Night Market popped up as the first point on Lijiang Tower. The 3-0 Washington Justice, the kings of Overwatch League so far in Stage 4, selected Symmetra for DPS player Corey "Corey" Nigra against the Boston Uprising.
This wasn't a surprise in and of itself; Symmetra is frequently used to scout opposing compositions and teleport teammates into position before swapping to another hero.
The surprising part was that the Justice stuck with it, won the map and eventually came away with a series victory.
"Corey has actually stuck through with the Symmetra," caster Seth "Achilios" King said, a note of incredulity in his voice. "It's not just going to be the swap-off."
Working in tandem with Justice DPS teammate Ethan "Stratus" Yankel, Corey's Symmetra helped dismantle Boston's Reaper/Mei combination, effectively changing the terrain of the point and eventually capping it.
"I don't actually remember who talked about it, but we were just trying weird things a lot when the stage started," Justice support Hong "ArK" Yeon-joon said. "We thought that Symmetra worked great and also counters things in the meta, and it worked out. We even used it before when people were using Mei/Reaper. We thought it not only countered other comps, like dive and things like that, but also the Mei/Reaper, so we used it."
The Justice have been one surprise after another in Stage 4. Washington entered the stage with an abysmal 2-19 record, fresh off of a winless Stage 3. Now, the Justice are currently undefeated in Stage 4 after their shocking 4-0 sweep of the Vancouver Titans in Week 2 and Friday night victory over Boston.
Washington's duo of Corey and Stratus have taken center stage in the league, as the two-tank, two-DPS, two-support role lock rule has rewarded DPS players who previously languished on Zarya duty in Stages 1-3, or were left behind by the meta completely, patiently waiting for a drastic shift.
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"I think mechanically as a team we're getting to a level where our teamplay is improving," ArK said. "Until Stage 3, I think our teamplay was not that good, but from Stage 4 it's getting better. Our DPS's mechanical skills are quite good, and our support line is very -- we're good at assisting. So we just help the DPS pop off, and they pop off, and it's good."
While top teams have struggled since the role lock and standings are more volatile than they have been all season, the Justice adapted quickly.
"Because we kind of started from the bottom, we were able to dump everything we had stacked up starting from there," ArK said. "I think every team has a stacked-up thing. Sometimes they can't give it away and start new.
"People were underestimating us before, so it actually helped a lot winning against the Vancouver Titans."
With their newfound success has come a significantly lighter atmosphere for the Justice. Players are frequently seen joking around in between points and maps, gesturing wildly at each other in the lineup and laughing.
"We are trying to become more and more positive, as positive as possible," ArK said Friday after his team's 3-1 win. "Until Stage 3, there was a negative atmosphere sometimes. Since this stage we've tried to become more positive and try to keep it up all the time. We only have 10 days left to put effort onstage, so we just want to keep it up."
In a meta that benefits mechanically skilled players, and with their significantly improved teamplay, the Justice have finally been able to showcase what they are capable of. Despite being eliminated from playoff contention, their recent win streak combined with a new meta to play around with has further motivated the Justice.
"It was actually really, really hard to keep motivated," Ark admitted while speaking of the Justice's winless Stage 3. "It always is in those kind of situations, I think. I was demotivated too in Stage 3; I was thinking it was really, really hard. Sometimes I would try hard, but the result wouldn't come out. I was just kind of struggling. But we got over it, especially with the meta change, and that motivated us to improve.
"We just try to take it one game at a time. There's more talk about, like who pops off today. Corey was talking to me like, 'You pop off today,' something like that, and I said, 'No, you pop off.' Just like that and try to have as much fun as possible."