It was a similar tale as the match against the Dragons: the Justice were nowhere to be seen in the first half, and appeared a different team in the second. Unlike the match against the Dragons, the Justice would pave their way to an intense and resounding victory (with ice cream, courtesy of Sleepy).
Map 1: Lijiang Tower (Control)
The Justice continued to be unable to capitalize on advantages they created and played very passively with abilities, using them at the wrong times and mostly appearing lucky with their picks to only get up to 70%, dropping the first round to Boston who appeared mostly in control.
In the second round, the Justice continued to be terribly inconsistent, although their results were slightly better. They managed to win select team fights against a DPS-oriented roster Boston rolled out, but they then would drop following team fights and lost yet another round that they easily could have won. Their 3-3 comp was in perfect position to close out at least a round, and the Justice dropped it. Again. Boston walked away with the first map in relatively cocky fashion.
Map 2: Temple of Anubis (Assault)
This certainly felt like one of the longest first rounds in the entire season so far. Boston rolled out with an unorthodox roster, once again focusing on DPS, and really grinded out a first full two ticks before finally securing the first point. Even attempting to get the second point, the Uprising only had 21 seconds left in their time bank as the Justice made multiple successful defenses before crumbling in the final seconds to give away the first round.
Washington on offense was a different story. The Uprising went with a much more traditional 3-3, utilizing a Winston instead of Rein, and it worked. Fusions had a hell of a time putting intense pressure on the Justice, and Boston went back to work grinding out another round. DC continued to struggle even making it onto the point and ended their offensive round not even getting a single tick on the first point. Going into halftime, DC had failed to even get a single point or round as Boston completely shut them down.
Map 3: Blizzard World (Hybrid)
Boston came out swinging with a traditional 3-3 and dominated 3 consecutive team fights right out of the gate. DC was deleted from the point in a matter of seconds to give up the payload and then the Uprising made good picks to waltze far to the second point. Then, something weird happened: neither team really figured out what to do at the second point. Both exchanged picks back and forth, but the Justice had better position with their spawn and began to win their team fights. DC then managed to play exceedingly well to choke out ultimates from the Uprising and patiently utilize their own (mostly). While the Justice grinded down the clock, Boston made a push with a minute left and Corey used his grav to initiate a team kill, which gave just enough of a window for Boston to make one final push. Janus attempted a Shatter, but was stunned out of it. Eventually, Corey was able to get another grav and suck in 3 of the Uprising, with Janus hammering away until they were dead. It was short work after that, and the Justice managed to avoid any checkpoints getting taken by the Uprising after getting the payload.
In response to the quick defeat in the defensive round, the Justice went ahead and took down Boston in short order to initiate the payload. It was a total grindfest after that, and both teams made numerous mistakes that nearly cost both the victory. It really came down to the final push with just under a minute left in the round, when both teams began to throw ultimates at each other. Janus didn’t have a full Shatter, but after both teams exhausted their options, he built up his after a few more seconds and it proved the pivotal winner: after Sleepy got taken down, things looked bleak, but Janus managed to rush in and pin down at least half the remaining Uprising team, giving the Justice just enough of a window to get multiple picks and secure victory of at least one map.
Map 4: Rialto (Escort)
Once again, both teams went into a full grind as they threw themselves at each other with identical compositions. While DC remained mostly competitive in the first half of the round, it really began to show how Janus’ impatience can cost the team victory: at multiple points after the Uprising secured their first checkpoint, he began to show signs of more and more recklessness. In fact, his last two deaths are ultimately what allowed the Uprising to finish with a full 3 points: he died right outside the second checkpoint and opened a huge hole in the defense, and at the final point, his death once again opened a huge hole that Boston plowed through to finish. To be fair, it wasn’t entirely his fault at times: Ado also died frequently, which left the team with no Rally and any armor to help. Boston finished with 45 seconds left in the bank.
The Justice offense was not particularly impressive to start. They were continuously pushed back and were only able to take the first checkpoint due to a defensive blunder by the Uprising. To their credit, they did exploit that opening to the fullest, but it was Boston that basically threw away the first checkpoint for free. After that, however, DC seemed to change for the better- their ultimate combos landed, they made excellent picks, they drove the Uprising out of position, and Boston continued to commit defensive errors due to the pressure. In fact, DC managed to secure the final checkpoint in only one team fight, particularly impressive given that Boston’s respawn is… y’know… right behind the point. Watching Sleepy do a lot of lowkey work was great to watch, and even Janus stepped up to the plate, mostly sticking with his teammates and then punishing Boston when they made errors up close. His job was being made easy, which means the teamwork effort was finally paying off.
In Overtime, DC lost the first fight on their offense and their time bank was too low to get back. It was an uphill battle, as that meant that they could not let the Uprising get any further than they did around the first bend. On defense, they did just that. In two different grindy team fights, the Justice wore down on Fusions in particular to ensure they could not push past their own first point. It was tough work, but the Justice put it in to get that final point in their favor and take the match to a map 5 with their second map win of the day.
Map 5: Busan (Control)
Both teams came out with non-traditional compositions, but DC went 3-3 with a Moira while Boston rolled out their DPS roster again. DC could have gotten more percentage on their end if Ado hadn’t been completely separated from the team and get taken down by Fusions as Wrecking Ball. It was a grinding team kill after that, with the Justice victim and sitting at 70%. It was intense after that- Corey even had a late switch to Sombra, which proved pivotal to prevent Boston’s Pharah from using her ultimate and potentially preventing them from getting the switch. Ado had a nice play knocking Fusions into the water to start the charge, and the Justice managed to take the first map.
Boston seemed a bit… pissed off after that, wiping out most of the Justice in quick work before taking the point. It took all the way to the final second for DC to even get the point at all. It took all their ultimates, and the depleted squad couldn’t withstand the 5 ultimates Boston had, and they lost the second point. It would come down to the final point.
The last round was just chaos. Both teams rolled out with DPS and both teams hammered each other with abilities and strong offensive performances. It went down to the final percentage point and DC somehow managed to push Boston off the point multiple times to get themselves their first map win of the stage and their second of the season. It was a beautiful, ugly mess, and the final round was intensely fun for it.
Going into halftime, you could be forgiven for thinking that Washington had just given up. Their play was lackluster. They couldn’t clinch. They couldn’t even win rounds that Boston was giving them. The Uprising were not shy about flexing their DPS muscle in a non-DPS meta, and the Justice still failed to make any headway against it. DC has a precarious situation at half, and the broadcast pointed out that the Justice made objectively good moves in securing Sleepy and ArK, but have seen no improvement from their play. In fact, one of the casters summed it up perfectly about the situation: “when do we see the benefit?” Looking at the quality of Sleepy and ArK, the Justice probably have the best support tandem in the entire OWL. Other than Corey (who was mostly negated this match so far), everyone else has been pretty awful in comparison so far. The only notable presence in the first half was Sleepy promising the team ice cream (even $100 worth of it?!) to his teammates should they win.
In a story similar to two days ago, it was a different team after halftime. While they never looked truly dominant, they were certainly more than competitive and not shy about punishing Boston’s errors (of which there were many). Part of that was leaning how Boston was playing and responding to certain situations, and, unlike in the first half, they were less shy about using abilities. It was at times ugly, but ArK and Sleepy helped carry this team to victory and successfully supported them through the most difficult times. I could be critical of Ado for a lackluster performance, but he endured enough to be useful.
In the second half, everybody had moments that contributed to the win, but none had as many as Janus. Despite his reckless moments on Rialto, it was still his pivotal plays, especially with Shatter, that paved the way for victory here. If it wasn’t for both ArK and Sleepy, he would never have gotten the chance to make those plays, but when he made them, he made all of Boston suffer for it. Unlike times in the past, he did not go for pretty highlight-based plays in the second half. Instead, he made smart, called plays that gave his team the best chance to win, and it paid off in the end. Even if you win because you’re capitalizing on numerous mistakes, a win is a win and you need to still be good enough to know how and when to capitalize. Janus and the Justice did that in the second half almost perfectly, and it led to the first reverse sweep in the franchise and the first win against a mid-seed team. Hopefully, this means more positive momentum going forward for the team. The Justice will return in Stage 3 facing off against the Dallas Fuel on Sunday, June 9th at 6:30pm EST. Enjoy the win, and the ice cream!