Meta Athena wins 20th straight at APEX, is one win from semis

Roadhog's menacing Scrap Gun and Chain Hook follow him into the battlefield in Overwatch. Provided by Blizzard

OGN Overwatch APEX Season 2 is down to the quarterfinals, and the first matches double-elimination format competition featured overwhelming odds for some teams and some surprising results for others.

South Korea's tournament realm allowed teams to continue playing on patch 1.7 for the entirety of the quarterfinals, meaning the buff to Bastion has not yet affected APEX Season 2 and will not until the semifinals begin.

The first match of the day was between South Korean teams Meta Athena and Afreeca Freecs Blue. AFB was the runner-up for Season 1 of APEX, but it was going against the biggest contender for OGN APEX's first Royal Roader, Meta Athena. Royal Road, a term that originated in Starcraft, refers to when a rookie player or team wins the first tournament it qualifies for. Meta Athena was also looking for its 20th straight best-of-five series victory.

Choi "Hoon" Jae-hoon led the charge for Meta Athena on Zarya as usual, but MA would slip up a few times in the beginning of the series, even throwing the first map of Ilios to AFB. On match point, Meta Athena abandoned the Lighthouse, which allowed AFB's Jeong "Recry" Taek-hyun to sneak onto the point on Tracer and secure the map. Meta Athena didn't let this mistake mar its day, however, as the team went into the second map of Eichenwald with a bold plan.

Instead of rushing to the first point on the map, which is overlooked by a house and lots of high ground, Kim "Libero" Hye Sung used an Ice Wall on Mei to boost himself and the rest of his team over one of the early walls that led into the house. That forced AFB to fight inside the house in dangerous close quarters, and the move set the tone. Meta Athena outplayed AFB for the rest of the map, and while AFB didn't roll over and die, Meta Athena would overpower its opponent in the timebank stages of both Temple of Anubis and Dorado, securing the series, and their 20th consecutive win, 3-1.

The second match of the day would be one of the closer matchups in the tournament as KongDoo Panthera and Luxury Watch BLUE would play out the entire best-of-five set. LWB laid waste to KongDoo Panthera on the first two maps: Park "Saebyeolbe" Jong-ryeol's Roadhog hooked several players from KDP on Lijiang Tower, and Hwang "Fl0w3R" Yeon-oh took to the skies as Pharah on Numbani. KDP's Koo "EVERMORE" Kyo Min rose to the occasion, though, and put the rest of his organization on his Roadhog's back. Down 0-2, EVERMORE led his team to victories on the next three maps for a reverse-sweep.

While EVERMORE performed outstandingly, LWB made some awful mistakes that will haunt it going into Friday's games. Song "janus" Jun-hwa walked off of the payload in the fourth map, Dorado, right in front of the second point. Had he, on Reinhardt, been able stay alive on top of the payload for a bit longer for his team to come back and help push the remaining meters to the second point, they would have had more time to push into the last phase of the map. Mistakes like that aided KDP's victory: It took the last map on Eichenwald and won the series 3-2.

Afreeca Freecs Blue and Luxury Watch Blue fight for survival Friday as the loser of that match exits the tournament, and the winner goes on to face the loser of Meta Athena vs. KongDoo Panthera. The winner of MA vs KDP will enter the semifinals.