Today, the Justice have their second matchup of the week against one of the new China expansion teams. What are their chances?
Starting Roster Predictions:
It’s difficult to tell who has the upper hand in this matchup. On the one hand, Chengdu has the better record by far, but they’ve had inconsistent performances against some of the best and some of the worst. The Hunters managed to take the Vancouver Titans in their peak to overtime, losing 2-3 in that match, but this same team got swept by the Shanghai Dragons and Seoul Dynasty in Stage One. On the other hand, they took a 3-2 win over the Atlanta Reign, 4-0’d a relatively weak Paris Eternal squad, and even took a 3-2 overtime win off Guangzhou Charge, China’s strongest pro OWL team. They’re also playing for the second day in a row, though.
Meanwhile, Washington has typically struggled to keep up against much stronger opponents. However, they were only swept once all season to the San Francisco Shock, who have had a series of strong appearances already. Many of their losses still had plenty of moments where the Justice had a chance to win not just the map, but the match entirely- but the team’s only consistency layed in the fact that they were unable to close out rounds in the final minute. It looks as though the Justice have been working on that, and the addition of ArK clearly helped even out their pace, but he’s still new to the team and their adjustments weren’t strong enough to win their first match against a strong Toronto team.
This is a longwinded way of saying that both teams have glaring faults and it’s hard to tell which will end up a victim of them. The Justice have proven capable of running a super aggro team that can win rounds in short order, but be unable to close out what should be a round win a the same time. Chengdu appears to have swiss cheese defensive posture at times, but also show a remarkable tenacity to push back and secure themselves wins. It also helps that their Stage One opponents were typically of fellow expansion teams, with only three of their Stage One matches being against veteran pro OWL teams- two of the worst in the League from last season and one who only made their first playoff appearance this season. We’ll have to see who winds up on top here, but the Justice certainly have a realistic shot at toppling their demons.