The Washington Justice entered the Overwatch League playoffs Sept. 3 with the 12th and final seed of the annual tournament. They weren’t expected to make much noise in the opening weekend -- until they did.
Competing for a chance at a spot in the Grand Finals scheduled for Oct. 8-10 in South Korea, the Justice ripped off back-to-back wins against the No. 11 Vancouver Titans and No. 8 Dallas Fuel to advance to the double-elimination round. They finished off the opening weekend of the playoffs with a 3-1 record, putting them three wins away from winning the tournament.
The Justice continued that run of success with a 3-1 win on Friday against the No. 6 Los Angeles Valiant at 5 p.m. and kept their championship hopes alive. Only two teams from all of North America are given the opportunity to compete in the Grand Finals.
Overwatch is a first-person shooter strategy game that pits teams of six against each other. Teams in the Overwatch League, which began in 2018, play best-of-five tournaments against each other.
The Justice’s starting six for Friday were AimGod, ArK, Ttuba, Stitch, Jjanu and Decay, a top player who joined the team late in the season after leaving Dallas and helped stabilize the roster.
Top-seeded Philadelphia had its choice of opponents to start the double-elimination round, took one look and just passed on Washington to play Los Angeles, instead. Decay then helped end his former team's season when the Justice beat Dallas 3-0 in that playoff win on Sept. 4.
It is still a steep hill. A win on Friday was great. But a game against the No. 4 Florida Mayhem on Saturday looms and then - hopefully - a game against the loser of the Philadelphia/San Francisco match on Sunday for a chance to go to Korea.
The Mayhem are a solid team. They probably didn't want to see Washington lined up against them on Saturday.
"Now we get a fascinating result. The Mayhem were probably concerned about going up against [Los Angeles] again because they are 0-2 against them in the past three weeks," said Overwatch League analyst Mitch Leslie on the livestream of the Friday match. "Now they go up against the Justice and I don't reckon they know what they prefer. Because Washington looks so scary."