The second season of the big APEX pro Overwatch tournament has produced all sorts of surprises, but none have landed with as much oomph as Ryu “Kaiser” Sang Hoon’s Reinhardt.
Kaiser’s team, an unheralded org called RunAway, completed their improbable march to APEX’s grand finals by hammering down APEX S1 standout LW Blue. With the series evenly contested at two games a piece and an even split on the final map, the castle ruins of Eichenwalde, things were tense. LW Blue were on their back foot, but RunAway still needed to make something big happen.
Initially, it seemed like LW Blue’s defense on the last point was too strong, and RunAway would have to pull back, draining precious seconds from the clock. On top of that, LW Blue clearly knew Kaiser’s ult—a giant hammer strike that would knock down anybody in range—was ready to go, so their own Reinhardt stuck to him like glue, ready to defend. Meanwhile, the rest of the team stayed cautiously out of range, biding their time and preparing to weather The Big One whenever it hit.
Fast forward to 2:40:50 to see the play.
As Dot Esports points out, what Kaiser did in reaction to all of this was simply brilliant. Initially, he positioned himself to the left of the payload, lulling the other team into positioning themselves counter to that—on the far right of the payload. He continued to back up in that direction, giving ground and boosting the other team’s confidence.
“Kaiser, the king of Earthshatters in this tournament, needs to come up big here if he wants to send his team to the finals,” said one of the commentators as this was happening. “Looks like they’re going to have to wait, though, as [teammate] Bumper goes down, and this push... probably gonna get stalled out.”
The words had barely left the tip of the commentator’s tongue when Kaiser made his move. With agility utterly defiant of Reinhardt’s colossal frame, Kaiser leaped from an inclined surface to the far right of the payload. He then dropped his ult, knocking down all six players on the enemy team. It was a fake-out, and a sublimely successful one at that.
Moments later, RunAway’s Ana used her ult to boost Kaiser’s damage, and the rest was like clean-up after a mildly raucous party (at your rich friend’s dad’s house, and also his dad is a king). Kaiser charged in, taking out three members of the other team in one fell swoop, then turned and obliterated their D.Va for good measure. His team took care of the rest. After that, they were able to push the payload to the final point without too much resistance.
This wasn’t just the best play of the whole game, or even the match. It was the best play of the whole tournament. RunAway trended on Korean Twitter for hours afterward. I doubt even Kaiser can top himself at this point, but I suppose we’ll find out at the grand finals on April 4.