The quotes provided in this article are taken from an interview conducted by the author with Washington Justice player Gui-un “Decay” Jang. This was done in due part with the Justice’s team translator, Haeni Kim. For any questions or queries about this interview, please contact TGH’s Jordy Garcia at [email protected].
Gui-un “Decay” Jang and the Washington Justice started the 2021 Overwatch League season strong. The Justice topped the league with a 4-0 record and a 12-3 map difference during the May Melee qualifiers. This performance instantly justified the changes the organization made during the offseason.
But following a 3-1 upset to the fourth seed Florida Mayhem in the Regional Knockout semifinals – even with a given bye – Washington could not find a way to finish strong.
While they did also qualify for the Summer Showdown with a 3-1 record, the team, unfortunately, lost in the semifinals again. This time to the back-to-back tournament finalists Dallas Fuel. The Justice finished this season with a 9-7 record.
“Well, in general: this season didn’t go well…We never went to Hawaii, we didn’t prove ourselves.” Decay explained.
While there were plenty of bright spots for Washington throughout this season, the team never hit the high of their undefeated record at the beginning of the season. And according to the Justice’s resident DPS star, the team still has not shown their true colors yet.
As a team that may have hit their peak far too early in the season, they are now given a chance at redemption against the team that knocked them out of July’s tournament: the aforementioned Dallas Fuel. The Fuel, according to Decay, are somewhat of a mixed bag currently.
[Related: OWL 2021 Playoffs: Dallas Fuel vs Washington Justice Preview]
“I know that Dallas missed the Countdown Cup, but that does not mean that they are going to be an easy team,” the Korean DPS player explained.
Just like Washington, Dallas is also a strong team: but also a team that may have peaked too early as well.
The Fuel steamrolled their way to the May Melee trophy when it almost seemed destined for the Justice to make a strong push for it. When the Justice failed to qualify for the June Joust tournament, the Fuel once again made it to the finals of the bracket only being bested by the East region’s best team: the Shanghai Dragons.
But since then, Dallas looked like the weaker of the four teams in Hawaii for the Summer Showdown – and then just like Washington – they failed to qualify for the Countdown Cup in August.
While Decay explicitly understands that the Fuel have been much stronger during the regular season than the Justice have been. He does also break this upcoming matchup down to a battle of intangibles.
“Our playstyles are similar, but I think we have better mechanics, better team chemistry. Easy Win.”
This inexplicable contradiction of both Decay’s statements of “not an easy team” as opposed to the latter “easy win” is both telling of his confidence in him and his teammates, but also telling of his respect for Dallas’ accomplishments this season.
The Fuel in his eyes may be what the Justice could have been had they continued their top-of-the-line play as they did during the May Melee qualifiers.
But for Decay and the Justice, the 2021 regular season is behind them. The playoffs are where the Justice comes to play.
[Related: Sup7eme Synergy: Behind The Mind of Washington’s Head Coach]
In retrospect, the 2021 OWL Playoffs are a chance for the Washington Justice to rewrite their wrongs – just as they did a season ago.
The 2020 Justice roster was interesting, to say the least. The team finished in second-to-last place with a 4-17 record but found themselves in a play-in scenario after an abundance of season format alterations.
Following Decay’s vital acquisition, the Justice went from one of the worst teams in the league to a team that was one win away from qualifying for the 2020 OWL Grand Finals. And so, once again, Washington have been given the opportunity to rewrite history. This time it’s ‘fueled’ by a different mindset, as Decay states.
“I think we are “strong” rather than “resilient” [like last year]. From what I have heard from our coaches, if we play well on our comfort picks: I think we will do well.”
This “strength” that Decay seems to instill within himself stems from his focus on one game at a time. This mindset, as previously mentioned, all started as the team hit play-ins just as they did last season.
“In play-ins, I just focused on those two games and now we are in playoffs.” Decay explained.
The one step at a time mentality makes all the difference for Decay and the Justice roster. Now the team finds themselves in a two-fold redemption arc.
One, the Justice can eliminate both a ghost of this season and Decay’s past. And two, if they get by that ghost, the team has a chance to finish the redemption arc that they failed to finish last season.
“I think we need to focus on maximizing our capabilities and we can win.” Decay explained.
Decay stated that he was disappointed that the team never made it to Hawaii. But now, the team is there on the most important Hawaii trip of the season. If regular-season Justice is not running at maximum capacity, then who knows what is in store for the league when postseason Washington arrives in Hawaii.
The Washington Justice face the Dallas Fuel in the quarterfinals of the 2021 Overwatch League Playoffs tonight (September 21) at 6 pm CT.
Follow Jordy on Twitter: @JRDNGRCA for everything Overwatch League and more like this Decay Interview piece.
Featured Image Courtesy of the Overwatch League.
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