APEX Season Two saw Meta Athena continue their rise to new heights. They continued to develop new strategies. They took games off of the season one champions Team Envyus and made their way confidently into playoffs as the top seed in Group A with a 3-0 match record and a 9-2 map record. Their playoff group featured powerhouse APEX staples such as Afreeca Freecs Blue, KongDoo Panthera and LuxuryWatch Blue. Regardless, Meta Athena proceeded over them with relative ease, advancing into the semi-finals undefeated as the first seed in the group. Their record in best of five series at this point was 20-0 stretching all the way back to APEX Challengers and Superweek. In Korean esports myth there is what is called the “royal road” wherein a rookie team or player advances to the grand final of a major event and is victorious. Meta Athena was on the golden path. A royal road victory was laid out ahead of them. It read almost novelesque where the protagonists couldn’t possibly fail after making it this far. Meta Athena just had to squeak past a team that, at this point in time, had not performed well deep into tournaments. That team would be the eventual champions of APEX Season 2, Lunatic-Hai. In a grueling five-game set, Meta Athena would fall to Lunatic-Hai, 2-3. This loss would foreshadow a string of shortcomings that Meta Athena would never shake. This began the descent of Meta Athena. In literature, we’re taught about the tragic hero, who both acts as our eyes moving through an alien world and a vehicle for virtues to be taught. In Overwatch, we’ve had many tragic heroes, but none of them stung as much as the fall of Meta Athena. In the following seasons their playful charm seemed to have vanished, their creativity stifled under the new metagame, and things just never felt the same after they came so close to the royal road in season two. APEX Season 3 saw Meta Athena advance as the second seed in their group behind Team Envyus, at the very least this awarded them a seed into the next season of OGN’s APEX Overwatch league, but they’d take an early exit in the second phase of group play only winning a single map. Season four only extrapolated their underlying problem. This time Meta Athena would not fare as well as they did in previous seasons. Meta Athena would manage to go winless and only net a single map victory. This would force them to return to APEX Challengers. The same event that made them now stood in front of them as their next mountain to scale. Unfortunately, OGN’s APEX Overwatch League would be dissolved and Meta Athena would be directly inserted into the first season of Overwatch Contenders Trials. Here, they would advance as the fourth seed into Overwatch Contenders Season 1 alongside Seven, MVP Space, and their sister team, Meta Bellum. Contenders Season 1 was a new beginning for the Meta Athena. The team had restructured their roster with seasoned veterans from APEX seasons past, but sadly their efforts were in vain. For their second season in a row, Meta Athena would go fail to win a single game going 0-5 in matches and 4-16 in maps. With this, they would again find themselves relegated to the promotional matches. Again, this was the environment that built them. With a veteran core accented by some young talent, Meta Athena surely wouldn’t fall out of Contenders, right? Wrong.
Meta Athena’s lethargy would continue and the team would be knocked down into the Open Bracket after a middling performance in Contenders Trials. They would miss Overwatch Contenders Season 2 and their hopes at a third season comeback were dashed by strange scheduling issues that forced them to forfeit their Open Division spot. Overwatch Contenders would finish the swan song of Meta Athena. However, their legend still lives within some of their former players. One of Meta Athena’s strongest and most flexible players, Kim "Libero" Hae-Seong, now has found great success within the Overwatch League as an important member of the New York Excelsior. His hero pool and his willingness to try his hand at niche strategies were pivotal in Meta Athena’s success in APEX Season 2. Kim "NUS" Jong-Seok surpassed his APEX Season 2 high and is now an Overwatch League champion. He and the London Spitfire rose to the occasion and managed to win the first season of the Overwatch League in dominating fashion after having a shaky performance throughout the latter end of the regular season. Choi "Hoon" Jae-hoon now plays for their sister team, Meta Bellum, who quickly rose to surpass the main roster of Meta Athena in APEX Season 4. Hoon’s Zarya was a mainstay of the peak Meta Athena roster from APEX Season 2 and acted as a double-edged sword in the later seasons. During the Nexus Cup Anual Finals and for Overwatch Contenders Trials Season 1, Jeong "ArHaN" Won-Hyeop, wore the Meta Athena jersey. The former Afreeca Freecs Blue Genji specialist now resides in one of the two Overwatch League franchise based out of Texas as a part of the Houston Outlaws. The Florida Mayhem now house multiple former Meta Athena players. Kim "aWesomeGuy" Sung-Hoon, one of the earliest adopters of Winston, now is the main tank for the Mayhem. Widely considered one of the best hitscan DPS in the world, Ha "Sayaplayer" Jung-Woo, now plays with the Florida Mayhem. Within his tenure on Meta Athena, Sayaplayers is a name that will be forever tied to the organization as it was the first team to really showcase his talent. Rounding out the former Meta Athena players signed with the Florida Mayhem Lucio player, Choi "Kris" Jun-Soo, was signed to the team late into 2018 to play with the Mayhem for the 2019 Overwatch League season. While Hwang "EFFECT" Hyeon did not play with Meta Athena for very long, the fact that the team played such a pivotal role in his career I thought it was worth mentioning. Meta Athena moved him down to their sister team, Meta Bellum, for Overwatch APEX Season 2 Offline Qualifier. From there, he parted ways with the team and would eventually find his way to the APEX Season 1 champions, Team Envyus, and later the Dallas Fuel. The legacy of Meta Athena continues to resurface to this day. Most recently the Los Angeles Gladiators ran an updated version of The Meta’s King’s Row Point A attack formation in the Overwatch League playoffs. Meta Athena also was one of the first teams to attempt to seriously use Sombra, most notably on attack on Hanamura and Dorado. Their most surprising contribution to the game came in the form of utilizing Mei’s Ice Wall to boost on top of specific roofs to circumvent certain defensive points. Meta Athena’s style, at their peak, was focused around abusing quick rotations that would funnel teams into close quarters combat with tank based compositions. This was accentuated by the fact that Libero and Hoon were incredibly dominant flex tank players. In a way, this is a bookend to a chapter of Overwatch history, a chapter that I’ll always remember fondly. Now, Meta Athena lays somewhere in Overwatch purgatory. No one really knows what is to come from the team or if they are even still in operation. Whatever comes next for the players, former and current, the coaching staff, and everyone involved—I wish them the best of luck. After providing us with such captivating content, I think they deserve it.