The Washington Justice will look to put last weekend’s disappointing results behind them, but tough matchups could make improving difficult. Despite losing 3-1 to both the Toronto Defiant and Chengdu Hunters, one thing is clear: Corey “Corey” Nigra is a star in the making. His DPS play, coupled with Yeonjoon “ArK” Hong’s leadership, have transformed the Justice into a more competitive team.
The question now is: will the Justice be able to take that next step and compete for wins against two of the league’s better teams?
Preview For This Week
New York Excelsior – Stage (2-0) Season (9-0)
The story is the same for the Excelsior this year as it was last year, in the regular season this team is dominate. Last week, NYXL didn’t drop a single map. Their only blemish was a tie on Hanamura against Shanghai. Everyone is aware of what Sung-hyeon “JJonak” Bang brings to the table, but the story is really how well this teams is playing as a single unit.
For the Washington Justice, they will have to play perfectly if they hope to compete with this juggernaut. It’s no hyperbole to say no one is picking the Justice to come out of this match victoriously. Furthermore, it will take the Justice showing a new level of play not yet seen from the team for them to remain competitive let alone win the match.
Atlanta Reign – Stage (0-2) Season (4-5)
Without Daniel “Dafran” Francesca, the Atlanta Reign look like an entirely different team. Once considered by many to be at the top of the league, the Reign have fallen significantly after just one week of play. There’s no doubt Andrej “Babybay” Francisty is a solid player, but be it lack of chemistry or practice he looked like a significant downgrade from the aforementioned Dafran. After falling victim to a Boston Uprising reverse sweep, they were rocked by the London Spitfire 4-0, if ever a team needed a lackluster opponent to get back on track its this team. Enter the Washington Justice.
For the Justice this game will serve as a barometer of sorts. If ArK, Corey and the gang can pull together and handily beat Atlanta, then perhaps fans can have some hope for future success. If they get beaten easily, then Atlanta remains a question mark for another week. Most likely Washington will lose 3-2 and then it will be clear that neither of these teams are playing that well.
This looks to be a hard week for the boys in red, white and blue. No one will be surprised to see them drop to 1-10 on the season, if that’s the case, pipe dreams for the playoffs this season will be all but dead. If the Justice do drop both matches it might serve as reason enough for management to start looking long and hard at the team they’ve built, while scouting the players who are currently unsigned. There is talent on the roster and matches are worth watching, as long as your expectations are reasonable and one eye remains looking towards the future.
As for the present, the player to watch this week is Corey. After some impressive showings last week we’ll see if he can continue to come into his own. The biggest question will be: how can his DPS play counter New York’s JJonak in their first game? Keeping the star of the Excelsior in check will be the first step the Justice must take in order to have a chance at an upset.
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