It’s their only meeting for the whole season and Geguri (one of my favorite players) probably even be a part of the match. How’s it gonna go?
Washington find themselves in a bit of a precarious spot. They have yet to win a match in Stage 2. They’ve made two major roster adjustments and neither has paid any sort of dividend yet, with Sleepy being mediocre in his debut and ArK continuing to appear to struggle adjusting to the style of the Justice. While ArK has had time to get better (and, to his credit, he has been particularly more effective as the stage has continued), Sleepy doesn’t have that benefit. It’s possible the team will want to stick with Gido for another match to try to get a more realistic chance for a win here, but I doubt they will use him as a starter. Or, they’ll open with him and then replace him with Sleepy shortly after.
It’s been frustrating watching this team continue to play this stage. We’ve seen the squad perform in such a high capacity at times, but the history of the Justice’s inability to simply finish the job has bitten them multiple times during this run. DC has found themselves in a position to win maps with relative frequency, but then crumble and give just enough of a window to allow their more skilled opponents to secure the win, typically down to the wire. Despite playing at a more overall competent level than in stage 1, the Justice simply cannot win. Forget the playoffs, it’ll be a miracle if the Justice can muster together enough strength to finish with half a dozen wins this season.
Meanwhile, Shanghai has every reason to fight as strong as humanly possible. Their playoff lives hang in the balance as they will desperately need to secure a win if they want a snowball’s chance in hell of separating themselves from the pack currently stuck in the middle. They only have a +2 map differential, and they had a 3-0 win against the Houston Outlaws two weeks ago, with a map tie on Temple of Anubis being their only real blemish throughout the whole match. Currently the Seoul Dynasty sit above them in the standings with a +6 map differential, so it might come down to how many wins separate the middle class from the bunch here. Most teams stuck there still have two matches to play this weekend- one win could be what makes the difference between stage playoffs and an early exit.
Naturally, I don’t expect the Justice to win here. Rather, I expect them to adjust Sleepy more and get more quality minutes at the OWL level, as he’s still coming off the bench from the Shock and the team just had their bye week. My fingers are crossed it won’t be a sweep.