The Justice showed signs of promise in their previous match, and Chengdu have been a much more realistic opponent to face than most of their others. However, the Justice’s woes continued as they stepped in front of themselves to lose the match.
Map 1: Oasis (Control)
The Justice simply underperformed here. Both teams utilized some varied DPS, snipers, tanks, and supports, and both teams had their share of hero switches. Corey attempted to do some real work using McCree, but while he did perform averagely, Baconjack largely mirrored him with his own McCree and did a much better clutch performance, routinely forcing the Justice out of position and making them deal with less time. Although DC did manage to pick up some percentages here, they fell apart at the worst moments to some intense pressure from Chengdu. The Hunters took a fairly convincing 2-0 win, while the Justice regrouped for the next map.
Map 2: Temple of Anubis (Assault)
This is where things looked intensely different. Chengdu’s strategy fell apart on their offense, and the Justice went to work on their defense- often stalling for over 10 seconds at a time, giving teammates time to come back in and getting enough healing to prevent any real sustained pressure from Chengdu. On their defensive round, the Justice managed to prevent the Hunters from even taking the first initial point, and Gido was a big reason for it- putting Chengdu to sleep often and taking down their pivotal members in order. Corey also was impressive as Bastion, often softening up almost the entire Hunter squad before teammates finished picking them off, all while staying alive for extended bouts at a time.
On the offense, the Justice came out swinging, and Corey almost immediately went to work. Snipers, snipers, and more snipers went to town on the Hunters, and the Justice faltered at first, but immediately regrouped and pushed onto the point. Some pretty well timed attacks forced Chengdu into unfavorable position, with the Justice capitalizing with some good picks to force Chengdu back and eventually relent the first point- the only one the Justice needed. It was a very convincing map win with Corey finishing it with a 5 player kill streak for good measure.
Map 3: King’s Row (Assault/Escort)
This one was… pretty sad to watch, really. While the Justice played a near-perfect defense in the starting round, the Hunters managed to get two full ticks on the first point. Both teams followed pretty similar strategies, wearing down each other and making individual picks, with neither team really able to break the other and neither relenting much of the point at any given time. Nobody really won any team fights during this map series, but Chengdu stalled the Justice enough to prevent them from getting that second tick, and winning the map. The Justice squandered multiple opportunities to push forward and divide the Hunters, and failed to capitalize on nearly every chance to make a concrete effort to take the point entirely. As the time wound down, it was obvious that DC had wasted their prime time.
Map 4: Gibraltar
Escort has been a bit of a bane for the Justice over the course of the season, and this map would prove no different. DC played 3-3 the entirety of this map, while Chengdu went with double snipers on their offensive push. It definitely took awhile, and few team fights were genuinely won on either side, but the Hunters and the Justice both grinded down to the final point for both of their regulation time pushes. DC did have over a full minute extra in their time bank, but it was still just shy of two and a half minutes. About average for their situation, and would allow them to make a decent push in comparison to the 1:07 the Hunters had, but not overly so.
Overtime is where the wheels came off for the Justice. It was initially looking pretty solid for DC, stalling as much as possible and giving little ground to the Hunters, but then Chengdu managed to make a bit of a push forward underneath the first arch. At this point, DC fell apart entirely: multiple members got taken down in short order, before Chengdu made an overly aggressive push forward and wiped out everyone else who was left. Washington got team killed, and it left a wide open hole for Chengdu to not only take the first point, but even make headway towards the second. DC did return quickly to wipe out the Hunters, but the damage was done. When it came their turn, DC struggled to make any good push forward, and Chengdu continued to apply tons of pressure, particularly with a Doomfist operation. In the end, the Justice squandered their opportunity and failed to take even the first point, giving away a map win to Chengdu and ending any hope to take the match win in Overtime.
The Justice could have and should have won this match. Hands down. It’s 100% their own fault to not walking away from this match as the winners. Chengdu made numerous mistakes both on offense and defense, and their only genuine competitive win was the first map. That was the last time Chengdu appeared completely in control of a map. Otherwise, it was the Justice who were mostly dictating the pace of the match, putting up some great offense and defense at all odds and ends of the match. Corey was once again putting on a clinic as a sniper, did pretty well as McCree, and did not do so great as Zarya. Gido played pretty great overall, Ado was… okay, and Janus played some excellent tank, even if he was outshined at Wrecking Ball. It happens, and he did much better at both Winston and Rein to make up for the concrete difference in ability as Wrecking Ball against Ameng.
It comes back down to the Justice faltering at the worst possible moments. When DC makes a mistake, it tears down their entire game plan, and no map better demonstrated that than Gibraltar. That team kill that DC suffered utterly ruined their momentum, and that last push is what sent Chengdu to the winner’s column. Washington’s 3-3 also looked very rusty, and Corey’s performance dropped significantly as Zarya. Sansam could have also played better here, and ArK didn’t seem to make that much of a difference. Gido was a star throughout the entire match, although he did suffer some very bad, untimely deaths. It was frustrating to watch this team give up a win when their performance has been steadily improving since the acquisition of ArK, and they continued to show their glimpses of brilliance and manage to sustain those bouts even longer, but it’s just not enough. Perhaps it just needs some more time to really settle in, but the ball was certainly in DC’s court and they dropped it pretty bad here. Improvements still need to be made, and playoffs are already out of possibility.
Washington returns to the stage on Thursday, April 11th at 8:45pm EST against an old foe: the New York Excelsior, who have still yet to lose a match so far. Will facing two of their old squadmates fare any better?