In the preseason, the Shock thoroughly decimated a still new and practicing Washington Justice team. After losing three straight matches, the Justice had a chance at revenge for the preseason loss, but would fail to take it.
Map 1: Nepal (Control)
The start did not favor the Justice, with the Shock targeting Janus heavily and killing him once. Even when the Justice regrouped and returned, the Shock continued to target Janus and forced him to flee. Janus playing as Winston did not appear to be working, but DC found themselves stuck in a position needing his ultimate. After the Shock took over 60% of the point, the Justice then wiped out 5 of their members and flipped the point, killing their 6th in the process. Unfortunately, the flip didn’t last long as Corey and Ado both got pushed off the edge of the map, leaving them down two. The Shock took advantage, killing off two more of the Justice before continuing their defensive push. DC responded by getting in good position and popping a few ultimates to force the Shock out of position and then flip the point back to DC’s side. Deprived of resources, the Shock capitalized and won the point back and refused to give it back, taking away the first round.
The second round began much differently, forcing the Shock into awkward position and taking down Sinatraa, then MOth, and then Super. San Francisco’s attempt to flank the Justice failed as Corey immediately picked up on the effort. DC then used a graviton on Sinatraa’s Zarya and killed him quick, neutralizing the Shock’s ability to make any concentrated push. Both teams were stocking ultimates, but Janus found himself a victim. Corey took revenge on Moth shortly after. Both teams exchanged kills, but DC forced the Shock back with a couple of timely kills. However, Moth embarrassed the Justice by skirting past them and stealing the point. It took a long while, but the Justice finally secured the point win after isolating multiple members of the Shock and taking them down quickly. 1-1 tie.
Both teams approached Village on the high road, with Washington taking down Viol2t and Moth to force the Shock back. Both teams began to pop ultimates on the point with the Justice getting about 56%, but they lost a pivotal team fight when both Zaryas used gravs. After the Justice regrouped, Janus came in and used a very aggressive Shatter to nab a couple of easy kills and forcing the Shock back once again. DC was in favorable position once again, but were down ultimates except for Fahzix. San Francisco then came in and team killed the Justice after using their non-support ultimates, forcing DC to regroup once again. Unfortunately, Janus again tried to Shatter and the Shock predicted it perfectly. Once again, the Justice came close to nabbing the map, but bad ultimate management and predictable plays forced them into bad shape, allowing them to get mopped up by the Shock, who walked away the winner of map 1. Janus frequently overextended himself, and nobody on DC’s side could effectively cover him after he was being targeted by an entire Shock team.
Map 2: Numbani (Assault/Escort)
DC began the map playing defense by immediately losing the high ground and losing virtually all their mobility. Janus was overextended again and nobody could cover him once again, leaving the Justice vulnerable and the Shock in prime position. The Shock then followed up by coming onto the payload and then Sinatraa flanked the Justice from the side, popping a grav right in the Justice’s face and the Shock capitalized, team killing them. At this point, 6 minutes were left on the clock. The Justice then immediately lost… almost all their tanks in a very brief team fight. This left the Justice with only one team fight left in them, and it was absolutely pathetic- the Shock rolled in, and the Justice attempted to use a grav and Sansam attempted his D.Va self-destruct, but it only nabbed one. In response, the Shock forced DC back and used their own self-destruct, killing four of the Justice and then immediately wiping out the remaining two to win the round, securing all three points and even breaking the season record for fastest round win on Numbani.
Into the DC attacker’s side, Choihyobin began aggressively trying to push them back for time, but was forced away immediately. In response to the quick assault point given up before, DC forced the Shock off the high ground almost as quickly as the Shock had done to them, coming in and taking the payload quickly. Following the payload briefly, it turned a corner straight into the Shock, who popped a couple of ultimates to force the Justice into unfavorable position, taking down 5 of them with a concentrated effort. Coming back, Gido used his Transcendence to get the Justice out of a bad situation, but Sinatraa once again flanked DC and lead a clean-up of the Justice. Once again, Janus’ aggressiveness cost him dearly, as he charged into the Shock and they immediately closed rank on him- Sinatraa came in and broke him down, getting a kill and then once again leading a charge to clean up most of the remaining Justice. At this point, Sinatraa had a technical issue that required intervention from the staff. After the keyboard issue, the Justice allowed Sinatraa to retreat back to his team where he was supposed to be (fair sportsmanship and all that), and then managed to do enough damage to push back the Shock and secure the second point. Sinatraa then wasted a grav, as the Justice slowly built their own ultimates. Both teams then contested the point, and the Shock began popping ultimates one after another to force the Justice off the payload. While the Justice did mount a lengthy fight, they ultimately lost as they only managed to get one kill off the Shock. It all went downhill after Janus went down, with the others slowly crumbling as he was too far away to be able to get back to position in time. San Francisco takes map 2 3-2 as the Justice were only a couple short meters from finishing the comeback.
Map 3: Temple of Anubis (Assault)
Nevix was subbed in for Choihyobin on the Shock. Fahzix’ strategy was to bump Super into the team in an attempt to take the tank down, but the Justice could not nab him before the Shock descended on them. After Ado went down from a charge from Super, the Justice found themselves out of position. Janus’ Shatter was completely ineffective, and the Shock then mopped the floor with the team- killing everyone not Ado. After securing the first point was taken, the Justice then came out and Janus managed to Shatter a couple of the Shock, but they managed to have a Sound Barrier courtesy of Moth and return to battle immediately. Then, the Shock killed five of the Justice in response, once again embarrassing the Justice and very quickly winning both points, having nearly 6 minutes left in the time bank.
DC began round two with an aggressive push, but Fahzix and Janus found themselves literally against the wall, both getting taken down before Ado and Corey were taken down. DC found themselves, again, down members and down position. Returning to the fight, Gido was taken down immediately, followed by Janus, then Corey, and then Ado. The Shock were happy to let the Justice walk in single file as Sinatraa in particular mowed down DC members like paper. At this point, the Shock had all 6 ultimates while the Justice only built 3. Janus began his aggressive play again, but Super used a Shatter, and four of the Justice were gone. Pushing through the tunnel, Corey popped his grav and they attempted to use self-destruct, but it got nobody. Janus, on the other hand, used Shatter to force back the Shock. Unfortunately, the Shock regrouped after a few seconds, pushed back to the point, and then… killed the entire Justice team in a matter of a few seconds. The Justice never got a single round, and the Shock secured their match win against the Justice.
Map 4: Route 66 (Escort)
DC began on defense with a concentrated effort on the payload as the Shock split themselves two ways, but their efforts were in vain: Fahzix was booped backwards and the rest of the team needed to retreat as the Shock pushed forward, taking down 3 members of the Justice in doing so and pushing the payload forward. Once again, the Justice were completely unable to stop the Shock in any manner, losing 4 members and only contesting the payload twice very briefly. While Washington did become more aggressive after the first point, Super Shattered their offensive push and took down Janus and Ado. As they were returning to the payload, Moth booped the entire team off the high ground and onto the low ground with one hit. After a quick team fight, 4 of the Justice were down and unable to contest the payload any further to the second point. Washington’s efforts were continuously futile and while Super tried a sneak attack, DC… forgot about the payload in an effort to stop his Shatter, and the payload reached the end of the track without so much of a single fight in the tunnel. The Shock nearly broke another record with the second fastest attack round on Route 66 in 2019.
Sinatraa remained on the high ground for most of the duration of their first team fight, doing insane amounts of damage particularly on Sansam, but the fight eventually went the way of DC’s favor as they got halfway to the first point. However, they immediately lost the second team fight and were forced to retreat back to the starting point. San Francisco then continued to sustain pressure by timing their ultimates perfectly, forcing the Justice back and killing 4 of them in the process. However, returning to the payload, the Justice took revenge by killing 5 of the Shock with their own timely ultimates after sniping Viol2t. After pushing the payload about a quarter of the way forward, the Shock then started camping down and then came down on the choke point, securing a team kill over the Justice. The Justice found themselves deprived of resources, but with enough of a push forward, they stole away 3 kills off the Shock and forced them to retreat wholly and wait for their key members to respawn. Choihyobin managed to self-destruct and take out Janus, and the following team fight ensued in favor of the Shock, killing 3 more of the Justice for good measure and securing the map win, 3-1.
The Justice deservedly fell to the worst record in the League tonight. Their performance outside the first map was wholly terrible. On Nepal, the Justice had their strongest performance in awhile (as Control has traditionally been their best map performance), securing a whole boatload of eliminations in hand over the Shock, but once again, mis-timed plays cost them a victory. Bad resource management repeatedly had the Justice in poor position and without much ability to take on a strong opponent like the Shock. They still managed to get back into the fight on multiple occasions, but coming close is not securing a win, and they failed to get Nepal even off the Shock, who has been traditionally subpar on Control.
After map 1, DC simply appeared to fall apart at the seams. Janus was continuously out of position and it certainly looks like there were multiple poor callouts and incorrect targets, as the team failed multiple times to converge on appropriate points. Corey had the best performance by far, but he was continuously on his own. Nobody else really stepped up to the plate- Janus included.
Honestly, so many things went wrong with this match that it’s difficult to pin down any particular reason the Justice lost. Everything went wrong. Outside of map 1, DC was continuously out of position, played so badly that the Shock broke an Overwatch League record, and almost let them break another one in the last map as well. The team looked utterly destroyed on stage, everyone looked dejected and annoyed- particularly after map 3. In this match, the Justice never even truly came close to the Shock in anything after a strong first map- they were completely outclassed, and the Shock read their strategies perfectly nearly every time. It was a completely poor showing from the team, and one they likely won’t be remembering fondly for the rest of their careers. Even though they are not the only winless team this season, their map differential is a league-worst -9. The only team that comes close to them in that department is the Florida Mayhem at -7, as even the Valiant are only at a -5. So far this season, the Justice have only won… 4 maps, which the Shock won in tonight’s match alone.
We’ve seen a particular pattern so far this season where DC comes close but ultimately cannot clinch. That pattern was broken tonight, but not in the way one would hope- instead, they were decimated for 3 straight maps after continuing coming close in map 1. The season might be long, but the Justice are in such a hole right now that it doesn’t seem possible for them to make playoffs at the end. It’s already been demonstrated that they simply can’t compete with the league’s top-level talent right now, and it seems like communication issues are a primary contributing factor. If the Justice cannot find a way to fix that, they don’t stand a chance. This team needs to turn it around, and soon.
Washington’s next match is on March 9th @ 4:30pm against the Seoul Dynasty, who have been severely underperforming this season. They have a realistic chance against Seoul, but there’s much work to be done in the meantime.