The Washington Justice have an opportunity to finish Stage 4 undefeated. Four weeks ago, that sentence would have seemed absurd, yet today the Justice sit atop the Stage 4 table with a perfect 5-0 record. They’ve seen a meteoric rise to near the top of the TGH power rankings. “Redemption arc,” “resurgence” and “comeback” have all been used to describe the turnaround, but nothing fully encapsulates the insanity of a 2-19 team in the basement of the league rattling off a perfect stage. The D.C. squad won’t be featured at The Kit Kat Rivalry Weekend during Week 5, making this week’s Washington Justice preview the finale for the playoff eliminated squad’s inaugural season.
Washington Justice Rewind: Week 3
Justice 3-1 Boston
The Justice didn’t look as strong as they have over the past few weeks against a struggling Boston side. This was potentially the first time many of these players have felt the pressure of winning expectations on the Overwatch League stage. Corey “Corey” Nigra showed inconsistency for the first time all stage, forcing Ethan “Stratus” Yankel to be less aggressive; yet the duo still outshined their Boston counterparts. The Uprising brought Dohyung “Stellar” Lee back from his brief retirement to play a very shaky Mei. In the end, it was a clutch sub of Nikola “Sleepy” Andrews for Gi-do “Gido” Moon on flex support for the final map that led to a dominating win on Route 66 to secure a closer than anticipated match.
Justice 3-2 Outlaws
Losing maps to Houston is not good. Losing maps to Houston without Jacob “Jake” Lyon is even worse. The biggest concern is that there were times where Dante “Danteh” Cruz and Jiri “Linkzr” Masalin outclassed Corey and Stratus. In the 2-2-2 meta, Washington can’t afford to have their DPS playing as inconsistently as they did all weekend. They may have pulled out the victory, but they gave up three total maps to two bottom five teams. The best thing for the Justice will be to focus on the two wins, throw out the game film, and prepare for Week 4 the way they did for Weeks 1 & 2.
Washington Justice Preview: Week 4
Atlanta Reign (12-12; 3-0 in Stage 4)
Atlanta have also looked strong in Stage 4, though in a smaller sample size. The Reign currently sit in 11th place and are battling for a spot in the play-in tournament (they are technically still alive for the top 6, but would likely need to win out and receive help from other teams). This matchup between two lower table teams has potentially become the game of the week. Every aspect will be fun to watch, from DPS duels to tank matchups. If Atlanta wins, they will prove to the league that they are a legitimate title threat. The Justice want to keep playing spoilers to playoff hopefuls. The difference-maker will be Dusttin “Dogman” Bowerman. The outspoken flex support has thrived in intense environments (see: Atlanta Homestand) and will set the Reign over the top here.
Prediction: Reign 3-2 Justice
Paris Eternal (10-16; 2-3 in Stage 4)
Paris have been inconsistent during Stage 4, but looked stronger against the Philadelphia Fusion last week, pulling off a reverse sweep. There still hasn’t been enough life from the Eternal squad to give the Justice much pause. There are two ways Washington could let this slip away. The first is if Terence “SoOn” Tarlier and Georgii “Shadowburn” Gushcha return to the form that made them household names and outshine Stratus and Corey. The second is oversight. If Washington overlooked Paris to focus on Atlanta, or drops the Reign match and no longer have an undefeated stage on the line, going through the motions will cost them. The most likely scenario still holds that the Justice secure at the very least a 6-1 stage.
Prediction: Justice 3-1 Eternal
Players to Watch: Corey and Stratus
The DPS tandem have been one of the best in the league since role lock took effect. The most important thing this weekend, odd as it sounds, will be that they continue to have fun. As expectations continue for Washington to be a top team, the antics of Corey and Stratus will help keep them grounded. Whether they’re flexing like Doomfist or rocking the aviators for walk out, the team has benefitted from not taking themselves too seriously. If the Justice keep enjoying themselves and don’t get rattled, they will secure a perfect Stage 4 and roll into the 2020 season as a serious contender.
Header image courtesy of Stewart Volland for Blizzard Entertainment.
For more content, hot takes, and dad jokes follow me on Twitter!
Follow The Game Haus for more sports and esports coverage.
“From Our Haus to Yours”