals. The finals match will be held April 4 in Seoul, South Korea.

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