The Perfect Fit

With three consecutive titles to his name, Min-Soo “Seominsoo” Seo is among the most decorated players in the Overwatch League. His team, the Vancouver Titans, has taken the league by storm, claiming a stage championship and a record-breaking match win streak in their very first season. Seominsoo is one of the team’s most integral parts: their Zarya star, who was named MVP of the Stage 1 Finals.

You wouldn’t know it, though, by the way he talks. He’s uncommonly relaxed as he discusses his illustrious career—especially its humble beginnings.

“I was studying for exams when Overwatch came out, and I started playing it,” Seominsoo said. “At some point my SR got really high, which made the game feel even more fun, so I decided to try going pro.”

Seominsoo’s first major tournament experience came in the fourth and final season of OGN APEX as part of RX Foxes, where he played alongside Toronto Defiant’s Se-Hyun “Neko” Park and Hangzhou Spark’s Sung-Wook “Ria” Park.

“It just so happened that the tournament I started out in was the highest-level tournament at the time,” he said matter-of-factly. “I was just trying to have a bit of fun.”

RX Foxes achieved a fourth-place finish that season, but Seominsoo didn’t particularly stand out as one of its star players. While he was more than serviceable as a Tracer specialist, his play never reached the same heights as those of other star DPS players in the tournament. He departed RX Foxes in November 2017 and floated from team to team for a while, trying to find a roster that would be a good fit for him.

“I was continuing to play ranked and maintain my form while also looking for a team,” Seominsoo recalled. “I looked into Korean teams, and I looked into teams abroad—I even played as a ringer for [Simplicity], a foreign team. Then it just so happened that RunAway was holding tryouts.”

RunAway, an amateur team founded by popular streamer Dae-Hoon “Runner” Yoon in 2016, quickly gained a large fanbase through their scrappy playstyle and underdog status. They made it to three major finals in 2017, but each time failed to secure a championship, gaining a reputation for being the perennial bridesmaids of Korean Overwatch—always close, but never quite able to secure a title.

Seominsoo joined RunAway in May of 2018, just after the team had been eliminated in the Contenders Korea Season 1 semifinals. Although he had received multiple offers during the offseason, he chose to join RunAway for one major reason: “I always wanted to join a team that could win, and that was RunAway,” he said.

Though he had to contend with veteran players like Hyo-Jong “Haksal” Kim and Chung-Hee “Stitch” Lee for a starting spot, it wasn’t difficult for Seominsoo to figure out what his place on the roster would be.

“I’d had experience with a variety of roles, so thanks to that I was able to try this and that when I joined RunAway,” he said. “I tried playing flex DPS instead of Haksal, I tried subbing in for Stitch... thanks to my wide hero pool, I feel like I was able to round out what the team was missing, fill any gaps the team had, and enable new compositions that the other DPSes couldn’t.”

It took some time for Seominsoo to get fully acclimated. Through most of Contenders Korea Season 2, RunAway stuck with their tried-and-true DPS duo of Haksal and Stitch. The team blazed its way to their fourth major finals appearance—their fourth opportunity to win a championship. This time, it seemed more possible than ever.

After the first five maps, though, it seemed like victory would elude RunAway once more as they found themselves down 1-3. With their opponents at match point, head coach Yang-Won "Yang1" Kwon made the decision to take Stitch out and sub Seominsoo in.

Although it was the first time Seominsoo had ever played in a match with such high stakes, he felt like the extensive experience of his teammates had become a part of him as well.

“Because RunAway has been to so many finals, each and every one of the players has a strong mentality,” he said. “The team itself is mentally strong. When I acclimated to the team, that was something I learned, too. It’s like RunAway DNA or something.”

On the back of Seominsoo’s incredible Zarya play, RunAway surged back to take the next three maps and finally win a championship. As the team hoisted their trophy for the first time, it felt like a turning point—for RunAway, and for Seominsoo himself, who finally found that team that could win, the roster that was a perfect fit for him.

Family Matters

Seominsoo’s parents were there to watch him win Contenders Korea, and he’s continued to rely on them as his Overwatch League career has taken off: “It’s my parents and my family—especially my uncle—who support me and cheer for me. I always get text messages from them, telling me I did well. I draw strength from that.”

Following their success in Contenders Korea Season 2, RunAway also won the NetEase Esports X Tournament in China before the whole roster was transferred to the Vancouver Titans. The Titans stormed into the league amid skepticism about how well they would fare against higher-level competition. To silence the skeptics, they not only achieved a perfect stage, but went on to win the Stage 1 championship, eventually stringing together a whopping 19-match win streak before falling to their old rivals, the San Francisco Shock, in the Stage 2 Finals.

When asked about the mental pressure of sustaining such an impressive record, Seominsoo was nonchalant as usual. “There’s no pressure or weight,” he said. “As the wins continue, I think we feel more comfortable than pressured.”

RunAway’s massive popularity at home helped the team feel more at ease while playing there, but despite the drastic shift in relocating from South Korea to Los Angeles, Seominsoo has adapted to the new environment as well as he always has.

“When we played in Korea, it was like we were playing as the home team because a lot of our fans came to watch us,” he explained. “But here, there’s a lot of people cheering for the opposition, so it’s a bit like we’re the away team. Since we’ve come here, though, our life patterns have gotten better, we eat a variety of foods, and our practice environment is better.”

The Titans made a strong statement with their league debut and continue to write their story as one of the best teams in Overwatch. Seominsoo remains one of their most important parts, standing tall as the player who sparked the squad’s first championship as RunAway and is now determined to lead the Titans to a season victory on his signature Zarya.

“I want people to think my Zarya is one of the best,” he mused.

Don’t people already think that, though?

Seominsoo smiled. “I want everyone to think that.”