After chaos rocked the Overwatch League’s Saturday matches, Sunday was supposed to be a return to sanity. Three predictable games were on the docket, and despite a convincing effort from Toronto, everything was going according to plan. That is, until the Washington Justice became the victims of a grisly crime.
Home invasion, assault, highway robbery? All aptly describe the offenses perpetrated by the London Spitfire during their spawn door hold on Dorado. In one of the most lopsided rounds in Overwatch history, Washington pushed the cart just 4.31 meters or about three seconds of movement. So, how did this happen? There are several suspects at this time, but a few stand out above the rest.
The question has to be asked: was this damage self-inflicted. To some extent, that almost must be the case. A round like this doesn’t happen without some reckless behavior on the part of the victim. Here, the biggest offender is probably Ho-Sung “TTuba“ Lee.
To start, he didn’t access his deep hero pool at all, only playing Mei on Dorado while Washington left Ethan “Stratus” Yankel, one of the league’s best Mei players, on the bench. Maybe the Justice had plans for the rest of the map that just never came up, but it was a curious decision nonetheless.
TTuba’s performance left a lot to be desired, especially in terms of positioning and decision making. He was out of sync with his teammates, often pressing forward without much in the way of backup. He tried to dual Gil-seong “Glister” Lim in the front line and was repeatedly forced to use his Cryo-Freeze early in fights.
Look at the clip below, from the fight that sank the Justice attack. Washington is set up on the high ground, ready to drop in and engage. TTuba moves in a full second or two before most of his team. His main tank, Chang-hoon “rOar” Gye, in particular, is on a completely different wavelength, and TTuba even ignores his opportunity to use Blizzard while Gun-hee “Clestyn” Cho is out of range. Instead, he’s forced to use his defensive cooldown immediately, giving Dong-jae “Schwi” Lee a chance to use Blizzard first. As TTuba emerges, he’s already being frozen and panics, throwing out his own ultimate right into Clestyn’s Defense Matrix.
When the dust settled on Dorado, TTuba was Washington’s first death in three of seven teamfights. A league-average Mei dies first 10% of the time. Obviously, TTuba’s sample size is absurdly small, but his inability to stay alive on one of Overwatch’s most survivable heroes hamstrung his team in a big way on Sunday.
The Main Tank Position
On paper, this matchup should heavily favor the Justice. ROar might not be an absolute stud on Reinhardt, but he’s a reliable veteran with a solid track record. For London, Dae-Han “JMAC” Choi has largely been a disaster this season. On Dorado though, he bodied rOar from start to finish, racking up four final blows against his counterpart.
Here, the Justice Nano Boost rOar and attempt to initiate, but JMAC shuts it down completely with an Earthshatter. Yes, he dies, but the damage is done. London picks up two kills immediately and negate the Nano. After that, Schwi’s Blizzard is more than enough to clean up the fight.
As impressive as JMAC was, rOar’s performance on Dorado was equally baffling. He was completely disconnected from his team, leaving him susceptible to Schwi’s Ice Walls. So many times, he found himself on the wrong side of the wall, either isolated from healers and killed off or unable to shield his teammates from incoming fire. ROar had a rollercoaster of a series, but this was definitely the low point.
Anonymous on a team of unknowns, Clestyn is far from a household name. It took a Se-won “BERNAR” Shin illness just to get him on stage, but he was the surprise star of the series for London. He was unrelenting in his harassment of Corey “Corey” Nigra, zoning the Justice superstar out of power positions and limiting the damage he could do on flanks. In short, Clestyn shut Corey down, at least to the extent that Corey can be shut down.
Just watch how he helps the Spitfire close out their defense. Not only does he eat TTuba’s Blizzard, but he’s also able to deny Corey’s Deadeye and force the Justice backline to retreat while London cleans up the fight. He then teams up with Glister to assassinate Corey right as the Justice are preparing to engage again.
Through the entire series, Clestyn was on Corey duty. He took away a lot of the carry potential that the Justice rely on. For teams scouting Washington, Clestyn might have just provided the blueprint. Neutralize Corey, and you neuter the Justice.
As tempting as it can be to give all the blame (or credit) to individual players, the culprit in this series is the obvious communication issues that plagued the Justice from start to finish on Dorado. From the opening moments, when they tried and failed to capitalize on Minseok “AimGod” Kwon’s big Biotic Grenade, Washington was out of sorts.
At times they were hesitant to leave the spawn doors. Others, they pushed with reckless abandon. They tried flanks, split pushes and long rotations. They built up ults and tossed them in carelessly. Bastion made a cameo appearance as they scrambled for answers, but none came.
In perhaps the most crucial fight of the map, those communication issues cost the Justice big. To start, TTuba and rOar aren’t on the same page and get separated by a nice wall from Schwi. Washington’s healers are in a position to assist, but TTuba cancels his Cryo-Freeze early. Aimgod throws a Biotic Grenade his way, and Yeonjoon “ArK” Hong even commits his Sound Barrier, but they’re both a bit too late to save TTuba. ROar attempts to salvage the fight with an Earthshatter but instead cripples Washington’s ult economy.
The fight hinges on the tiniest thing, the communication about when TTuba is coming out of Cryo-Freeze. The timing is off, and Washington is denied the chance to capitalize on their big ult advantage. In an instant, their cleanest opportunity to push is lost to unforced errors that snowball into disaster.
Dorado was the start of the undoing for Washington. They crumbled on Blizzard World, again failing to capture point A, before coming up short in a nailbiter on Nepal. The reverse sweep brought Washington’s first homestand to a dramatic and heartwrenching end. The loss clearly deflated the Justice, but the crowd lifted them up. In two weeks, they’ll return to the scene of the crime, this time with redemption on their minds.
Featured image courtesy of Tasos Katopodis for Blizzard Entertainment.
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