The Washington Justice had a very rocky start last year. Going 8-20 for the regular season. More importantly, six of their eight winning games came in the last seven matches of the season. With a fresh season, multiple homestands and a new Head Coach, the Washingtonian team has a great chance to burn its past and rise from the ashes.
The Washington Justice 2019 Season Recap
The Washington Justice was a brand new team in 2019. Former NYXL coach Hyeong-Seok “WizardHyeong” Kim had been hired to form a team for the Washingtonians and his creation was a mix of American and Korean players that looked solid, for a dive meta. Sadly, the inflexibility of the initial roster meant the team was utterly defeated time and time again. The Triple-Tank Triple-Support meta was far horrible for the team. They had three back to back losing streaks of six games. In other words, they only won one match every two months.
Their only victories would be against teams that were inside their orbit in the standings. Florida Mayhem and Boston Uprising. Doubts began to set over both the coaching of the team and the players. Particularly, the underperformance of their tank line SanSam and Janus.
It wouldn’t be until the introduction of the 2-2-2 role lock that the team would finally be able to break from their chains. In stage four the team completely reversed their luck and went on to have an almost perfect stage. Their only loss being against a team that did have a perfect stage, Atlanta Reign.
The Returning Roster
Justice saw a lot of changes to their staff there is only one remaining staffer from last year. But a lot of the star talent in the team has remained for the 2020 season. The magic duo of LullSiSh and ELLIVOTE will also stay in the team and will finally get a chance to play on stage.
Assistant Manager: Aaron “PRE” Heckman
Main Tank: Lukas “LullSiSH” Wiklund
Flex Tank: Elliot “ELLIVOTE” Vaneryd
Hitscan DPS: Corey “Corey” Nigra
Flex DPS: Ethan “Stratus” Yankel
Main Support: Yeonjoon “ArK” Hong
Former tank players Jun-Hwa “Janus” Song and Hyang-ki “SanSam” Kim have been let go of the Washington Justice. This was a foregone conclusion when they signed LullSish and ELLIVOTE halfway through the season. The two Swedish Tanks will finally have a chance to play on stage this year.
The core DPS duo that we got a chance to shine last year in Stage 4 returns as well. Corey and Stratus have incredibly high skill ceilings and will surely be aiming to polish their performance throughout the year.
Washington has a completely new staff and three new players for the 2020 season.
General Manager: Analynn “Bawlynn” Dang
Head Coach: Seetoh “JohnGalt” Jian Qing
Development Coach: Seung-jun “Sup7eme” Han
Strategic Coach: Hae-Joon “Wiz” Lee
Individual Coach: Chris “Bani” Benell
Main Tank: Chang-hoon “rOar” Gye
Projectile DPS: Ho-Sung “TTuba” Lee
Flex Support: Minseok “AimGod” “Jeff” Kwon
The team has chosen their Support line for the year and also deepen their Tank and DPS talent pool. This is also a mixed roster that could lean more heavily on its Western or Korean players as needed throughout the season.
A Brand New Washington Justice Staff
Without a doubt, the biggest changes inside the Washington Justice this off-season is the complete implosion of their staff structure. Coming into the 2020 season the team has a new General Manager, new Assistant Manager, new Head Coach and new Assistant Coaches.
Analynn “Bawlynn” Dang and Aaron “PRE” Heckman will be General Manager and Assitant Manager respectively. Bawlynn was previously the Director and Talent Manager for the Los Angeles Gladiators and PRE is what remains of the previous coaching staff at Justice, during the off-season he moved to his new Assistant Manager position.
Seetoh “JohnGalt” Jian Qing joins the team as the new Head Coach following his departure from the Gladiators. John had expressed his desire to move into a head coaching position soon after the start of the 2019 offseason. He was one of David “dpei” Pei, Head Coach and General Manager of LAG, most trusted coaches for the 2019 season. Fans of Washington should rejoice with this signing.
Seung-jun “Sup7eme” Han is the new Devolpemental coach at Washington. He has worked in the past with Glister, Creative, Bazzi, Adora, TTuba and Roky – all of whom are or have been part of an Overwatch League team. Sup7eme is an amazing addition to help players like ELLIVOTE, Corey and AimGod reach new highs.
Hae-Joon “Wiz” Lee is regarded as one of the best strategic coaches currently in the scene. A fantastic analyst in his own right, Wiz has also coached the former New York Excelsior academy team XL2 throughout the 2019 Contenders season.
Last but not least, Chris “Bani” Benell who steps away from his playing position inside the Houston Outlaws to join the Washington justice as an Individual Coach. The 26-year-old former Main Support player has said that he believes this to be his next step in his career. In the past, he has filled a proxy coach position in-game for the Outlaws. He will be able to best relate to the struggle of players this year.
The DC Reinforcements
Formerly part of the Los Angeles Gladiators, rOar was let go of that team in the off-season to make way for new signings. He is not a bad player, often considered an above-average Winston. However, the Triple-Tank Triple-Support meta was never a comfortable environment for him. With the meta shifting once more, it is not outside the realm of possibility for him to play Winston once again and return to his previous form.
TTuba is the only signing of the Washington Justice that has no previous experience in the League. The young Korean projectile player will compete for a starting position with Stratus, but also be there as a solid substitution where there need for one, not to mention his potential to grow year after year.
Finally, AimGod joins the team after leaving the Boston Uprising. To many, AimGod has never been able to fully realize his potential as he was swapped in and out of the bench often in Boston. He took to Twitter after his announcement to share his excitement over his new team.
— AimGod (@aimgod_ow) November 8, 2019
The Washington Justice Strength of Schedule
Perhaps the most important factor for this team is their schedule. Not only will the Washington justice host five homestand, guaranteeing that 10 of their 28 matches will be played from the comfort of their home, but the Justice will never leave North America. They are not subject to fatigue, the biggest killer of the 2020 season.
The evilest example of this is in Week 9. When the Washington Justice, fresh from a week of rest, will face London Spitfire and Paris Eternal who will have to fly from London to Washington for the game. Brutal.
When and Where to Catch the Washington Homestands
As mentioned previously, Washington will be one of the only two teams to host five homestands. If you feel like visiting the Anthem to watch them play, circle the following dates:
- February 22nd-23rd Washington will face Paris and London.
- March 7th-8th this time versus Boston and New York.
- April 4th-5th Paris and London come back from Europe and face a prepared Washington.
For the remaining two homestands the team will move to the Entertainment and Sports Arena.
- May 30th-31st Seoul and Guangzhou visit the Justice.
- June 20th-21st for their final homestand the team will play against Atlanta and Houston.
Washington Justice’s Biggest Matches This Year
Their matches for the Pacific Conference stretch between Weeks 16 and 18 can be of importance to this team. In two weeks, the team will face the entirety of the Pacific East Division, meaning all of the Chinese teams and the Seoul Dynasty. In these two weeks, the team will only enjoy one homestand. Winning these five games would be a huge morale boost for the team as they cross the final third of the season.
The most personal match of the season will be in Week 23 when the Washington Justice faces the Los Angeles Gladiators in Dallas. As noted earlier, a lot of Gladiator’s talent has migrated to DC. Both of these team’s head coaches have worked with one another in the past, and although they continue to have a good standing with each other they are both highly competitive individuals. No doubt would like to one-up the other onstage.
Most Anticipated Players
Corey will undoubtedly be in everyone’s mind every match. He has made a name for himself well before joining the league but had only a few weeks at the end of last season to showcase his raw talent. Coming into 2020, Corey will likely be the star player for the team.
It is also worth keeping an eye on ELLIVOTE. A powerful Off Tank player that, with the right coaching and practice, could challenge players at the top of the league like Indy “SPACE” Halpern. With him playing every match as a starter, he will have the experience needed to grow into a solid and reliable player.
Hard Work Pays Off!
If there ever was a year to build a roster and fill out your calendar with training and practice time, it would be this one. Justice has great coaches with young talented players and plenty of time to burn between matches. They might not win the entire championship, but they can certainly create a 2021 roster that just might.
Week to week, Washington has to prepare for their opponents. They cannot live with just winging their matches. They are good, but they need to be better. The worst enemy of this team will be complacency. If they start winning, they need to remind themselves that with no stages, every win and loss counts.
Finally, scouting. North American and Korean Contenders has been a consistently good pool of talent. If the team sets their sights into up-and-coming talent from the regions, they could bring in reinforcements midseason to fill any gaps inside the team.
Washington will play a different game than most. While most teams will hold on to every minute they can for resting, the Justice will spend every minute on practice.
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Featured Image Courtesy of Blizzard Entertainment
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