It’s been a long seven matches, but oh my god the Washington Justice finally did it they finally did it they finally did it!!!
Map 1: Nepal (Control)
The Justice immediately came into the point and began with a very strong initial push, particularly using Corey’s grav to force the Mayhem to lose 3 members at once and taking down two others to force a full retreat. However, the Mayhem came in with a resurgance and split the Justice squad, with McGravy using a D.Va ultimate to nab two of the Justice and put them in unfavorable position. In another team fight shortly after, Florida paced their ultimates much better and slowly worked down the Justice squad, repeatedly dismantling any potential strategy the Justice attempted to secure the first point. After a strong initial surge, the Justice relented too much and repeatedly mistimed their own ultimate economy to give up the initial point.
The Justice came out and targeted Swon heavily, managing to work him low before killing him and putting Florida on the retreat, nabbing a couple more just for good measure. In the second team fight, Janus managed to outlast a series of onslaughts from Florida and eventually the Justice managed to wipe out most of the Mayhem to retain control of the point. It was an impressive set of sequences that showed Janus’ survivability as Rein. When the Justice got up to 99%, they unfortunately suffered a couple of mistimed attacks, with Janus wasting his Shatter on BQB and not securing any kills. After regrouping, the Justice came back to the point but Fahzix and Ado both went down very quickly, negating any push forward. In another regroup, the Justice surged onto the point and while Janus went down early, Sansam’s D.Va ult killed two of the Mayhem, giving DC enough of a window to close out the round despite Florida’s repeated pests coming in to contest the point. Both teams with 1 point apiece.
DC won the initial team fight despite Sansam getting de-meched, with too many of the Mayhem attempting to save an isolated McGravy as a D.Va duel went to extra innings. Unfortunately, the terrible ultimate economy management bit the Justice again, as they wasted multiple only to fall to a surging Mayhem team, who managed to take the point before the fight was even over. Returning to battle, the Justice easily overwhelmed Swon and then forced the Mayhem to dedicate nearly all of their remaining ultimates to the ensuing team fight. Meanwhile, the Justice used plenty of their own, but began building back up. After the Mayhem regrouped, they surged again and retook the point and then staggered Sansam to stall for time even further. Janus had a map-saving Shatter as the Justice returned to full strength, and then baited the Mayhem into using nearly all of their ultimates and wasting nearly all of them. Florida’s surge was wasted away and they crumbled after losing two of their own to the Justice’s strong offense, while the Justice focusing on eliminating single targets to secure the point once more and win the map 2-1.
Map 2: Hollywood (Assault/Escort)
Xepher was subbed in for McGravy for the Mayhem. The Justice started the first round on the offensive side. Gido found himself an early victim as BQB pestered the Justice with Sombra. The team had pushed to the point and found themselves a victim of a surge from the Mayhem. BQB began pestering the Justice again, and while the Justice lasted longer against this push from the Mayhem, they ultimately fell on the point once again despite taking down a few of the Mayhem in the process. Both teams grinded it out and the Mayhem walked away, though the Mayhem were down resources. After coming back, Gido targeted BQB straight away and the team then began their all-out offensive push. Although Florida invested heavily into the ensuing team fight, they also… went too far off the point and the Justice sneaked away with securing the payload, despite Florida’s best efforts. Hagopeun sniped Fahzix immediately and the Justice found themselves needing to retreat. The Justice then began another all-out offensive while also forcing the Mayhem to waste most of the ultimate resources. Unfortunately when the payload approached the second point, the Mayhem then surged forward and managed to secure a few timely kills on the Justice, and DC then needed to play perfect in order to move forward. They did just that, although it did require a few ultimates in order to secure that win, though Sansam’s D.Va ult use did force the Mayhem back and Swon fell to Ado’s stunning him during the explosion. After securing the second point, Janus fell immediately after getting isolated from the squad. On the second push, Corey was isolated from the squad and died immediately, but the squad then pushed forward and Corey’s return managed to utilize the grav perfectly on the majority of the Mayhem, despite Florida’s investment into the fight. In one final push, the Justice found themselves at the mercy of a Sombra EMP, and although they did manage to halve the Mayhem squad, it wasn’t enough as Corey eventually fell to a couple attackers and Gido could not return to the payload in time to push. It was an admirable push that just didn’t quite end up being enough to secure that last checkpoint. The Justice still managed to push the payload quite a ways up to the third checkpoint, however.
Both teams started the Mayhem offensive playing it more coy, with both sides trying to soften up their targets before making a full push. Gido then devoted his ultimate to try to save Sansam, but he lost his mech anyway, even though he was bailed out by his teammates coming back to the point and then wiping out the remaining Mayhem. In the ensuing team fight, the Mayhem needed to use all their ultimates to secure the payload, while the Justice continued to push back. As the Mayhem continued to push, the Justice failed to continue to apply appropriate pressure and Janus went down twice. There were only about 40 seconds left for the Mayhem to make one final push with the Justice managing to converge and save from one final push from the Mayhem. Then, to the astonishment of many, the Mayhem came in with an EMP and a ton of ultimate resources and the Justice managed to avoid the majority of it, countering with their own ultimates such as Janus’ Shatter to negate the offensive efforts of the Mayhem and secure that pivotal second map win. It gave the DC Justice a commendable 2-0 map lead with some stronger play towards the end of their defensive side.
Map 3: Volskaya Industries (Assault)
The Justice came out and both sides played coy as DC was worried about Sombra’s EMP making that difference again. However, they managed to take down Swon without much problem and the EMP came too late to keep DC from surging. The Justice then immediately came in on the second point and absolutely crushed any of the opposition left on the point, taking down Swon and multiple others and putting 5 men on the point. DC ran a clinic on any of the Mayhem attempting to come onto the point, making their picks carefully despite Hagopeun stalling with a Transcendence ultimate. It was an absolute blitz on their attack, and before anyone could even comment on how fast it was, the first round was already over in favor of the Justice with a full 2 points with 5 minutes and 49 seconds in their time bank- the second fasted completion of a round this season on Volskaya.
When the Mayhem attempted to push, BQB attempted to flank and Sansam made him pay for it, taking him down in order. Fahzix got taken down in a strange fashion, but returned to the fight and allowed the Justice to reset their position. When the EMP on Mayhem came out, the Justice countered it effectively with spreading out and then immediately dealing a ton of damage to anyone in sight. It took most of their resources, but then DC managed to force them to waste multiple ultimates and executed their own perfectly. It forced Florida down to 40 seconds to take the first point, and though they did manage to take the first point, they used their resources to do it. Unfortunately, DC fell apart on the second point pretty hard, with Janus getting taken down multiple times as the team was just a bit too isolated from each other to prevent Sombra’s EMP from being a real threat. It led to a breakdown that gave up the second point with just under two and a half minutes in Florida’s time bank.
BQB began the Mayhem offense by flanking once again and almost got booped by Sansam, but came back into the fray. DC fell apart once again on the point once Janus was taken down again, and Janus was the first to fall on the second point as well. DC’s collapse was imminent and they did virtually nothing to stop Mayhem’s push forward, with Justice members falling left and right to junk tactics. DC then began their own offense with nearly 6 minutes in the bank, hoping to get both points to keep the round going. DC then collapsed in their first fight onto the first point, doing almost no real damage and only taking down Apply, who had plenty of time to return to the fight after the Justice lost two members quickly. In the second fight, the EMP came out and the Justice paid dearly for being aggressive, losing half the squad immediately and then Sansam. Mayhem was playing a full turtle, being extremely patient and utilizing the high ground efficiently. While DC eventually managed to take the first point, they struggled to take the second, especially with facing a Sombra EMP. With enough of a push, the Justice eventually managed to overcome oppressive circumstances and take both points, going into another overtime round.
Since the Mayhem had a bigger time bank after the second round, they went to full survivability and switched out their Sombra. The DC Justice then came in on the low ground, but could not get enough time to get a single tick on the point. They exchanged some kills, but Janus falling early sealed the fate of the team as they could not survive long enough to secure the point. The Mayhem only had a minute and a half, which meant DC had to play perfectly to ensure a draw and win the series. The Mayhem got pushed off the point and DC managed to keep a strong pushback. However, Xepher ate Corey’s grav with a horribly timed play that was easily read by the Mayhem, giving up Janus, Corey, and Fahzix for free after Ado got Charged and Corey attempted to retaliate. It doomed the Justice to a map loss and allowed the Mayhem a chance to come back in the final map. Florida won the map 5-4, but the Justice still maintained a map advantage, 2-1.
Map 4: Dorado (Escort)
DC began the map on the defensive, and although they spammed the first choke point a bit, they retreated to more favorable position as the Mayhem played a little more coy to build BQB’s EMP. The EMP paid off for the the Mayhem and they wiped out the Justice from point A. In the following team fight, Sansam ate the grav from Xepher, and then Fahzix made the mistake of using a sound barrier ultimate in front of BQB’s Sombra, who immediately EMP’d it and canceled out all those shields. It was short work for the Mayhem after that. After pushing through the choke point, the Mayhem struggled to get further up after DC managed to negate a lot of the offense after killing Swon. Ado let himself get picked off and Fahzix then popped his Sound Barrier again only for BQB to EMP it once again. DC fell apart in disastrous fashion to give up the final checkpoint for free to the Mayhem and thus needed a perfect offense to come back at all.
DC and the Mayhem began to play coy at the start of the round, both converging on the choke point, but Janus led a very aggressive charge despite Sansam losing his mech early and the Justice team killed the Mayhem to secure the first point in DC’s favor. In the ensuing team fight, BQB used his EMP which led to the majority of the Justice dying. However, after Xepher’s grav got eaten by Sansam, DC pushed forward once again. DC applied massive amounts of damage repeatedly. Despite BQB using another EMP, DC then went ahead and grinded out a ton of damage onto split members of the Mayhem in order to push through hard. After securing the second checkpoint, the Mayhem rained down damage in response as the Justice lacked multiple resources. Swon attempted to Shatter the Justice, but Janus blocked it immediately and Corey used his grav to ensure 4 killed Mayhem, and DC continued an intensely aggressive push, continuing their picks and pushing through any attacks sent their way from the Mayhem, pushing forward through an EMP and depleting Florida’s resources until the Justice managed to secure that final checkpoint in convincing fashion. Florida’s costly mistakes led to their demise, being too cute and allowing themselves to open a window to the Justice that DC simply had to walk through.
The Mayhem began on the offensive with the objective to push forward as far as possible. DC allowed too much of an opportunity off of 40 seconds as the Mayhem continued pushing forward. The Mayhem simply continued to walk over the Justice, who continued to let them. Despite having multiple ultimates, Janus and Corey both wasted their ultimates multiple times. The Mayhem not only got two points off of 40 seconds (!!!) in their time bank, they got over halfway to the last checkpoint as well. The Justice only had one minute and 42 seconds to get as far as the Mayhem. The Justice targeted Swon immediately and the gamble paid off, as a massive hole. However, the Mayhem returned with a vengeance and built an EMP, which disabled the Justice entirely and negated any further push. It was short work for the Mayhem after that, as the Justice fell in short order and the Mayhem walked away victors of the fourth map, tying the series 2-2.
Map 5: Ilios (Control)
McGravy was subbed in for Xepher for the Mayhem. Despite the Mayhem clearly outplaying the Justice, DC managed to secure 25% of the initial point and hoarded some ultimates. Even though the Justice walked into favorable conditions, Florida then negated all of their advantages and maintained the point. Janus fell multiple times during this sequence as well. During their final push, Gido got sniped immediately and then Janus fell shortly after. It was an entirely weak effort and their mistimed plays and terrible positioning cost them dearly. They were lucky to get that first 25%, but they simply misplayed their way to their own demise in the first round. 1-0 for the Mayhem.
On the second point, the Justice came up against a Wrecking Ball courtesy of Swon, but negated his mobility and managed to push back the Mayhem fairly easily. DC managed to maintain a strong hold, with Sansam using his ultimate to get a couple kills. Despite the unorthodox strategy from the Mayhem, DC managed to convincingly stall the Mayhem into being out of position, and despite some pushes toward the end, DC managed to stave off any real threat and then took the second round. Tied 1-1.
The last round was pivotal to secure the fate of the Justice. The Justice immediately converged on Swon and took down both Swon and Hagopeun, securing the point first. Corey built up a ton of energy, good for maintaining a lead. Sansam cleverly ate the incoming grav, and then the Mayhem immediately got team killed. Half of their resources were gone, and the Justice were poised for victory. After securing a couple of timely picks, the Justice finally secured a win with some strong final play, grinding out the final round and getting that critical first franchise win.
The first half did not contain a lot of strong play for the Justice. In fact, if the Mayhem were a stronger team, many of the tactics that the Justice utilized in the first half would have been easily punishable. Florida managed their ultimates much better than the Justice in the first half, and DC paid for it on multiple occasions, but would seem to resurrect like a bunch of hellbats and manage to secure their own wins at pivotal moments. It was a bit confusing, in a lot of ways, because some of these mismanaged plays led directly to DC being able to push back in unorthodox ways. When Gido used his Transcendence on Hollywood, for example, I nearly threw a fit, because it looked like it was a waste, but it bought DC enough of a window to return to the fight and then take it to the Mayhem and wipe them from the point. It bought them enough time, even if it did limit access to his Transcendence afterwards. In the end, DC found a way to win these two first maps. In a certain kind of way, it was sort of ironic that Florida’s inability to close became their problem, as it has been DC’s problem so far against superior enemies before.
However, DC absolutely crumbled apart on the second half. Despite having a ridiculously strong first start, the Mayhem regrouped and then took it to the Justice repeatedly, almost making it look easy. If the first half was the Mayhem’s inability to close, the Justice then followed up by doing the same in the second half. All the Justice needed to do was finish their pushes, and they repeatedly failed to do so. In fact, on Dorado, the Justice gave up real estate basically for free, wasting their ultimates and simply allowing the Mayhem to walk in and gain ground on multiple occasions. It was thoroughly embarrassing and entirely remniscient of the London Spitfire match, where they were reverse swept into a tiebreaking loss.
Very fortunately, the Justice finally took some time to regroup and take Ilios. That first round very much went against their favor, but the Justice then never gave up the point after that. Their play on Ilios was very strong, and they remained consistently strong to finally end the win drought and secure that first franchise win. Being an Orioles fan, I’m very much used to watching losing teams, and the feeling of winning one is so refreshing to see.
Back to analysis, it was a very frustrating tale of two halves. While the Justice played better on that first half, they completely fell apart after the first round of Volksaya. That collapse led directly to a Florida Mayhem resurgance that the Justice didn’t recover from until the final two rounds of the match. It was very much a reminder of the London Spitfire match, but this one went the way for the Justice, even if it was way too close for comfort. Many of the problems for the Justice still exist, and the Mayhem finally regrouped into a strategy and execution that worked well enough to secure those map wins for themselves. Credit where credit is due, though, and the Justice finally managed to clutch the win, and do it in convincing fashion at the end, never giving up any point after the first round of the fifth map.
Since the Justice (obviously) didn’t make the playoffs, it’ll be awhile until their next official match. Stage 2 doesn’t being for the Justice until Saturday, April 5th, where they have an away match against fellow expansion team, the Toronto Defiant. Enjoy the win, and see you all there.