Throughout five years in the game, the org captured the hearts of many and saw multiple roster iterations ascend to the Overwatch League. But with Tier 2 OW slowly dying and their results dipping, RunAway’s journey is over.
One of the most storied organizations in all of Overwatch has disbanded. Korean side RunAway won multiple Overwatch Contenders seasons and for a while were the most dominant team in Korea. The story of their first roster captured the hearts of many, as they slowly built up throughout defeat to conquer the Overwatch League as the Vancouver Titans. However, with support for Tier 2 always dwindling and the big wins mostly a thing of the past, RunAway announced today that they're ceasing operations.
From humble beginnings to beloved champions
RunAway began as a passion project by Korean streamer Yoon "Runner" Dae-hoon. In the pre-OWL era, OGN's APEX was the big international event. RunAway qualified for Season 1 in 2016, with Runner playing Main Support, but fell out last in their group.
In Season 2, the team would go on a big upset run to take second place. Season 3 was a disappointment compared to their last outing, as they finished third in their group, but Season 4 saw the team become the bridesmaids once again, losing in a 4-3 finals to GC Busan.
Throughout these tournaments, RunAway had slowly been building up a roster, discovering new talent. Kim "Haksal" Hyo-jong was becoming known as one of the world's best Genji players. Lee "Stitch" Chung-hee made a name for himself as the other half of that DPS duo. And finally, it all came together. In Contenders 2018 Season 2, RunAway would win in dominant fashion. Finally, one of Overwatch's most beloved teams had taken home a trophy.
Following that, the entirety of the roster would sign to the Vancouver Titans of the Overwatch League. They made the Titans a force in OWL Season 2, winning Stage 1 and placing second over the whole season, only to the San Francisco Shock. RunAway, now under the control of Runner's wife, Lee "Flowervin" Hyun-a, due to his military service, would rebuild their roster, picking up another win in Contenders Season 3.
The slow death of RunAway
This is where the story of RunAway as one of the most beloved orgs around slowly fades. While Flowervin (and eventually Runner when he returned from the military) were amazing personalities, the team became a Contenders org like any other, albeit with a slightly higher value name brand. All members of that second roster would find OWL spots eventually as well, including Lee "LeeJaeGon" Jae-gon of the recently crowned June Joust champions Shanghai Dragons.
A failed League of Legends experiment put to rest most dreams of making RunAway something bigger than Overwatch. Recently, the organization's results have suffered, only placing 5th in Contenders 2021 Season 1. They've slowly dropped off the top of Overwatch as orgs like World Game Star and O2 Blast have taken center stage. But it's still a shock to see them disband entirely.
RunAway will be missed by everyone in Overwatch. While they hint at a possible return in their announcement post, the state of Tier 2 Overwatch makes that seem unlikely. It's always rough when a storied org closes its doors, and today is no different. RunAway, thank you for everything. You will be missed.