According to a translation of Runner’s recent stream by TISrobin311, confirmed by sources close to RunAway, the eponymous captain Runner will be stepping down from the active RunAway roster along with Mirage to focus on streaming.
Unlike some cases in the West which may seem, on the surface, to be similar, the RunAway pair have reportedly moved back to streaming to support the team’s finances rather than as a personal career decision. RunAway have yet to find a suitable sponsor for their team and the financial pressures of running a competitive team in Korea have weighed heavily as they attempt to compete against opponents in team houses with support staff.
For the next iteration of the premier Korean league, APEX Season 4, Runner and Mirage will not be on the active roster for RunAway; on his stream, Runner noted that new players would be announced soon.
Runner and Mirage both looked like weak players this season for RunAway. The recent Lucio changes dramatically increased the individual impact of the hero at the top levels, a shift that is directly opposed to Runner’s motivational, shotcalling Lucio style. For Mirage, his addition was confusing and his performance shed no light on the decision as he hopped from Winston to Soldier: 76, Pharah, D.Va, and even Ana with little impact.
Perhaps assessing both players in isolation is unfair, however, given the roster difficulties facing RunAway in APEX Season 3. After their meteoric rise in APEX Season 2 which saw them finish in silver, Kaiser was acquired by Cloud9, and the absence of a main tank for RunAway has been a huge difficulty for the team.
RunAway attempted to draft in offtank Kalios from wNv.KR at the start of the season, presumably to mitigate this issue and have him move to tank, but bitter contract disputes with the Chinese organisation left Kalios unavailable, forced onto the bench. Main tank roles have been juggled between Haksal, Bumper, and Mirage throughout the season, leaving RunAway without any clear direction or colour.
They went out in third place from Group B, battling Kongdoo Uncia for last place in their only victory of the season. Though this performance can hardly have helped RunAway find a stable organisation to join, Runner appears to believe the issue is more widespread.
The translation of his stream announcement, provided on reddit by TISrobin311, read:
Sponsors have actually decreased compared to APEX Season 2 - Corporations are more hesitant to financially help Gaming Orgs because they feel that Overwatch is showing no signs of blooming according to Korean Users. The incentive Kespa orgs have in funding gaming houses is when the Game itself has stable popularity, rather than the pro scene. If the game itself is popular Overwatch pro scene is bound to succeed in time. However the former assumption doesn't seem to satisfy orgs right now because the increase of User complaints in the game balance, and thus funding is more hard to acquire than the past.
The only team that gets a stable amount of wages is Lunatic Hai because it's the only team with good sponsors- Even Kongdoo members gain less than what part time jobs can earn in one month. Most of the Money APEX Players gain right now comes from personal Streams, not sponsors.
The current active RunAway roster is now:
- Kim "Haksal" Hyo-Jong (DPS)
- Lee "Stitch" Choong-Hui (DPS)
- Park "Bumper" Sang-Beom (Flex)
- Shin "Kalios" Woo-Yeol (Tank)
- Kim "KoX" Min-Soo (Support)