Overwatch League 2019 Season Stage 4 photo:Stewart Volland for Blizzard Entertainment

Each week at CheckpointXP we bring you a moment in gaming that’s too close for comfort. This week we wipe the sweat from our brow after a tremendous playoff run by the Washington Justice. The Justice was seeded 12th just one match from punching a ticket to the grand finals.

Justice is Blind

Throughout the regular season of the 2020 Overwatch League, the Washington Justice finished 19 out of 20. They had a staggering record of 4 wins and 17 losses. Unfortunately, that record shouldn’t be surprising as they placed 17 out of 20 in their inaugural 2019 season with 8 wins and 20 losses. 6 of those wins they didn’t get till the end of the season in stage 4. In that light, their surprising run through the playoffs stays consistent. So, despite the regular-season records, you never would’ve guessed the Justice was shooting for the moon throughout the playoffs.

Right Meta, Right Place

Two key factors led to the success of the Washington Justice in their playoff run. The first was a chance in the metagame, the composition of heroes best suited to win. Shield tanks had been nerfed so heavily and some off tanks had been buffed so well, that most teams ran double off tanks. Washington chooses to run Roadhog and Zarya, with Hyeon-Woo “JJANU” Choi on the former and Gui-un “Decay” Jang on the later. This composition played to The Justice’s strengths because all players were on comfort picks. It was a great example of the meta aligning properly with the moon to give the Justice the power they needed.

The Decay Factor

The second factor was Decay, formerly of the Dallas Fuel. Some last-minute rule changes to make sure all teams had enough players going into the playoffs allowed the Justice to pick up Decay. They beat the Vancouver Titans 3-0 and the Dallas Fuel 3-0. They took the defending 2019 champions, the San Francisco Shock to a game 5 before the Shock sent them to the losers bracket. In the bottom rungs of the playoff tournament, they continued to defy expectations. Playing this one single composition, they beat the Paris Eternal 3-0 and dropped one map to the Los Angeles Valiant before defeating them. Then they swept the Florida Mayhem in another 3 – 0 victory. It wasn’t until the first seed Philadelphia Fusion, in the match that would determine who went to grand finals, that the Justice finally fell.

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Stewart Volland for Blizzard Entertainment