The time has been coming for the revenge match against the New York Excelsior, and after going 1-3 in the previous series in Stage One, Washington Justice had a grudge match to pay back. Unfortunately, they’d drop a bagel instead.
Map 1: Lijiang Tower (Control)
It was a bit of a troubling sight at first, with New York pretty easily taking the first round without too much resistance from the Justice. In the second round, there was a lot more resistance, and the Justice nearly took a point after dropping 41% to the Excelsior. DC swapped the point and then continued to make good picks and retain extended control of the point, never allowing NYXL to swap it again until reaching late in the map. New York was finally able to break through a couple of weakened Justice, and then mopped up the survivors to clear and swap the point. New York then continued to successfully repel any attack, taking the point in overtime and securing a Map 1 victory.
Map 2: Hanamura (Assault)
DC did not amaze anybody on the first round. While their initial strategy was secure in theory, the Justice got too spread out and Jjonak went ahead and played the super-aggressive style he’s known for, coming in and helping his team to secure the first point in little time before running a clinic on the whole Justice squad on the second point. Round 1 went by so quick that the Excelsior had 5 and a half minutes in their time bank after their offensive side.
When it was DC’s time to go on the offense, they did make a few good plays to secure the first point, with nearly everybody contributing to split up the Excelsior and keep them from being able to fight back securely. It took a bit of time, but it worked and NY was pushed back entirely to the second point. It was here that DC ran into some worrying troubles: the team had managed to wear down a majority of the Excelsior team, and had a golden opportunity to rush the second point, but… they didn’t, for some reason. Perhaps they thought reinforcements were there, or that they were closer to spawn than they were, but the Justice wasted an opportunity that allowed the Excelsior to gain back a full set of Ultimates, which were then used to stall for more time. DC had a chance to win the second point with about 3 minutes in their bank, but had to settle for eventually winning the second point in overtime.
There’s almost no story to the Overtime round, because NYXL bumrushed the Justice, managing to push them back and then utilize Pharah effectively to rain down pain from above. It was about a minute before New York took the first point and won the map.
Map 3: Eichenwalde (Assault/Escort)
Hoo boy. I won’t even go into much of the specifics of this match, it was so bad. The same problems persisted in each round: NYXL played aggressively and dominated anything the Justice attempted to do. New York was very rarely ever on a retreat, and was never on a full retreat at any point in the match. DC faced resistance at basically every literal turn, only securing one point during their offense round and giving up tons of time and space to New York, who continued to simply waltz through DC’s defense. Blegh.
Map 4: Junkertown (Escort)
This is the map where the Justice probably had the best chance to take a map win. They went with a bit of a different setup than any of their previous maps before reverting to 3-3 on their defensive end, and though New York would eventually end up the winner, DC did put up quite a resilient fight. In fact, the end difference came down to about 10m- they were almost at a map win at the end, but New York made a final push that managed to pick off a couple of the Justice at the final moments and force them off the payload, which cost the team the win.
I can’t say I would blame you if you wanted to forget about this match. The Justice did not play well through most of it, and were outright dominated for two of the maps entirely. They only really came close in two of the maps, and even then they were still swept at Lijiang Tower. Nobody really had a standout performance, but Corey and Ado both made some pretty notable plays during the match. But a couple of good plays don’t determine the fate of a map and match win. Consistent and good play does that, and they didn’t really bring that to the still-perfect NYXL.
Was it the worst performance of the season for the team? By all means, no. Coming up against a largely perfect superstar team in NYXL, an 0-4 performance might look like they were completely dominated, but that wasn’t really the case for about half the match. At multiple points, this series could have been tied 2-2 and needed an overtime map. But, the Justice were unable to clutch those victories by a very thin margin. When the Justice played well, they played pretty damn well. But when the Justice played poorly, they were outright dominated. This is what happens when you face a team that is on a totally different level than your own, and it’ll take a lot more practice to even reach a point where they can compete with that. It’s no surprise they lost to the best team in the League- the difference in skill is simply too great.
Anyway, you won’t have to wait long to see the next match, as the Washington Justice “host” the Atlanta Reign on Sunday, April 14th @ 4:45pm EST. Atlanta is a shell of its former self as the loss of Dafran appears too great to bear, so we will see if they’ll be able to notch a win here or not.