Having both been at the bottom of group D in season 1, KongDoo Panthera and RunAway had since made strides in their play. Whether it was Panthera’s constantly improving teamwork, or RunAway’s complete overhaul into a hyper aggressive 8-man roster, both squads looked much better than they did over their debut season. Even though they’d previously met with different rosters, the pregame segment indicated a brewing rivalry between the two lineups. Funnily enough, RunAway’s newcomer Kim “KoX” Min Su seemed to be the most adamant in his team’s trash talk, despite not having played in their previous loss to Panthera.

Rivalries aside, this rematch had added significance for both teams, since the first encounter went completely in Panthera’s favor. For RunAway, being able to turn the tables on their previous demon would show that they’d made strides in improving since being dropped into relegation matches. Having previously been undefeated against lower tier teams, this tematch against Panthera would be the new RunAway’s first encounter with a world class team. As for KongDoo, a repeated 3-0 would reinforce their current pedigree, following a dominant win over Fnatic in week 1. Considering the hype that RunAway’s current form had garnered, beating them convincingly would add another argument towards Panthera’s case as the best team in Korea.

Three tank compositions ruled the first map, as the rival squads traded rounds on Nepal. Panthera took a commanding 100-0 win in the first round, in a 3 tank vs 2/2/2 matchup, thanks to Kim “Rascal” Dong Jun’s consistent kills on the opposing Tracer. RunAway struck back in round 2, in a reversed scenario. This time around, KongDoo went for a 2/2/2 comp, and were surgically assassinated by Lee “Stitch” Choong Hui’s Tracer, which was part of a 3 tank lineup from RunAway. The penultimate round saw both teams running mirrored 3 tank lineups, and was an intense back and forth throughout. Control of the point flipped between sides several times, as Koo “Evermore” Kyo Min and KoX traded kills using Roadhog’s hook. To finish out their bloody final round, Rascal earned himself a triple kill on Soldier 76, after a drawn out exchange of Ultimates from both sides. With an immense numbers advantage, KongDoo were able to finish off their remaining enemies, and earn a narrow 100-99 win.

Despite regaining their composition as their rounds on Nepal went on, RunAway crashed and burned on Numbani. For their turn on attack, RunAway played their usual dive comp for most of the round. As for the defenders, Panthera used a similar strategy to CONBOX’s earlier in the day, and put Bling on Torbjorn instead of his usual Lucio. Throughout their turn as the aggressors, RunAway found all avenues for attack blocked off by either well placed turrets from Bling’s Torbjorn, or barricading ice walls from Rascal’s Mei. On the one occasion that Haksal managed to get on the point, he and his team were easily repelled by Fissure‘s nano boosted Winston.With their defensive comp paying dividends in the first round, KongDoo only needed to take the first point in order to win game 2.Once on the offensive, Rascal and his team did just that, and wiped their opponents out on their first push.

The third match on Hanamura was a repeat of the previous round, as Panthera seemed to be in complete control. Much like on Numbani, RunAway seemed completely outclassed on both attack and defense. For their attack, Haksal and co. went for a 3 tank lineup, over their more comfortable dive comp. This strategy was completely unsuccessful, as they suffered another full-hold against another single healer lineup. RunAway seemed to remain lost as they took up the defense. Haksal had abandoned his signature Genji yet again, this time in order to mimic the Mei pick that had just terrorized his team. With their opponents seemingly demoralized, Panthera’s offensive seemed to be nothing more than a formality, as they  methodically picked off their scattered opponents, and captured the point in under a minute.

On KongDoo’s end, this victory was fairly straightforward, and served to bolster their morale. With two 3-0 victories under their belts, the victors now looked set to make it out of their group. As for RunAway, their crushing loss was a worrying sign. After barely losing with 3 tanks in the first game, Runner’s squad seemed set on replicating what had almost worked for them, despite having proven success with their 3 dps dive comps. Considering the fact that Haksal’s signature Genji was only seen once over the last four rounds, it seemed that KongDoo had gotten to the younger players’ heads, and scared them away from signature heroes. Considering how vital their aggressive play has been thus far, RunAway seemed completely out of sorts with their picks, which may have been a bad sign for their future games.


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